Editor’s Note: Launch time has been updated to 4:21 a.m. EDT and spacecraft capture now is set for 6:50 a.m. NASA TV coverage off capture will begin at 5 a.m. (Updated April 25, 2019)
NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 4:21 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30, for the launch of its next resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Monday, April 29, with prelaunch events.
This is the 17th SpaceX mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The Dragon spacecraft will deliver supplies and critical materials to support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 59 and 60. The spacecraft’sunpressurized trunk will transport NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).
OCO-3 will be installed robotically on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate. STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.
The spacecraft will take two days to reach the space station before installation on Thursday, May 2. When it arrives, astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will grapple Dragon, with NASA astronaut Nick Hague serving as backup. NASA astronaut Christina Koch will assist by monitoring telemetry during Dragon’s approach. After Dragon capture, mission control in Houston will send commands to the station’s arm to rotate and install the spacecraft on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.
Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):
Monday, April 29
- 10:30 a.m. – What’s on Board science briefing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This briefing will highlight the following research:
- Mike Roberts, deputy chief scientist of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, will give an overview of the science heading to station as part of the ISS National Lab.
- Genes in Space winners Rebecca Li, Aarthi Vijayakumar, Michelle Sung and David Li will discuss their experiment to study how cells repair their own DNA in space.
- Kristen John, principal investigator at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will discuss the Hermes Facility, a reconfigurable testing facility that can accommodate up to four experiments at a time. The facility will be used for investigations into the formation and behavior of asteroids and comets, impact dynamics, and planetary evolution.
- Annmarie Eldering, project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss how OCO-3 observes the complex dynamics of Earth’s atmospheric carbon cycle.
- Lucie Low, scientific program manager at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, and Geraldine Hamilton, president and chief scientific officer of Emulate, Inc.,will discuss Tissue Chips in Space, research that will employ tissue chip technology to develop and advance novel medical technologies on Earth.
- 1 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.
Tuesday, April 30
- 4 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 4:21 a.m., liftoff
- 5:30 a.m. – Postlaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX.
Thursday, May 2
- 5 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous and capture coverage begins. Capture is scheduled for approximately 6:50 a.m.
- 9 a.m. – Dragon installation to the nadir port of the Harmony module of the station
Dragon will remain at the space station until May 31, when the spacecraft will return to Earth with research and return cargo.
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For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:
Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission at: