NASA Television will provide live coverage of the upcoming Orbital Sciences Corp.'s mission to resupply the International Space Station.
Orbital's Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Launch Pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Sunday, July 13 at 12:52 p.m. EDT (1752 GMT).
NASA TV will air a comprehensive video feed of launch preparations and other footage related to the mission beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT. Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at noon EDT.
The Cygnus will be filled with more than 3,000 pounds of supplies for the station, including science experiments to expand the research capability of the Expedition 40 crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware.
Among the research investigations headed to the space station aboard Orbital-2 are a flock of nanosatellites that are designed to take images of Earth, developed by Planet Labs of San Francisco; and a satellite-related investigation called TechEdSat-4 built by NASA's Ames Research Center in California, which aims to develop technology that will eventually enable small samples to be returned to Earth from the space station. In addition, a host of student experiments are being flown in association with the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, an initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks.
This and future commercial cargo resupply flights will ensure a robust national capability to deliver critical science research to orbit, significantly increasing NASA's ability to conduct new science investigations to the only laboratory in microgravity.
If Cygnus launches as scheduled, the spacecraft will arrive at the space station on Wednesday, July 16. Station commander Steven Swanson of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency will be standing by in the station’s cupola to capture the resupply craft 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 5:15 a.m. EDT (1015 GMT) on July 16. Grapple is scheduled at approximately 6:37 a.m. EDT. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto Harmony will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT.