Information to be determined is in RED TEXT below.
Information that has changed since this post went live on December 3 is in GREEN TEXT below.
Last update of this page: December 6, 2020, 7:45 am ET
NOTE: All dates and times below have now been updated to reflect the launch delay from 12/5/20 to 12/6/20, and delay in docking at the International Space Station from 12/6/20 to 12/7/20.
NOTE: A separate video portal below for Dr. Jeff Goldstein’s YouTube Live presentation in advance of launch will go live at 9:30 am ET, December 6. His presentation starts at 9:45 am ET.
REPORTED 12/5/20, 10:05 am ET: LAUNCH DELAY
This is a teachable moment. Welcome to the real space program.
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education received word from our launch services provider at 8:35 am ET this morning that SpaceX has scrubbed the launch of SpaceX-21 for today. Our Flight Operations Team rapidly informed all SSEP Community Program Directors and the 27 SSEP Mission 14 student flight teams.
The launch of SpaceX-21 has been reset for 11:17 am ET, Sunday, December 6, due to weather.
SpaceX has delayed launch from today to Sunday 6 December, due to high winds at the booster recovery site at sea. Weather is forecast to improve today, and all is currently GO for tomorrow, at 11:17 am EST. No cargo operations are necessary during this 24-hour delay.
To readers – if you would like to wish the Mission 14 to ISS student researchers, their teachers, and their communities good luck on the launch of their experiments on SpaceX CRS-21, you are invited to leave a comment below:)
Caption: We are now counting down to the launch of the SSEP Mission 14 Apollo payload of 27 experiments on SpaceX CRS-21 on December 6, 2020. To get a sense of what it will be like, watch this video of liftoff of the SpaceX CRS-18 Mission at 6:01 pm ET, July 25, 2019. Expand the YouTube video window to full screen. The SpaceX-18 Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Dragon was carrying the International Docking Adaptor (IDA-3), crew supplies, and science research to the International Space Station – including 41 student experiments comprising the SSEP Mission 13 Gemini payload. (Credit: NASA TV)
Launch of SSEP Mission 14 to the International Space Station
From Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) National Program Director
Center Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
The SSEP Mission 14 to ISS flight experiments payload designated Apollo, containing 27 of the 33 Mission 14 experiments, is scheduled to launch Sunday, December 6, 2020, at 11:17 am ET from Space Launch Complex 39A (SLC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida, aboard SpaceX CRS-21 (SpaceX Commercial Resupply Service mission 21). It is the launch pad from which all crewed Apollo missions to the Moon (except for Apollo 10) were launched 50 years ago. The Mission 14 payload of experiments was designated Apollo in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings.
This launch pad was also used for the first 24 Space Shuttle flights, and the final Shuttle flights from STS-117 in 2007 to STS-134 – the final flight of Shuttle Endeavour, and STS-135 – the final flight of Shuttle Atlantis. We are proud that SSEP – now in its 10th year – began in 2011 with experiments on STS-134 (see this post) and STS-135 (see this post).
I am hoping all those that read this post understand the historical context of our flight tomorrow, and that it represents a moment in time where the legacy of human exploration that precedes us touches the future through all those students that are participating in SSEP Mission 14. It is how we inspire future generations. It is a journey that has transcended countless generations of explorers, and in every generation we celebrate the past, embrace the present, and inspire the future.
Note: 6 Mission 14 experiments have been moved to later flights due to the impact of Covid-19 on the ability of student teams to prep for flight, and in the case of 2 experiments, issues with experiment samples that could not be resolved in time for launch on SpaceX-21.
A heartfelt congratulations to all 16,600 students that participated in Mission 14 microgravity experiment design, and submitted 3,076 flight experiment proposals for formal review and selection; the 23,600 students that participated in the Mission Patch art and design competitions; and the 129 student Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, and Collaborators comprising the student researcher teams for the 33 selected SSEP Mission 14 flight experiments – we are all very proud of you. You are the next generation of researchers on the frontiers of exploration.
As of this writing, we are at T-minus 1 Day 1 Hour 40 Minutes and counting – see the countdown clock in the right column.
Prior to launch, I would like to talk to all SSEP students, and their teachers, administrators, and families via YouTube Live. I want to provide a sense of their remarkable accomplishment – and not just the flight teams but all 16,600 SSEP Mission 14 student researchers, and the 23,600 students engaged in the mission patch competitions – and let them know they are truly part of America’s Space Program. I want to speak not just from the vantage point of creator and director of SSEP, but also from the vantage point of 11 year old me watching the launch of Apollo 11 in July of 1969 and knowing in that moment I wanted to be a space explorer. There are these moments in our lives that change us, and maybe the launch on Saturday, with your community’s experiment aboard, can be one of those moments for many Mission 14 students. That’s why we created this program.
