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Pre-Launch preparations

Spacex Falcon Heavy Dod Stp 2 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission launches from Launch Complex 39A, Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Four NASA technology and science payloads which will study non-toxic spacecraft fuel, deep space navigation, “bubbles” in the electrically-charged layers of Earth’s upper atmosphere, and radiation protection for satellites are among the two dozen satellites that will be put into orbit. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Written by Melissa Kacena

Monday, I finished a call with NASA in which we continued to work through the logistics associated with our upcoming launch.

One of the many challenges we face will be that our team needs to begin the final spaceflight hardware loading process 40 hours prior to launch.

Since the launch is scheduled in the evening on July 21, this means we will get a VERY EARLY start on the July 20 with a 3 am team meeting at Kennedy Space Center and then move our activities into the laboratory by 3:30 am.

From our prior spaceflight experience, we know it will take about 45 minutes to travel from our hotel in Cocoa Beach, get through badging/security at Kennedy Space Center, park and into the building.

Our alarm clocks will be blaring long before the sun will rise that day; however, if all goes well then we should be done by approximately 2 pm.

Hopefully we’ll have plenty of caffeine to give us the energy boost needed for the long day. And besides, I suspect the medical students will feel right at home with a middle-of-the-night start time, as we know patient care happens at all hours of the day!

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.
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Caitlin VanOverberghe

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she supports the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology. Having earned degrees in journalism and telecommunications ...