SpaceX is launching a rocket that will carry 5,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station late tonight. The launch window opens at 12:45 a.m. Eastern. (The backup launch window is at 12 a.m. Eastern on July 20.) About 10 minutes after takeoff, the Dragon will be deployed and the first stage of Falcon 9 will attempt an experimental landing at Landing Zone 1 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Above is the CRS-9 “hosted” live stream of the launch and landing. It will begin at approximately 12:25 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Eastern. After the launch and landing are finished, this will revert to a fully rewatchable video.
Below is a second live stream called the “Technical Webcast.” This live stream will only show views of the rocket and controller audio, without commentary or additional coverage. This will also begin at 12:45 a.m. Eastern.
This isn’t the first time that SpaceX has attempted an experimental ground landing. It first did this in December, which was the first time that SpaceX had ever recovered a vehicle after takeoff. At a NASA press conference, Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for flight reliability with SpaceX, said this landing will be similar but slightly less difficult than the one in December.
The Dragon is bringing food and supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station.
According to SpaceX, after launch the schedule is as follows. (All times are approximate and mark minutes after the launch):
- 1 minute 08 seconds after launch: moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket
- 2:21 minutes post launch – 1st stage main engine cutoff
- 2:24 – 1st and 2nd stages separate
- 2:32 – 2nd stage begins to burn
- 2:42 – 1st stage boostback burn begins
- 6:31 – 1st stage entry burn starts
- 7:38 – 1st stage landing burn begins
- 9:02 – 2nd stage engine cutoff
- 9:37 – Dragon separates from 2nd stage
- 11:00 – Dragon’s solar arrays deploy
- 2 hours post launch: Dragon’s guidance, navigation, and control bay door opens