News & Politics

LIVE: SpaceX Second Attempt to Launch Manned Crew Dragon Capsule

(SpaceX-Imagery from Pixabay.)

SpaceX is trying again today after bad weather forced a scrub of Wednesday’s first-ever manned launch of the Crew Dragon capsule.

Space Shuttle veterans Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken are set to go at 3:22pm Eastern. Again, weather permitting. If today is scrubbed, SpaceX and NASA will try again on Sunday.

Wednesday: SpaceX Attempts First Manned Mission by a Private Company.

Here’s the live feed from Cape Canaveral.

Live blog follows below.

All times Eastern.

1340:

You may have seen this already, but SpaceX suffered a setback yesterday in dramatic fashion when the SN4 prototype blew up during a stress test.

On the other hand, Boeing’s Space Launch System (SLS) maintains a flawless record of zero failures for zero attempts — and maybe always will.

1344:

I posted this during Wednesday’s liveblog, but even a gadget nut like me still can’t get over the progress made.

1350:

No technical issues, which is good. Weather is still iffy. If I had to guess, they’re 50/50 for a launch today.

Had to scratch that last one — my feed switched back to Wednesday’s rerun!

1403:

What the hell is Bill Nye the Science-ish Guy doing on a feed about real science?

1411:

Crew Dragon

For what it’s worth, the skies don’t look nearly as ugly as they did on Wednesday. But it isn’t just local conditions that matter, but also the escape capsule route in case of an abort.

1424:

58 minutes out. Excited?

1432:

Please, Weather Gods, smile on this.

1433:

Weather is a go at the moment. Propellant load in just a few minutes.

1437:

Crew arm about to be retracted from the capsule, propellant loading given the go-order a few minutes early.

I wish Heinlein could see this.

1442:

Escape system… ACTIVATED!

It sounds cool when you say it, but you really don’t want them to have to use it.

1448:

Pins, meet needles.

1457:

1503:

It’s getting really very real now.

1506:

25 minutes from right now, Bob & Doug could be — should be! — in orbit.

1507:

LOX is being loaded.

1510:

1517:

This is his second trip to Florida this week, and I still haven’t gotten a lousy t-shirt.

Five minutes out…

1520:

It’s difficult to have anything to say when all you can do is hold your breath.

1521:

Apollo and Saturn V looked so stately. The Shuttle and its launch rockets and fuel tank had a chunky, purposeful look.

Falcon 9 and Dragon are sleek.

1522:

“Go for launch.”

“Let’s light this candle.”

“T-minus 30 seconds.”

1523:

There she goes. There she goes.

1524:

One minute in. Everything is nominal.

1525:

Watch it again at your leisure.

Again and again.

1525:

“Separation confirmed.”

Bog & Doug are flying the second stage after successful igition. Just about six minutes from orbit.

1526:

Not yet. Not until they’re safely in orbit.

But. So. Very. Close.

1528:

Don’t forget that SpaceX will attempt to land and possibly reuse the first stage.

First manned mission to do that, too.

1531:

Nah. They’re data-proof.

1532:

Falcon 9 stuck the landing.

Question: Should SpaceX reuse this particular Falcon, or save it for posterity?

1533:

Here’s the vid of the landing.

1535:

Dragon separation confirmed and on its way to rendezvous with ISS.

1544:

It’s going to be another 18 hours or so before Dragon reaches ISS, and not even I can liveblog that long.

America is back in the manned space business, courtesy of a privately held business. With that one seemingly simple launch, a single American company now rivals major nation-states.

Think about the resources a country like Russia or China can marshal. Here, one half-crazy jillionaire can do it.

That’s about as stunning an endorsement I can imagine for this amazing system of ours.

Godspeed to Bob & Doug for a successful rendezvous, ISS mission, and most of all a safe return home. What we’re building though is a future where our home — some of our homes, anyway — are Out There.

This was no small step in that direction.