NASA Television will air pre- and post-launch news conferences and provide live launch coverage of Orbital Sciences Corporation's cargo resupply demonstration mission to the International Space Station.
The company's Cygnus cargo carrier will be the first spacecraft launched to the orbiting laboratory from Virginia. It will be launched aboard Orbital's Antares rocket at 11:16 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 17, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia.
NASA TV launch commentary coverage will begin at 10:45 a.m. Video b-roll of launch preparations will air at 10:30 a.m. A post-launch news briefing will begin at approximately 1 p.m. at the Wallops Visitors Center. NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will operate a phone bridge for the pre- and post-launch briefings. To participate in any briefing by phone, reporters must call the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 at least 15 minutes before the start of the briefing.
Cygnus will deliver about 1,300 pounds (589 kilograms) of cargo, including food and clothing, to the Expedition 37 crew aboard the space station. Future flights of Cygnus will significantly increase NASA's ability to deliver new science investigations to the nation's only laboratory in microgravity.
NASA will preview the launch and mission in a news conference at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at the Wallops Visitors Center. NASA TV and the agency's website will air the briefing live with question and answer capability available from participating NASA centers or on the telephone. Questions also can be asked during the briefings via Twitter by using the hashtag #askNASA.
The briefing participants are:
-- Alan Lindenmoyer, program manager, NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program
-- Frank Culbertson, executive vice president, Orbital Sciences Corp.
-- Mike Pinkston, Antares program manager, Orbital Sciences Corp.
-- Sarah Daugherty, test director, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility
The deadline to apply for accreditation to attend the launch is 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 for media who are U.S. citizens. The deadline has passed for non-U.S. citizens. For additional information regarding accreditation contact Keith Koehler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rendezvous with the space station is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. and will continue through the capture and installation of the Cygnus spacecraft. Capture is scheduled for about 7:17 a.m. with installation of the craft beginning about 9 a.m.
At about 1 p.m., after Cygnus operations are complete, a joint news conference will take place at Johnson and at Orbital's Headquarters at 45101 Warp Drive in Dulles, Va. The briefing will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency's website. Media interested in attending the briefing in Houston should contact Johnson's newsroom no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. Media who are U.S. citizens and want to attend the briefing at Orbital should call Barron Beneski at 703-406-5528 or email email@example.com by noon Friday, Sept. 20. Media who are not U.S. citizens must submit their information to Orbital by noon Monday, Sept. 16.
Orbital is the second of NASA’s two partners taking part in the agency's COTS program. The goal of this program is to develop safe, reliable, and cost effective cargo transportation systems. Orbital began its work in 2008. Following a successful demonstration mission, the company is poised to begin regular resupply missions. The other partner, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), began its work in 2006, and after a successful test flight in 2012, began flying regular cargo missions to the space station.
During Cygnus' flight to the station, several of the spacecraft's systems and capabilities will be tested. After the space station flight control team has verified the results of these objectives, the spacecraft will be cleared to approach the station several days after launch. Cygnus will undergo more tests and maneuvers and ultimately will arrive beneath the outpost, where astronauts on board will use the station’s arm to capture the craft. They then will install it on the bottom side of the station’s Harmony module.
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For more information about the mission, and for updated schedules of tours, briefings and NASA TV coverage, visit: