American launch service provider, SpaceX, announced on their Twitter profile about putting into launch schedule for 2016 delivering NASA SAGE III experiment to International Space Station.
It is almost two years after first planned delivering date for SAGE III experiment. Originally scheduled for 2014 should be delivered during one of the first CRS missions contracted for SpaceX. Now it is sure that it will be delivered to ISS in unpressurized cargo section of the Dragon spacecraft in the end of 2016. Probably it will be delivered to ISS during CRS-10 mission scheduled for 21st November 2016.
SAGE III is science experiment by NASA and represents its fourth generation of research devices. Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment started in 1979 when first device installed inside satellite was launched on February 18, 1979 on atop of Scout-D1 rocket. Next SAGE devices were delivered to orbit in 1984 as payload on NASA’s ERBS satellite and in 2001 as payload on Meteor-3M Russian research satellite. SAGE III planned for 2016 is basically copy of the device which was installed inside of Meteor-3M with modifications for installing outside ISS on ExPRESS Logistics Carrier. NASA decided to build then two SAGE III with one designated to be installed on Meteor-3M and one as backup device or to be launched in future.
SAGE III science experiment is devoted to monitoring changes in atmosphere of Earth. It was designed by NASA’s Langley Research Center but manufactured by Ball Aerospace. It weighs 76 kg and is basically a spectrometer designed to measures ultraviolet and visible energy levels; its mission is monitoring temperature in the stratosphere and mesosphere and levels of water vapor and nitrogen dioxide. It is based on previous experiences and construction solutions from three previous SAGE units. For monitoring levels and composition of the atmosphere SAGE III will utilize Charge Coupled Device (CCD) 800 element array detectors combined with 16 bit A/D converter which gives spectral coverage fitting in the range 290nm – 1030 nm. SAGE III will be attached to ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (one from four will be chosen depending on availability of free space) after extracting it from unpressurized cargo section of Dragon. Operation will be performed with utilization of Dextre robotic arm used for ISS servicing; Dextre was made by MacDonald Dettwiler and is second robotic arm along with Canadarm2 made MacDonald Dettwiler. They are part of Mobile Servicing System, main robotic manipulators on International Space Station.
On picture above You can see ExPRESS Logistics Carrier pointed with red arrow.