Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Embed
What would you like to do?
CRS-18 Pre-Launch Presser

CRS-18 Pre-Launch Presser

2019-07-24

Moderator:

  • Marie Lewis, NASA Public Affairs

Participants:

  • Bill Spetch, Deputy Manager, ISS Transportation Integration Office

  • Jessica Jensen, Director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX

  • Pete Hasbrook, Office Manager, International Space Station Program Science Office

  • Will Ulrich, Launch Weather Officer, 45th Space Wing

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Hello, and welcome to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for our pre-launch news conference for CRS-18. This is SpaceX's 18th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station for NASA. I'm Marie Lewis with NASA Public Affairs, and we have some special guests here to help us break down this mission. To my left is Bill Spetch, Deputy Manager for the International Space Station Transportation Integration Office. Jessica Jensen, Director of Dragon Mission Management at SpaceX. Pete Hasbrook, Office Manager for the International Space Station Program Science Office. And Will Ulrich, Launch Weather Officer with the US Air Force's 45th Space Wing. Now, we will take your questions in just a few minutes, but we would like to begin with some remarks from our guests. And we will begin with Bill.

Bill Spetch, ISS: Thank you, Marie. So good morning. We're looking forward to another great launch today, hoping the weather holds as we'll talk about as we go. Of course historically today, we were, 50 years ago, we were about two hours away from completing Kennedy's challenge to us of returning the crew safely to the Earth after they had landed on the moon. At this point in time, Neil, Buzz, and Michael were in the Columbia command module, heading towards a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. So that was about two hours or so from now.

We also approach today's op remembering Chris Kraft, who passed away on Monday. As many of you know, he was really the founder of Mission Control and kind of laid the groundwork for how we operate in space today.

ISS is in good shape and ready for Dragon to visit again. I say again, because this is the third time this Dragon will actually be coming to the ISS. It previously flew on the SpaceX CRS-6 and CRS-13 missions. So we're looking forward to getting Dragon up here for the third time.

With the successful launch that we had on Saturday, the ISS is back up to six crew members. We've got with Andrew, Luca, and Alexander joining Christina, Nick and Alexey, who have been on board since March.

For capture ops on Friday, assuming we launch today, Nick will be the prime for capture, with Christina backing him up. And then Andrew monitoring the telemetry during the approach.

We've got about 5,000 pounds of science, critical spares, food, and other items on this flight. Also, including externally the International Docking Adapter number three. We're really looking forward to getting this on there. It's an important piece of hardware for the future of ISS, as it sets the stage for how we are going to operate with Commercial Crew vehicles and our partners in the future. It will be installed on the zenith side or the top side of the Node 2 module, and it will ultimately allow for two docked vehicles at the same time, which is important for us to be able to transition. As we rotate crews through the vehicle, we want to have them timed to hand over directly face-to-face. And so the having those two docking ports is very important. As well as enabling cargo in the future for docked cargo vehicles.

We're looking at probably about a mid-August time frame for doing the install. That'll be a combination of robotics from ground control as well as on board. And EVA to make the final connections. So we will do a spacewalk probably in the mid-August time frame. Although that timing will, the exact timing of that will still be determined. And once we get that up there and ready to go, we're looking forward to docking more and more vehicles to the ISS. So, that's all I have.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Alright, thank you Bill. Jessica?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Okay. And I think we have some slides. So, SpaceX is targeting an instantaneous launch window of Falcon 9 later this evening at 6:24 PM Eastern Time from Space Launch Complex-40. This is Dragon's 18th Cargo Resupply Mission to the space station, and like Bill said, if weather or other issues happen, we do have a backup opportunity tomorrow, Thursday July 25th at 6:01 PM Eastern time. We completed cargo late load earlier this morning. This is where we load NASA's time-critical science onto the vehicle within L-24 hours. Currently, Falcon and Dragon are sitting vertical at the pad undergoing final preparations for launch. Next slide.

So, following launch, the first stage will burn for approximately three minutes. Then, the stages will separate and the first stage will do a flip and then a boostback burn to head back towards Cape Canaveral. Next, it will perform a re-entry burn to slow it down. And then finally, a landing burn for a precise landing at Landing Zone-1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. And that will happen approximately eight minutes after liftoff. And for those of you local in the area just note that you will likely hear sonic booms from this.

