CRS-20 | Falcon 9 Block 5

What’s All This About?

SpaceX will launch its original Dragon capsule to resupply the ISS for a final time. Launching from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the spacecraft will fly into orbit atop the company’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

This will be the last flight of Dragon V1, concluding both the first phase of NASA’s CRS-1 contract and a chapter in history. Starting with CRS-21 later this year, the second phase of the contract will see the historic capsule – the first private capsule to reach orbit – replaced with a cargo variant of SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Lift Off Time
(Subject to change)
March 7, 2020 – 04:50 UTC 

March 6, 2020 23:45 EST

Mission Name and what it is
CRS-20, International Space Station resupply mission
Launch Provider
(What rocket company is launching it?)
(Who’s paying for this?)
Falcon 9 Block 5 (SN B1059.2)
Launch Location
Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Payload mass
2,500 kg (~5,500 pounds)
Where’s the spacecraft going?
International Space Station rendezvous (408 km)
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
Where will the first stage land?
Landing Zone-1, CCAFS (9 km away from the launch pad)
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
No, the Dragon capsule is not enclosed in a fairing.
This will be the:
  • 23rd (and final) flight of the original Cargo Dragon,
  • 82nd flight of a Falcon 9,
  • 50th booster landing,
  • 33rd re-flight of a booster,
  • 5th mission for SpaceX in 2020.
Where to watch 
SpaceX Livestream

If you happen to be in the area, here’s where you can watch in person! For the best possible view, I’d recommend Star Fleet Tours – no other venue gets you closer to SpaceX’s spectacular booster landings.

Mission Overview

After boosting the second stage along with Dragon into orbit, the first stage will perform a return to launch site (RTLS) landing. This consists of a boost-back burn that alters the trajectory back to the launch site, followed by an entry burn to slow down the vehicle for atmospheric reentry. The booster will then land 9 km away from its launch pad at Landing Zone-1, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The booster supporting this mission (B1059.2) previously flew the CRS-19 International Space Station resupply mission in December of 2019. This will also be the third flight of Dragon capsule C112, which flew on the CRS-10 and CRS-16 missions in February 2017 and December 2018 respectively.

Image by Geoff Barrett

Once it navigates into position, the capsule will be captured and berthed to the station with the Canadarm robotic arm. NASA TV will be providing coverage of the arrival, capture, and berthing of the capsule, which will remain at the station for approximately four weeks. The spacecraft will then splashdown in the Pacific Ocean for a final time, as the capsule’s successor will only be recovered from the East Coast.

Dragon captured by Canadarm2
A SpaceX Dragon berthed to the ISS with the Canadarm2 (credit: NASA)

Payload Overview

Science experiments onboard include:

  • GERO-ISS, which will be installed in the ESA’s Columbus module. It will conduct a climate research experiment that will use navigation satellite signals to precisely determine sea surface height.
  • Bartolomeo, an external payload platform developed by Airbus that will provide power and data transmission for up to 12 payload slots.
  1. Might this be the 50 successful landing? And not 52? Since starlink 4 booster missed the landing drone?

  2. How sure are we that this will be an RTLS landing at LZ-1? Hoping I can be there in person. Thanks for the updates!

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