From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017
NASA commercial cargo provider Orbital ATK is targeting its seventh commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for 9 p.m. EDT Friday, March 24, at the start of a 30-minute launch window. An option exists to move the launch earlier to March 23 if the Eastern Range becomes available.
Orbital ATK has contracted with ULA for its Atlas V rocket for the launch service, which will lift off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Under NASA’s first Commercial Resupply Services contract, Cygnus will carry more than 7,600 pounds of science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 50 and 51 crew members.
If launch remains on March 24, NASA Television coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EDT. Coverage will resume for solar array deployment at about 10:30 p.m. and will include post-launch interviews with mission managers.
If the launch does not occur on or before March 24, the next launch opportunity is 8:37 p.m. Saturday, March 25, with NASA TV coverage starting at 7:30 p.m.
The new experiments will include magnetized tools to make it easier to reproduce experiments on Earth, an antibody investigation that could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment, and an advanced plant habitat for studying plan physiology and growing fresh food in space. Cygnus also is carrying 38 CubeSats, including many built by university students from around the world as part of the QB50 program, which are scheduled to deploy from either the spacecraft or space station in the coming months.
When Cygnus arrives to the space station, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the space station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to take hold of the spacecraft. After Canadarm2 captures Cygnus, ground commands will be sent for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.
Cygnus will remain on the station until June, when it will depart with several tons of trash for a fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Prior to re-entry, a third experiment will be conducted to study how fire burns in space.
Media at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will have the opportunity to participate in special tours and briefings starting two days prior to launch. The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed. For more information about media accreditation, contact 321-867-2468 or KSC-Media-Accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.
Media badges for this launch will be issued at the Astronaut Training Experience building located on State Road 405, Titusville.
Press Site Hours of Operation: 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Badging Hours of Operation: 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. (Media badges will be issued at the Astronaut Training Experience)
Media participating in the morning tours will depart the press site by bus at 8 a.m. and will not return until lunch at noon.
Atlas V Rollout
Media will have the opportunity to watch the Atlas V roll out of the Vertical Integration Facility and into position at Space Launch Complex 41. Media must arrive at the Press Site by 8 a.m. for departure.
NASA’s Space Launch System Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage
The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage is the in-space propulsion planned for the first launch of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. The ICPS is part of the overall “payload” on the top of the rocket between the core stage and Orion. It is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-based system, and will provide the thrust needed to send the spacecraft and 13 secondary payloads beyond the moon before Orion returns to Earth. The flight hardware completed manufacturing in Alabama and has shipped to a ULA Facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for final testing before shipping to Kennedy Space Center for integration with the rocket. Media will depart directly from the Atlas V rollout to the ULA Facility.
Subject Matter Experts:
Chris Calfee, Space Launch System ICPS project manager, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center
Gary Wentz, vice president, Human and Commercial Services, United Launch Alliance
Robert Strate, ICPS project lead, The Boeing Company
Emergency Vehicle Briefing
Kennedy provides emergency fire and rescue services for employees and facilities across the center. Media will be able to see multiple emergency vehicles that are used around the center daily and for launch activities. Media will depart from the ULA Facility housing the ICPS and go directly to the emergency vehicle briefing.
Subject-Matter Experts are TBD.
Media participating in the afternoon tour will depart the Press Site by bus at 2:15 p.m. and will return at 3:45 p.m.
Media will observe the behemoth machine that previously carried Saturn V rockets and the space shuttle fleet to their launch pads for more than 40 years, and will carry the agency’s SLS rocket with Orion atop to the launch pad. Attendees will have the opportunity to examine the 2-ton shoes/tracks used to move the crawler around and also ask questions from a subject-matter expert. Media must be in the Press Site parking lot prepared to depart by 2:15 p.m.
John Giles – Ground Systems Development and Operations crawler-transporter project manager
Press Site Hours of Operation: 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Badging Hours of Operation: 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. and 2 - 3 p.m. (Media badges will be issued at the Astronaut Training Experience)
Media participating in the morning tour will depart the Press Site by bus at 8 a.m. Media not interested in remote camera setup will return by 10 a.m. Media participating in the remote camera setup will return by 11:30 a.m.
NASA Commercial Crew Program Update
Media will hear from subject-matter experts about the work that has been completed to prepare for commercial crew missions aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. Media must arrive at the Press Site by 8 a.m. for departure to Space Launch Complex 41.
Remote Camera Setup - Space Launch Complex 41
News media will be able to establish remote cameras to capture the liftoff from the pad at Space Launch Complex 41 immediately following the Commercial Crew Program Update. After all cameras are deployed, media will return to the Press Site at 11:30 a.m.
Media who would like to participate in the following briefing will depart the Press Site by bus at 12:30 p.m. Media will return by 2:45 p.m.
What’s on Board Science Briefing on NASA TV
A science, research and technology briefing will be held at the Operations and Support Building II from 1-2:30 p.m. NASA Television will provide live coverage. Media will depart the Press Site by 12:30 p.m.
Participants will discuss some of the science launching to station, including a chemotherapy drug investigation, an advanced plant habitat to grow food in space, 3-D cell tools, and CubeSats set to deploy from space.
The following events will take place at Kennedy’s Press Site.
Prelaunch News Conference on NASA TV
A prelaunch status briefing will be held at Kennedy’s Press Site at 4 p.m. NASA TV will provide live coverage.
Participants will be:
Kirk Shireman, manager, NASA International Space Station Program
Frank Culbertson, Space Systems Group president, Orbital ATK
Vern Thorp, program manager for NASA missions, United Launch Alliance
Press Site Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. – midnight
Badging Hours of Operation: 6 – 7:30 p.m. (Media badges will be issued at the Astronaut Training Experience)
If the launch is on March 24, news media wanting to view the launch from the NASA Causeway will depart the Press Site by bus at 7:30 p.m.
A sign-up sheet will be available in the newsroom for media desiring to photograph the launch from the roof of the Vehicle Assemble Building (VAB). Space is limited for this activity so media must sign up in person. At 7:40 p.m., media selected will depart the Press Site for VAB.
Up to 50 social media representatives were invited to cover launch. Social media will attend some of the same activities as the traditional news media and will receive tours of various facilities and receive briefings about upcoming NASA and commercial partner activities.
NASA TV Launch Coverage
NASA TV live coverage will begin at 8 p.m. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:
Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 8:15 p.m. Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.
Follow countdown coverage on our launch blog at:
Learn more about the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission by going to the mission home page at:
Amber Philman/Stephanie Martin
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
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