NASA, SpaceX Update Launch of Resupply Mission

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.

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