SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft Endurance light up the early morning Florida sky! NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov have started their approximately 22-hour journey to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission. Liftoff occurred at 3:27 a.m. EDT.
The following are updates as the rocket soars upwards until Dragon Endurance reaches orbit.
Rocket Reaches Max Q
Max Q, or the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket, has been reached.
In the next minute, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will separate from the second stage to attempt a landing at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. If successful, this will be the first commercial crew launch to return a booster to land – rather than returning to a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean – for recovery operations.
First Stage Main Engine Cutoff; First, Second Stages Separate
The rocket has reached first stage main engine cutoff (MECO), and the first and second stages have separated. Next, the second stage engine will start.
Second Stage Engine Continues to Burn Followed by Shutdown
The second stage engine continues to burn. We’re about eight minutes into flight, and all is well. In about a minute, the second stage engine will shut down.
Falcon 9 First Stage Successfully Lands
Stage 1 of the Falcon 9 rocket completed its descent and landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, becoming the first booster for a commercial crew flight to return to the station for recovery.
Separation Confirmed! Dragon Leaves Behind Second Stage
Dragon has separated from the second stage and is flying on its own. The spacecraft is traveling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour (27,000 kilometers per hour). About one minute later, the Dragon nosecone open sequence will begin.
Dragon Endurance Reaches Orbit
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov to the International Space Station has safely reached orbit, and the nosecone has opened.