Weather Now 50% Favorable for 23rd Commercial Resupply Services Mission

CRS-23: SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket
Shown here is an up-close view of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket after being raised to a vertical position at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 25, 2021, in preparation for the 23rd commercial resupply services launch to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

The weather forecast has dipped slightly for the planned Saturday, Aug. 28, launch of SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a 50% chance of favorable weather conditions for Saturday’s targeted liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the company’s Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. An instantaneous window opens at 3:37 a.m. EDT.

The primary weather concerns are cumulus cloud rule and flight through precipitation. The most recent forecast represents a 10% drop in favorable conditions from Wednesday’s predicted launch weather.

Dragon will be filled with supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 65 and 66. Upon Dragon’s arrival – slated for Sunday, Aug. 29 – NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will monitor operations while the spacecraft autonomously docks to the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module.

Beginning Saturday at 3:15 a.m. EDT, join us here on the blog for live coverage, and follow along on NASA TV or the agency’s website for the live launch broadcast.

Dragon Mated to Falcon, Rolled out to Launch Pad for Saturday’s Mission

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft atop, stands vertical on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Aug. 25. Photo credit: SpaceX

The Dragon spacecraft for SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply services mission is now ready for its flight to the International Space Station.

On Friday, Aug. 20, teams transported the spacecraft from SpaceX’s processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station into the hangar at nearby Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, where it was attached to the Falcon 9 rocket two days later.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Cargo spacecraft rolling out to the launch pad
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket are rolled out to Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Photo credit: SpaceX

The rocket – with Dragon atop – was then rolled out to the launch pad Tuesday, Aug. 24, and raised to a vertical position this morning, Aug. 25, in preparation for Saturday’s launch. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 is scheduled for 3:37 a.m. EDT. Dragon will deliver a variety of NASA investigations, including one that will determine if metabolites from grape skins and seeds used in wine-making could help prevent and treat osteoporosis.

About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station. Arrival to the orbiting laboratory is planned for Sunday, Aug. 29. The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the space station before it splashes down off the coast of Florida, returning with research and cargo.

Tune in to NASA TV or the agency’s website for live coverage of mission activities, beginning Friday at noon with the prelaunch news conference. Launch day coverage, which also can be found here, starts Saturday at 3:15 a.m. EDT.

Weather 60% Percent Favorable for Saturday’s Launch

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions for Saturday’s launch from the Space Coast, with the cumulus cloud rule and flight through precipitation serving as the primary weather concerns.

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting Aug. 28, at 3:37 a.m. EDT, to launch its 23rd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff will be from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will deliver new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew.

One experiment will test an implantable, remote-controlled drug delivery system that will utilize a new research facility aboard the orbiting laboratory. Upon Dragon’s arrival – slated for Sunday, Aug. 29 – NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will monitor operations while the spacecraft autonomously docks to the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module.

Live coverage will air on NASA Television, the NASA app and the agency’s website, with prelaunch events starting Friday, Aug. 27. Beginning Saturday at 3:15 a.m., join us here on the blog for live coverage, and follow along on NASA TV or the agency’s website for the live launch broadcast.

NASA Tests Ways to Reduce Stress in Plants Growing in Space

The Science Verification Test for NASA’s Advanced Plant Experiment-08 (APEX-08) takes place inside the Veggie growth chamber at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 6, 2020. Photo credit: NASA/Lucy Orozco

When astronauts embark on long-duration missions in the future, crews will grow food to supplement what they can bring with them. More than 20 years of continuously living and working in space aboard the International Space Station has provided many opportunities for crews and researchers to observe the challenges of growing plants in the stressful conditions of microgravity.

One experiment on NASA SpaceX’s 23rd Commercial Resupply Services mission to the space station will help determine the effect of plant stress responses to the microgravity environment. The Advanced Plant Experiment-08 (APEX-08) will grow Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant scientists routinely use for research. The study includes making genetic alterations that elicit a response in the pool of polyamines, a group of organic compounds that modulate plant responses to environmental stress.

Click here to read the complete feature.

