NASA Schedules Coverage for SpaceX Dragon Cargo Launch

A camera on the tip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm views the SpaceX Dragon as it separates from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 11:50 p.m. EST Friday, March 6, for the launch of its 20th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage of the launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website with prelaunch events Thursday, March 5 and March 6.

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More Than 20 ISS National Lab-sponsored Payloads Set to Launch on SpaceX CRS-20

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), February 27, 2020 – When the Dragon spacecraft launches on SpaceX’s 20th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission (contracted through NASA) to the International Space Station (ISS), it will do so with dozens of research experiments to be executed on the orbiting laboratory over the coming months. In particular, the ISS U.S. National Laboratory is sponsoring more than 20 separate payloads on this mission that will leverage the unique space-based environment of station to benefit life on Earth.

Launching no earlier than 11:50 p.m. ET on Friday, March 6 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, this mission carries with it a wide variety of research investigations—several funded by private companies focused on technologies critical to their commercial success and others supported by external funds focused on science questions to improve knowledge and human health.

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Qarman CubeSat Deployed From ISS

Qarman CubeSat deployed from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

The moment ESA’s latest mission left the International Space Station: the Qarman reentry CubeSat developed with Belgium’s Von Karman Institute was deployed by NASA astronaut Andrew ‘Drew’ Morgan via a Nanoracks dispenser on 19 February 2020. Qarman will now fall gradually to Earth, to eventually gather valuable data on atmospheric reentry physics.

Read more here.

SpaceX CRS-20 Launch Targeted for March 6

A camera on the tip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm views the SpaceX Dragon as it separates from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — SpaceX is now targeting March 6 at 11:50 p.m. EST for launch of its 20th commercial resupply services mission (CRS-20) to the International Space Station. During standard preflight inspections, SpaceX identified a valve motor on the second stage engine behaving not as expected and determined the safest and most expedient path to launch is to utilize the next second stage in line that was already at the Cape and ready for flight.

The new second stage has already completed the same preflight inspections with all hardware behaving as expected. The updated target launch date provides the time required to complete preflight integration and final checkouts.

The cargo Dragon will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying more than 5,600 pounds of science investigations and cargo to the station, including research on particle foam manufacturing, water droplet formation, the human intestine and other cutting-edge investigations.

Learn more about space station activities by following  @space_station  and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Video: ESA’s First 3D Printer for Space

Video Caption: Presenting Europe’s first 3D printer designed for use in weightlessness, printing aerospace-quality plastics. ESA’s Manufacturing of Experimental Layer Technology (MELT) project printer has to be able to operate from any orientation – up, down or sideways – in order to serve in microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station. Based on the ‘fuse filament fabrication’ process, it has been designed to fit within a standard ISS payload rack, and to meet the Station’s rigorous safety standards.

The MELT printer can print a wide variety of thermoplastics from ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), as used in Lego, up to high-melting point engineering thermoplastics such PEEK (Polyether ether ketone), which is robust enough to substitute for metal materials in some cases.

The printer was produced for ESA by a consortium led by Sonaca Space GmbH together with BeeVeryCreative, Active Space Technologies SA and OHB-System AG. The MELT project was supported through ESA’s Technology Development Element programme, which identifies promising technologies for space, then demonstrates their workability.

NASA Astronaut Hague to Highlight ISS Research in Silicon Valley

NASA astronaut Nick Hague, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and visiting astronaut from United Arab Emirates (UAE) Hazzaa Ali Almansoori returned to Earth from the International Space Station at 6:59 am in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Astronaut Nick Hague, along with representatives from NASA and the U.S. International Space Station National Lab, will visit San Jose, Calif., February 25 – 28, to highlight research opportunities on board the International Space Station.

This nationwide campaign, known as “Destination Station,” is a joint effort to reach potential industry and commercial entities and share opportunities for microgravity research.

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DLR Göttingen Tests Bartolomeo Commercial Payload Platform for Space Station

Bartolomeo platform undergoing testing. (Credit: DLR)
  • DLR Göttingen has tested a payload platform for the International Space Station
  • The Bartolomeo platform was developed by Airbus
  • Commercial users will be able to conduct experiments in space more quickly and with increased cost effectiveness

Göttingen, Germany (DLR ) — The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has tested a new type of payload platform created by Airbus for the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers at DLR in Göttingen investigated the vibration behaviour of the component in order to rule out any potentially dangerous vibrations during launch or while in service.

