The Big Handover

Panorama capturing the handover excitement
A buzz of professional, okay giddy, yet nervous excitement filled the lab this morning as we prepared our flies for handover. Tomorrow, our rocket is scheduled to launch, and the SpaceX Dragon capsule needs to be loaded. As of now, the weather is starting to look ominously stormy, and we have a 50-60% chance of launching tomorrow, hence the nervous excitement.

The FFL-2 (Fruit Fly Lab -2) Team with our completed payload. (Dr. Karen Ocorr is missing due to a media event)
It was incredible getting to watch the team put the payload together. All of the flies we carefully set up last night were loaded into the VFBs and recorded. At all times, someone read the protocol while another person performed the actions. The room was full but silent otherwise, despite the entire FFL-2 team and NASA’s crew being present. Kevin did an excellent job integrating our payload into the CTB (cargo transfer bag). Then, we had time for a quick picture with our experiment before it was carted off to begin its journey to outer space.

After we watched our precious cargo go off toward bigger and better things, it was back to work in the lab. We must be prepared for a relaunch attempt in the event of a scrub. So, we are preparing a backup set just in case. I’m glad we are and don’t mind working another late night setting it up, but I sure hope we watch a launch tomorrow and don’t need them.

Our CTB getting carted off to begin its journey to space

So, I will be working a full day tomorrow as a contingency, but we are all taking a break to watch the launch attempt. It is scheduled for 5:55 eastern time. Please check out NASA TV Live  to watch with me tomorrow. I will keep you all updated on how it goes from my end.

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