SpaceEagles Experiment (Re)Set for SpaceX Launch in Mid-May 2017
Updated March 30, 2017
Officials at the Quest for Space headquarters in San Jose have informed Alta Loma Christian School that the planned April 9 launch of SpaceX mission CRS-11 to the International Space Station (ISS) will likely be moved to mid-May. SpaceX’s CRS-11 is scheduled to transport our SpaceEagles STEM Quest for Space Beta ISS Project software experiment to the ISS, inside a Dragon re-supply capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
While it is still possible that CRS-11 will launch on April 9, SpaceX has said that this would be the “earliest possible date” for liftoff. In the past, this has normally translated into being the front end date marking the start of a period of several weeks, during which the actual launch has typically taken place.
The CRS-11 mission is scheduled to liftoff from Launch Complex LC-39A, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Quest for Space experiment package—including ALCS’ robotic-controlling software experiment—will be loaded onto a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. That two-stage rocket will launch the 13th Dragon spacecraft on the 11th operational cargo delivery mission to the ISS. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.
“They already have our experiment, so our SpaceEagles student space science and engineering team has done its part,” explained ALCS Head of School, Dr. Vance Nichols. “Now it’s up to SpaceX and NASA to work with our other Quest for Space partners to lock-in a date for successfully launching and transporting our kids’ experiment to the space station.”
SpaceX’s successful launch last week of a communications satellite, EchoStar XXIII, from the same launch pad as CRS-11 is supposed to launch, helps clear the way for the CRS-11 mission and the transporting of ALCS’ experiment to the space station.
“We’re very excited to hear the news about the launch and that SpaceX will be our carrier to the ISS,” smiled Dr. Vance Nichols, ALCS head of school and one of the school’s team administrators.
At his previous school, Dr. Nichols’ high school students sent five experiments to the ISS during a two-year span, including their first set of experiments aboard a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket.
The upcoming launch will mark the first time in American space history that more than one middle school space science and engineering team will have experiments transported to the ISS, and the first time multiple software programs created by middle school students will be carried into orbit.
“I’m extremely excited that our very own middle school students—our SpaceEagles—will get the opportunity to make history,” explained an enthused Dr. Nichols. “Their work has been stellar, and they’ve overcome numerous challenges and obstacles to be part of this adventure.”