Crew-1 (USCV-1) | Falcon 9 Block 5

Launch Window
(Subject to change)
November 16, 2020 – 00:27 UTC
November 15, 2020 – 19:27 EST
Mission Name
Crew-1 or USCV-1
Launch Provider
(What rocket company is launching it?)
SpaceX
Customer
(Who’s paying for this?)
NASA
Rocket
Falcon 9 Block 5 B1061.1
Launch Location
Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A), Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA
Payload mass
Up to 6,000 kg (~13,200 lb) of additional payload mass
Where is the spacecraft going?
The Crew Dragon is to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) in an orbit of around 400 km.
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
Yes
Where will the first stage land?
535 km downrange on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, Just Read The Instructions (JRTI)
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
There are no fairings for the launch of a Dragon spacecraft.
How’s the weather looking?
The weather is currently 50% go for launch (As of November 15, 2020 – 14:00 UTC)
This will be the:
– 1st CCtCap (Commercial Crew Transportation Capability) mission
– 1st operational Crew Dragon mission

1st time a capsule style spacecraft has flown 4 people, ever
1st operational mission of a privately developed spacecraft certified for human flight
– 99th Falcon 9 Mission
– 102nd successful Falcon flight
– 107th mission for SpaceX, ever
– 5th Crew Dragon mission
– 65th landing of a booster

– 15th landing attempt on Just Read The Instructions
– 15th consecutive landing
– 21st launch of 2020 (Tied with 2018 for most launches)
– 27th SpaceX launch from LC-39A
(stats powered by Tremor Seismic)
Where to watch
SpaceX’s official livestream.

NASA’s official livestream.


Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut, will be streaming at T-30 minutes; come ask questions and join the conversation live!

What’s all this mean?

On November 15, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket will lift off from LC-39A, at the Kennedy Space Center, carrying three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut to the ISS. This mission, Crew-1 (USCV-1), will mark SpaceX’s first operational crewed launch as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

The Crew of Crew-1 in front of their Crew Dragon capsule “Resilience“. (Credit: SpaceX)

Crew-1 (USCV-1)

Crew-1, or USCV-1, will mark the first regular crew rotation mission that is launched on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station for their six months stay. This launch will bump up the number of crew on the ISS to seven. They will join NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov on November 15, just 8.5 hours after launch.

Meet the Crew

The crew supporting this mission is composed of three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut:

  • Commander: NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
  • Pilot: NASA astronaut Victor Glover
  • Mission Specialist: NASA astronaut Shannon Walker
  • Mission Specialist: JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi (野口 聡一)

Commander Mike Hopkins

NASA astronaut Michael Scott “Mike” Hopkins was born on December 28, 1968 in Lebanon, Missouri, USA. In 1991 he graduated with a BSc in aerospace engineering, followed by an MSc in aerospace engineering in 1992, from Stanford University.

Hopkins was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1992 in the United States Air Force (USAF). During his time at the Air Force he worked on advanced space system technologies, became a test pilot for the C-17 and C-130, studied political science in Parma, Italy, and worked for the Rapid Capabilities Project Office and as a Special Assistant for the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.

In 2009, Hopkins was selected by NASA for the NASA Astronaut Group 20. He completed his training in 2011, and started working in the NASA Astronaut Office. On September 25, 2013, Hopkins launched atop a Soyuz rocket to the ISS, where he stayed for 6 months as part of Expedition 37/38.

In August 2018, Hopkins was assigned as Commander for the first regular crewed mission on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the ISS.

Pilot Victor Glover

NASA astronaut Victor Jerome Glover was born on April 30, 1976 in Pomona, California, USA. He graduated with a BSc in general engineering in 1999, followed by three MSc in flight test engineering (2007), in systems engineering (2009) and in military operational art and science (2010).