NASA Announces Date for SpaceX’s 23rd Cargo Resupply Mission

NASA and SpaceX's 22nd commercial resupply services mission
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule atop is raised to the vertical position on June 2, 2021, at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in preparation for the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are targeting Saturday, Aug. 28, at 3:37 a.m. EDT, for launch of the 23rd commercial resupply services mission. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting Saturday, Aug. 28, to launch its 23rd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for liftoff at 3:37 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The spacecraft will deliver a variety of NASA science investigations, including a study on preventing and treating bone density loss, an investigation that will test diagnostic devices that could detect and mitigate vision disorders, and a new robotic arm for demonstration that could reveal potential uses on Earth, including in disaster relief.

The capsule also will deliver materials including concrete, fiberglass composites, and substances that can offer protection against radiation to investigate how they respond to the harsh environment of space. Additionally, nanofluidic and educational experiments will use the new research facility aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Register as a virtual guest for this mission to access curated launch resources, receive up-to-date information and opportunities, and get your virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.

Visit NASA’s website for more coverage of NASA SpaceX missions.

Teams Add Launch Abort System to Ready Orion for Artemis I

NASA's Orion spacecraft
The Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrives at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Abort System facility on July 10, 2021, after being transported from the Florida spaceport’s Multi-Payload Processing Facility earlier in the day. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

The Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission recently completed fueling and servicing checks while inside the Multi-Payload Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The capsule has now made it to its next stop on the path to the pad – the spaceport’s Launch Abort System Facility.

Crowning the spacecraft with its aerodynamic shape, the launch abort system is designed to pull crew away to safety from the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in the event of an emergency during launch. This capability was successfully tested during the Orion Pad Abort and Ascent Abort-2 tests and approved for use during crewed missions.

Teams with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs will work to add parts of the launch abort system onto the spacecraft. Technicians will install four panels that make up the fairing assembly and protect the spacecraft from heat, air, and acoustic environments during launch and ascent. A launch tower will top the fairing assembly to house the pyrotechnics and a jettison motor. The system will also be outfitted with instruments to record key flight data for later study.

With successful demonstration of the system during previous tests, the abort motor that pulls the spacecraft away from the rocket and attitude control motor that steers the spacecraft for a splashdown during an abort will not be functional for the uncrewed Artemis I mission. The jettison motor will be equipped to separate the system from Orion in flight once it is no longer needed, making Orion thousands of pounds lighter for the journey to the Moon.

Once the system’s integration is complete, teams will transport the spacecraft to the center’s Vehicle Assembly Building. There, it will join the already stacked flight hardware and be raised into position atop the SLS rocket, marking the final assembly milestone for the  Artemis rocket.

Launching in 2021, Artemis I will be a test of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under Artemis, NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and establish long-term lunar exploration.

View additional photos here.

Backbone of NASA’s Moon Rocket Joins Boosters for Artemis I Mission

Space Launch System core stage
Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs lower the Space Launch System (SLS) core stage – the largest part of the rocket – onto the mobile launcher, in between the twin solid rocket boosters, inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 12, 2021. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

Leerlo en español aquí

The core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for NASA’s Artemis I mission has been placed on the mobile launcher in between the twin solid rocket boosters inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The boosters attach at the engine and intertank sections of the core stage. Serving as the backbone of the rocket, the core stage supports the weight of the payload, upper stage, and crew vehicle, as well as carrying the thrust of its four engines and two five-segment solid rocket boosters.

After the core stage arrived on April 27, engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs brought the core stage into the VAB for processing work and then lifted it into place with one of the five overhead cranes in the facility.

Once the core stage is stacked alongside the boosters, the launch vehicle stage adapter, which connects the core stage to the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS), will be stacked atop the core stage and quickly followed by the ICPS.

Artemis I will be an uncrewed test of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon in 2024 and establish sustainable lunar exploration by the end of the decade.

NASA Offers Virtual Guest Passport Stamp for Commercial Resupply Launch

NASA’s virtual passport program started in 2020 as a way for the public to commemorate its virtual engagement in NASA launches and milestones with the NASA Virtual Guest Program.NASA Virtual Guest Program

The stamp for the NASA SpaceX 22nd commercial resupply mission will be the eighth stamp offered through the program and the fourth stamp for a launch from Kennedy Space Center.

The Falcon-9 rocket with Cargo Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on June 3, carrying supplies and science payloads to the International Space Station.

NASA's Virtual Passport stamsAnyone can receive a stamp by registering to let NASA know they’re participating virtually. Those who register will receive emails with curated launch resources, notifications about NASA activities, and updates on any launch time or date changes.

