All posts by JD Taylor

NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station aboard SpaceX Resupply Mission

September 21, 2014

 – NASA news release –

Credit: NASA
  A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon cargo spacecraft on top launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-40 in Florida at 1:52 a.m. EDT, Sept. 21, 2014. The Dragon is carrying more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations includes critical materials to support 255 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 41 and 42.

Image Credit: NASA Television


About 5,000 pounds of NASA science investigations and cargo are on their way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The cargo ship launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:52 a.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21.

The mission is the company’s fourth cargo delivery flight to the space station through a $1.6 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon’s cargo will support experiments to be conducted by the crews of space station Expeditions 41 and 42.

One of the new Earth science investigations heading to the orbital laboratory is the International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer. ISS-RapidScat monitors ocean winds from the vantage point of the space station. This space-based scatterometer is a remote sensing instrument that uses radar pulses reflected from the ocean’s surface from different angles to calculate surface wind speed and direction. This information will be useful for weather forecasting and hurricane monitoring.

Dragon also will deliver the first-ever 3-D printer in space. The technology enables parts to be manufactured quickly and cheaply in space, instead of waiting for the next cargo resupply vehicle delivery. The research team also will gain valuable insight into improving 3-D printing technology on Earth by demonstrating it in microgravity.

New biomedical hardware launched aboard the spacecraft will help facilitate prolonged biological studies in microgravity. The Rodent Research Hardware and Operations Validation (Rodent Research-1) investigation provides a platform for long-duration rodent experiments in space. These investigations examine how microgravity affects animals, providing information relevant to human spaceflight, discoveries in basic biology and knowledge that may have direct impact toward human health on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft will also transport other biological research, include a new plant study. The Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) hardware has supported a variety of plant growth experiments aboard the space station. The BRIC-19 investigation will focus on the growth and development in microgravity of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings, a small flowering plant related to cabbage. Because plant development on Earth is impacted by mechanical forces such as wind or a plant’s own weight, researchers hope to improve understanding of how the growth responses of plants are altered by the absence of these forces when grown in microgravity.

Dragon is scheduled to be grappled at 7:04 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 23, by Expedition 41 Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, using the space station’s robotic arm to take hold of the spacecraft. NASA’s Reid Wiseman will support Gerst in a backup position. Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station in mid-October for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, bringing from the space station almost 3,200 pounds of science, hardware and crew supplies.

The space station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. NASA recently awarded contracts to SpaceX and The Boeing Company to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station with the goal of certifying those transportation systems in 2017.

Stephanie Schierholz
Headquarters, Washington

Dan Huot
Johnson Space Center, Houston


We have lift off! Obr-2 is headed for a linkup with the ISS.

Orbital Sciences launched July 13, 2014 after more then a month delay. It launched at the opening of it’s 5 minute window at 12:52 local time (16:52 UTC) from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Click to see full video
Lift Off!!

The Antares rocket with their third Cygnus spacecraft is a commercial resupply mission headed for the International Space Station with some much anticipated food and supplies. IMG_6650-MOTIONIMG_6744-MOTION


We have a “GO” for launch (Sunday July 13, 12:52pm EDT)

At a Launch Readiness Review Saturday, managers for Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, and NASA gave a “go” to proceed toward the Sunday, July 13 launch of the Orb-2 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Orbital is targeting a 12:52 p.m. EDT launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at noon.

There is a 90 percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch.

NASA TV will broadcast a prelaunch news briefing today from the Wallops visitors center at 4:30 p.m. The briefing will be carried live on NASA TV and the agency’s website at

For more information about the mission, visit: and

Orb-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS)

From Orbital:

Mission Update – July 3, 2014

Orbital has established July 11, 2014 as the targeted date for the launch of the Orb-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the second operational cargo resupply mission under the company’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The targeted launch time from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on July 11 will be 1:40 p.m. (EDT).

The engineering team that is investigating the failure of an AJ26 engine during an acceptance test at Stennis Space Center recommended that certain inspections be performed on the two AJ26 engines that are currently integrated on the Antares rocket. These inspections were recently completed and program officials have cleared the rocket for flight.

Leading up to the launch, the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft will be mated to the rocket today. After the loading of the final time sensitive cargo and installation of the rocket’s payload fairing, Antares will be rolled out to the launch pad on July 9. A launch on July 11 will result in a rendezvous and berthing with the ISS on July 15. The Cygnus spacecraft will deliver 1,657 kg of cargo to the ISS and will be loaded with approximately 1,346 kg of material for disposal upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

From NASA:

Orbital Sciences and the International Space Station Program officially have set Friday, July 11, as the launch date for the Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo craft on the Orbital-2 resupply mission to the space station.

