The fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Tuesday, Dec. 16, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 1:15 p.m. EST.
The company's Falcon 9 rocket will lift off at 2:31 p.m., carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft. It is loaded with more than 3,700 pounds of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations and supplies, including critical materials to support 256 science and research investigations that will take place on the space station during ISS Expeditions 42 and 43.
In addition to launch coverage, NASA also will host a series of prelaunch news conferences Monday, Dec. 15 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 mission, designated SpaceX CRS-5, is the fifth of 12 SpaceX flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station. It will be the sixth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.
The science research aboard the Dragon includes the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), which will characterize and measure the worldwide distribution of clouds and aerosols -- the tiny particles that make up haze, dust, air pollutants and smoke; model organism research using fruit flies to study the biological effects of spaceflight; and, a new study using flatworms to better understand wound healing in space.
During panel discussions Monday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., scientists and researchers will discuss the onboard science and research studies, including CATS and supplies for research on the risks of in-flight infections in astronauts, as well as research on degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's.
The series of briefings Monday will conclude with a prelaunch news conference at 2 p.m. A post-launch briefing will be held approximately 90 minutes after liftoff Tuesday.
NASA TV also will provide live coverage of the arrival of the Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station Thursday, Dec. 18. Grapple and berthing coverage will begin at about 4:30 a.m. with grapple at approximately 6 a.m. Berthing coverage begins at 7:30 a.m.
The Dragon spacecraft will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module for more than four weeks and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja California, bringing with it almost two tons of experiment samples and equipment from the station.
Date: Nov 26, 2014