Crew Dragon Demo-1 (Falcon 9)
2 March 2019
Space Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center
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SpaceX launched the Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission at 2:49 a.m. on 2 March 2019 from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. This test flight without crew on board the Crew Dragon spacecraft is intended to demonstrate SpaceX’s capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. On this first test flight, Crew Dragon will transport roughly 400 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. In addition, the spacecraft will be carrying mass simulators and an anthropomorphic test device (ATD), nicknamed "Ripley" after the character in the Alien movies, that is fitted with sensors around the head, neck, and spine to gather data ahead of SpaceX’s second demonstration mission with NASA astronauts on board the spacecraft.

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

From the NASA press release:

SpaceX will launch a crew-capable Dragon, known as Crew Dragon, on a test mission to the International Space Station. There will be no crew aboard, but the Dragon will dock autonomously to the station. The objectives of this mission are to demonstrate most of the capabilities of their crew transportation system.

Demo-1 Mission Objectives:

  • Demonstrate in-orbit operation of the avionics system, docking system, communications/telemetry systems, environmental control systems (pressure, thermal, humidity, etc.), solar arrays and electrical power systems and the propulsion systems
  • Demonstrate performance of the Guidance, Navigation and Control systems of the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon through ascent, in-orbit and entry
  • Determine acoustic and vibration levels, and loads across the Crew Dragon exterior and interior
  • Demonstrate launch escape trigger monitoring
  • Demonstrate end-to-end operations performance
Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A lit up by spotlights for the Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission.
A closer view of the pad. Note vapors are starting to drift from the rocket as liquid oxygen is pumped into the Falcon 9 during fueling. The Crew Access Arm that connects the tower with the Crew Dragon spacecraft has been retracted, sticking out to the right near the top of the gantry.
The late night hour meant a smaller but no less enthusiastic crowd awaiting the launch at the Banana Creek Viewing Area at Kennedy Space Center.
Gaseous oxygen vents from the transporter erector during fueling of the Falcon 9.
Launch pad and rocket shimmer in the Banana Creek waters.
Residual gaseous oxygen vents from the Transporter Erector following the launch.
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