This is an update of on-orbit flight operations for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 3b Falcon II and Mission 4 Orion experiments currently on the International Space Station.
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education was informed by NanoRacks on February 24, 2014, that undocking and return to Earth of the Soyuz 36S vehicle was slipped by NASA from March 12 to 7:00 pm ET March 10. This in turn has required that the three scheduled final Crew Interactions Days for the 23 SSEP experiments at Undock-14 days (U-14d), Undock-5 days (U-5d) and Undock-2 days (U-2d), were also slipped ahead 2 days to accommodate the new undock schedule.
The Flight Profile page has now been updated to reflect the change in undocking date and time.
All 23 student flight teams have been apprised of the schedule change, and are conducting their ground truth experiments to reflect activities on orbit as reported via the SSEP Missions 4 and 3b to ISS: Experiment Log.
The 4th (of 6) Crew Interaction Day (U-14d)
This occurred on February 24, 2014. Astronaut Mike Hopkins (USA) completed all experiment operations by 2:11 PM ET, which included de-activation of one experiment (Hilo/Waiakea, Hawai’i), activation of two experiments (Guilford County, NC; and Valley Center, KS), and two mini-labs shaken (NEST+M, New York City, NY; and North Charleston, SC). NanoRacks notified NCESSE of all on-orbit operations at 2:50 pm ET. NCESSE Flight Ops Manager Stacy Hamel updated the SSEP Missions 4 and 3b to ISS: Experiment Log page with U-14d activities by 4:09 pm, 2 hours after astronaut Mike Hopkins completed activities on Station.
The 5th (of 6) Crew Interaction Day (U-5d)
This occurred today, Wednesday March 5, 2014. Astronaut Mike Hopkins (USA) completed all experiment operations by 6:25 am ET, which included activation of four experiments (Wise County, VA; CFN201, New York City, NY; Traverse City, MI; and Teachers in Space Nat’l Program), and one mini-lab shaken (NEST+M, New York City, NY). NanoRacks notified NCESSE of all on-orbit operations at 12:05 pm ET. NCESSE Flight Ops Manager Stacy Hamel updated the SSEP Missions 4 and 3b to ISS: Experiment Log page with U-5d activities by 1:30 pm ET, 7 hours after astronaut Mike Hopkins completed activities on Station.
The final SSEP Crew Interaction Day (U-2d) is scheduled for Saturday, March 8, 2014.
Soyuz 36S undocks Monday, March 10 at 7pm EST. Touchdown should occur about 3 hours later in Kazakhstan. You can watch it live right here at the SSEP National Blog. We will be porting NASA TV to this site.
While NanoRacks is still verifying the exact schedule with NASA payload integration managers, we expect the Falcon II and Orion experiments payloads will arrive on NASA Flight 992 at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base near Houston 24 to 48 hours after the Soyuz 36S touchdown in Kazakhstan. The mini-labs will be available at NanoRacks at NASA Johnson Space Center for shipment to the communities sometime between the evening March 11 and the morning of the March 13 (there is the possibility it arrives in Houston too late on March 12 to ship out that evening).
All student flight teams should be on stand-by for receipt and harvesting of experiments Wednesday, March 12 through Friday, March 14. We advise all student flight teams to be prepared to harvest flight and ground truth mini-labs and begin analysis as soon as possible after receipt of the flight experiment.
Real spaceflight all the time.
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 NanoRacks LLC, 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.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.