My presentation will be on YouTube Live, and I hope we can get lots of students to tune in. In fact, think about having a launch party Sunday morning at home, joining me at 9:45 am, and celebrating your community in space. YouTube Live also has a chat environment, so you can talk to me directly.
The launch will be covered live on NASA TV and at SpaceX, and we’ve provided video portals below for both if you’d like to watch right here on the SSEP National Program website. Also below is the November 24, 2020, NASA Media Advisory that provides NASA TV live coverage times for launch on Sunday December 6 and arrival at Station on Monday, December 7.
Schedule of Events
– Sunday, December 6
9:45-10:15 am ET – Presentation by Dr. Jeff [bio] (view in YouTube Live video portal below)
10:45 am ET – NASA TV live pre-launch coverage begins (view in NASA video portal below)
Time Not Known – SpaceX live pre-launch coverage begins (view in SpaceX video portal below – monitor this portal for start of live coverage)
11:17 am ET – Launch of SpaceX-21 and SSEP Mission 14 Apollo payload
– Monday, December 7
11:30 am ET – NASA TV live coverage begins for SpaceX docking at International Space Station (view in NASA video portal below)
1:30 pm ET – SpaceX docks at Station
Mission 14 to ISS Historical Data
Number of Participating Communities: 32
Scope: 16,600 grade 5-16 students fully engaged in experiment design
Number of student team proposals received: 3,076
Number of experiments selected for flight: 33; 1 community flying 2 experiments – University of Pittsburgh; (27 experiments flying on SpaceX-21; 6 on later flights)
Announcement of Opportunity: March 22, 2019
Experiment design competition and proposal writing: September 3 – November 1, 2019 (9 Weeks)
Flight experiment selection: December 17, 2019
MEDIA PACKAGE for Mission 14
Mission 14 Media Coverage: 57 articles as of 12/3/20
Mission 14 Community Profiles: 32 communities, 99 organizational partners, 304 schools
– downloadable documents (PDFs) reflecting just the 27 (of 33) experiments flying on SpaceX-21
Mission 14 Flight Experiments: Research Teams and Experiment Descriptions – an experiment-by-experiment summary including community, school, grade level, research team (PIs, Co-Is and Collaborators), and experiment abstract
We also invite you to explore the SSEP Launch and On-Orbit Operations History page, which provides a sense of the rich history of the SSEP Program. Here you will find s list of SSEP missions and payload designations, videos of all SSEP launches, a list of all astronauts that have operated SSEP experiments, and videos of astronauts operating the experiments.
WATCH LIVE – SSEP NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR DR. JEFF GOLDSTEIN, 9:45 – 10:15 am ET
WATCH THE LAUNCH LIVE ON THIS NASA TV PORTAL
WATCH THE LAUNCH LIVE ON THIS SPACEX PORTAL
November 24, 2020
MEDIA ADVISORY M20-130
NASA TV Coverage Set for Next Space Station Resupply Mission with SpaceX
NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 11:39 a.m. EST Saturday, Dec. 5, [delayed until 11:17 am EST Sunday, Dec. 5] for the launch of its 21st commercial resupply services (CRS-21) mission to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. CRS-21 will deliver science investigations, supplies, and equipment for NASA and is the first mission under the company’s second Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, with prelaunch events Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5 [delayed until Sunday Dec 6].
The upgraded Dragon spacecraft will be filled with supplies and payloads, including critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 64 and 65. In addition to bringing research to the station, the Dragon’s unpressurized trunk will transport the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock. The first commercially funded space station airlock, the Bishop Airlock is an airtight segment used for transfer of payloads between the inside and outside of the station. It provides payload hosting, robotics testing, and satellite deployment while also serving as an outside toolbox for astronauts conducting spacewalks.
About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station. Arrival to the space station is planned for Sunday, Dec. 6 [delayed to Monday Dec. 7]. Dragon will autonomously dock to the station’s Harmony module with Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover of NASA monitoring operations.
The Dragon spacecraft will spend about one month attached to the space station before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, with splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):
Friday, Dec. 4
2:00 pm – One-on-one media opportunities with principal investigators for payloads on CRS-21 at the Kennedy Press Site (compliant with COVID-19 safety protocols).
4:00 pm – Prelaunch news conference from Kennedy with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX, and the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.
Sunday, Dec. 6
10:45 am – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 11:17 am launch.
Monday, Dec. 7
11:30 am – NASA TV coverage begins for Dragon docking to space station
1:30 pm – Docking
Would you like to leave a comment below wishing the Mission 14 to ISS student researchers, their teachers, and their communities good luck on the launch of their experiments on SpaceX CRS-21?
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.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.