SpaceX CRS-2


SpaceX CRS-2
SpX CRS-2 berthing.jpg
The Dragon spacecraft being berthed to Harmony on March 3, 2013
Mission typeISS resupply
COSPAR ID2013-010A
SATCAT no.39115
Mission duration25 days, 1 hour, 24 minutes
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftDragon C104
Spacecraft typeDragon CRS
Start of mission
Launch dateMarch 1, 2013, 15:10 (2013-03-01UTC15:10) UTC[1]
RocketFalcon 9 v1.0
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-40[1][2]
End of mission
Landing dateMarch 26, 2013, 16:34 (2013-03-26UTC16:35Z) UTC[3]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude212 km (132 mi)
Apogee altitude326 km (203 mi)
Inclination51.66 degrees
Period89.76 minutes
EpochMarch 1, 2013, 16:55:51 UTC[4]
Berthing at ISS
Berthing portHarmony nadir
RMS captureMarch 3, 2013, 10:31 UTC
Berthing dateMarch 3, 2013, 13:56 UTC[5]
Unberthing dateMarch 26, 2013, 08:10 UTC[3]
RMS releaseMarch 26, 2013, 10:56 UTC
Time berthed22 days, 18 hours, 14 minutes
Mass898 kg (1,980 lb)
Pressurised677 kg (1,493 lb)
Unpressurised221 kg (487 lb)
SpaceX CRS-2 Patch.png
NASA SpX-2 mission patch  

SpaceX CRS-2, also known as SpX-2,[6] was the fourth flight for SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft, the fifth and final flight for the company's two-stage Falcon 9 v1.0 launch vehicle, and the second SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract.

The launch occurred on March 1, 2013.[1] A minor technical issue on the Dragon spacecraft involving the RCS thruster pods occurred upon reaching orbit, but it was recoverable.[7] The vehicle was released from the station on March 26, 2013, at 10:56 UTC and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 16:34 UTC.[3]


The SpaceX CRS-2 Falcon 9 launching on March 1, 2013

The planned shipment of the Falcon 9 first stage from Texas to the Florida launch site was delayed due to the ongoing investigation of the engine failure that occurred on the previous flight.[8] In late November 2012, it was reported that the CRS-2 Falcon 9 had been transported to Cape Canaveral.[9] A static fire test occurred for the CRS-2 Falcon 9 on February 25, 2013.[10]


The Dragon unpressurized trunk section, which allows the transport of unpressurized cargo to the ISS, had its first use on this flight.[11] This cargo consisted of two Heat Rejection Subsystem Grapple Fixtures (HRSGFs), which are essentially bars to be attached to the ISS radiators to allow for future movement work.


When launched the CRS-2 Dragon was filled with about 1,493 lb (677 kg) of cargo, 1,268 lb (575 kg) without packaging.[12] Included is 178 lb (81 kg) of crew supplies, 766 lb (347 kg) of scientific experiments and experiment hardware, 298 lb (135 kg) of hardware for the station and other miscellaneous items,[12] among them a CD copy of the song "Up in the Air" by rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, was premiered on board the International Space Station on March 18, 2013, during a NASA TV broadcast from the station.[13] The two Heat Rejection Subsystem Grapple Fixtures (HRSGFs) had a combined weight of 487 lb (221 kg) and were transported to the ISS inside the unpressurized Dragon trunk as external cargo.[14]

The Dragon returned 3,020 lb (1,370 kg) of cargo, 2,668 lb (1,210 kg) without packaging.[12] Included is 210 lb (95 kg) of crew supplies, 1,455 lb (660 kg) of scientific experiments and experiment hardware, 884 lb (401 kg) of space station hardware, 84 lb (38 kg) of spacesuit equipment and other miscellaneous items.[12]

Dragon thruster pods anomaly

Shortly after second stage separation, at 15:45 UTC on March 1, 2013, the Dragon spacecraft encountered technical problems involving its propulsion system. "When priming its four Draco Thruster Pods, the vehicle detected insufficient pressurization on the oxidizer (Nitrogen Tetroxide) system" of three of the pods which "caused the Flight Computers to place the vehicle in Passive Abort Mode." In this mode, Dragon is not executing any more orbital operations. Its thruster system was disabled and the solar arrays were not deployed since the vehicle had not achieved its proper solar array deployment attitude. "Dragon is programmed not to open its arrays outside its proper attitude configuration to avoid contact with the second stage. This rule is in place for scenarios in which Dragon is not properly separated from the Falcon 9 Booster. As time progressed, teams working at SpaceX Mission Control, MCC-X in Hawthorne, California, started assessments of the issue."[15]

During the early minutes and hours of the mission, the mission progress news came in bits, some of it over social media. An update from Elon Musk on Twitter clarified:

Issue with Dragon thruster pods. System inhibiting three of four from initializing. About to command inhibit override.[16]

At 16:12 UTC, Elon Musk announced that a "command inhibit override" would be issued as the Dragon module was "about to pass over Australia ground station."[17]

Initially solar array deployment was held "until at least two thruster pods are active."[18] SpaceX Mission Control decided to proceed with solar deployment due to array temperatures while the spacecraft was not in active attitude control[15] at 16:40 UTC: "Thruster pod 3 tank pressure trending positive. Preparing to deploy solar arrays."[19] At 16:50 UTC, solar arrays had successfully been deployed on the Dragon spacecraft.[20]

