NASA Television will provide live coverage of the upcoming Orbital Sciences' mission to resupply the International Space Station. Orbital's Cygnus cargo spacecraft is schedule to launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Launch Pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Saturday, July 12 at 1:14 p.m. EDT.
Weather conditions at Wallops Tuesday night delayed the scheduled rollout of Orbital's Antares rocket to the launch pad Wednesday, prompting the company to delay launch by a day.
NASA TV will air a comprehensive video feed of launch preparations and other footage related to the mission beginning at noon. Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 12:30 p.m. A post-launch news conference will be held at 2:45 p.m.
On Friday, July 11, media briefings previewing the mission's science cargo and a prelaunch status from Wallops will be broadcast on NASA TV at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.
Media also may join the briefings by phone. To obtain dial-in information, media must contact Rachel Kraft at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name and media affiliation no later than 30 minutes before the beginning of each briefing. The public also may ask questions on social media using the hashtag #AskNASA.
The Cygnus will be filled with approximately 3,300 pounds of supplies for the station, including science experiments to expand the research capability of the space station's Expedition 40 crew members aboard the station, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware.
Among the research investigations headed to the orbital laboratory are a flock of nanosatellites designed to take images of Earth, developed by Planet Labs of San Francisco, and a satellite-based investigation called TechEdSat-4 built by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, which aims to develop technology that eventually will enable small samples to be returned to Earth from the space station. In addition, a host of student experiments are on board as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, an initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks.
This and future commercial cargo resupply 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 as scheduled, the spacecraft will arrive at the space station on Tuesday, July 15. Station commander Steven Swanson of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency will be standing by in the station’s cupola to capture the resupply craft 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 6:15 a.m. on July 15. Grapple is scheduled at approximately 7:24 a.m. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto Harmony will begin at 9:30 a.m.
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