SSEP Mission 3 to the International Space Station (ISS)

Information to be determined is in RED TEXT below.
Information that is subject to change is in GREEN TEXT below.

Last update of this page: March 11, 2014, 6:20 am ET

 

Mission 3 Historical Notes – Why Designation of Two Separate Mission 3 Experiment Payloads 

In mid-December 2013, the Mission 3 to ISS list of experiment fluids and solids was submitted on schedule to NASA Toxicology for flight safety review. The expectation for Mission 3 was always a ferry flight to ISS in Spring 2013. But by early February 2013, identification of a Mission 3 ferry flight remained difficult–

1. The only viable up-flight in the Spring 2013 timeframe was Soyuz 35S scheduled to launch on May 28, 2013. The first available return flight would then be Soyuz 34S on September 11, 2013. Regarding other possible ferry vehicles, SpaceX-2 had been scheduled for a mid-January 2013 launch, which was too soon – the list of fluids and solids must be submitted to Toxicology 90 days in advance of launch, requiring a Mission 3 launch no earlier than March 12, 2013. Orbital Sciences had not yet flown its proof-to-orbit flight of the Antares rocket, which needed to precede the flight of Orbital Sciences Demonstration 1 (Orb -D1) – the first flight of the Cygnus spacecraft to berth with ISS.

2. The time on orbit from Soyuz 35S up to Soyuz 34S down was a long 15 weeks (nominally it is 6 weeks), and there would be no refrigeration of the payload from handover to the Russians through arrival at ISS. On February 11, 2013, all Mission 3 flight experiment teams were therefore given the option to fly to ISS on Soyuz 35S, or wait to fly with the Mission 4 flight to ISS, SpaceX-3, then scheduled for launch on September 30, 2013. Based on experiment need relative to both refrigeration and duration on ISS, 5 flight teams chose to fly on Soyuz 35S, and 12 on SpaceX-3.

3. A SSEP Mission 3 Falcon I experiments payload was therefore designated to fly on Soyuz 35S; and a SSEP Mission 3 Falcon II payload was designated to fly on SpaceX-3.

4. On April 30, 2013, NanoRacks reported that last minute payload approval requirements on the Russian side made Soyuz 35S untenable, and through discussions with NASA, the Falcon I payload was placed aboard Orb-D1, then scheduled for launch on June 15. By this time Orbital Sciences had successfully flown its demonstration to orbit of the Antares rocket on April 21, 2013, which led to scheduling of the Orb-D1 flight.

However, an engine problem on Orb-D1 led to another slip to September 2013  (see this May 11, 2013 post). Launch slips are detailed below in the Launch Date History sections.

 

Payload Ferry Flights and ISS Crew Data – FOR FALCON I PAYLOAD

Ferry Vehicle to ISS: Orbital Sciences D1 (Orb-D1: Antares rocket, Cygnus spacecraft)
Launch Date: September 18, 2013 (see NASA Consolidated Launch Schedule at nasa.gov)
Crew: none
Launch Site: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia
Berthing at ISS: September 29, 2013

Launch Date History:
Initial Launch Date: June 15, 2013
Slip: rescheduled to September, 2013 (see May 11, 2013 post)

Ferry Vehicle for Return to Earth: Soyuz 35S
Crew:  Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano
Undocking/Landing Date: November 10, 2013
Landing Site: Kazakhstan
Payload Duration on ISS: 6 weeks

Notable: visit the NASA ISS website for a comprehensive overview of ISS construction, on-orbit research, operations, crews, and multimedia galleries; read about the Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket; read about the Soyuz TMA vehicle at nasa.gov

ISS Crew for SSEP Mission 3 Payload Operations: Expedition 37
Station Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin (Russia); Flight Engineers Karen L. Nyberg (USA; on Twitter @AstroKarenN), Luca Parmitano (ESA–Italy), Oleg Kotov (Russia), Michael Hopkins (USA), and Sergey Ryzansky (Russia). (see Expeditions Schedule at nasa.gov)

 

Payload Ferry Flights and ISS Crew Data – FOR FALCON II PAYLOAD

Ferry Vehicle to ISS: Orbital Sciences 1 (Orb-1: Antares rocket, Cygnus spacecraft)
Launch Date: January 9, 2014, 1:07 pm ET (see NASA Consolidated Launch Schedule at nasa.gov)
Crew: none
Launch Site: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Wallops Island, VA
Berthing at ISS: January 12, 2014, 8:05 am ET

Launch Date History:
Initial Launch Date: September 30, 2013 (assuming vehicle was SpaceX-3)
Slip: rescheduled to November 11, 2013 (assuming vehicle was SpaceX-3; reported to SSEP Mission 4 Community Program Directors on April 15, 2013)
Slip: rescheduled to December 8, 2013 (officially manifested on Orb-1; reported to SSEP Mission 4 Community Program Directors on September 17, 2013
Slip: rescheduled to December 18, 2013
Slip: rescheduled to December 19, 2013
Slip: rescheduled to January 7, 2014 (due to coolant pump failure and needed repair on ISS; reported to SSEP Mission 4 Community Program Directors on December 18, 2013; also see December 18, 2013 blog post)
Slip: rescheduled to January 8, 2014 (due to expected extreme cold weather at pad; reported to SSEP Mission 4 Community Program Directors on January 4, 2014)
Slip: rescheduled to January 9, 2014 (due to enhanced solar activity; see January 8, 2014 blog post)

Ferry Vehicle for Return to Earth: Soyuz 36S
Crew: Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Michael Hopkins
Undocking/Landing Date: 8:02 pm ET, March 10, 2014 (see Flight Schedule at nasa.gov)
Landing Site: Kazakhstan
Payload Duration on ISS: 8 weeks

Notable: visit the NASA ISS website for a comprehensive overview of ISS construction, on-orbit research, operations, crews, and multimedia galleries; read about the Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket; read about the Soyuz TMA vehicle at nasa.gov

ISS Crew for SSEP Mission 3 Payload Operations: Expedition 38
Station Commander Oleg Kotov (Russia); Flight Engineers Sergey Ryazanskiy (Russia), Michael Hopkins (USA), Richard Mastracchio (USA; on Twitter @AstroRM), Koichi Wakata (Japan), and Mikhail Tyurin (Russia). (see Expeditions Schedule at nasa.gov)

 

SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Payload and Program Data

Payload Designation:
SSEP5a – Falcon I (named for Apollo 15 Lunar Module)
SSEP5b – Falcon II

Number of Student Team Flight Experiments:
Falcon I: 7 experiments – 5 for Mission 3; 1 Mission 1 re-flight; 1 Mission 2 re-flight
Falcon II: 12 Mission 3 experiments

Payload: Suite of Fluids Mixing Enclosure (FMA) Mini-laboratories
Stowage: NanoRacks Express Rack on ISS

History:
The fifth SSEP flight opportunity—for SSEP Mission 3 to the International Space Station—was announced by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) on April 29, 2012, with an accompanying Video Clip by Center Director, Dr. Jeff Goldstein.

Current Status:
As of March 11, 2014: the SSEP Falcon 1 payload returned to Earth on Soyuz 35S on November 10, 2013; the SSEP Falcon II payload of experiments returned to Earth on Soyuz 36S on March 10, 2014.

A List of Important SSEP Mission 3 to ISS Subpages:
SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Critical Timeline
SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Mini-Laboratory Operation
SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Mission Patch Art and Design Competition
SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Flight Phase Operations
 SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Experiment Log

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.