Finally, launch day! Although we have to wait for start of operations for a few more weeks, this day marks the major milestone of our project and the whole team was excited to follow the launch and early orbit phase of our experiment.
And not only our team got excited. When TU Berlin’s Public Relations team learned about our project, they used all available channels to popularize our work, including an article on TU Berlin’s homepage (http://www.tu-berlin.de/?196077) and various tweets (https://twitter.com/TUBerlin). Thanks for the support!!!
After the launch was delayed from Sunday to Monday due to bad weather conditions, the NASA operators gave GO for a launch windows around 4:44 a.m. Eastern Division Time (10:44 a.m. Central European Standard Time). The team gathered in our mission control center to watch the launch on NASA’s livestream. The whole team cheered when the launch of the Antares rocket was successful, the CYGNUS spacecraft undocked from the rocket and reached orbit safely.
People always ask when to cheer during a launch event. This is not easy to answer, as this depends on the mission, the rocket, the required maneuvers etc. Lift-off, stage separations, reaching space (above 100km), main engine cut-off are events that are worth cheering for. For media reasons, it’s never wrong to jump up and clap your hands as soon as the rocket lifts off and we did so accordingly.
We are more than happy that the launch was successful. The CYGNUS spacecraft will arrive and dock to the ISS on May 24th. Our experiment will then be stowed until installation. We now continue to work on the last operations software modifications and look forward to the installation and operations of MarconISSta.