complex 39a

It’s Launch Day! 

Final preparations are underway for today’s 5:55 p.m. EDT launch of the eleventh SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station  from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will liftoff into orbit atop the Falcon 9 rocket carrying about 6,000 pounds of crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to crewmembers living aboard the station. The flight will deliver investigations and facilities that study neutron stars, osteoporosis, solar panels, tools for Earth-observation, and more.

Watch live coverage starting today at 5:15pm ET at

Learn more about the mission and launch at

Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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5 minutes to liftoff!

SpaceX is targeting launch of Inmarsat-5 Flight 4 from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


For the first time in 2,044 days, a rocket is perched atop historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket arrived at the pad early this morning, February 10, ahead of an upcoming static fire test.

The former Apollo and Shuttle era launch pad last saw a space vehicle in July of 2011 when the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, launched. NASA continued to operate the pad until early 2015, when SpaceX leased it for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy operations. This historic event marks the third rocket to fly from LC-39A behind the Saturn V moon rocket and space shuttle.

SpaceX will perform a static fire test sometime Saturday to test the rocket’s systems. Once complete, the rocket will return to the Horizontal Integration Facility for mating with the Dragon spacecraft.

Falcon 9 will perform its east-coast return to flight with the CRS-10 mission to the International Space Station, slated for February 18. Following liftoff, the rocket’s first stage will return to Cape Canaveral for a landing at LZ-1, the third time the company has done so.

Below, the Falcon 9 rocket is seen prior to being erected vertical at LC-39A.(Photo credit: William Harwood/CBS.)

P/C: Elon Musk/William Harwood.

This nighttime photo of Florida was taken from the International Space Station by Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, in March 2017. Bright lights of cities stand out, including the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area, the Tampa Bay region along the Gulf Coast, and in the middle, Orlando.

Visible on Florida’s Atlantic coast is the Cape Canaveral area where, currently, launch preparations are underway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the eleventh SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, targeted for liftoff at 5:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 1, from Launch Complex 39A.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA

International Space Station

Time And Space

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

With only four months left in the mission, Cassini is busy at Saturn. The upcoming cargo launch, anniversaries and more!

As our Cassini spacecraft made its first-ever dive through the gap between Saturn and its rings on April 26, 2017, one of its imaging cameras took a series of rapid-fire images that were used to make this movie sequence. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Hampton University

1-3. The Grand Finale

Our Cassini spacecraft has begun its final mission at Saturn. Some dates to note:

  • May 28, 2017: Cassini makes its riskiest ring crossing as it ventures deeper into Saturn’s innermost ring (D ring).
  • June 29, 2017: On this day in 2004, the Cassini orbiter and its travel companion the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe arrived at Saturn.
  • September 15, 2017: In a final, spectacular dive, Cassini will plunge into Saturn - beaming science data about Saturn’s atmosphere back to Earth to the last second. It’s all over at 5:08 a.m. PDT.

4. Cargo Launch to the International Space Station

June 1, 2017: Target date of the cargo launch. The uncrewed Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 39A at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The payload includes NICER, an instrument to measure neutron stars, and ROSA, a Roll-Out Solar Array that will test a new solar panel that rolls open in space like a party favor.

5. Sojourner

July 4, 2017: Twenty years ago, a wagon-sized rover named Sojourner blazed the trail for future Mars explorers - both robots and, one day, humans. Take a trip back in time to the vintage Mars Pathfinder websites:

6. Voyager

August 20, 2017: Forty years and still going strong, our twin Voyagers mark 40 years since they left Earth.

7. Total Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017: All of North America will be treated to a rare celestial event: a total solar eclipse. The path of totality runs from Oregon to South Carolina.

8. From Science Fiction to Science Fact

Light a candle for the man who took rocketry from science fiction to science fact. On this day in 1882, Robert H. Goddard was born in Worcester, Massachusetts.

9. Looking at the Moon

October 28, 2017: Howl (or look) at the moon with the rest of the world. It’s time for the annual International Observe the Moon Night.

