Science and Technology News

Monday, April 2, 2012

NASA To Hold Briefing Previewing SpaceX Mission To Space Station

Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
Josh Byerly/Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Kirstin Brost Grantham
Space Exploration Technologies, Hawthorne, Calif.
HOUSTON -- NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will hold a media briefing on Monday, April 16, to preview the SpaceX demonstration mission to the International Space Station, currently scheduled for launch April 30.

The briefing will immediately follow a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) conducted by senior NASA managers, space station partners and SpaceX officials. The review likely will conclude in the early afternoon. The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA Television and on the agency's website.

During the flight, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will conduct a series of checkout procedures, which will test and prove its systems in advance of the rendezvous with the space station. The primary objectives for the flight include a fly-under of the station at a distance of 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous. The spacecraft also will demonstrate the capability to abort the rendezvous.

If the checkout procedures go well, Dragon will perform the rendezvous while the station crew works inside the complex to grapple the vehicle with the station's robotic arm. Dragon will be berthed to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node. At the end of the mission, the crew will reverse the process, detaching Dragon from the station, after which Dragon will return to Earth and be recovered.

Briefing participants include:
-- William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations
-- Michael Suffredini, International Space Station program manager
-- Alan Lindenmoyer, Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program manager
-- Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive officer and chief designer
-- Holly Ridings, NASA flight director

Reporters can ask questions from participating NASA centers or via telephone by contacting the Johnson Space Center newsroom 15 minutes before the start of the briefing at 281-483-5111.

For those attending in person, the deadline for reporters to request credentials at Johnson is Monday, April 9, for international residents and Friday, April 13, for U.S. citizens.

Media can follow updates on the progress of the FRR and briefing start time by following NASA on Twitter at

For more information on the flight, visit

For more information on the International Space Station, visit

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

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