Countdown Begins For SpaceX Friday Morning Launch

By  //  February 28, 2013

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Last-Minute Flight Checks Being Performed

(VIDEO: spacexchannel)

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – The countdown clock is ticking while SpaceX is getting ready to launch another resupply flight to the International Space Station on Friday morning.

The SpaceX, Dragon spacecraft with solar array fairings attached stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The spacecraft will try to launch Friday during the SpaceX CRS-2 mission. (Image courtesy of NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The second official ISS Commercial Resupply Services flight by SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon spacecraft is set to launch from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station about 10:10 a.m. Friday.

A 157-foot two-stage Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Dragon into orbit and test firings of the rocket on Monday were conducted at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The final major preflight test was a static fire, where Falcon 9’s nine first-stage engines were ignited for a few seconds, with the vehicle held securely to the launch pad on Monday afternoon.

The Dragon will be ferrying more than 1,200 pounds of equipment, experiments and supplies to the ISS.

The spacecraft is expected to rendezvous with the ISS and captured by astronauts using the space station’s robotic arm on Saturday.

The spacecraft will remain linked to the ISS for several weeks before carrying more than 2,600 pounds of used equipment, laundry and completed scientific experiments back to Earth.

At this point, the Dragon is scheduled for splashdown and recovery off the coast of Baja California on March 25.

Friday’s launch will initiate the second of at 12 missions to the ISS by SpaceX under the terms of a $million Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

The first official SpaceX resupply mission was conducted last October following a historic demonstration test flight to the ISS last May.