Last Tuesday a team of students traveled to Kennedy Space Center to deliver NanoRack-2, CubeLab-3 and CubeLab-4, meeting the "on-dock" date for a May flight on Shuttle Atlantis to the ISS (STS-132/ULF4).
After delivery, we made our way to another wing of the massive maze-like Space Station Processing Facility to visit NanoRack-1, FIRSTLab, and CubeLab-2, which were already sealed in a cargo transfer bag ready for loading into the cargo modules for Shuttle Discovery (STS-131/19A). Next we checked out Endeavor which was on the pad 39A ready for launch in February. Finally, we paid a visit to the Shuttle Payload Processing Facility and got to see the impressive SPACEHAB module, the ULF4 platform packed with supplies for station, and the Russian MRM-1 module and airlock that will be added to the ISS as part of of the STS-132 mission (and, coincidentally, will fly to orbit with Rack-2 and CubeLab-3 and CubeLab-4 nestled inside).
On Monday this week, another team traveled to NASA Wallops to integrate the SOCEM payload and the mass models for the SOCEM satellites for vibration testing, spin-balance and a test deployment of the satellites. The payload section is much bigger than than we expected and it was amazing to see it integrated. All of the testes were completed successfully, culminating in a successful test deployment on Wednesday, and clearing the way for integration of the flight models in a few weeks. The launch window opens at 10a ET on February 24.
At the same time, another team of students traveled to NASA Marshall to attend a series of meetings to discuss the ins and outs of operating payloads on the ISS. Finally, as you probably heard, NASA Launch Services announced this week that KySat-1 our first orbital free-flying satellite is officially manifested on the Glory Mission. Pictures of all these events to follow soon (except for the MRM-1 which we can not post). This has been quite a week, I can't wait to see what happens next week. Stay tuned here to find out!
Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Kentucky
Faculty Advisor, Kentucky Space