Monthly Archives: December 2014

CRS-5 Launch Date: NET Jan. 6

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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 about 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

Favorable Weather Expected for Friday Launch

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Meteorologists predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for the planned Dec. 19 launch of the fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station. According to the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, a system developing along the western Gulf Coast tomorrow will bring mid- and upper-level clouds over Florida’s Space Coast. These clouds could linger through Friday, making the possibility of thick clouds the primary concern. In the event of a 24-hour delay, the 70 percent “go” forecast is expected to remain the same for Saturday.

NASA, SpaceX Update Launch of Resupply Mission

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The fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract now is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1:20 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 19, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 12:15 p.m.

The change of launch date allows SpaceX to take extra time to ensure they do everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch. Both the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft are in good health.

The prelaunch news conferences also have moved to Thursday, Dec. 18 at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All briefings, which are subject to a change in time, will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

The first briefing of the day will air at noon and will provide up-to-date information about the launch. Participants for the prelaunch briefing will be:

  • Mike Suffredini, NASA’s ISS Program manager
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for Mission Assurance at SpaceX
  • Kathy Winters with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral  Air Force Station in Florida

The second briefing, now at 1:30 p.m., will cover some of the numerous science investigations headed to the space station. Participants for the science briefing will be:

  • Julie Robinson, NASA’s ISS Program chief scientist
  • Michael Roberts, senior research pathway manager at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, headquartered in Melbourne, Florida
  • Cheryl Nickerson, Micro-5 principal investigator at Arizona State University
  • Samuel Durrance, NR-SABOL principal investigator at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne

The final briefing, now at 3 p.m., will cover the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) Earth science instrument headed to the space station. Participants for this briefing will be:

  • Julie Robinson, ISS Program chief scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Colleen Hartman, deputy director for science at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Robert J. Swap, program scientist with the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Matthew McGill, CATS principal investigator at Goddard

An on-time launch on Dec. 19 will result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station on Sunday, Dec. 21. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture it at about 6 a.m. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will support Wilmore as they operate from the station’s cupola. NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin 9 a.m.