Main highlights from SpaceX's Dragon liftoff to docking.

Everything on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule from liftoff to docking with the ISS!

Aug. 3, 2020 |  Categories:  Technology   Space  

By Nolan Cooper, Astronomer

Here are the main highlights of what happened from the Dragon Capsule's liftoff to docking.

T - 4:59:00 -- The Dragon Capsule aligns its inertial measurement units and is configured for liftoff.

T-4:30:00 -- The Crew Dragon Capsule's hypergolic fuels for reaction control thrusters and the Super Draco abort motors are pressurized for flight.

T-4:15:00 -- The crew hears a weather briefing before they suit up.

T-4:5:00 -- The crew is officially handed off from NASA to SpaceX, which is a bit of a formality, but signifies that the astronauts are officially in the hands of SpaceX's hands.

T-4:00:00 -- The crew suits up at Kennedy Space Center's Neil Armstrong's Operations and Checkout Building. 

T-3:22:00 -- The crew leaves the building and gets into NASA and SpaceX Tesla Model X crew transportations vehicles.

T-3:15:00 -- The crew departs the Ops and Checkout building, and head the 13.6 kilometers or 8.5 miles to the historic Launch Complex 39A.

T-2:55:00 -- The crew arrives at the launch pad. 

T-2:40;00 -- The crew will do that ultimate walk across the Crew Access Arm. 

T-2:20:00 -- There is a communications check between the crew and the mission control to ensure that the crew can communicate to Mission Control from the Dragon Capsule. 

T-2:15:00 -- The seats rotate upwards, and the astronauts are more on their back do that they can get closer to the screen and the controls.

T-2:14:00 -- The astronauts immediately check for leaks in their suits, and verify that they are good to go.

T-1:55:00 -- The hatch to enter the Crew Dragon Capsule is closed up and the Ground Support Crew who were helping the astronauts into their seats leave the launch pad.

T-1:10:00 -- The exact state and location the ISS is on top of is uploaded to the Dragon Capsule's Navigation System.

T-0:45:00 -- The go/no-go poll is taken for fueling up the rocket.

T-0:42:00 -- The Crew Access Arm is retracted.

T-0:37:00 -- The Dragon Capsule's launch escape system is armed, which gives the ability to abort from the rocket if there was a problem during fuel up or ascent.

T-0:35:00 -- Both the RP-1 rocket fuel and the cryogenic liquid oxygen begin loading into the first stage of the rocket and the RP-1 is loaded into the second stage. It's somewhere around this time that the rocket begins to get all smokey. You'll notice that smoke seems to be pouring out of the rocket. Now, don't panic, because that is supposed to happen. It is normal for smoke to pour out of the rocket, and that's actually a good sign that the fuel has been loaded successfully. Anyway, that's not smoke. It's actually the condensation from the extremely cold liquid oxygen loading into the vehicle. 

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