Launch timeline for SpaceX’s 22nd space station resupply mission

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will go from Cape Canaveral to low Earth orbit in less than 10 minutes Thursday with a Dragon capsule heading for the International Space Station carrying more than 7,300 pounds of supplies and experiments.

Liftoff is set for 1:29 p.m. EDT (1729 GMT) Thursday from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida

It will be the 120th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, and SpaceX’s 17th launch of the year. Working under contract to NASA, Saturday’s launch will be the 22nd of least 29 SpaceX resupply missions to depart for the space station under two separate cargo transportation contracts.

The resupply mission, known as CRS-22 or SpaceX-22, will be the second flight of SpaceX’s new-generation Dragon cargo spacecraft, an automated, unpiloted capsule based on the new human-rated Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The illustrated timeline below outlines the launch sequence for the Falcon 9 flight with the Dragon spacecraft.

Three ignitions of the first stage engines after separation will steer the booster toward a landing on SpaceX’s drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You” nearly 200 miles (about 300 kilometers) northeast of Florida’s Space Coast. Here are key times for the landing maneuvers:

  • T+plus 2 minutes, 43 seconds: First stage boost-back burn begins
  • T+plus 5 minutes, 52 seconds: First stage entry burn begins
  • T+plus 7 minutes, 41 seconds: First stage landing

The first two burns will be performed using three of the Falcon 9’s nine Merlin first stage engines. The final landing burn will occur using just the center engine.

T-0:00:00: Liftoff

After the rocket’s nine Merlin engines pass an automated health check, hold-down clamps will release the Falcon 9 booster for liftoff from pad 39A

T+0:01:12: Max Q

The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
The Falcon 9 rocket reaches Max Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure.

T+0:02:26: MECO

The Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines shut down.
The Falcon 9’s nine Merlin 1D engines shut down.

T+0:02:30: Stage 1 Separation

The Falcon 9’s first stage separates from the second stage moments after MECO.
The Falcon 9’s first stage separates from the second stage moments after MECO.

T+0:02:37: Second Stage Ignition

The second stage Merlin 1D vacuum engine ignites for an approximately six-minute burn to put the Dragon spacecraft into orbit.

T+0:08:39: SECO

The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching a target orbit with a low point of approximately 124 miles (200 kilometers), a high point of approximately 223 miles (360 kilometers) and an inclination of 51.6 degrees. The second stage will reignite for a de-orbit burn soon after deploying the Dragon spacecraft, aiming for a destructive re-entry over the Southern Ocean south of Australia.
The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket shuts down after reaching a elliptical target orbit at an inclination of 51.6 degrees. The second stage will later reignite for a de-orbit burn, falling back into the atmosphere for a destructive re-entry.

T+0:11:52: Dragon Separation

The Dragon spacecraft separates from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage.

T+0:12:38: Dragon Nose Cone Opens

The nose cone on the front end of the Cargo Dragon capsule opens, exposing the craft’s docking port.

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