Another cool thing about this booster is that it sent CRS-17 to the space station a little bit over two months ago. Overall, this is going to be SpaceX's 44th recovery of an orbital-class booster, the 24th re-flight of a booster, as well as the 7th Mission re-flying a Dragon. And I definitely want to thank NASA for all their support in these reuse efforts. Next slide.

So, as you can see in this photo, SpaceX, ah, the Dragon is sporting two ISS badges. These support the two previous times that we went to the space station. So like Bill mentioned, the top one is from CRS-6 and the lower one is from CRS-13. This will be the first time we are flying a Dragon for the third time. Also, on the right hand side, you will see the Apollo logo. This is for the 50th Anniversary logo. And again, you know, we are still inspired by the Apollo 11 missions, and all the Apollo missions, and excited to continue to work with NASA as they continue to explore the universe. Next slide.

After the second stage engine completes its burn, Dragon will separate from Falcon 9 about nine and a half minutes into flight. Once Dragon begins its priming, then the solar arrays will deploy approximately two and a half minutes after that. Then, on the morning of Friday, July 26th at approximately 10 AM Eastern time, Dragon will once again rendezvous and capture with the orbiting laboratory. Dragon will then be berthed to Node 2 nadir. This is also known as the Harmony module. And Dragon will stay there for approximately one month before it comes home and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean. We are excited about carrying the International Docking Adapter to the space station on this mission. We carried the previous one on CRS-9 and like Bill said, this will be the second one going up there. And we're excited this is going to be able to support all the Commercial Crew and future spaceflight missions going to the International Space Station.

I would like to close by thanking our customer NASA, the FAA, the range, the Air Force for all of their tremendous support, everything it takes to make each one of these missions go off. We're looking forward to a successful launch today.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right. Thank you, Jessica. Pete?

Pete Hasbrook, ISS Science: Okay. Thank you, Marie. Thank you all for being here, and thank you all for who are watching out on NASA TV. The ISS Program and the science world is really excited about the Dragon. As you know, it's a very important part of our research operations, our planning. We are a multidisciplinary lab in space. This dragon is bringing cargo and bringing home cargo, which is very important to us. By my count, it's it going to support over 40 different experiments on the ISS. About 25 or so are new to ISS, coming up in this flight. The remainder is cargo that is supporting experiments that are ongoing already. At this point, I'd like to call for the video. We have a short video that's describing some of the highlights of the science that's launching today.

[video plays]

Pete Hasbrook, ISS Science: All right. Cool stuff, I hope you'll agree. We had speakers yesterday in the What's On Board briefing here. That was videoed as well and it'll be out on NASA YouTube, I think later today. It's already out on the internal, or the NASA version of the channel. We had speakers for most of these investigations here talking about the science themselves. It's always a great thing to hear them talk about it instead of those of us who are understanding it later. One of the items that was not on the video that you just saw but was covered in the briefing yesterday is the International Docking Adapter. That is really important to the space station. It's not really supporting research directly, but indirectly it is, because it allows us to continue our crew rotations and other missions that will be coming to the International Space Station, whether it's from American missions or our International Partners. We are really looking forward to getting back to American spacecraft launching with American astronauts from American soil.

Bill mentioned the 50th Anniversary, as if we all didn't know that we just passed a major milestone. We're glad to say that the journey continues with the ISS, and in fact, we've been supporting exploration development for many, many years on the International Space Station. We work in two major areas on the ISS. We work to understand the human research and the risks to humans as well as using the ISS to develop technology that will take us further into our universe. And the human research side. We want to understand the risks to humans from long-duration flights, as well as being in a confined environment. And by studying those, we can develop strategies to compensate, to mitigate, and for countermeasures, and make sure that the crew is safe. We also test technology. We offer a testbed in orbit, in low Earth orbit. So we offer spacecraft and system designers the chance to fly their hardware, even if it's not fully, and especially if it's not fully developed yet. It gives them a chance to run through all their contingency modes, modes,which we would never hope to use on a long-duration flight, but you can test them out on orbit in the harsh environment of at least low Earth orbit.

You have an opportunity to fix them. We have a crew there if it requires maintenance and at worst, you can bring it home. It allows our designers to elevate their Technology Readiness Level. So even things that aren't ready to support a long duration exploration mission, we can test them out on the ISS. As I said, run them through different options, including having the programs or the system designers kind of do a fly off among two different or three different types of technology and decide which one's going to work best, and incorporate that in the vehicle.