Launch time on July 11 is 1:40:27 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA Television coverage will begin at 1 p.m.

A launch on July 11 will result in the rendezvous and grapple of Cygnus by Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency at 7:24 a.m. on Tuesday, July 15. Rendezvous coverage on NASA TV will begin at 6:15 a.m.

NASA TV also will provide coverage of Cygnus’ berthing to Harmony beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Cygnus will remain berthed to the station until August 15.



SubTec-6 – Sounding Rocket Flight Ends Prematurely with a Crash

Sounding Rocket Flight Ends Prematurely:

After a few days not launching due to boats in the range area, early this morning the Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket launched. Just seconds into the launch there was an issue with the second stage motor. This caused the rocket to go into a tumble and crash about one mile down range into the ocean at the northern edge of the hazard zone established by NASA. Good thing NASA makes sure the range is clear for boats.
Check out this video “NASA-TV Wallops” on @Ustream !
NASA Posted on July 2, 2014:

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.—The flight of a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility ended prematurely today at 4:36 a.m. EDT about 19 seconds after its launch.

Range controllers detected a flight anomaly with the second stage Improved Malemute motor; the vehicle flew to an altitude of 27,000 feet and impacted about one nautical mile downrange.

There were no injuries or property damage as the vehicle landed in the established hazard zone in the Atlantic Ocean, which was cleared prior to launch.

A NASA team will investigate the cause of the flight anomaly and more information will be released as it becomes available

For more mission information: Subtec-6 – NASA To Test Suborbital Rocket Technologies


SubTec-6 – UPDATE: Tuesday, July 1 Launch scrubbed

UPDATE: The SubTec-6 launch scheduled for Tuesday, July 1, has scrubbed due to boats in the hazard area and poor science conditions.  The countdown got to the last minute but the range remained RED due to boats in the area and the launch was scrubbed again.

The next launch attempt is Wednesday, July 2, with a launch window from 4 to 5 a.m., targeted launch time of 4:36 a.m.

The webcast should begin at 3 a.m. or so –

Full Story: Subtec-6 – NASA To Test Suborbital Rocket Technologies

SubTec-6 – UPDATE: Monday, June 30 Launch scrubbed

UPDATE: The SubTec-6 launch scheduled for Monday, June 30, has scrubbed due to boats in the hazard area and poor science conditions. The next launch attempt is Tuesday, July 1, with a launch window from 4 to 5 a.m.

The webcast will begin at 3 a.m.  –

Full Story: Subtec-6 – NASA To Test Suborbital Rocket Technologies

SubTec-6 – NASA to Test Suborbital Rocket Technologies

The Launch (SubTec-6):

On Saturday, June 28th 2014 NASA plans to launch a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.  The launch is expected between 4 and 5 a.m.  The backup launch days are June 29 through July 2.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

There are a number of ways to view or track the launch (besides USAinSpace).

Launch status also is available by phone on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.

Or Android users can download the “What’s Up at Wallops” app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing. The app is available for download at:

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

 The Mission:

The mission is to deploy a system for forming vapor clouds used to track the winds for studies of the ionosphere. This will be done using a CubeSat. CubeSats are low-cost satellites that come in a verity of configurations.  They have been deployed by small rockets, large rockets with other payloads and also sent to the ISS on cargo missions and deployed straight from the ISS.

This flight will test a sub-payload deployment method using small rocket motors like those used in model rockets to eject the sub-payloads from the main payload. Two sub-payloads contain mostly barium and small amounts of lithium and strontium.  They will burn these rapidly vaporizing them to form a cloud that will be used to help  measure the wind in the transition region between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. The vapor releases occur at approximately 220 seconds after vehicle lift-off between 68 and 86 miles above the Earth.

According to reports, the may be seen by residents in the mid-Atlantic region. So if you live anywhere even close, look up, you may see NASA clouds.


Wallops Island Flight Mission #ORB2 Delay

Delayed from June 10th, 2014 to no earlier than June 17 is now “No Earlier Than: July 1, 2014”.  Orbital 2 Commercial Resupply Services Mission to International Space Station #ISS.
 The Antares will launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Orbital 2 will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station.
Antares Rocket for Orb-2 [Photo by Orbital]
  The delay is due to an engine failure on an Antares AJ26 rocket engine during “hot fire testing” on a future 2015 mission rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne (main stage propulsion supplier for Orbital), along with Orbital and NASA engineers are investigating the failure. The July 1 date would be the soonest date. The actual date will be set once the rockets have been cleared for launch, hopefully early in July. I am looking forward to covering the launch from Wallops.

Continue reading Wallops Island Flight Mission #ORB2 Delay