As a former girl scout I have heard the saying many times, “be prepared.” You have also probably heard the saying “hope for the best but plan for the worst”. I think this is NASA’s unwritten motto. While we hope that once an official launch date is provided, everything else will go according to plan, we must prepare for the worst case scenario as well.
What is the best case?
In the best case scenario, we arrive to Kennedy Space Center 7-10 days prior to launch. 3 days before launch, the mice undergo surgery. 1 day before launch, the mice are placed on the SpaceX Dragon. The launch occurs as scheduled or within 2 days, so that the only additional mouse surgeries required are those for our ground controls, which are delayed 3-4 days from flight so that we can mimic what occurs in spaceflight. The ground control surgeries are completed the day after launch, at which point the majority of the team members fly home.
The worst case scenario is that the launch is delayed for 8 weeks. This happened once out of the 9 SpaceX launches, thus the required scenario planning. This means we will have to have a large team in place for 9-10 weeks. As you can imagine as many of our team members are students, it is difficult for many to be away for long periods of time. We are hoping that most will be away for just over a week, and about 7 people will be away for 2 weeks. But, if there are delays we will have to rotate individuals. Lots of preparations are occurring and schedules are being changed, on a weekly, if not daily basis as we get close to the launch date.
Written by Melissa Kacena
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.