We also have some great news from the ISS in the utilization world. About a month ago now, we announced that the ISS is open for commercial business. In the past, most of our work on ISS in the research side has needed to justify some return on the investment scientifically. Benefiting humans on Earth or benefiting exploration. Is it for technology demonstration? But NASA has recognized and encouraged that there is a developing commercial market out there. We want to lead the way. We want to encourage it. We want to make the ISS a place to start and provide a foothold for the commercial market.

So we've done a couple of things. First off, we are going to allocate time and some of our resources and up-mass to purely commercial endeavors. We developed a policy for the guidelines, for what what agreements you need to make with NASA to be able to do that. Things like a code of conduct, where our astronauts can support. And also a process for compensating NASA back to that. That's very new for NASA and very trepidating for some of us who have been around for a long time. We also announced an opportunity for private astronaut missions to the ISS. Those Vehicles would use the docking adapters that we've talked about today for private astronauts, private entities to launch crew members. Whether it's to do research, or whether it's to do purely commercial activities. ISS will now be a destination commercially as well. We're offering an opportunity to launch a commercial module that would attach to the ISS, as well as the possibility for a co-orbiting free-flying module that could be like a remote laboratory without a crew there, just a crewed attendant, perhaps. We've got research announcements and opportunities out there. We want the commercial industry to say this is what we want to do, and we'll be able to pick the best one out of those. We want to stimulate commercial demand of the use of low Earth orbit. So things like what manufacturing is a big enough return on investment to cover the cost of launching, the costs of operating in space, and the cost of returning. So things that would be small mass but high return on investment. Things like in-orbit manufacturing or pharmaceutical development.

And finally we're looking at NASA's long-term needs for the commercial market. NASA and the government want to step away from being the prime user, the prime occupant and provider of low Earth orbit, but we still will need presence in low Earth orbit. We'll need to train astronauts and build their experience. We will need to do fundamental research. So we're commissioning a study for our outlook and what we think our commercial demand would be. There's a lot more information about all this on our website at nasa.gov/leo-economy. There are the policies there. There are announcements of opportunity and more importantly there are frequently asked questions as well as contact information for more.

So overall to learn more about the research that we're doing and learn what's coming. We have a couple of resources for you. We have the database of all of our experiments, and facilities, and research results out on nasa.gov/science. We also have put together a major product with our international partners. It's called the benefits for humanity. This is the third edition of that document. It's working with all of our partners to identify things: what has ISS done, what's been done on ISS that benefits those of us on Earth. And couple new things in this version of the document, the third edition, are looking at scientific valuation. Not just at what individual experiments have brought back, but how had they affected science as a whole, around the country, around our country and around the world. As well as taking a first shot at what our economic benefits from our investments in space. How has it affected an industry? How has it developed a commercial market? There's value in all these companies that are that are providing hardware and services.

And finally, we have an app for that. We have the Space Station Research Explorer app, abbreviated SSRX. You can find it in both the Google store and in the iOS Apple Store. It's kind of a condensed version of our database, talking about all the experiments and Facilities. You'll find links to the research results. Very handy if you're traveling as we do, to go look up, what Pete talking about, about this particular experiment.

So we're glad to be here today. We're glad you're here. We're really looking forward to the SpaceX launch and the science that it brings us today. So, thank you.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right. Thank you, Pete. And now finally, I know weather is a big question on everyone's mind. So we'll go now to today's Launch Weather Officer. Will?

Will Ulrich, 45th Space Wing: Thank you. I wish I had some better news for everyone today, but we'll see if we can get some better weather right around the launch window at 6:30 this evening. Pretty unique weather pattern that we have in place right now. I noticed plenty of humidity out there, but that's not atypical for this time of year. Any of you folks who are used to being in central Florida in late July know that this is the time of year where it's very humid outside. And that's the main ingredient that we look for, for afternoon showers and thunderstorms. But another thing that we have to deal with is the direction of the steering flow, or where the winds in the atmosphere are going to steer those afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Because almost every afternoon, we get scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms across the central part of the peninsula. But it is that steering flow that dictates where those showers and thunderstorms end up.