In 1998, Glover joined the United States Navy (USN) and completed his advanced flight training in 2001. He was then assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 34 in 2003, and embarked on the last deployment of the USS John F. Kennedy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was around this time that Glover got his callsign “Ike” from one of his commanding officers which stands for “I Know Everything.” In 2007 Glover became a test pilot and embarked on the USS George Washington in 2011. Glover started serving as a legislative fellow for John McCain in 2012.

In 2013, Glover was selected by NASA as part of the Astronaut Group 21 and finished his training in 2015. Together with Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover was selected as Pilot for the first regular crewed mission on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the ISS.

Mission Specialist Shannon Walker

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker was born on June 4, 1965 in Houston, Texas, USA. She graduated with a BA in Physics (1987), an MSc and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Space Physics (1992 and 1993) from Rice University.

Walker began her career at the Johnson Space Center with the Rockwell Space Operations Company as a Robotics Flight Controller for the Space Shuttle Program. As a Flight Controller she worked on the Space Shuttle missions STS-27, STS-32, STS-51, STS-56, STS-60, STS-61 and STS-66 in the Mission Control Center. Walker played an important role in the ISS program as she worked on different projects such as the design and construction of the robotics hardware, in the Mission Evaluation Room or in Russia when she worked on avionics integration for the Station, as well as setting up a program of integrated problem solving amongst the International Partners. In the following years Walker became Acting Manager of the On Orbit Engineering Office.

In 2004 Walker started her astronaut training which she finished two years later in 2006. On June 16, 2010, Walker launched atop a Soyuz rocket as part of the expedition 24/25 with a 6 months stay on the ISS.

In contrast to both, Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover, Shannon Walker was only months before the actual mission assigned to the Crew of Crew-1 as Mission Specialst.

Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi (野口 聡一)

JAXA astronaut Soichi Naguchi was born on April 15, 1965 in Yokohama, Japan. He graduated with a BSc and an MSc in aeronautical engineering (1989 and 1991) and a Doctor of Philosophy in interdisciplinary studies (2020) from the University of Tokyo.

After he graduated and before Noguchi joined JAXA he worked at Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries where he was assigned to the research and development department of their Aero-Engine and Space Operations division.

Noguchi was first selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA, today Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – JAXA) in May 1996. Two years later Noguchi completed his training at the Johnson Space Center. Following his training in Houston, he underwent basic training for crewed Russian spacecraft at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia.

On July 26, 2005 Noguchi took of on board the Spaceshuttle Discovery as part of STS-114. STS-114 was the “Return to Flight” mission, following the Spaceshuttle Columbia disaster. On their nearly 14 days mission they docked with the ISS, tested and evaluated new flight safety procedures, orbiter inspection, and repair techniques.

On December 21, 2009 Noguchi took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as part of Expedition 22/23. He spent 161 days on board of the ISS, during which three Spaceshuttle missions visited the ISS with supplies and additions to the ISS.

Like Shannon Walker, Soichi Noguchi was assigned only months before the actual mission to Crew-1. With this mission, Noguchi will be the third person to fly on three different orbital vehicles.

Crew Dragon “Resilience”

During a NASA press conference on September 29, 2020, commander Michael Hopkins revealed that the crew named the Crew Dragon (C207) “Resilience.”

Resilience will feature some minor tweaks and changes to some of its systems when compared to C206 Endeavour. Crew Dragon Endeavour previously supported SpaceX’s Demonstration Mission 2 (DM-2) with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. After its splashdown on August 2, 2020, SpaceX’s teams found some unexpected erosion on the heat shield and some minor irregularities during parachute deployment. While these irregularities where still inside their safety margins, SpaceX improved their systems. Resilience will feature a redesigned heat shield in the area of question and improved barometric sensors.

Crew Dragon Resilience awaiting mating with its Falcon 9. (Credit: NASA)

Did someone call an UBER?

Falcon 9 Block 5 is SpaceX’s partially reusable two-stage medium-lift launch vehicle. Block 5 is the final iteration of the Falcon 9. The goal is to apply all the lessons learned from 56 previous Falcon 9 pre-Block 5 flights into a human-rated reusable rocket. The Falcon 9 contains three main components: a reusable first stage, an expendable second stage, and, depending on the mission, a reusable fairing or a Dragon spacecraft.

