TO ALL SSEP FLIGHT EXPERIMENT TEAMS
The NASA Consolidated Launch Schedule now indicates that the SpaceX-1 Commercial Resupply Flight will launch “October +”. This indicates a No Earlier Than (NET) launch date of at least October 1. The date of the launch therefore remains highly fluid, and no definitive information on a target launch date is available at this time.
The SpaceX-1 Falcon 9/Dragon vehicle will be transporting the SSEP Mission 2 Antares payload of experiments, as well as the SSEP Mission 1 to ISS Aquarius II payload of re-flight experiments, to the International Space Station.
Student flight teams were initially directed to have their flight experiments in Houston by August 31, 2012, against a projected launch in the third week of September. In response to new guidance from NASA, NanoRacks has redirected all SSEP flight teams to retarget delivery of their flight experiments to Houston no later than September 18, 2012.
All flight teams must work against the September 18 hard deadline. All flight teams must also be prepared for continued launch slippage, and possible slippage of the due date for your flight experiment to arrive in Houston. More generally, it is reasonable to expect slippage of the launch date at any time.
We are proud that 25 student research teams across the nation are getting ready to be part of history on the first operational flight of the SpaceX Dragon.
Visit the NASA Consolidated Launch Schedule for the latest official word on launch date: http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html
Launch Viewing Note:
Related to the fluid nature of the launch date, as we explore with NASA the launch viewing opportunity for SSEP delegations, all communities that may be planning to send delegations to the launch must be prepared to change their air tickets multiple times. Buying tickets in advance to save on airfare is not an option. Going with a carrier like Southwest that has no penalties for flight changes should be viewed as essential, and in fact may be the only way to avoid potentially thousands of dollars in flight penalties even for a small delegation.
SSEP is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in partnership with NanoRacks LLC. This on-orbit research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.
SSEP is the first pre-college STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.