And unfortunately today we have southwesterly steering flow, or winds that go from the southwest to the northeast that will concentrate the majority of today showers and thunderstorms near the spaceport. So if we take a look at infrared satellite imagery, first thing I want you to notice is that line of clouds that extends off the eastern United States coastline, extends across northern Florida and the northern Gulf of Mexico. It's actually associated with a cold front that has made it all the way to the northern Gulf Coast, which is very unique for late July. There's some drier air extending into central and southern Georgia, and even portions of the panhandle of Florida, but unfortunately that front is not going to make it into central Florida. In fact, it's going to be the main reason why we're so pessimistic about today's forecast. Because that cold front is going to bring extra moisture into the atmosphere and that southwesterly steering flow that will likely trigger ample showers and thunderstorms across the central part of the peninsula, both today and unfortunately also tomorrow as well.

So with that said if we look at the forecast for today, our probability of violation stands at 70% which means we're about 30 percent go for launch, with our primary concerns being the Attached Anvil Rule, the Cumulus Cloud Rule and the Lightning Rule. It is important to remember that we're not just monitoring weather in the immediate vicinity of Launch Complex-40. We are also monitoring the weather that is downrange, or in other words where the rocket is headed. So just because we may not have a storm within 5 to 10 miles of the launch complex, we also are monitoring weather about 20 miles to the northeast of the launch pad, out over the Atlantic Ocean. So there may be weather in that general vicinity as well that causes us to go for no go conditions later this afternoon. Winds will be out of the southwest again. That front over north Florida is going to induce that southwesterly flow that's going to be part of the reason why we see so many showers and thunderstorms over the area today, with temperatures pretty typical in the low 80s.

Tomorrow, if we take a look at the backup forecast, unfortunately, not much different. Similar winds out of the southwest around 15 to 20 miles per hour. Temperatures in the mid-80s. And unfortunately again probability of violation holding around 70% as we see ample showers and thunderstorms developing out over the Gulf of Mexico, pushing across the state, and affecting our weather here. So, I wish I had some better news for you folks, especially kind of difficult when we have an instantaneous launch window. Either the weather's good at 6:34, or it's not. So hopefully we can find a gap in today showers and thunderstorms and get this thing up to the International Space Station. Thanks.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right. Thank you, Will. We're going to open it up to questions now. We do have some reporters on the phone, but we're going to start here in the room. Just a quick reminder for all of you. Please raise your hand, wait for the microphone to come to you, and then state your name, your affiliation, and to whom you're going to direct your question on our panel. We'll start in the front here.

Jim Siegel, Spaceflight Insider: Hi, I'm Jim Siegel with Spaceflight Insider. I have a question for Jessica. I believe that this Dragon spacecraft flew about a year and a half ago, most recently. So could you describe a little bit what happened to that Dragon capsule during the intervening time? What refurbishment might have been done, where it was done, and so on. Thank you.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yes! So what we do for refurbishment, or what we do to reuse any Dragon. First of all, we have to make sure that all of the hardware on it is qualified for three flights. And we actually do that early on. So for example, if there is a bottle on Dragon that's going to see 10 pressurization cycles each flight, you have to make sure that it can survive 30 pressurization cycles in a row. And the way we do that is by testing a bottle not only to 30 pressurization cycles, but we multiply that by a factor of 4 to get to one hundred and twenty. And so we do that process basically for every component and every subsystem on Dragon. We ensure that it has margin to survive all three flights. So that's the first thing we do.

Then we set a refurbishment plan for every single component. And that's what we're going to do in between flights. And I have to say actually what we do between the first flight and the second flight, and then second flight to third flight is very similar. So for some components, it's inspection. For some components, we do remove them from the vehicle, do some type of refurbishment, put them back on the vehicle. And some of this work occurs in Texas, and then some of it occurs in Hawthorne, and then we come back down to the Cape for final launch processing.

Jim Siegel, Spaceflight Insider: And roughly how long does that process take? Is that a year-and-a-half process, or could it be done sooner than that? Is it a six-month or three-month process?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yeah, we could do it much sooner than that. Just, the fleet of Dragon 1s that we currently have, we're able to space them out for this year and a half spacing. But for when we move on to the Dragon 2 vehicle, which we will be flying for the CRS 2 missions. So CRS 2 mission start on CRS-21. That vehicle is going to land in the Atlantic Ocean instead of the Pacific, and we plan to do all of the refurbishment here in Florida. So the fact that we don't have to transport it to Texas and to Hawthorne and back to Florida, that's going to actually save us a lot of time. And we've also designed the vehicle from the onset to be easily inspected and refurbished. So the Dragon 2 turnaround times are going to be much faster.

