If you’re a researcher with an experiment going up to the International Space Station (ISS), the days prior to launch are filled with excitement, and the upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch scheduled for Monday, August 14 is no exception! There’s a buzz around the offices and labs at the Kennedy Space Center complex, where many principal investigators, implementation partners, and team members conduct last minute preparations before their awarded Center for the Advancement in Space (the ISS National Lab) experiments head into low Earth orbit.
Twyman Clements, CEO and founder of Space Tango, spent his morning with fellow team members Gentry Barnett and Zach Jacobs, testing software and unpacking plants that they will place inside experiment modules. The Space Tango team is sending a total of 12 experiments to the ISS on the CRS-12 mission, including plant, bacteria, and fruit fly studies; many of them precursors to larger experiments going up to the ISS in the near future.
When asked about the emotions that the team might be feeling prior to launch, Clements said that their first few launches were filled with nervousness and excitement, but they’ve been sending experiments to the ISS for a while now. “We got our start in cubesats, doing satellites, and kind of moved over to this work on the space station,” said Clements, who pointed out that they’re now focused on that critical moment when everything is installed on station. “That’s really when the work that we’ve done comes to fruition,” continued Clements, who went on to say, “we have to show that all of that engineering… really worked out like we thought it would.”
“When it comes to the launch”, said Jacobs, “it’s kind of surreal.” After months of working on various experiment components, researchers grow accustomed to the ease and accessibility that comes with having everything right in front of them. Jacobs said that there comes a moment when they simply “rely on all of the work they’ve done in the past and hope that everything goes well—we know it will!”
To learn more about this experiment and other station research, visit www.spacestationresearch.com.