SpaceX CRS-3 will be the fifth flight for SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft, the fourth overall flight for the company's two-stage Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle, and the third SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract. The launch is scheduled for no earlier than late November 2013.
Launch schedule history
The launch was originally scheduled by NASA, as of November 2012
, to be no earlier than 30 September 2013, with docking to the station occurring three days later on 2 October 2013.
As of 16 March 2013
, the launch is scheduled for no earlier than 28 November 2013, with docking to the station occurring three days later on 1 December 2013.
NASA has contracted for the CRS-3 mission and therefore determines the primary payload. Among other NASA cargo, the SpaceX CRS-3 mission will be carrying an instrument to the Space Station called Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), which will demonstrate high-bandwidth space to ground laser communications.
In addition to the primary payload, a Dragon cargo capsule resupply space transport mission to the ISS, the CRS-3 Falcon 9 mission will deploy the KickSat CubeSat which will further deploy 250 cracker-sized Sprite picosatellites.