Jim Siegel, Spaceflight Insider: Thank you.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: You're welcome!

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right, Ken.

Ken Kremer, Space Up Close/RocketSTEM: Hi, Ken Kramer, Space Up Close and RocketSTEM. Jessica, can you also talk about the booster. Was this a record turnaround time? And it was only two months ago, like you mentioned. Talk a little bit about that, and for the two NASA colleagues, talk about, just review what the ISS is doing, long-term research to get our astronauts to the moon and Mars. If you could talk about some specific experiments that are ongoing, would be really great on the anniversary. Thank you.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: So, yeah, this booster, we had a two month turnaround time. I don't think it was the record. I think we've had two months, or maybe even a little bit under two months. Actually with Falcon Heavy, that launch not that long ago, we landed both both boosters from Arabsat, and then turned them both around two months later for the STP mission. So I think that was probably, if you take two boosters, and that we turned both of those around in two months to launch again, I would say that was our record timing. But this one was also pretty close as well.

As we've learned, like I said, this is the 24th re-flight, you know, we've learned along the way, what are the inspections that we need to do? What are the ones we need to continue doing? What are the ones that we've determined that, hey, it's safe to actually just do an inspection on that once? We've gotten very efficient with our processes, while still saying safe staying safe and ensuring that we're verifying all systems. So we become more efficient. And yeah, I think we'll continue to crunch down that time and hopefully get even faster.

Pete Hasbrook, ISS Science:** Okay, thank you for the good question. So ISS is working specific experiments in a couple of different areas. I mentioned both human research, and systems-wise. Human research, one great example is the fluid shifts experiment. If you look at photos of crew members, especially in the old days, you'll notice that in the first couple of days of flight, their faces are puffy, because when we're not in gravity, when we're in space, we don't have gravity holding the fluid down on our legs and our lower parts of our bodies. It shifts up into our torso and our head. And one of the the effects that we've noticed over the years is vision changes in astronauts. Vision changes on board the ISS and to some extent, for some astronauts, there's a permanent change in their vision. Even after they've returned from space, it doesn't recover to the pre-flight baseline. So, the fluid shifts experiment is an extensive investigation involving, can we pull fluid back into the legs? And we use a, with our partners, a lower body negative pressure system where we can pull a bit of a change in pressure. Not a full vacuum, but on the leg, see if we can pull fluid back down, and what happens to the body, not just pressures, but also chemicals. And does that affect the astronaut's vision in space? We are most of the way through 13 or 14 different subjects, I think. You need to build up enough subjects to get a good baseline, to be able to make conclusions.

On the systems side, one of the greatest areas that ISS offers is environmental systems. You want to test out your environmental systems, whether its carbon dioxide removal, humidity removal, the toilet system. You don't want a toilet system going to Mars the first time you've used it. Just because of the risks. [laughter] But the one of the things that we're testing out right now is called the thermal amine system. Thermal amine is a system, it's a technology that will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We've had systems in the past, we have the CDRA system, I forget what the acronym is for, but it's Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly. We also have an amine scrubber that we've used in the past, and it's a technology that grabs the molecules of carbon dioxide holds them in a bed, and then exposes it to vacuum. And this system this time around is a smaller system. It's more efficient technology. So we're always trying to help the designers get into smaller boxes. For example, for an Orion spacecraft make sure that it's small, and it fits, and it's reliable.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Did you want to add?

Bill Spetch, ISS: I think Pete covered it really well. I mean, the idea of, carbon dioxide removal is a great example of it, but flushing out all of these systems, including the docking system that we're bringing up, right? We've used the International Docking Adapter once so far, on the on the Demo-1 mission for Commercial Crew, but flushing out all the idiosyncrasies of docking with a new system in orbit, because this is the system that that meets that International Docking System standard that we're using. Flushing out anything that we need to know now in low Earth orbit before we get out to where we're rendezvousing at the moon and trying to actually dock at the moon or out at the Gateway. So there's a lot of, not just the science, but actually practicing how the systems work and making sure that we can go figure that out.

