NASA Updates Pre-Launch Briefings for SpaceX Resupply Mission to ISS

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)
SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract now is scheduled to launch at 6:20:29 a.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 6, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 5 a.m.

The prelaunch news conferences also have moved to Monday, Jan. 5, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All briefings, which are subject to a change in time, will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

The first briefing of the day will air at noon and cover the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) Earth science instrument headed to the space station. Participants for this briefing will be:

  • Julie Robinson, ISS Program chief scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Robert J. Swap, program scientist with the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Matthew McGill, CATS principal investigator at Goddard

The second briefing will air at 1:30 p.m. and cover some of the numerous science investigations headed to the space station. Participants for the science briefing will be:

  • Julie Robinson, NASA’s ISS Program chief scientist
  • Kenneth Shields, director of operations and education for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
  • Cheryl Nickerson, Micro-5 principal investigator at Arizona State University
  • Samuel Durrance, NR-SABOL principal investigator at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne

The final briefing will air at 4 p.m. and provide up-to-date information about the launch. Participants for the prelaunch briefing will be:

  • Mike Suffredini, NASA’s ISS Program manager
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for Mission Assurance at SpaceX
  • Maj. Perry Sweat, U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral  Air Force Station in Florida

An on-time launch on Jan. 6 will result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station on Thursday, Jan. 8. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 6 a.m. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will support Wilmore as they operate from the station’s cupola.

NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 8:15 a.m.

For an updated schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

For NASA TV schedule and video streaming information, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

  • Kirk

    Has there been any word about live coverage of the first stage recovery attempt?

  • Solartear

    We will be lucky if we accidentally hear “first stage re-entry burn” during the launch broadcast. They will not be giving any video/audio of it live during CRS coverage. Landing is expected to fail and no need to risk forever tainting their successful launch recording with a ‘failure’.

  • Hug Doug

    very unlikely to be any live coverage, but i’d expect whatever video SpaceX gets to be released a few weeks later, just like they did for the Grasshopper tests.

  • windbourne

    why would this taint it? They have been trying for multiple years to land a first stage, and it was only on the last 2 that they successfully made a ‘gentle landing’ on the ocean. And none of that tainted their launches.

    However, I will agree that a few would like to make a big deal of it if it fails.

  • windbourne

    Sadly, I agree.
    Sometime ago, I noted that SpaceX was dropping their coverage, and I was ripped for it. But, I will still stand by what I said then, which is that SpaceX is cutting back communications to avoid others from twisting their information (or possibly pointing out issues such as launch speeds).

  • Kirk

    I suppose that’s to be expected.

    Still, I had hoped that there would be a live webcast, hosted not by Musk, but by a young engineer who has worked on the recovery plans, and who could describe, with emotion in his or her voice, the myriad difficulties in their plan, their great hopes but low expectations for this first attempt, and then, when and if it does fail, their determination to carry on and try again. If done right and built up as an audacious and risky first attempt, even a failure could be a PR success.

  • JimNobles

    Whether the landing attempt succeeds or fails we’ll hear about it quickly. If it succeeds some video won’t be far behind. If it fails there probably won’t be that much to see anyway unless it’s real close.

    I’m a SpaceX fan but if that rocket even gets close to that barge it will be a miracle.

  • Kirk

    I’m surprised that they didn’t attempt additional propulsive landings on water (no barge), refining their landing precision (which must be a combination of prediction and maneuverability) before trying for the barge landing. I assume that they haven’t publicly released any information about how close to the expected target their previous landings were, but I was under the impression their earlier goals were more about making a soft landing than about hitting a fixed, imaginary target.

    I had imagined that their next step might be trying to land on a barge shaped array of pool-lane-marker-type-floats, pulled taut and held in place by some remotely controlled small boats, with video heli-drones launched at the last minute to film the landing from above, and that only after landing well inside the outline of the barge would they try for an actual barge. But they are going for the gold, and I wish them well.

    They haven’t released any information about how the stage will be secured to the barge upon landing, have they? I’ve tried to think of what automatic mechanism could be used to snare the legs, but I assume that they will just let it balance there with its wide legs and low center of mass until a crew reaches the barge to better secure the legs with cables or chains. I wonder if under certain winds and sea states it would not be considered safe to put such a crew onboard for fear of it toppling over while being secured.

    NHC’s Offshore Waters Forecast for zone AMZ113 is calling for 10-15 KT winds from the E, with 4-6 ft seas, down a bit from the 20 KT winds & 6-7 ft seas of this weekend.

  • JimNobles

    “…10-15 KT winds from the E, with 4-6 ft seas…”

    They may wish they’d lined the deck and the landing leg pads with industrial strength velcro… VelcroX.

  • windbourne

    Oh, I think that it will be close. Where I see the issues is that the barge can be kept in an XY position, BUT, if there are any waves, then the barge will be riding up and down as well as tilting. If it actually lands successfully, I will be impressed since they will have figured out some major heuristics.

  • windbourne

    This is why a small barge is a BAD idea.
    They should be using a semi-submersible oil platform, or an abandoned stationary oil platform.

    The semi-submersible are ideal for dealing with the Z axis and preventing the constant tilting that they are going to do.

    Hopefully, the weather will be calmer.

  • Solartear

    Just saw posted, seems SpaceX now says:

    if it is **successful** then they will show video of the landing during the webcast itself.

    Not “live coverage”, but maybe during the long, uneventful second stage burn.