Prelaunch News Conference Set for Noon Today

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft for 23rd commercial resupply services mission
NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting Saturday, Aug. 28, to launch its 23rd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX

At noon today, NASA TV will broadcast a prelaunch news conference from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply services mission. The event will feature representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX, and the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45.

Participants include: Joel Montalbano, manager for the International Space Station Program (remotely from Johnson Space Center in Houston); Jennifer Scott Williams, manager, Applications Client Support Office for the International Space Station Program; Sarah Walker, director, Dragon mission management at SpaceX; and Brian Cizek, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The public can ask questions by using #AskNASA on Twitter. Submitted questions may be answered in real-time during the segment. Immediately following the news conference, NASA TV will air a “What’s on Board” video that will introduce the public to some of the investigators flying science on this mission.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting tomorrow, Aug. 28, at 3:37 a.m. EDT, to launch SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the space station. Liftoff, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, will be from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy.

Dragon will deliver new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew. Live coverage, starting Saturday at 3:15 a.m. EDT, will air on NASA TV, the NASA app and the agency’s website.

Weather Slips to 40% Favorable for Tomorrow’s Launch

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a 40% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch tomorrow, Aug. 28, with the cumulus cloud rule, flight through precipitation, and the thick cloud layers rule serving as the primary weather concerns. The forecast is down 10% from Thursday’s favorable weather prediction.

CRS-23 mission patchSpaceX’s 23rd contract resupply mission under the second Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA is scheduled to deliver more than 4,800 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station. Launch is targeted for Saturday, with an instantaneous launch window opening at approximately 3:37 a.m. EDT.

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

Live coverage will air on NASA Television, the NASA app and the agency’s website, with prelaunch events starting today, Aug. 27, at noon. That will be immediately followed by a “What’s on Board” show, which will address some of the important science investigations that will be carried to the space station aboard Dragon.

Beginning Saturday, Aug. 28, at 3:15 a.m., join us here on the blog, or follow along on NASA TV or the agency’s website for the live launch broadcast.

From the Classroom to the Launchpad – University Satellites Prepare for Launch

Puerto Rico CubeSat NanoRocks-2
Professor Amilcar Rincón Charris talks to students, from right to left, Jesús Marrero Colón, Wilhem Sánchez Rodríguez, and Carlos Vergara during the process in which the satellite created by them and other students from the Bayamón campus of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico was inspected. Credit: Inter-American University of Puerto Rico

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NASA is preparing to launch three small, university-built research satellites aboard SpaceX’s 23rd Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station. This mission, carrying more than 4,800 pounds of cargo, will lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Saturday Aug. 28 at 3:37 a.m. EDT.

The small satellites, or CubeSats – built by the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell –  comprise NASA’s 37th Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission. Each CubeSat measures approximately four inches by four inches by 12 inches and will carry out unique tasks once deployed into low-Earth orbit.

Puerto Rico CubeSat NanoRocks-2 (PR-CuNaR2) is making history as the first CubeSat from Puerto Rico selected for launch by NASA. The small satellite contains millimeter-sized particles that will be mechanically shaken to induce collisions among the particles. The team hopes that results of the collisions might answer questions about how mass, density, composition of particles, and collision velocities contribute to the formation of protoplanetary disks – disks of gas and dust swirling around stars – and planetary ring systems, such as Saturn’s.

The CubeSat was designed and developed by about 25 students from the School of Engineering at the Bayamón campus of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, along with their professor, and principal investigator, Dr. Amilcar Rincón Charris.

Attitude Control Test of SPACE HAUC
Shanice Kelly participates in the Attitude Control Test of SPACE HAUC. Credit: Edwin Aguirre, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Science Program Around Communication Engineering with High Achieving Undergraduate Cadres (SPACE HAUC) is an undergraduate student mission from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, Massachusetts. SPACE HAUC will demonstrate a student-developed communication system that can quickly transfer large amounts of data. Many CubeSats transfer large data files to ground controllers at 2 to 5 megabits per second. SPACE HAUC aims to increase that speed to about 50 megabits per second using an x-band phased array antenna.

This CubeSat was designed and built over five years and by more than 100 students from the Kennedy College of Sciences and the Francis College of Engineering. Dr. Supriya Chakrabarti, physics professor and director of the Lowell Center for Space Science and Technology, is the principal investigator for this CubeSat mission.