Some of the other things that are going on that we've done in the past, I know we have started working on, operations wise, how comm delays will affect how we do things, and independent planning, and trying to change how we schedule the crew and how much autonomy we give them on certain tasks, because when you go out farther away, that delay in communication back to the ground becomes burdensome, and you're not going to have time to sit there and wait minutes upon minutes for an answer. So learning how to do that, we're practicing some of that on ISS as well.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Alright, thank you. We're going to do one more question in the room before we go to the phones, and then if we have time, we'll come back to the room. So, Chris?

Chris Gebhardt, NASASpaceflight: Chris Gebhardt with NASASpaceflight for Jessica. I know the CRS-17 Dragon there was a cable that didn't pop off at launch. What was that cable? And did you have to do anything to Dragon or to the quick disconnects on the ground side to fix that? And I'm not sure if this is for Bill or Jessica, but what are our launch opportunities past Thursday, if weather proves uncooperative? So on SpaceX-17, yes. That was a was a purge line that was left remaining on the vehicle after liftoff. We went through and did some investigative action to see, you know, why it stayed on the vehicle. It was a nonmetallic line, so no damage to anything during flight or during reentry. And yeah, we did learn, you know, basically, why did it stay attached to the vehicle, that there was some small workmanship changes that could make it stay attached to the vehicle. So we fixed those for all the flights moving forward, so we should not have that problem this time.

With regards to back up dates, Bill and I have actually been working together. So we have a couple factors here. One is Dragon phasing. You know, every day is not available, just due to where the space station is in orbit with regards to launching out of Florida. And then there's also a Progress departure and a Progress launch. And so we're taking all three of those factors into account trying to find the next attempt. Currently, the next attempt could be as late as 8/1, but we're still working together to refine that date.

Chris Gebhardt, NASASpaceflight: I just want to make sure I understand. So if not, if not Thursday, then wait until early August?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Possibly.

Chris Gebhardt, NASASpaceflight: Possibly.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Right. Right.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Okay, and I apologize, we do have one more question in the room I want to take before we go to the phone. Third row back on the left side here.

Bill Harwood, CBS: Thanks. Bill Harwood, CBS, with a couple of weather-related questions. We all used to follow Shuttle, and knew Anvil Rules, and all that sort of thing. What are the what are the rules for a Falcon 9 on lightning and anvils? Can you have detached anvils? What's the distance from the pad? Those kind of specifics for rules. And then I have one more for Jessica.

Will Ulrich, 45th Space Wing: Yeah, the the rules in effect have not changed. There are user criteria, which would be rules that Falcon gives us, like they don't want any precipitation to fall on the capsule X number of hours before the launch. But when it comes to range safety, we are evaluating 10 lightning launch commit criteria, and the overall 10 rules have not changed since the Shuttle days. So those are the rules that we are monitoring. We call them range requirements. In addition to user requirements as well. So for this particular launch, we're evaluating those 10 lightning launch commit criteria. Including Attached Anvil, Detached Anvil, Cumulus Cloud Rule, lightning. And so nothing in essence, in terms of the standoff distances, has changed for lightning or evaluating within a 10-mile radius of the circle of the launch pad itself. And then also downrange within 10 miles of the flight path. But we have to take into account deviations of the flight path. So assuming that the flight still is on a nominal trajectory, but it's slightly off course, we have to build in some wiggle room as well. So it might be 10 to 11 miles from the expected flight path that we're monitoring for not only lightning but also, you know, precipitation. The Detached Anvil Rule and the Attached Anvil Rule. Those are for triggered lightning strikes. Because we're not really concerned about Cloud-to-ground strokes because everyone can see them. We see them and we know okay, we are no go for lightning at this time, because we saw the lightning. It is those clouds that linger in the atmosphere that hold their charge, that when you send a rocket through it, they could potentially trigger additional lightning strikes.

It is those rules, like the Attached Anvil and the Detached Anvil Rules that have similar standoff distances. Some are five, some are ten nautical miles away from the flight path, that are a little more conservative in terms of range safety. And those are the ones that we're monitoring for triggered lightning strikes. Those are a little bit more scary to us because it may look like the weather is clear, there may not have been a lightning strike in the past 30 to 45 minutes. But if you send a rocket through that cloud, that cloud could still be charged enough to trigger additional lightning strikes. So overall to answer your question, nothing has really changed since the Space Shuttle era in terms of range safety, which are those ten lightning launch commit criteria that I mentioned.

