Friday, April 18, 2014

SpaceX CRS-3 Mission with Space Florida ISSRC Winners Project MERCCURI and HEART FLIES

Space Florida ran an ISS Research Competition (ISSRC) and 2 of the 7 winners LAUNCHED to the ISS on the +SpaceX / +NASA CRS-3 Mission on a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket inside the Dragon capsule. Space Florida paid for the flights with a special competition agreement with +NanoRacks. Photos are from payload integration of Project MERCCURI, the launchpad, the T-1 hour scrub, and then finally launch day on April 18th for Project MERCCURI and HEART FLIES! It was an honor to support this competition and help send science to the ISS. Looking ahead, I can't wait for CRS-4 and CRS-5 to send up the remaining 5 teams!
The ISSRC Logo
Project MERCCURI payload prep by +Carl Carruthers from NanoRacks in the Space Life Sciences Lab (SLSL) being expertly guided by Space Florida's Tony Gannon
Project MERCCURI microbes on dry ice at the Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF) at +NASA's Kennedy Space Center 
The Edge Lady inspects Project MERCCURI making sure the astronauts won't cut themselves on the hardware
The Project MERCCURI microbes with sharp edges touched up
The payloads are safe behind Cold Stowage doors
Tony and I hosted a reception with NanoRacks for the winners at Bacchae Wine Bar in Cape Canaveral
Jen and I in front of SpaceX's Launch Complex 40
Project MERCCURI and HEART FLIES in front of their payloads that are sitting on top of the rocket, unfortunately the launch was scrubbed with 1-hour left on the clock (April 14)
Maybe one day I'll get to ride a rocket to the ISS
Darlene (Project MERCCURI), Mila (HEART FLIES) and I in the KSC Press Site. They both had a bunch of interviews before the actual launch
Finally! Up up and away!
A Photoshop version to show the rocket and dark smoke. It was a cloudy day and the contrast wasn't great. Project MERCCURI, NanoRacks and Space Florida hung out together at OSB-II to watch the launch
There she goes, on her way to the ISS
Project MERCCURI is VERY happy about the launch FINALLY going!
About the ISSRC (from the press release I helped write)
The Space Florida ISS Research Competition was designed to inspire innovation as well as provide unique research opportunities and access to the ISS. Winners of the Space Florida ISS Research Competition were selected by an independent panel of 14 judges representing a variety of NASA centers, renowned national academic institutions, payload developers and commercial companies with interest in microgravity research. Judges reviewed proposals based on their potential for developing ‘breakthroughs’ in basic research on materials, biology and the environment, as well as fostering a greater understanding of complex drugs and remedies to improve life on Earth. The full press release is available HERE.

About Project MERCCURI
University of California-Davis, and
The Project MERCCURI team (Microbial Ecology Research Combining Citizen & University Researchers) has been gathering microbial samples at a variety of public venues around the country including football and basketball games, as well as sites of historic interest. Microbes from those swab samples will be delivered to the ISS and the growth/behavior of these microbes will be compared with duplicate cultures in Earth-based labs. Additionally, crewmembers will take swap samples on the ISS, which will be analyzed to understand the microbial community present on Station. Leading scientists on this project include Dr. +Jonathan Eisen, Dr. +David Coil, Dr. Jenna Lang, Mr. +Russell Neches, Ms. Wendy Brown, Ms. +Darlene Cavalier and Mr. Mark Severance.

Ohio State University, Stanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and NASA Ames Research Center
The HEART FLIES (Heart Effect Analysis Research Team conducting Fly Investigations and Experiments in Spaceflight) payload will be studying the effects of spaceflight on the function, morphology and gene expression in fruit fly hearts. These results are part of an effort to understand the cardiovascular effects of spaceflight on humans and provide improved countermeasures and treatments for future astronauts. The research is being led by Dr. Peter H. Lee, Dr. Sharmila Bhattacharya, Dr. Rolf Bodmer and Dr. Karen OIorr.

April 18 Falcon 9  •  SpaceX CRS 3
Launch time: 1925:22 GMT (3:25:22 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the fifth Dragon spacecraft on the third operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from April 6, Sept. 30, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Jan. 15, Feb. 11, Feb. 22, March 1, March 16 and March 30. Scrubbed on April 14. See ourMission Status Center. [April 18]


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