Cool Annealing Payload Satellite (CAPSat)
The Cool Annealing Payload Satellite (CAPSat) will demonstrate enabling technology for space-based quantum communications. Credit: Michael Lembeck, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Cool Annealing Payload Satellite (CAPSat) was developed across several departments at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in cooperation with the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. CAPSat will test technology that could enable quantum links in space, which are important for global quantum networks, sensors, and quantum-enhanced telescopes. The demonstration will use a laser to repair single-photon detectors that sense quantum signals.

Over time, photon detectors can become noisy in space due to radiation-induced defects. The laser onboard CAPSat will heat the detector, exciting the atoms in its structure. Once the laser is turned off, the atoms anneal, or settle back into an ordered state, repairing the damage and restoring the detector. The principal investigator, Paul Kwiat, is a professor in the University of Illinois Physics Department.

NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) selected the CubeSats, which were assigned to the ELaNa 37 mission by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) based at the  Kennedy Space Center in Florida. LSP manages the ELaNa manifest. CSLI provides launch opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools, NASA Centers, and non-profit organizations.

To date, NASA has selected 202 CubeSat missions, 119 of which have been launched into space, with 59 more missions scheduled for launch within the next 12 months. The selected CubeSats represent participants from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 102 unique organizations. CSLI recently released its Announcement of Partnership Opportunity for 2021. Applicants can submit CubeSat proposals until Nov. 19, 2021.

Stay connected with these CubeSat missions on social media by following NASA’s Launch Services Program on Facebook and Twitter.

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 Invites Public to Share Excitement of SpaceX 23rd Commercial Resupply Mission

NASA's SpaceX CRS-22 lifts off from Kennedy Space Center on June 3, 2021.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo capsule soars upward after lifting off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3, 2021, on the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 1:29 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Kevin O’Connell

NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply service mission to send research and supplies to the International Space Station aboard a Dragon spacecraft. Launch is targeted for 3:37 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for this launch includes curated launch resources, notifications about interaction opportunities, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.

Live coverage and countdown commentary of the launch will begin at 3:15 a.m. EDT and air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTubeTwitterFacebookLinkedInTwitchDaily MotionTheta.TV and NASA’s App.

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

Members of the public can also share in the journey through a variety of activities, including:

Virtual Launch Passport

Print, fold, and get ready to fill your virtual passport. Stamps will be emailed following launches to those who register via email through Eventbrite.

Watch and Engage on Social Media

Stay connected with the mission on social media and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Follow and tag these accounts:

For NASA’s launch blog and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

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.

SpaceX’s CRS-21 Underway; Upgraded Cargo Dragon En Route to Space Station

Liftoff of SpaceX's CRS-21 mission to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:17 a.m. EST on Dec. 6, 2020, carrying the uncrewed cargo Dragon spacecraft on its journey to the International Space Station for NASA and SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-21) mission. Dragon will deliver more than 6,400 pounds of science investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory. The mission marks the first launch for SpaceX under NASA’s CRS-2 contract. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

SpaceX’s upgraded cargo Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff occurred at 11:17 a.m. EST.

The first launch for SpaceX under NASA’s second Commercial Resupply Services contract, CRS-21 will deliver supplies, equipment, and materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur aboard the orbiting laboratory during Expeditions 64 and 65.

The Nanoracks Bishop Airlock is the first comercially funded airlock bound for the International Space Station on SpaceX's CRS-21 mission.
The Nanoracks Bishop Airlock is packed in the Dragon spacecraft’s trunk on Oct. 12, 2020, inside SpaceX’s processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its ride to the International Space Station aboard the company’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-21) mission. Photo credit: SpaceX

Included in this delivery is the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, the first commercially owned and operated airlock that, once installed, will provide a variety of capabilities to the space station, such as payload hosting, robotics testing, and satellite deployment. It also will serve as an outside toolbox for crew members conducting spacewalks.

Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the space station tomorrow, Dec. 7. At approximately 1:30 p.m. EST, the spacecraft will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module – the first automated docking for a SpaceX cargo resupply mission. Live coverage will begin at 11:30 a.m. EST on NASA TV and the agency’s website. NASA astronauts and Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will monitor docking operations.

Cargo Dragon’s arrival at the space station will mark the first time two Dragon spacecraft will be docked to the orbiting laboratory at the same time. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, that brought the Crew-1 astronauts has been docked since its arrival on Nov. 16.

The cargo Dragon spacecraft will remain attached to the space station for about one month, after which it will return to Earth with 5,200 pounds of research and return cargo, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.

To stay updated on all station activities, follow @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts. Or, follow along the station blog at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/