Bill Harwood, CBS: Thank you very much. And Jessica, everybody in this area loves to watch you guys do hot-fire tests and such, and it looked to us like you had one that you tried to do and you couldn't. And then a couple days later, of course, you obviously did. We heard everything from LOX leaks to to actuator issues. Can you tell us what that was or what caused the problem with the first Hot Fire?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yep, yep, no actuator issues. So what happened was, going into our first static fire attempt there, sensors on the first stage detected a small liquid oxygen leak. So when we detected that, we aborted out of that static fire attempt so that we could go in, inspect, repair, and then close out the vehicle. That wound up taking a couple days. Then we made sure the vehicle was safe to return to another static fire. So that's the static fire that then happened on Friday. That confirmed that the LOX leak was no longer present and the vehicle was healthy for flight. Unfortunately at that point, yeah, that was already Friday. So then it just took time to get Dragon installed. And we didn't have a launch opportunity yesterday due to orbital mechanics. So we're here today. Yep.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right, we would like to go to the phone now. First, we have Irene Klotz from Aviation Week.

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week: Hi. Thank you. I have two IDA questions, and then a Dragon question. On the IDA, is there a cost for how much this replacement IDA-3 was, and will it take more than one EVA for installation?

Bill Spetch, ISS: I apologize, I don't I don't know the cost associated with the IDA. So we'd have to go look that one up for you. But there is one EVA for the install of the IDA. We've done some work to prep it as partials on some of the other EVAs that we've done leading up to this, but it's a single EVA to go install the IDA.

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week: Okay. Thanks. And for Jessica, what do you anticipate the operational lifetime of a Dragon 1 to be. Will this be the last flight of this capsule? And once the Dragon 2 starts flying, do you intend to phase out the use of the Dragon 1s.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yep, so for Dragon 1, it is certified for three flights. And that's just the maximum we needed with the fleet that was already in existence. So CRS-19 and CRS-20 are both also going to be third flights of the capsules. Then the Dragon 1 fleet is retired and we switch over to the CRS 2 contract, where we then fly the Dragon 2 vehicle, which is a modified version of the Commercial Crew vehicle. That one we are going to certify upfront to be qualified for five flights, but we'll just have to see how the manifest works out. But that's what we're aiming for at this point in time.

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week: Thank you.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right, Irene. Did you have any more follow-ups before I move to the next person on the phone?

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week: No, I'm good. Thank you.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Okay. Thank you. The next reporter on the phone we have is Jeff Faust from SpaceNews. Jeff?

Jeff Faust, SpaceNews: Good morning. Question for Bill or Jessica. Talking about the transition to CRS 2, when do you expect the the first SpaceX CRS 2 mission to take place, and would that schedule be affected if they're still testing the Dragon 2 vehicle for Commercial Crew applications. Thanks.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: So the first mission is CRS-21. It is currently scheduled for Q3 of next year. Yes, it is the Dragon 2 vehicle, but the Cargo Dragon 2 capsule does not have the SuperDraco high-flow abort system. So while it is, you know, largely the same vehicle, the system that was involved in our in-flight abort test anomaly is not on the Cargo Dragon 2 vehicle. So there is some tie, and we want to make sure that everything we learn from that investigation, that if there are any susceptibilities, that we do make sure that those are taken away or covered in the Cargo Dragon 2 vehicle. But as of this point in time, we do not anticipate that anomaly investigation to hold up Cargo Dragon 2. But we do know, if there's anything we learned that was, you know, we learned something that winds up being applicable to a different subsystem on the vehicle, we want to make sure to take that into account because safety and reliability is number one. That is always more important than schedule. But as of right now they are not tied together.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right, Jeff, any follow-up from you?

Jeff Faust, SpaceNews: No, that's it. Thanks.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Okay. Thank you. I'd like to go back to the room now. Is there anyone I didn't get to in here? Yes, over here.

Brendan Byrne, NPR (WMFE): Brendan Byrne with WMFE. This is for Jessica. I mean, working on this first iteration of the cargo Dragon, is there any surprises or anything that you've learned about reusability that you're applying to the second phase of the cargo missions?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Let's see, I think we learned it pretty early on, but with vehicles splashing down in the ocean you want to minimize, you know, salt water and corrosion as much as possible. So I think we've learned a lot about how to water seal a vehicle. I think that's been the biggest lesson learned. So one is water sealing, and then the other one is accessibility. So making sure that you can access the areas that will need to be inspected and that you can do that quickly. So we learned, I think, all of that on Dragon 1 and then designed Dragon 2 from the onset to have better water sealing and, you know, easy for access and refurbishment.

