APEX-05… Launch Day Slips

Well, it’s Monday December 11 and that’s past the 8th. Yup, launch delay. This comes with the territory of space research, so when we heard earlier in the week, we just got down to work for the new launch date, re-planning our pre-flight operations, re-scheduling flights home and most importantly, letting the folks looking after our pets in Madison know to feed the cats for a few more days. We’re now readying for launch tomorrow, December 12th, with a launch scrub (i.e. last minute launch cancellation) date of the 13th with a possible option to launch on the 15th.

On Saturday (Dec 9th), we spent pretty much the whole day planting up our seeds, wrapping them in foil and packing them into their foil flight bags.


Blue Nomex Bags hold our plates during their trip in the cold bag inside Dragon capsule from Earth to the ISS.

Yesterday we handed them over to the ‘cold stowage’ team. Our experiment goes up at 4˚C temperatures to help prevent premature germination and so gets packed with cold bricks to keep it cool for the trip. Watching the cold stowage team pack is pretty amazing. Let’s just say they probably all played a lot of Tetris growing up.


Our experiment packed by the Cold Stowage team into the Double Cold Bag with some bubble wrap, cold packs and items for 2 other experiments.

Today is Monday and we are in at Kennedy Space Center once again, this time to spend the day planting the mirror samples from Saturday for the ground controls for the experiment. The cold bags from Sunday are also being packed into the Dragon capsule today – as our experiment is perishable biology, we get “late stow”, with our samples being put on the rocket as late as possible before the launch. Tomorrow, we plan to watch the samples we plated out on Saturday start their 250 mile climb to the ISS on SpaceX-13. It’s 90% chance for a launch, and we’re all super-excited.


SpaceX’s mission patch for CRS-13, scheduled to launch on a “flight proven” Falcon9 rocket at 11:46am December 12, 2017.

Categories: Plants in Microgravity | Leave a comment

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