SpaceX-1 Spectacular Night Launch Set for October 7, 2012, with SSEP Antares and Aquarius II Experiment Payloads – SSEP Partner Organizations Invited to Send Delegations

Launch of SpaceX from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, May 22, 2012. CLICK FOR ZOOM Photo-credit: NASA

Late last week, NASA formally announced that SpaceX-1 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:34 pm ET, October 7, 2012. (The NASA Press Release is provided below.) It will be the first operational flight of the Dragon spacecraft for International Space Station resupply. Aboard Dragon will be the Antares payload of 11 SSEP Mission 2 experiments, and re-flight of 12 of 15 Mission 1 experiments as the Aquarius II payload.

As of September 25, 2012, all 23 flight experiment mini-laboratories have been received at Johnson Space Center for payload integration into Antares and Aquarius II. To all 23 student flight experiment teams across the nation – GREAT JOB! We are also happy to report that NanoRacks has informed us that all 11 Mission 2 to ISS flight experiments have passed NASA flight safety review.

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) has been in communication with the SSEP Community Program Directors and Co-Directors for the Mission 1 and 2 to ISS communities, coordinating attendance at the launch by community delegations. Currently there are 110 students, teachers, administrators, and family members from 5 communities sending delegations to the launch.

NASA has invited the SSEP delegations to KARS Park at Kennedy Space Center, which is the site where SSEP delegations attended the launches of Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis (STS-134 and STS-135). The 8:34 pm evening launch of SpaceX-1 is expected to be spectacular.

With this blog post, the Center would like to extend a launch invitation to all SSEP stakeholder organizations associated with all 5 SSEP flight opportunities to date, including 26 NASA Space Grant lead institutions, corporate underwriting partners, and research insitutions that have provided material resources, lab space, and/or acess to researchers serving as student team advisors and review board members. We are also extending this invitation to all Mission 3 to ISS, STS-134, and STS-135 SSEP communities.

Any organization interested in sending a representative or delegation to the launch is urged to quickly contact Stacy Hamel, NCESSE’s Flight Operations Manager for SSEP:

All SSEP attendees will be rendezvousing at a location close to KARS Park, and will be car caravaning together to the Park. All SSEP vehicles will be provided dashboard placards to gain access to the Park. All SSEP delegations will be provided the location of the rendezvous location separately, via email.

We have posted a Launch Viewing Plans page, which has travel and hotel information, the launch schedule, logistics for attendees, and information on KARS Park and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Jump to the: Launch Viewing Plan for SpaceX-1 page



Sept. 20, 2012


HOUSTON — NASA managers, Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
(SpaceX) officials and international partner representatives Thursday
announced Sunday, Oct. 7, as the target launch date for the first
contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station
under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

International Space Station Program managers confirmed the status and
readiness of the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo spacecraft for
the SpaceX CRS-1 mission, as well as the space station’s readiness to
receive Dragon.

Launch is scheduled for 8:34 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A back up launch
opportunity is available on Oct. 8.

Media accreditation to view the launch now is open. International
media without U.S. citizenship must apply for credentials to cover
the prelaunch and launch activities by Wednesday, Sept 26. For U.S.
media, the deadline to apply is Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Questions about accreditation may be directed to the Public Affairs
Office at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 321-867-2468. All media
accreditation requests must be submitted online at:

The launch of the Dragon spacecraft will be the first of 12 contracted
flights by SpaceX to resupply the space station and marks the second
trip by a Dragon to the station, following a successful demonstration
mission in May. SpaceX services under the CRS contract will restore
an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of
cargo, including science experiments, to the orbiting laboratory — a
feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle.

The Dragon will be filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies. This
includes critical materials to support the 166 investigations planned
for the station’s Expedition 33 crew, including 63 new
investigations. The Dragon will return about 734 pounds of scientific
materials, including results from human research, biotechnology,
materials and educational experiments, as well as about 504 pounds of
space station hardware.

Materials being launched on Dragon will support experiments in plant
cell biology, human biotechnology and various materials technology
demonstrations, among others. One experiment, called Micro 6, will
examine the effects of microgravity on the opportunistic yeast
Candida albicans, which is present on all humans. Another experiment,
called Resist Tubule, will evaluate how microgravity affects the
growth of cell walls in a plant called Arabidopsis. About 50 percent
of the energy expended by terrestrial-bound plants is dedicated to
structural support to overcome gravity. Understanding how the genes
that control this energy expenditure operate in microgravity could
have implications for future genetically modified plants and food
supply. Both Micro 6 and Resist Tubule will return with the Dragon at
the end of its mission.

Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use a robot arm to grapple
the Dragon following its rendezvous with the station on Wednesday,
Oct. 10. They will attach the Dragon to the Earth-facing port of the
station’s Harmony module for a few weeks while crew members unload
cargo and load experiment samples for return to Earth.

Dragon is scheduled to return in late October for a parachute-assisted
splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California.

While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop commercial
spaceflight capabilities, the agency also is developing the Orion
spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and
heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human
exploration. Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for
crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence
beyond low Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration across
the solar system.

For information about the International Space Station, research in low
Earth orbit, NASA’s commercial space programs and the future of
American spaceflight, visit:

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

For more information about SpaceX, visit:

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.


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The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working 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 education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.