Brendan Byrne, NPR (WMFE): And just to clarify that, the second phase will land in the Atlantic, is that what you said?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Correct, all Dragon 2s will land in the Atlantic.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: All right. Any more questions here in the room? Chris? Mic's coming to you.

Chris Gebhardt, NASASpaceflight: Chris Gebhardt with NASASpaceflight with a quick follow-up for Jessica. With the difference between the CRS 1 and CRS 2 contracts. So we've seen that these Cargo Dragons can go from 40 or 39A. Are the the Crew Dragons when they're configured for cargo only, are they also able to go from either pad? Or only 39?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yeah, so the plan is to have them go from 39A. We'll actually be able to late load the time-critical cargo through the crew arm. Yeah, it's great. It's awesome for late load cargo. So that's going to be our nominal plan. If we ever did have to go to 40, we do have infrastructure there that we'd be able to launch from there, but that won't be the nominal plan.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Right any more questions here in the room? Yes, Ken.

Ken Kremer, Space Up Close/RocketSTEM: Just to follow up on this Dragon 2, are these then completely separate from the Crew Dragons. You know, the Dragon 2 Cargo Dragons, are those completely separate vehicles then?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: No, they're very similar actually. The weldment is similar. The Draco system is similar, so not the abort system but the other propulsion system's the same. We use the exact same docking adapter. So the docking system that we built for the Demo-1 mission that flew and Commercial Crew and successfully docked with the space station, that exact docking system, as well as all the guidance and navigation sensors. Those will also be used on Cargo Dragon 2. So many of the subsystems, or anywhere where we possibly could make the subsystems the same, we did. But then you know, for example, once you go into the capsule, we're going to have cargo racks, and it'll all be cargo accommodations instead of seats and displays.

Ken Kremer, Space Up Close/RocketSTEM: What I mean is, they'll never be used for Crew Dragon. They're just dedicated to cargo.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Correct.

Ken Kremer, Space Up Close/RocketSTEM: That's what I'm asking.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yeah, sorry. Yeah. As soon as we build the weldment, there are slight differences. So while a lot of the subsystems are the same, they will be different vehicles. We won't interchange between cargo and crew vehicles.

Ken Kremer, Space Up Close/RocketSTEM: Thank you.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Next question.

Jim Siegel, Spaceflight Insider: Jim Siegel with Spaceflight Insider again. Another question for Jessica. So how many Dragon 1s were built, or have been built, or are being built? How many Dragon 2s, both cargo and crewed are being planned? And if your customer, like NASA, flies in a flight proven Dragon, is your cost to them less, and is it also less for the booster as well, if that's flight proven? Thank you.

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Yeah, so, let's see if I can get these numbers right. So for Dragon 1, I think our fleet size was 13, but that includes all the way back to the COTS Mission. So even our demonstration missions. I think we built 13 Dragon 1s. Dragon 2, the full demand for that, you know, there's sitll missions out into the future that have not been turned on. So we'll have to determine the size of that fleet as we work with NASA over the years for how many Commercial Crew missions they need, as well as how many CRS 2 missions. So that's still under work. And then, sorry I forgot your second question.

Jim Siegel, Spaceflight Insider: And so, if your customer, such as NASA, is using a refurbished-

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Dragon or Falcon 9

Jim Siegel, Spaceflight Insider: is is the cost for them less?

Jessica Jensen, SpaceX: Right. So right now CRS 1 and CRS 2 are a services contract. So it is our job to deliver cargo services to the space station. Though we have worked with NASA for equitable adjustments for all the additional work they had to do to get to using flight proven Dragons as well as flight proven Falcon 9s. So we did provide equitable adjustments and work with NASA on those.

Marie Lewis, Moderator: Next question. All right, seeing no hands, I will wrap this up. As a reminder launch is scheduled for 6:24 Eastern Daylight Time this evening. We certainly hope the weather cooperates. And our launch coverage begins right here on NASA Television at six o'clock sharp this evening. For more on this mission, you can visit nasa.gov/spacex and nasa.gov/station. Thank you.

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment
You can’t perform that action at this time.