Spaceflight Now Home

Dragon early orbit timeline
Posted: May 15, 2012
Updated: May 19, 2012

SpaceX will conduct far-field rendezvous and systems demonstrations during the Dragon spacecraft's first day in orbit. The tests are necessary to prove the capsule is fit to rendezvous with the space station.

NOTE: GMT is +4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

Day 1 May 22, 2012
0744:38 GMT....Launch.

0754:27 GMT....Dragon deployed from Falcon 9 second stage.

0756:31 GMT....Begin extending Dragon's two solar array wings.

0839:27 GMT....Demonstrate absolute GPS. This milestone tests Dragon's ability to determine its position in space based on GPS satellite navigation.

1011:26 GMT....Start GNC bay door deployment. The bay door contains Dragon's rendezvous sensors necessary to reach the space station.

1025:27 GMT....Check out relative navigation sensors. The Dragon spacecraft uses a LIDAR, or laser, instrument to attain position, range and attitude information on the space station. Dragon's rendezvous suite also includes a thermal imager.

1631:30 GMT....Demonstrate full abort. SpaceX will test the spacecraft's ability to abort its approach to the space station with a continuous burn.

1742:36 GMT....Demonstrate pulsed abort. This test demonstrates Dragon's ability to abort its approach with pulsed burns.

1822:36 GMT....Demonstrate free drift. This test demonstrates Dragon's ability to turn off its attitude thrusters and go to free drift mode.

Data source: SpaceX