10. Last Human on the Moon

December 13, 2017: Forty-five years ago, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan left the last human footprint on the moon.

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

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April 12, 1981 - Nine years following the initial development of the Space Transportation System, OV-102 Columbia launches Astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen on STS-1, the maiden flight of a program that would last 30 years and launch hundreds of Astronauts into low-earth orbit, deploy scientific instruments that have allowed us to see further into the universe than we’ve ever seen before, and build a home in space that continues to provide us important information about how humans live and work in micro-gravity.

STS-1 would launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, and last two days, 6 hours and 20 minutes. Young and Crippen would orbit the Earth 37 times before landing the shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base on April 14th. STS-1 was also the first time Solid Rocket Boosters were used on a NASA spaceflight system for primary thrust.

SpaceX Falcon 9 - Bulgariasat 1

It’s that time again! Monday at 18:10 UTC, a previously flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will fly again for the Bulgariasat 1 communications satellite. The launch window will be two hours long lasting until 20:10 UTC from Launch Complex 39A. Current launch predictions show 40% go for both the primary and backup launch dates.

Bulgariasat 1 weights in at around 4,000 kg and will be pushed into a GTO (Geostationary Transfer Orbit), this type of orbit is highly elliptical (hence the ‘Transfer Orbit’ part) and mainly relies on the satellite to circularise its orbit on its own once it’s in position. Due to satellite weight, a landing attempt will be made on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You.

The booster itself was first flown during the Iridium NEXT mission in January this year meaning the booster has had roughly 5 months of refurbishment before being reflown.

I’ll be creating a separate post for the launch webcasts closer to launch (I’ll try to put it out about 1 hour before) and I’ll try to keep you all updated on any scrubs and weather issues along the way.

If all goes great, this should be the 12th recovered booster and the second to be reflown as well as the first booster to land on both drone ships.


Post-Launch Status of Next Space Station Supply Mission

On June 3, a post-launch status briefing was held at Kennedy Space Center, following the launch of the eleventh SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft aboard the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at KSC.


STS-53 by NASA on The Commons
STS-53 Discovery, Orbiter Vehicle (OV) 103, lifts off from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Complex (LC) Pad 39A at 8:24:00 am (Eastern Standard Time (EST)). An exhaust cloud frames OV-103, atop the external tank (ET) and flanked by two solid rocket boosters (SRBs), as it rises above the mobile launcher platform. Image #: sts053-s-056 Date: December 2, 1992


SpaceX has released renderings of what Launch Complex 39A will look like once they have finished renovating it early next year.

Ever since the company took control of the pad in 2014, they have been performing extensive modifications to the pad infrastructure. This will accommodate future commercial crew launches of Crew Dragon as well as Falcon Heavy. A Horizontal Integration Facility broke ground in early 2015, and is currently in final stages of interior construction.

The Mobile Service Structure is still being disassembled, and the Fixed Service Structure - which will remain on the pad with more protection, as seen above - is currently being stripped of excess hardware.

SpaceX hopes to have modifications complete by Early 2016, just in time for their Falcon 9 v1.2 rocket to return to flight. Once it does, processing for the first demonstration mission of Falcon Heavy will resume.

After six years of silence, the thunder of human spaceflight was heard again, as the successful launch of the first space shuttle ushered in a new concept in utilization of space. Mission STS-1, on Space Shuttle Columbia, launched from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center just seconds past 7 a.m. on April 12, 1981.  It carried astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen on an Earth-orbital mission scheduled to last for 54 hours. The mission ended with the Space Shuttle Columbia landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In this image, Space Shuttle Challenger waits on Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center before its first mission, STS-6, launched on April 4, 1983.  Originally built as a test vehicle, in 1979 NASA issued a contract to convert it to a fully space-rated orbiter.  It became the second operational Shuttle, delivered to Kennedy Space Center in July 1982.  Challenger was destroyed shortly after lift off on her 10th mission, STS-51L, on January 28, 1986.