Press Release

Updated Coverage for NASA/SpaceX Launch and Mission to Station

By SpaceRef Editor
May 11, 2012
Filed under , ,

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The second SpaceX demonstration launch for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) has been rescheduled for a liftoff on Saturday, May 19. The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon capsule will occur from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. There is a single instantaneous launch opportunity at 4:55 a.m. EDT.

NASA Television launch commentary from Cape Canaveral begins at 3:30 a.m.

During the flight, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will conduct a series of check-out procedures to test and prove its systems, including the capability to rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station (ISS). The primary objectives for the flight include a flyby of the space station at a distance of approximately 1.5 miles to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous and approach.

The spacecraft also will demonstrate the ability to abort the rendezvous. Once these capabilities are successfully proven, the Dragon will be cleared to berth with the space station.


Friday, May 18 (L-1 day): A photo opportunity of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule on the launch pad will be available for the news media. Spokespeople from SpaceX will be available to answer questions.

Media will depart from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Press Site by government bus at 9 a.m. for Space Launch Complex 40. Media will be returned at approximately 11 a.m. SpaceX security regulations require that media attending this event be U.S. citizens.


Friday, May 18 (L-1 day): Media will be able to establish sound-activated remote cameras at the launch pad. The location is within Space Launch Complex-40 on the east side of the pad inside the perimeter fence. Media who want to participate in remote camera setup will depart from Kennedy’s Press Site by government bus at 9 a.m. in association with the launch pad photo opportunity and will be returned to the press site separately after remote camera setup is complete. SpaceX security regulations require that media participating in this activity be U.S. citizens.


Friday, May 18 (L-1 day): The prelaunch news conference for the NASA/SpaceX launch will be held at the Kennedy Press Site at 1 p.m. NASA Television will provide live and streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the prelaunch news conference will be:

– Phil McAlister, Acting Director, NASA Commercial Spaceflight Development
– Alan Lindenmoyer, Manager, NASA Commercial Crew and Cargo Program
– Gwynne Shotwell, President, SpaceX
– Joel Tumbiolo, Launch Weather Officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Media representatives can participate in the news conference in person at Kennedy or via a phone bridge by calling NASA’s Johnson Space Center newsroom at 12:45 p.m. at 281-483-5111.

Saturday, May 19 (Launch day): A postlaunch news conference will be held at Kennedy’s Press Site at approximately 8:30 a.m.

Audio of the launch and the prelaunch and post-launch news conferences also will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, directly accessible by dialing 321-867-1220, 1240, 1260 or 7135. The briefings will be streamed live on the agency’s website.

Saturday, May 19 (Launch day): A delegation from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) will be at the Kennedy Press Site and available for interviews and experiment demonstrations between 3 and 4:30 a.m. The students represent three of the experiments that will launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon as part of the International Space Station NanoRacks 9 platform. A sign-up sheet will be available in the newsroom for those media representatives wanting to talk to the students.

For information on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, visit:


Saturday, May 19 (Launch day): NASA TV live coverage begins at 3:30 a.m. and concludes at approximately 5:30 a.m.

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 a.m. Launch information also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz, heard within Brevard County.


Monday, May 21 (Flight Day 3): Live coverage from NASA’s Johnson Space Center mission control in Houston as the Dragon spacecraft performs its flyby of ISS to test its systems begins at 2:30 a.m. and will continue until the Dragon passes out of the vicinity of the station. A news briefing will be held following the activities.

Tuesday, May 22 (Flight Day 4): Live coverage of the rendezvous and berthing of the Dragon spacecraft to the station begins at 2 a.m. and will continue through the capture and berthing of the Dragon to the station’s Harmony node. A news briefing will be held once Dragon is secured to the ISS.

Wednesday, May 23: Live coverage of the hatch opening and entry of the Dragon spacecraft begins at 6 a.m. and will include a ceremony during which the ISS crew will mark the occasion.

Johnson also will provide live coverage of the departure and reentry of the Dragon spacecraft once a date is determined.


Saturday, May 19 (Launch day): A NASA blog will provide countdown updates beginning at 3:30 a.m. on May 19. Originating from Cape Canaveral, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to liftoff.

To follow the countdown blog, visit:


Saturday, May 19 (Launch day): News media may view the launch from the Kennedy Press Site. A sign-up sheet will be available in the newsroom for those media representatives wanting to cover the launch from the NASA Causeway or from the roof of the Complex 39 Launch Control Center. These are primarily photo locations as there are no facilities available. Buses will depart from the Press Site parking lot at 3:30 a.m.


Media who want to attend the prelaunch events, including the prelaunch news conference and launch, may request accreditation online at:

The deadline for U.S. media to apply for launch accreditation is May 16. The deadline for international media to apply has passed. Journalists who have already been approved for accreditation do not need to reapply.

The Gate 2 Pass and Identification Building on State Road 3, Merritt Island, will be open to pick up press credentials on the following schedule:

Thursday, May 17: noon – 4 p.m.
Friday, May 18: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 19: 1:30 – 4 a.m.

News media credentials will be valid for mission activities from launch through splashdown at both the Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center.


Thursday, May 17: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 18: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 19: 1 – 10:30 a.m.

Media badges will be valid for access to the Kennedy Press Site through Gate 2 on State Road 3 on Merritt Island and Gate 3 on State Road 405, located east of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. On launch day, only Gate 3 will be open, which also can be accessed from State Road 3 via Space Commerce Way.

For further information about media accreditation, contact Jennifer Horner at 321-867-6598.

For more information about the NASA/SpaceX launch, contact the Kennedy Press Site at 321-867-2468 or visit:


Media who are credentialed with badges at Kennedy for launch activities will have their badges honored at Johnson for the duration of the SpaceX mission. Please contact the Johnson newsroom for work space information.

International media wanting access only to Johnson must submit the required documentation for badging by Monday, May 14. U.S. media wanting access only to Johnson must submit a request for badging by Friday, May 18. Media who have already been approved for accreditation do not need to reapply.

For mission information, contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 or visit:

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

For up-to-date SpaceX mission information and a schedule of NASA TV coverage, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.