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NASA TV Coverage Set for April 17 Cygnus Launch to International Space Station

NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the international Space Station at 4:46 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 17. The launch, as well as briefings preceding and following liftoff, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Loaded with 7,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, this Northrop Grumman’s 11th commercial resupply NASA-contracted mission. It will launch from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

About two-and-a-half hours after launch, an automated command will initiate deployment of the spacecraft’s solar arrays. Full deployment will take approximately 30 minutes.

The Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS Roger Chaffee, will arrive at the space station Friday, April 19. At about 5:30 a.m., Expedition 59 NASA astronaut Anne McClain will grapple the spacecraft using the station’s robotic arm. She will be backed up by David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. NASA astronaut Nick Hague will monitor Cygnus systems during its approach. After capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install Cygnus on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.

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Complete NASA TV coverage of launch activities is as follows:

Tuesday, April 16:

  • 1 p.m. – What’s on Board science briefing
    • Pete Hasbrook, manager, International Space Station Program Science Office
    • Liz Warren, associate program scientist, International Space Station National Lab
    • Andrew Zarechnak, Cygnus vehicle manager, Northrop Grumman
    • Maria G. Bualat, Astrobee Facility, Facility Deputy Group Lead, Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames Research Center
    • Dmitry Starodubov, Chief Scientist, Space Fibers
    • Trisha Rettig, post-doctoral fellow, and Nina Nishiyama, research associate, Rodent Research-12
    • Bob Twiggs, professor of Astronautics and Space Science at Morehead State University/Co-Inventor of the CubeSat, Twiggs Space LabMarty Estep, Antares program operations manager at Northrop Grumman; and Chris Hale, program manager for Virginia Space ThinSat Program
  • 4 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference
    • Pete Hasbrook, manager, International Space Station Program Science Office
    • Joel Montalbano, deputy manager, International Space Station Program deputy manager
    • Doug Voss, deputy chief of the Wallops Range and Mission Management Office
    • Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, Space Systems, Northrop Grumman
    • Kurt Eberly, Antares vice president, Northrop Grumman

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Wednesday, April 17:

  • 4:15 p.m. – Launch coverage begins
  • 7 p.m. – Cygnus solar array deployment coverage begins
  • 8:15 p.m. – Postlaunch news conference
    • Joel Montalbano
    • Frank DeMauro
    • Kurt Eberly
    • Pete Hasbrook

Friday, April 19

  • 4 a.m. – Coverage of Rendezvous and capture of Cygnus
  • 7 a.m. – Coverage of Cygnus installation operations

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Media registration for the launch and associated activities is closed. However, media may participate via phone in the What’s on Board briefing and prelaunch and postlaunch news conferences. Media interested in participating must contact Gina Anderson at gina.n.anderson for call details.

The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to remain at the space station until July 23, when it will depart, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, and then have an extended mission in orbit until December before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a scheduled fiery reentry and destruction in Earth’s atmosphere.

This will be the final mission under Northrop Grumman’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-1) contract with NASA before starting the CRS-2 contract missions this fall. Under Northrop Grumman’s contract, the company will fly 11 missions.

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1 Comment
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