Its first stage is powered by 9 Merlin 1D engines, while its second stage is only powered by one vacuum optimized Merlin engine. Both the first and the second stage are running on Keralox (RP-1 and LOx).

Block 5 updates

SpaceX introduced a lot of changes on Block 5, allowing it to become the crewed-launching reusable rocket that we know today. To start, the Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV) had to undergo a complete redesign. NASA mandated the COPV redesign, as it had been the cause of both of the Falcon 9 failures: AMOS-6 and CRS-7.

Alongside with certification for human spaceflight, Block 5 came with a number of other major changes. To increase the amount of flights each booster could handle, and decrease the turnaround time, SpaceX reinforced the landing legs, upgraded the grid fins, and added a carbon fiber interstage. They also added heat resistant external paint and upgraded the engines. For more information about the changes in Block 5, and the other Blocks of the Falcon 9, check out this video by the Everyday Astronaut:

Tim Dodd explains the differences between the Falcon 9 versions. (Click image to watch) (Credit: Andrew Taylor)

Booster B1061

The booster supporting the Crew-1 mission is B1061. This booster is brand new and has not flown yet. Therefore, the launch of Crew-1 on November 15, 2020 will be its maiden flight. As this is the boosters 1st flight, its designation will change to B1061.1. 

After its first static fire on April 25, 2020 in McGregor, Texas and following check outs, the booster was sent to Florida where it arrived on July 14, 2020. Another static fire and final check outs will occure a few days before the launch.

Following stage separation, the Falcon 9 will conduct 2 burns. These burns will softly touch down the booster on Just Read The Instructions around 535 km downrange.

Crew-1 mission profile

After liftoff, Falcon 9’s first stage will propel the astronauts for 2 minutes and 30 seconds to an altitude of around 75 km (~47 miles). After stage separation, Falcon 9’s second stage takes over for the second part of the flight. Approximately 6 minutes and 7 seconds after second stage engine ignition the second stage engine will shut down (SECO) and the astronauts will be in orbit. 3 minutes and 19 seconds after SECO, Crew Dragon will separate from the second stage and open up its nosecone in order to expose the forward facing Draco thrusters.

Once the Draco thrusters are exposed, Crew Dragon will perform a number of phasing burns to align its orbit with the ISS’ one. After the phasing burns, Crew Dragon will slowly approach the ISS and with the start of proximity operations it will enter the ISS’ Keep Out Sphere. Last but not least, after around 8 hours and 30 minutes, C207 Resilience will autonomously dock to the same docking port as Bob and Doug’s C206 Endeavour.

In case the launch gets pushed back, they have a primary back up date approximately 24h later. Due to orbital mechanics and how the plane of the ISS’ orbit align with Cape Canaveral, it would take Crew Dragon 27.5 hours to get to the ISS instead of 8.5 hours.

Flight plan schematics. (Credit: SpaceX)

Crew-1 Mission Timeline

Countdown and Launch

Hr/Min/Sec              Event


– 00:45:00                 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
– 00:42:00                 Crew access arm retracts
– 00:37:00                 Dragon launch escape system is armed
– 00:35:00                 RP-1 loading begins
– 00:35:00                 1st stage LOX loading begins
– 00:16:00                 2nd stage LOX loading begins
– 00:07:00                 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
– 00:05:00                 Dragon transitions to internal power
– 00:01:00                 Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
– 00:01:00                 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
– 00:00:45                 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
– 00:00:03                 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
– 00:00:00                 Falcon 9 Liftoff

Launch, Landing, and Dragon 2 Deployment

Hr/Min/Sec              Event


00:00:58                   Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:30                   1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:34                   1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:36                   2nd stage engine starts
00:07:12                   1st stage entry burn
00:08:43                   2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
00:08:45                   1st stage entry burn
00:09:09                   1st stage landing
00:12:02                   Crew Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:12:48                   Dragon nosecone open sequences begins

In case you want even more information on the timeline of the mission, make sure to check out the Mission Timeline Video.

