Antares Roll Out to Pad 0-A Jan. 5, 2014 Photo-credit: Orbital Sciences

Antares Roll Out to Pad 0-A Jan. 5, 2014 Photo-credit: Orbital Sciences

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education and NanoRacks, are proud to announce that the SSEP Mission 4 Orion payload of 11 experiments, and SSEP Mission 3b Falcon II payload of 12 flight experiments, will be aboard the Orbital Sciences 1 (Orb-1) vehicle launching on Janaury 8, 1:32 pm ET, from Pad O-A Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). MARS is a commercial spaceport adjacent to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, on Wallops Island, VA.

See the NASA Media Release at the bottom of this post for more launch details, and for times of live coverage on NASA TV.

The 12 Mission 3b to ISS experiments represent the culmination of 5,600 grade 5-12 students engaged in microgravity experiment design across the 12 Mission 3b communities. A total of 1,097 flight experiment proposals were received from student teams. A formal 2-step proposal review process culminated in the Mission 3 Step 2 Review Board meeting at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and selecting the 12 Mission 3b flight experiments launching on Orb-1.

The 11 Mission 4 to ISS experiments launching on Orb-1 reflect 3,100 students fully engaged in experiment design across the 11 Mission 4 communities. The flight experiments were selected by the Mission 4 Step 2 Review Board from 744 flight experiment proposals.

Combined, 8,700 students participated in SSEP Missions 3b and 4 to ISS, and 23 flight experiments were selected from 1,841 experiment proposals.


SSEP Delegations at the Launch

77 SSEP students, teachers, administrators, and family members will be attending the launch of Orb-1, representing 7 SSEP communities. There will be 17 SSEP student researchers in attendance representing 6 flight experiment teams.

NASA has invited SSEP attendees to sit in on the formal briefings to the media on January 7. At NASA’s request, 9:30- 11:00 am ET on launch day,, the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program will provide  a briefing to the media, with SSEP student researchers providing an overview of their flight experiments.

See the Launch Viewing Plans page for more details.


Recent SSEP Flight Operations for Orb-1

8:00 pm ET, Sunday, December 29, 2014: NanoRacks prepped the refreshed mixture tube 1008-4 (Fitchburg, MA) for flight, pulled 1008-2 (Washington, DC) and 1011-4 (Jamestown, PA) out of freezer, and added these 3 experiment mini-labs to the 20 other experiments in the refrigerated payload boxes.

4:30 am ET, Monday, December 30, 2014: NanoRacks turns over the Mission 3b Falcon II and Mission 4 Orion payloads to the NASA Cold Stow team.

5:00 am ET, Friday, January 3, 2014: NASA Cold Stow turns over the refrigerated payloads for integration into the Cygnus spacecraft.

January 5, 2014: Antares rocket with Cygnus spacecraft rolls to Pad O-A (see photo above)

Projected launch: 1:32 pm ET, Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Projected grapple and berthing of Cygnus at Space Station: 6:02 am ET, Sunday, January 12, 2014

All student flight teams are now preparing for the start of both on-orbit and ground truth experiment operations as soon as January 12 (Day Arrival =0). Flight teams are using the SSEP Mission 4 and 3b to ISS: Experiment Log page to guide their ground truth activities.


January 6, 2014

NASA Television Updates Coverage for Orbital Sciences Mission to Space Station

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the Wednesday Jan. 8 launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft mission to resupply the International Space Station. The Antares rocket carrying Cygnus will lift off at 1:32 p.m. EST from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia.

Launch from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops originally was set for Tuesday, Jan. 7, but was postponed because of a forecast for unusually cold temperatures.

On Tuesday, NASA TV will broadcast two news briefings from Wallops. A preview of the mission’s science cargo will air at 2 p.m. and a prelaunch status will air at 3 p.m. Media wishing to ask questions during the briefing should call the newsroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at 281-483-5111 15 minutes prior to the briefing.

At 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, NASA TV will air a comprehensive video feed of launch preparations and other footage related to the mission. Launch coverage will begin at 1 p.m.

Cygnus will carry 2,780 pounds of supplies to the space station, including vital science experiments that will expand the research capabilities of the Expedition 38 crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory. The cargo also includes crew provisions, spare parts, science experiment hardware and 23 student experiments that will involve more than 10,000 students on the ground. These experiments will involve life sciences topics ranging from amoeba reproduction to bone calcium to salamanders.

The spacecraft will arrive at the space station Sunday, Jan. 12. Astronauts Michael Hopkins of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will capture the resupply vehicle with the station’s robotic arm and install it on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.

NASA TV coverage of capture and installation will begin at 5 a.m. Sunday. Grapple is scheduled for 6:02 a.m. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto the Harmony module will begin at 7 a.m.

This and future commercial resupply missions by Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., will help ensure a robust national capability to deliver critical science research to orbit, significantly increasing NASA’s ability to conduct new science investigations aboard the space station.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:

For more information about the mission, and for updated schedules of tours, briefings and NASA TV coverage, visit:

For video b-roll and media resources on the International Space Station, visit:

For more information about International Space Station, visit:


Trent J. Perrotto
Headquarters, Washington

Josh Byerly
Johnson Space Center, Houston


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)Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA Nebraska Space Grant Consortium, and Subaru of America, Inc. are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

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