NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 4:22 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30, for the launch of its next resupply mission to theInternational Space Station. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agencyswebsiteMonday, April 29, with prelaunch events.
This is the 17th SpaceX mission under NASAs Commercial Resupply Services contract.The Dragon spacecraft will deliver supplies and critical materials to support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 59 and 60. The spacecraftsunpressurized trunk will transport NASAsOrbiting Carbon Observatory-3(OCO-3) andSpace Test Program-Houston 6(STP-H6).
OCO-3 will be installed robotically on the exterior of the space stations Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate. STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.
The spacecraft will take two days to reach the space station before installation on Thursday, May 2. When it arrives, astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will grapple Dragon, with NASA astronautNick Hagueserving as backup. NASA astronautChristina Kochwill assist by monitoring telemetry during Dragons approach. After Dragon capture, mission control in Houston will send commands to the stations arm to rotate and install the spacecraft on the bottom of the stations Harmony module.
Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):
Monday, April 29
- 10:30 a.m. Whats on Board science briefing from NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This briefing will highlight the following research:
- Mike Roberts, deputy chief scientist of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, will give an overview of the science heading to station as part of the ISS National Lab.
- Genes in Spacewinners Rebecca Li, Aarthi Vijayakumar, Michelle Sung and David Li will discuss their experiment to study how cells repair their own DNA in space.
- Kristen John, principal investigator at NASAs Johnson Space Center, will discuss theHermes Facility, a reconfigurable testing facility that can accommodate up to four experiments at a time. The facility will be used for investigations into the formation and behavior of asteroids and comets, impact dynamics, and planetary evolution.
- Annmarie Eldering, project scientist at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss how OCO-3 observes the complex dynamics of Earths atmospheric carbon cycle.
- Lucie Low, scientific programmanager at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at theNational Institutes of Health, and Geraldine Hamilton, president and chief scientific officer of Emulate, Inc.,will discussTissue Chips in Space, research that will employtissue chip technologyto develop and advance novel medical technologies on Earth.
- 1 p.m. Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASAs International Space Station Program, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Forces 45th Space Wing.
Tuesday, April 30
- 4 a.m. NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 4:22 a.m., liftoff
- 5:30 a.m. Postlaunch news conference with representatives from NASAs International Space Station Program and SpaceX.
Thursday, May 2
- 5:30 a.m. Dragon rendezvous and capture coverage begins. Capture is scheduled for approximately 7 a.m.
- 9 a.m. Dragon installation to the nadir port of the Harmony module of the station
Dragon will remain at the space station until May 31, when the spacecraft will return to Earth with research and return cargo.