Three of the four thruster pods on the Dragon spacecraft must be operational for berthing to be allowed with the International Space Station. After making corrections, SpaceX regained control of all four thruster pods and would be able to correct its course to the ISS. According to Elon Musk, "All systems green."[21] NASA officials said that the spacecraft would not rendezvous with the ISS on March 2 as was originally planned. It would instead rendezvous on March 3.[5][22]

Dragon was grappled with Canadarm2 by NASA Expedition 34 commander Kevin Ford and NASA flight engineer Tom Marshburn at 10:31 UTC on March 3, and was berthed to the nadir (Earth-facing) docking port of the Harmony module at 13:56 UTC.[23]

Remainder of mission (March 3 to 26)

The Dragon capsule after being transported to shore on March 27, 2013

On March 6, 2013, the space station's Canadarm2 removed the grapple bars from Dragon's trunk. This event marked the first delivery of unpressurized cargo from a commercial spacecraft to the ISS.[24]

The spacecraft's return to Earth was postponed to March 26 from its originally scheduled date of March 25 due to inclement weather developing near its targeted splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean. The additional day spent attached to the orbiting laboratory did not affect science samples scheduled to return aboard the spacecraft.[25][26]

On March 26, Dragon was unberthed from the Harmony node by the Canadarm2 at 08:10 UTC by commands from ground controllers. Its release from Canadarm2 occurred at 10:56 UTC; the Expedition 35 crew then commanded the spacecraft to slowly depart from the International Space Station. The SpaceX Dragon fired its engines for the last time at 15:42 UTC sending it through the Earth's atmosphere for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 16:34 UTC. A team of SpaceX engineers, technicians and divers recovered the vehicle and its scientific cargo off the coast of Baja, California, for the journey back to shore which took about 30 hours.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Worldwide Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "SpaceX Launch Manifest". Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific Ocean". March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  4. ^ "DRAGON CRS-2 Satellite details 2013-010A NORAD 39115". N2YO. March 1, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Dragon Docking With Station Set for Sunday". March 2, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  6. ^ Suffredini, Michael; et al. (November 2012). "International Space Station Program Overview" (PDF). Retrieved December 15, 2012.
  7. ^ Hennigan, W. J. (March 1, 2013). "SpaceX launches to space station, but experiences problem in orbit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  8. ^ "Dragon CRS-1 Mission Updates". October 28, 2012. Archived from the original on February 12, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2012.[full citation needed]
  9. ^ Dean, James (November 24, 2012). "SpaceX engine probe delays Jan. flight". Florida Today. Retrieved November 25, 2012. SpaceX has delivered a Falcon 9 rocket to Cape Canaveral while continuing an engine-problem investigation that will delay the booster's planned launch from mid-January to early March.
  10. ^ "SpaceX conducts successful static fire test". February 25, 2013.
  11. ^ Bergin, Chris (October 19, 2012). "Dragon enjoying ISS stay, despite minor issues – Falcon 9 investigation begins". Retrieved October 21, 2012. CRS-2 will debut the use of Dragon's Trunk section, capable of delivering unpressurized cargo, prior to the payload being removed by the ISS' robotic assets after berthing.
  12. ^ a b c d "SpaceX 2 Cargo Manifest" (PDF). February 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  13. ^ Makarechi, Kia (February 28, 2013). "Thirty Seconds To Mars, 'Up In The Air' To Be Sent Into Space By NASA". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  14. ^ Shireman, Kirk (April 2013). "NAC: International Space Station Program Status" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Dragon CRS-2/SpX-2 Mission Updates". March 26, 2013. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  16. ^ Musk, Elon (March 1, 2013). "Issue with Dragon thruster..." Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  17. ^ Musk, Elon (March 1, 2013). "About to pass over Australia..." Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  18. ^ Musk, Elon (March 1, 2013). "Holding on solar array deployment..." Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  19. ^ Musk, Elon (March 1, 2013). "Thruster pod 3 tank pressure..." Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  20. ^ Musk, Elon (March 1, 2013). "Solar array deployment successful". Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  21. ^ Musk, Elon (March 1, 2013). "Thruster pods one through four..." Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  22. ^ "Space X Dragon Returns To Earth: Complete Coverage". Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  23. ^ Perrotto, Trent J.; Byerly, Josh (March 3, 2013). "SpaceX's Dragon Carrying NASA Cargo Resupplies Space Station" (Press release).
  24. ^ Bergin, Chris; Harding, Pete (March 6, 2013). "SSRMS removes payload from Dragon trunk to mark new milestone". Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  25. ^ Kauderer, Amiko (March 22, 2013). "Ongoing Science as Crew Counts Down to Dragon Departure, New Trio". Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  26. ^ Bergin, Chris; Harding, Pete (March 22, 2013). "CRS-2 Dragon homecoming delayed due to high seas in the splashdown zone". Retrieved April 7, 2013.

External links

  • NASA's SpaceX mission page
  • SpaceX CRS-2 Mission Press Kit (February 2013)
  • Video of Static Fire test - YouTube (spacexchannel)
  • Video of pre-launch press conference - YouTube (ReelNASA)
  • Video of launch - YouTube (ReelNASA)
  • Video of Dragon arriving at the ISS - YouTube (ReelNASA)
  • Video of Dragon leaving the ISS - YouTube (ReelNASA)
  • Video of the Dragon capsule arriving at shore and other post-flight activities - YouTube (NASAtelevision)