Launch News SpaceX CRS-15 Mission (June 29th, 09:42:42 UTC)

IronRain

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SpaceX is gearing up for its 15th launch to resupply the International Space Station since beginning commercial cargo service to the research complex in 2012.

Liftoff is set for 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT) Friday from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad aboard a Falcon 9 rocket powered by a first stage booster recovered and reused after an April 18 flight with NASA's planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

Forecasters with the U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron predict favorable weather for launch before sunrise Friday.

There is a chance of afternoon thunderstorms in the area Thursday, but any weather that could threaten launch should dissipate overnight.

"A recurring weather pattern is expected across Central Florida for the next few days," forecasters wrote in an outlook issued Wednesday. "Southwesterly low-level winds and weak steering flow aloft will allow sea breeze induced storms from both coasts to slowly move inland.

"Storms should move west of the spaceport by early afternoon and any remnant clouds should dissipate prior to launch time. There is a slight weather concern of lingering cumulus or anvil clouds. Upper-level winds will be light with max speeds from the west at 20 knots near 37,000 feet."

Overall, there is a 90 percent probability of weather conditions being acceptable for launch Friday morning.

If the Falcon 9 rocket takes off as scheduled Friday, it will deploy the Dragon supply ship -- also reused from a previous mission -- in orbit around 10 minutes after liftoff.

The automated cargo craft is scheduled to arrive at the space station Monday with nearly 6,000 pounds of supplies and experiments.


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Sources:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/06/falcon-9-static-fire-test-crs-15/
https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/06/28/falcon-9-dragon-crs-15-mission-status-center/
https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/06/...eused-rocket-for-space-station-cargo-mission/
 

Thunder Chicken

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I was just at Disney World for an engineering conference (Disney World?) and flew home today. Sort of hoping they scrub until Sunday so I don't feel like such a dope for not sticking around for another day to see the launch.
 

Messierhunter

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Beautiful launch, the rocket hitting sunlight was really something special. I'll upload my footage later, it was really gorgeous.
 

Thunder Chicken

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I was just at Disney World for an engineering conference (Disney World?) and flew home today. Sort of hoping they scrub until Sunday so I don't feel like such a dope for not sticking around for another day to see the launch.


Not only did they launch, it was a pretty launch:


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I need to have a good cry and re-evaluate my life choices.
 

Messierhunter

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A couple of still shots from my tracking:
secondstageignition.jpg

crs15launchstageconestage.jpg


---------- Post added 06-30-18 at 10:33 AM ---------- Previous post was 06-29-18 at 02:52 PM ----------

Telescopic tracking footage:
 

Kyle

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Could you explain a little bit on how the tracking software works? I have a Celestron Nexstar 6SE and I'd like to track launches from Tampa.
 

IronRain

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SpaceX CRS-15 Dragon arrives at ISS with science/crew supply payloads

Three days after launching from SLC-40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, SpaceX’s CRS-15 Dragon has arrived at the International Space Station. Ahead of the pre-planned timeline, Dragon was grappled by the Station’s Canadarm2 at 06:54 EDT (10:54 UTC) on Monday, with berthing to follow at around 09:30 EDT (13:30 UTC). Packed within Dragon are nearly 30 scientific investigations.

[...]

Source:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/07/spacex-dragon-iss-arrival-science-crew-supply-payloads/
 

Messierhunter

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Could you explain a little bit on how the tracking software works? I have a Celestron Nexstar 6SE and I'd like to track launches from Tampa.

Sure! I wrote it in visual basic to perform manual joystick (at arbitrary smooth slew speeds depending on the level of joystick deflection and throttle) and automatic optical tracking of fast moving objects, including rocket launches. It uses the LX200 classic command set and that's all it's really designed to compatible with at the moment - it might work with newer Meade scopes since the command set is just an expanded version of the original LX200 but I haven't tested it on that. I do plan to port it to other telescope types though using ASCOM and support any scope that is compatible with the MoveAxis method in the ASCOM command set; ironically my own telescope is not compatible with this method, which is why I didn't use ASCOM originally. Once that's done it should be compatible with the Nexstar telescope (and many others, of course). There is commercially available tracking software (optictracker) out there that is compatible with Nexstar and similar telescopes, but again it's not compatible with my LX200 classic, only the newer autostar LX200, which is why I was motivated to develop my own program.

It requires a joystick with a throttle to be plugged in along with a webcam or other video camera that windows can use as a webcam. I use a modified Samsung SDC-435 security camera with a video capture card to serve as the finder camera on top of the telescope. You can move the telescope with the joystick and target an object to follow automatically by either clicking with the mouse on the object or pulling the joystick trigger while centering on it. It will then follow that object based on its color within a user-defined region of interest - it will only look for the object within a bounding box based on its position in the previous frame, to minimize distractions due to other similar colors elsewhere in the image. It tracks it for a second and then assesses how much it needs to lead the target in order to center it, then it issues a corrective factor, waits a second for the corrective factor to be applied, then loops back to assessing how far off it is, all while continuously updating the object's known velocity vector based on a rolling average of frames.
 
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