Dragon Launch Occuring No Earlier Than Jan. 6

The SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on Sept. 23, 2014 for grapple and berthing.

NASA and SpaceX announced today the launch of SpaceX’s fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station now will occur no earlier than Tuesday, Jan. 6. This will provide SpaceX engineers time to investigate further some of the issues that arose from the static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 16 and will avoid beta angle constraints for berthing the Dragon cargo ship to the station that exist through the end of the year.

Beta angles are the angles between the space station orbital plane and the sun, resulting in the station being in almost constant sunlight for a 10 day period. During this time, there are thermal and operational constraints that prohibit Dragon from berthing to the station. This high beta period runs from Dec. 28 through Jan. 7.

The new launch date also will allow the teams to enjoy the holidays.

Space station managers will meet on Monday, Jan. 5, for a thorough readiness review in advance of the Jan. 6 launch attempt. The launch postponement has no impact on the station’s crew, its complement of food, fuel and supplies and will not impact the science being delivered to the crew once Dragon arrives at the station.

A launch on Tuesday, Jan. 6, is scheduled at approximately 6:18 a.m. EST. NASA TV coverage will begin at 5 a.m.

A backup launch attempt is available on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

A launch on Jan. 6 will result in a rendezvous and grapple of Dragon on Thursday, Jan. 8, at approximately 6 a.m. NASA TV coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. Installation coverage will begin at 9 a.m.

Prelaunch briefings at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will be rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 5 with the times to be determined.

For an updated schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1FrjDEO

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