Tom McCool photographer looked at an open crochet door in Pad 39A on November 27, holding the new 5 Block Falcon reinforcement in the late stages of integration before launching.
Unlikely to launch one of two important paying loads in the next 4-8 weeks, this reinforcement fits with what is predicted to be a pretty busy December for SpaceX, after & # 39; to four launch markings and possible preparations for flying Dragon Crew's initial test.
– Tom McCool (@ Cygnusx112) November 27, 2018
Currently, SpaceX is the load, integration, and preflight sheets of at least three new glossy Falcón 9 Bloc rockets before the US Air Force is critical and NASA launched in December and January. In order of the anticipated launch date, those developments are B1050, B1054, and B1051 for CRS-16 (Cargo Dragon), GPS III satellite postgraduate, and DM-1 (Crew Dragon) respectively .
On the Eastern Coast, the next launch of SpaceX is the 16th Cargo Dragon operational recharge mission, scheduled to introduce several tonnes of critical supplies to the International Space Station no earlier than (NET) December 4th. After installing the launch of the SpaceX Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) SpaceX launching Complex 40 (LC-40), the new B1050 Block 5 campaign already has already been integrated and on the inside into the company's LC-40 hangar, waiting for arrival and Cargo Dragon attachment.
Although it is not anonymous which Dragon space will be, SpaceX has reached any other place of 4-8 spacecraft that has been restored to choose from them, although it will have to build a spent thighs (a developed advanced section & # 39; to decorate with solar traits and storage space) for each future re-supply mission. According to CEO Elon Musk and other SpaceX operators, Cargo Dragon was designed to enable at least three orbital trips with renewal, and CRS-16 may be a third launch on for one such Capsule.
After sending Cargo Dragon and the top platform on their way, Falcon 9 B1050 will be likely to perform the first recovery of the Block 5 Release Line (RTLS), performing turning 180 degrees and burning backwards to the Florida coast to land a few miles away from the launch site.
Cargo Dragon has tried to fly to prepare to launch CRS-14 support. (Tom Cross)
Dragon Dragon was tested on an orbit CRS-14 on orbit in April 2018 by the Oleg Artemyev stands. (NASA / Oleg Artemyev)
GPS III-01 (the first one)
Of the five launch contracts so competing for the first ten GPS III satellite launch, SpaceX has won all of the five, while a launch contract was awarded for one of those satellites by Delta IV ULA , leaving four more for the next few years. The first Space Vehicle, serial number GPS III 01 (GPS III-01), is now ready to launch, until some specific USAF reviews of upgrade BlockX & # 39; s Block 5 Falcon 9 recently-debuted.
Now targeting the NET December 18, the most curious aspect of the first GPS launch of Falcon 9 may be the real reality that most current signage refers to the spending configuration new Strengthening Block 5 Falcon 9. Given that SpaceX has made it clear enough that the Block 5 campaign will try at least 10 launches with little refurbishment, renewing a new release without single reuse making a very large cost of opportunity.
Booster B1054 is about to be protected with this mission. It is currently classified as "Expendable" which means no recovery on the Eastern Range.
Here's the passenger: pic.twitter.com/ohJFIz197P
– Chris B – NSF (@ NASASpaceflight) November 19, 2018
By all reasonable estimates, Falcon 9 Block 5 should be able to install the satellite ~ 3900 kg (8600 lb) GPS III to a common orbit in the Earth with enough edge after the recovery of trunk shipping in the Atlantic. Likely to launch on board Falcon 9 B1054, the only possible explanation for an invaluable mission would be an application (or demand) of a SpaceX customer, the USA.
Crew orbit first start (DM-1)
Finally, SpaceX and NASA – perhaps for the first time in the history of the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) – set a real date for the first orbital launch of a spacecraft developed under the program mode, in this case, DragonX Crew SpaceX on top of the block 5 Falcon block 9. The NET January 7 2019, that date is definitely attractive, but it is important that SpaceX is sure that the hardware, software, and general side Things things are good to go. SpaceX is now waiting for NASA bureaucracy to fulfill the much more complete duties of paperwork, co-ordinating ISS schedules to fit Crew Dragon, and other diverse tasks.
In this picture, Dragon Crew Dragon space space is shown in the Earth's low orbit. (SpaceX)
DM-2 astrons Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley train for their first flight at Crew Dragon. (NASA)
B1051 performed its last Texas fixed fire last month and has been sent to Florida since then. (SpaceX)
There will be time to say, but COO and President Gwynne Shotwell said in October 2018 that she expected Falcon 9 to be full and the Crew Dragon ready to orbit to be vertical in Stop 39A before December ends, definitely ready to launch as soon as NASA and ISS schedules are ready to allow. It's almost impossible to know sure, but the rocket seen on Tuesday inside Padar Pad 39A could be very good at Falcon 9 B1051 and top paper preparation crew for a first automatic test flight Dragon Crew, or it could be B1054 (unconfirmed) of the late stages of preparation for the forthcoming SpaceX launch of GPS III.
All will be made clear in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the next launch of SpaceX – SSO-A on the West Coast – has slipped into the first few days of December thanks to some unusual weather conditions above the launch pad.