Science and Technology News

Monday, January 12, 2015

45th Space Wing supports 5th SpaceX launch for ISS resupply mission

by 45th Space Wing
Public Affairs

1/10/2015 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla.  -- The 45th Space Wing supported Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) successful launch of their Falcon 9 Dragon spacecraft headed to the International Space Station from Space Launch Complex 40 here Jan. 10 4:47 a.m.

The mission, designated SpaceX CRS-5, is the fifth of 12 SpaceX flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station. It will be the sixth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provided support to the mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety and public affairs.

According to NASA, the science research aboard the Dragon includes the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), which will characterize and measure the worldwide distribution of clouds and aerosols -- the tiny particles that make up haze, dust, air pollutants and smoke; model organism research using fruit flies to study the biological effects of spaceflight; and, a new study using flatworms to better understand wound healing in space.

The Dragon spacecraft 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, bringing with it almost two tons of experiment samples and equipment from the station, according to NASA.

Col. Shawn Fairhurst, 45th Space Wing Vice Commander, and the Eastern Range's Launch Decision Authority for the mission, congratulated the entire team for beginning the year with another successful launch.

"It was a team effort that made today's mission a success! I want to thank our 45th Space Wing team, and congratulate our mission partners from both Space X and NASA on today's launch," said Fairhurst.

"There is no such thing as a routine launch and today added a layer of complexity, of which we have not seen before. In the past we have always been responsible for maintaining positive control of the rocket on ascent to orbit. Today, we not only managed what went up, but we also managed what came back down, supporting SpaceX's efforts to certify the flyback of the Falcon 9's first stage," he added.

"Team Patrick-Cape rose to meet the day's challenge, and started the new year off right by delivering 100 percent mission success, just 10 days into 2015. We will take today's momentum and use it as a foundational building block toward executing 24-scheduled launches this year," he said.

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