16 comments
  1. You wrote two times „1st stage entry burn“. Shouldn‘t the first one be the boostback burn?

    1. Boostback burn is only for return to launch-site, not drone ship landing. Boost back burn wastes a lot of fuel as it has to cancel out all the horizontal velocity gained, which is significant.

      1. It could be argued that in terms of getting a payload into orbit, the boostback burn, the reentry burn and the landing burn are all a waste of fuel. In terms of costs, the price of the fuel used in those burns costs less than building a completely new first stage (to include the engines.)

        While I agree that the boostback burn uses a lot of fuel, cancelling the horizontal velocity gained, I would not consider it a waste. Also, the boostback burn does more that just cancelling out the horizontal velocity, it imparts a small amount of horizontal velocity going to the landing pad. In some missions there might be the fuel to spare that would allow SpaceX to save the expense of deploying a landing drone ship.

  2. Thanks for all of your great coverage. How long will the Crew Dragon be docked? Who will be getting a ride back to earth?

    1. It is a 6-month mission, and the same 4 astronauts will come back. Since this capsule has only these astronauts on the mission, there probably won’t ever be astronauts getting rides back on different crafts than the way there (besides emergencies).

  3. I started with John Glen good luck an God speed, I am so glad we are back to the to type ship he had with the tech of today. Love to watch lift off, just need the great Walter Cronkite

  4. I just want to take this time to let you know how impressed I have been with your coverage of this latest launch of falcon 9 and dragon to the iss. I was looking to find a way to watch this launch and found you live youtube channel’s coverage. You had all the right answers to questions I had and you were also entertaining and very comfortable to watch. Great job! I grew up on Merritt, Island, FL and my father was the lead IBM launch test manager on the firing room. I watched all of those early launches watching Walter Cronkite and others. …and today, I am watching you Tim. Thanks!

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed the video and I know the timing was for Demo 2. Yes, make more videos. They are good quality, informative and entertaining.

    Why does the Soyuz take only a couple of hours a couple of weeks ago but Crew 1 is suppoed to take 27+ hours?

    I know you have probably answered this in the past and I was trying to explain it to my wife and messed it up.

  6. According to you an many other sources, a dragon 2 capsule is only gonna be reused for cargo missions, but Endeavor and Resilience are already scheduled to fly astronauts (and tourists) to the ISS

  7. Hi. I accidently found one of your old launch data files with no link to your new webpage. I tried to leave a comment on it about that fact. But it didn’t bite. So all I wrote was lost.

    Okay. I can’t find your old webpages, so I was trying to copy paste them using the old You Tube videos’ as source material. The link to Everyday Astronaut works, but not back to it: Falcon 9 Block 5 | Dragon In-Flight Abort Test.

    Will you revive the old datalinks?, or can I continue to copy paste them?

    I am working on a spreadsheet about Falcon 9 types and launches, but engine data and other data eludes me. By the way Tim Dodd is always confused about that, so that’s why, I’m doing this. Falcon 9 is as follows:

    Falcon 9 V1.0 with a Tic Tac Toe engine bay and Merlin 1C engine. Just 5 launches.

    Falcon 9 V1.1 bigger with a welded engine bay, Merlin 1D engines, aluminum grid fins and white landing legs. 15 launches.

    Falcon 9 V1.2 Full Thrust a chilled 1.st stage, titanium grid fins, white landing legs and build bigger. 27 launches. 9 reflown.

    Falcon 9 V1.2 FT B4 “Block 4” with both stages chilled. 11 launches. 5 reflown.

    Falcon 9 B5 “Block 5” Bolted engine bay with Merlin 1D+ Black landing legs, longer black inter stage. Crewed launches.

    Another point of confusion is the Starlink V0.9 test launch. The others is L1 to L15, so why not call it launch zero L0?

    That’s all. Greetings from Denmark. Johnny Nielsen.

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