KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Launch day at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center isn’t just about the seconds before the Falcon 9 rocket blasts off but about the hours and minutes leading up to that moment as crews ready the astronauts and their Dragon spacecraft for flight.
SpaceX is planning to launch three NASA astronauts and one Japanese Space Agency, of JAXA, astronaut on Nov. 15 at 7:27 p.m. from Launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
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Below is a timeline of what the astronauts will be doing ahead of liftoff -- and countdown milestones along the way.
6:57 a.m. Rise and shine: NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese Space Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will get up on launch day. This happens more than 12 hours before liftoff.
1:57 p.m. Five and a half hours before liftoff, a launch readiness briefing will take place.
2:27 p.m. Launch crew will arrive on console and the Dragon spacecraft will be configured for launch.
2:57 p.m. Dragon propellent pressurization.
3:12 p.m. The astronaut crew will get a final weather briefing from mission managers and the 45th Space Wing. There are a number of reasons weather could cause the launch to scrub. Read about them all here.
3:22 p.m. The four astronauts will be handed off to the SpaceX team to begin putting on their spacesuits.
4:05 p.m. After completing suit checkouts, the four astronauts will walk outside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building. This is where they will be able to say goodbye to their families.
4:12 p.m. The astronauts will ride in Teslas from the O&C building to their waiting Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A.
4:32 p.m. Less than three hours before liftoff, the crew will arrive at the launch pad.
4:52 p.m. SpaceX teams will help the astronauts get into the Crew Dragon spacecraft and into their seats.
5:07 p.m. Communication check from mission control to the astronauts.
5:12 p.m. The astronauts’ seat will be rotated in position for liftoff and SpaceX will perform final flight suit leak checks.
5:32 p.m. SpaceX teams will close the hatch, or door, to the Dragon spacecraft.
6:42 p.m. SpaceX Launch Director verifies the rocket is “go” for propellant load.
6:45 p.m. The crew access arm retracts. This is the walkway connecting the launch tower to the spacecraft.
6:50 p.m. The Dragon spacecraft launch escape system is armed. This has to happen before SpaceX begins fueling the Falcon 9 rocket in case their is an emergency abort on the pad. The escape system would send the spacecraft away from the launchpad if there was a problem before liftoff.
6:52 p.m. SpaceX begins fueling the Falcon 9 rocket first stage with rocket grade kerosene loading and liquid oxygen, or LOX, loading begins.
7:11 p.m. SpaceX begins fueling the second stage with LOX. If the launch is scrubbed for any reason SpaceX will pull the fuel from the rocket, then disarm the launch escape system before helping the astronauts out of the spacecraft.
7:20 p.m. Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch.
7:22 p.m. Dragon transitions to internal power.
7:26: 15 p.m. Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks, propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins.
7:26:30 p.m. SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch. This is the final check before liftoff.
7:27:12 p.m. Engine controller commands the Falcon 9 engine ignition sequence to start.
7:27:15 p.m. Liftoff! Propelled by the Falcon 9 Merlin engines the rocket lifts off launchpad 39 sending Hopkins, Glover, Walker and Soichi on their journey to the International Space Station.
7:36 p.m. (+00:09:22 after liftoff): The Falcon 9 rocket booster will come back and land on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean 9 minutes and 22 seconds later.
7:39 p.m. (+00:12:00 after liftoff): The Dragon spacecraft will separate from the rocket’s second stage 12 minutes after launch.
The Dragon spacecraft will dock at the International Space Station at 11 p.m. Monday with a hatch opening about one hour later.