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Space Adventures, SpaceX Announce Agreement to Launch Private Citizens on Crew Dragon

An instrumented mannequin sit in the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-1 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

VIENNA, Va., February 18, 2020 (Space Adventures PR) — Building on the success of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station in March 2019 and the recent successful test of the spacecraft’s launch escape system, Space Adventures, Inc. has entered into an agreement with SpaceX to fly private citizens on the first Crew Dragon free-flyer mission. This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program.

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NASA Science, Cargo Heads to Space Station on Northrop Grumman Mission

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Credits: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with about 7,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station at about 4:05 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 2:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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DreamUp & Nanoracks Announce HBCU Collaboration with Langston University

LANGSTON, OK, FEBRUARY 13, 2020 – DreamUp, the leading provider space-based educational opportunities, and sister-company Nanoracks, the leading provider of commercial access to space, today have announced a joint effort with Oklahoma Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Langston University, to fly their research to the International Space Station. These efforts will contribute to ongoing microgravity research that will help expand human presence forward to the Moon, and eventually Mars. DreamUp, Nanoracks, and Langston University announced this program today in a signing ceremony, alongside NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine.

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Your Weekend Rocket Forecast

Antares with Cygnus CRS-13 spacecraft on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA)

Friday, February 14
Saturday, February 15

Launch Vehicle: Antares
Payload: Cygnus (NG-13)
Launch Time: 3:21 p.m. EST (2021 GMT) 3:43 p.m. EST (2043 GMT)
Launch Site: NASA Wallops Flight Facility (Virginia)
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Northrop Grumman will launch a Cygnus resupply ship to the International Space Station.

Update: The launch was scrubbed on Friday due to unfavorable upper level winds.

Saturday, February 15
Sunday, February 16
Monday, February 17

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: 60 Starlink satellites
Launch Time: TBA 10:25 a.m. EST (1525 GMT) 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

SpaceX will launch 60 Starlink broadband satellites. The flight will add to the 242 Starlink satellites already launched.

Update: Launch postponed due to predicted poor weather in the first stage recovery area.

Update No. 2: Launch scrubbed to check on second stage valve. Now aiming for Monday.

NASA Coverage Set for Rescheduled Cygnus Launch on Friday

Antares with Cygnus CRS-13 spacecraft on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — Northrop Grumman’s next NASA resupply services mission to the International Space Station is targeted for launch at 3:43 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 14. Live coverage of the launch and briefings will begin at 3:15 p.m., on NASA Television and the agency’s website

The company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission using its Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on its Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

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Alexander Skvortsov Recounts Recently Completed ISS Mission

Alexander Skvortsov at a post-flight news conference in February 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov gave his post-flight conference on February 10, 2020 at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC). After a 200-day long mission to the International Space Station, on February 6, 2020 he successfully returned to Earth.

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Qarman CubeSat: Falling Into a Fireball

ESA’s next CubeSat mission seen enduring the scorching heat of simulated atmospheric reentry inside the world’s largest plasma wind tunnel. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s latest mission will enter the vacuum of space, not aboard a rocket but by being released from the International Space Station. The first task of the shoebox-sized Qarman CubeSat is simply to fall. While typical space missions resist orbital decay, Qarman will drift down month by month until it reenters the atmosphere, at which point it will gather a wealth of data on the fiery physics of reentry.

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Gerstenmaier Joins SpaceX as Consultant

William Gerstenmaier (Credit: NASA)

CNBC reports that SpaceX has hired William Gerstenmaier, who formerly headed NASA’s human spaceflight program, to serve as a consultant for the company’s reliability engineering team.

The move comes as SpaceX prepares to fly its first Crew Dragon mission with astronauts later this year. The flight test is currently scheduled for the second quarter.

The crew plans to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). A successful flight would clear the way for certification of the vehicle to fly crews to ISS on a commercial basis.

Gerstenmaier was demoted from his position as NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations last July over continued delays with the Space Launch System and Orion programs. He had served in that position for 14 years.

Gerstenmaier’s reassignment as a special adviser to Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard was his first step out the door. He left NASA in December after 42 years with the space agency.