Feature: February 19, 2017

SAGE III Lifts Off to the International Space Station

 

 

 

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III) on the International Space Station lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon spacecraft.

 

Launch was at 9:39 a.m. EST. The Falcon 9 punched through a low layer of clouds and disappeared from sight mere seconds after leaving the pad.

 

 

 

 

 

SAGE III (top right) and the nadir viewing platform (top left) are visible inside the Dragon capsule during spacecraft separation. Credits: SpaceX

“I am just ecstatic with launch and confirmation that we are safely on our way to the station,” said SAGE III Project Manager Mike Cisewski. “I’m also excited that we are one big step closer to getting the SAGE science data we’ve worked so hard to get. What a great day for the SAGE, ISS, and SpaceX team!”

 

During a live feed of the launch, the SAGE III payload was briefly visible during the successful separation of the Dragon capsule. It was a thrilling sight for SAGE III Project Scientist Joe Zawodny.

 

“Seeing the SAGE III payloads in the Dragon trunk when the second stage separated had my heart pounding,” he said. “It looked surreal. Everything looked to be in perfect shape. It is a pleasure to be working with everyone that got us to this point.”

 

The Dragon capsule carrying the instrument and nadir viewing platform will berth with the space station Wednesday, Feb. 22. After berthing, a robotic arm will take approximately two weeks to install the payloads on the outside of the station.

 

The instrument will measure Earth’s sunscreen, or ozone, along with other gases and tiny particles in the atmosphere called aerosols. SAGE makes its measurements by looking at the light from the sun or moon as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere at the edge, or limb, of the planet. The result is a thin profile of the atmosphere from the unique vantage point of the space station, which has an orbit ideal for SAGE measurements.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 with the CRS-10 Dragon lifts out of Launch Complex 39A on a mission bound for the International Space Station. Photo Credit: V

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 with the CRS-10 Dragon lifts out of Launch Complex 39A on a mission bound for the International Space Station. Photo Credit: Vikash Mahadeo / SpaceFlight Insider

 

Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station use a robotic arm to capture a SpaceX Dragon capsule delivering supplies on Ma

Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station use a robotic arm to capture a SpaceX Dragon capsule delivering supplies on March 3, 2013. NASA's commercial space program has enabled a partnership with American companies to resupply the station through the Commercial Resupply Services program. Credits: NASA