NASA Television will provide coverage of the upcoming Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo spacecraft mission to resupply the International Space Station this month.
On the heels of a successful demonstration flight to the space station in September, Orbital Sciences is scheduled to launch a Cygnus capsule on an Antares rocket at 9:42 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 18, from Launch Pad 0A at Wallops Flight Facility, Va.
Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 9:15 p.m. NASA TV will air a comprehensive video feed of launch preparations and other footage related to the mission beginning at 6:45 p.m.
On Tuesday, Dec. 17, briefings previewing the mission's science and a prelaunch status from Wallops will be broadcast on NASA TV at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. The briefings will be replayed at Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., leading up to live coverage of the launch.
The cargo craft will be filled with 2,780 pounds of supplies for the station, including vital science experiments to expand the research capability of the Expedition 38 crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware. Also aboard the flight are 23 student experiments that will involve more than 10,000 students on the ground. These experiments will involve life sciences topics ranging from amoeba reproduction to calcium in the bones to salamanders.
This and future Cygnus flights will ensure a robust national capability to deliver critical science research to orbit, significantly increasing NASA's ability to conduct new science investigations to the only laboratory in microgravity.
If Cygnus launches Dec. 18, the spacecraft will arrive at the space station on Saturday, Dec. 21. Astronauts Michael Hopkins of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will be standing by to capture the capsule with the station’s robotic arm and install it on the Earth-facing port of the station's Harmony module.
NASA TV coverage of capture and installation will begin at 4:45 a.m. Dec. 21. Grapple is scheduled at 5:38 a.m. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto Harmony will begin at 6:45 a.m.
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