Whether it’s your first stamp or your eighth, NASA hopes you’ll print, fold, and get ready to fill your virtual passport. Stamps will be emailed following docking to all virtual attendees who registered by email.

NASA Updates Live Coverage of Agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 Return to Earth

Crew-1 astronauts on the ISS
SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts join a video conference from the International Space Station on Feb. 7, 2021. From left are Michael Hopkins of NASA, Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Victor Glover. Photo credit: NASA

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is now targeting a return to Earth at 11:36 a.m. EDT Saturday, May 1, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 5:55 p.m. Friday, April 30, to begin the journey home.

NASA and SpaceX agreed to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Wednesday, April 28, following a review of forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which currently predict wind speeds above the recovery criteria. Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for splashdown ahead of Friday’s planned undocking.

The return to Earth – and activities leading up to the return – will air live on NASA Television, the NASA App, and the agency’s website.

Click here to read the full advisory.

Rocket Women: Q&A with Mechanical Interface Systems Team Lead Notlim Burgos

During Women’s History Month, we reflect on the contributions of trailblazers at NASA who inspire the next generation of women. As we continue to celebrate women’s accomplishments, meet Notlim Burgos, Mechanical Interface Systems Team Lead for NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Burgos supports NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission, which is the agency’s first planetary defense mission, and Landsat 9, the ninth Earth-observing satellite mission in the Landsat series. She was inspired from a young age to pursue STEM, leading to her 15-year career at NASA. Hear Burgos’ story and her advice for future generations.

Notlim Burgos was inspired from a young age to pursue STEM, leading to her 15-year career at NASA.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love working alongside a range of amazing people who bring diverse expertise and perspectives, which provide a wide variety of solutions for the challenges that we face daily I learn something new from everybody every day. I enjoy having the opportunity to follow the spacecraft and the launch vehicles through the whole mission lifecycle.

Who inspires you most?

My family – especially my nieces and goddaughter. At a young age, they are demonstrating a special interest in STEM and space. One wants to be an astronaut and dreams of going to the Moon and to Mars. When I see their enthusiasm and think of the possibilities of what they can become, it inspires me to want to be the best role model that I can be. I want them to feel encouraged to follow their dreams and see the many career opportunities that women can pursue.

When did you first realize you had a passion for STEM?

I found my passion for STEM when I was in the ninth grade on an educational trip during which we visited Disney World and Kennedy. We got behind-the-scene tours where we met Disney “Imagineers,” the park’s engineers, who explained how they used the power of science to develop park attractions. That gave me a glance for the first time at how much you can do with STEM.

At Kennedy, I saw the Shuttle at Launch Pad 39A, and I was flabbergasted. We slept under the 363-foot Saturn V moon rocket at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Also, we met astronaut Charles Duke, the youngest person to walk on the Moon. These experiences convinced me that traveling through space was possible. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to be part of NASA’s team to see how far we can reach. When I returned from the trip, I told my parents I wanted to be a NASA engineer!

What advice would you give to young girls considering a STEM career?

Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid of failure. Always be yourself, be passionate, and always do your best. You may face challenges that seem impossible to conquer, but believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to. After failing a math course early in engineering school, I told my dad I didn’t think engineering was for me. I will never forget my dad’s words. He said, “You knew engineering wasn’t going to be easy. Remember where you want to be – NASA! I know you can do it; you just need to study harder.”

I appreciated his kind words and unconditional support. I retook and passed the course the following semester, and I graduated engineering school with honors. The easy route was giving up; the hardest was facing the challenges with conviction in pursuit of my dreams. I will forever be grateful for my father’s encouragement during those challenging times.

What advice would you give someone who wants to work at NASA?

A common misconception is that NASA only hires STEM professionals. My advice is to research the different opportunities that NASA offers. There are opportunities for professionals with various levels of expertise and experience. Become familiar with the NASA centers, the Pathways Program, and usajobs.com. The Pathways Program offers opportunities to work at NASA while attending school, and through usajobs.com you can build your resume and apply for positions. Lastly, do not give up, be patient but persistent; you never know when you are going to receive that call for an interview.

What is your favorite part about working for NASA?

My favorite part is that I can leverage my experiences to mentor others. I owe part of my success to my mentors. It is important to me to share what I have learned so that others achieve their goals. There is nothing more rewarding than to see somebody succeed and see how they evolve into influential mentors for others. I also enjoy supporting educational outreach, which is a great platform to inspire others to pursue careers in STEM.