At 12:52 pm ET, July 13, 2014, the Orb-2 vehicle with the SSEP Mission 5 Charlie Brown payload of experiments blasted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, VA.
The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, with grappling at 6:39 am ET, followed by berthing to the Station’s Harmony node.
You’re invited to get up really early and watch live coverage of the grapple and berthing on NASA TV, starting at 5:15 am ET. Watch live in the NASA TV portal below.
Five SSEP student research teams gave a SSEP press conference to media at 8:30 am on launch day. Following the press conference, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden addressed the student researchers, telling them that NASA is inspired by their accomplishments. An overview of the Mission 5 experiments, the research teams, and the downloadable media package, were provided in the July 13, 2014, SSEP National Blog post.
We are expecting the Charlie Brown payload to be moved through the hatch onto Station either Wednesday or Thursday. All Mission 5 student flight teams are to stand by for start of flight operations, with concurrent operation of their ground truth experiments based on crew interactions reported via the SSEP Mission 5 to ISS: Experiment Log page.
Conducting a concurrent and identical experiment on the ground is critical. Once the flight experiment is returned to Earth, harvesting and comparison of both flight and ground truth experiments allows the role of gravity to be assessed in the physical, chemical, or biological system under study.
NanoRacks is standing by to relay details of all crew interactions with the experiments to NCESSE for posting on the SSEP Mission 5 to ISS: Experiment Log. The crew will inform Marshall Space Flight Center as activities occur, that information will then be relayed to Johnson Space Center, and then on to NanoRacks. The Log includes expected interactions for each experiment on the 5 Crew Interaction Days, and will be regularly updated to provide a formal record of when each interaction actually occurred. Flight teams will be notified of log updates. You can follow along with the flight of Charlie Brown by bookmarking the SSEP Mission 5 to ISS: Experiment Log page.
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.