Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset)
Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset), which will launch to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring. It will be installed on the end of the station's Columbus laboratory. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center.
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The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract, carrying the ISS-RapidScat scatterometer instrument designed and built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 20, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station's partners and managers.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft loaded with more than 5,000 pounds (2, 270 kilograms) of scientific experiments and supplies, will lift off at 11:14 p.m. PDT Sept. 19 (2:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 20). NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 10:00 p.m. PDT (1:00 a.m. EDT). If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Saturday, Sept. 20, at approximately 10:53 p.m. PDT (Sunday, Sept. 21, at approximately 1:53 a.m. EDT).

The mission, designated SpaceX CRS-4, is the fourth of 12 SpaceX flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station. It will be the fifth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft's 2.5 tons of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations include critical materials to support 255 science and research investigations that will occur during the station's Expeditions 40 and 41.

Science payloads include the ISS-Rapid Scatterometer to monitor ocean surface wind speed and direction; new biomedical hardware that will help facilitate prolonged biological studies of rodents in microgravity; and a study of a small flowering plant related to cabbage that allows scientists to study plant growth and adaptations in space.

New technology demonstrations aboard the Dragon spacecraft include the Special Purpose Inexpensive Satellite, or SpinSat, to test how a small satellite moves and positions itself in space using new thruster technology and the 3-D Printing In Zero-G Technology Demonstration, the first 3-D printer in space.

NASA will host a series of prelaunch news conferences Thursday, Sept. 18, and Friday, Sept. 19, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which will be carried live on NASA TV and the agency's website.

During panel discussions Sept. 18 at 6, 7 and 8 a.m. PDT (9, 10 and 11 a.m. EDT), scientists and researchers will discuss the various science and research studies, including RapidScat, 3-D printing in Zero-G, technology to measure bone density, and model organism research using rodents, fruit flies and plants.

NASA senior leaders will host a briefing Sept. 19 at 6 a.m. PDT (9 a.m. EDT), followed by a prelaunch news conference at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT), at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All these briefings, which are subject to a change in time, will be carried live on NASA TV and the agency's website. A post-launch briefing will be held approximately 90 minutes after launch.

If launch occurs Sept. 20, NASA TV will provide live coverage Monday, Sept. 22, of the arrival of the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. Grapple and berthing coverage will begin at 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT) with grapple at approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT (7:30 a.m. EDT). Berthing coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. PDT (9:30 a.m. EDT).

The Dragon will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module for more than four weeks and then splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with almost two tons of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.

ISS EARTH SCIENCE: TRACKING OCEAN WINDS PANEL

Thursday, Sept. 18 (L-2 days): A panel titled ISS Earth Science: Tracking Ocean Winds will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at 6 a.m. PDT (9 a.m. EDT). NASA Television will provide live coverage, as well as streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the panel will be:

- Steve Volz, associate director for flight programs, Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters

- Howard Eisen, ISS RapidScat project manager, NASA JPL

- Ernesto Rodriguez, ISS RapidScat project scientist, NASA JPL

ISS RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY PANEL

Thursday, Sept. 18 (L-2 days): An ISS Research and Technology Panel will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT). NASA Television will provide live coverage, as well as streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the panel will be:

- Duane Ratliff, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)

- Mike Yagley, COBRA PUMA Golf, Director of Research and Testing

- Dr. Eugene (Gene) Boland, Techshot chief scientist

- Niki Werkheiser, 3D Printing in Zero-G project manager

ISS SCIENCE PANEL: MODEL ORGANISMS

Thursday, Sept. 18, (L-2 days): An ISS Science Panel on model organisms will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at 8 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT). NASA Television will provide live coverage, as well as streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the panel will be:

- Marshall Porterfield, division director, Space Life and Physical Sciences, NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

- Ruth Globus, project scientist, Rodent Habitat/Rodent Research-1

- Sharmila Bhattacharya, principal investigator, Ames Student Fruit-Fly Experiment

- Shiela Neilson-Preiss, principal investigator, Micro-8

- John Kiss, principal investigator, Seedling Growth-2, University of Mississippi

NASA 'VIEW FROM THE TOP' BRIEFING

Friday, Sept. 19 (L-1 day): A NASA "View from the Top" briefing will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at 6 a.m. PDT (9 a.m. EDT). NASA Television will provide live coverage, as well as streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the briefing will be:

- Sam Scimemi, International Space Station division director, HEOMD

- Jeff Sheehy, senior technologist for the Space Technology Mission Directorate

- Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist

PRELAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE

Friday, Sept. 19 (L-1 day): The prelaunch news conference will be held at Kennedy's Press Site at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT). NASA Television will provide live coverage, as well as streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the prelaunch news conference will be:

- Hans Koenigsmann, VP of Mission Assurance, SpaceX

- Dan Hartman, International Space Station Program

- Kathy Winters, launch weather officer, U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron

POST-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE

A post-launch news conference will be held at approximately 90 minutes after launch. NASA Television will provide live coverage, as well as streaming Internet coverage.

Participants in the post-launch news conference will be:

- Dan Hartman, International Space Station Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston

- Gwen Shotwell, SpaceX president

NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE

Saturday, Sept. 20 (Launch day): NASA TV live coverage will begin at 10:15 p.m. PDT Friday, Sept. 19 (1:15 a.m. EDT Saturday, Sept. 20) and conclude at approximately midnight PDT (3 a.m. EDT). For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA "V" circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor's countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 10 p.m. PDT (1 a.m. EDT). Launch audio also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.

IN-FLIGHT NASA TV COVERAGE

If launch occurs Sept. 20, NASA TV will provide live coverage Monday, Sept. 22, of the arrival of the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. Grapple and berthing coverage will begin at 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT) with grapple at approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT (7:30 a.m. EDT). Berthing coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. PDT (9:30 a.m. EDT).

NASA WEB PRELAUNCH AND LAUNCH COVERAGE

Prelaunch and launch day coverage of the SpaceX CRS-4 flight will be available on the NASA website. Coverage will include live streaming and text updates beginning at 10:15 p.m. PDT (1:15 a.m. EDT) as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video, podcast and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. You can follow countdown coverage on our launch blog and learn more about the SpaceX CRS-4 mission by going to the mission home page at:

http://www.nasa.gov/SpaceX

TWITTER

The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit:

http://www.twitter.com/NASAKennedy

FACEBOOK

The NASA News Facebook feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA Facebook feed, visit:

http://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy

RECORDED STATUS

Recorded status reports on the launch of SpaceX CRS-4 and associated prelaunch activities will be provided on the Kennedy media phone line starting Wednesday, Sept. 17. The telephone number is 321-867-2525.

WEB ACTIVITIES UPDATES AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For updates to these SpaceX CRS-4 prelaunch activities, go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/SpaceX

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

http://www.nasa.gov/stationnews

For further information about the International Space Station, research in low-Earth orbit, NASA's commercial space programs and the future of American spaceflight, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

For more information about SpaceX, visit:

http://www.spacex.com

For more information about ISS-RapidScat, visit:

http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/


News Media Contact

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
818-354-0474
alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
321-867-2468
george.h.diller@nasa.gov

Stephanie Schierholz
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1100
stephanie.schierholz@nasa.gov

Dan Huot
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
daniel.g.huot@nasa.gov

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