The 11 crew members now living aboard the International Space Station had a short day on Friday following Thursday’s arrival of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission. The eight astronauts and three cosmonauts had a long night following the docking of the SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship.
The four Crew-5 members are now officially Expedition 68 flight engineers and will spend the next few days getting used to life on orbit and familiarizing themselves with space station systems. NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, have a long list of space experiments they will conduct during their stay on the orbital lab. The commercial crew quartet will study microgravity’s affects on the cardiorespiratory system, modeling heart tissue to improve therapies for spaceflight-caused health issues, and the 3D bioprinting of human organs and tissues for implantation, among multiple other types of research.
As the new crew gets up to speed with their new home in space, the other seven station crewmates continued their normal station science and lab maintenance activities for half-a-day on Friday.
NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Frank Rubio worked on a pair of different studies during the afternoon exploring how to grow crops and manufacture products in space. Watkins checked on vegetables growing for the XROOTS space agriculture study that uses hydroponic and aeroponic nourishing techniques. Rubio investigated taking advantage of weightlessness to improve the production and quality of fiber optic cables.
Commander Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) joined NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren collecting and processing their blood samples. Afterward, Lindgren partnered with Mann and transferred emergency hardware from the station into the newly-arrived Endurance crew ship.
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin spent their afternoon on their contingent of space research and life support maintenance in their segment of the space station.
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance have arrived at the International Space Station.
Following Dragon hatch opening at 6:49 p.m. EDT, Crew-5 joined the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.
NASA TV will end coverage at hatch opening and return for live coverage of the welcoming ceremony at 8:15 p.m.
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina arrived at the International Space Station Thursday Oct. 6, as the SpaceX Dragon Endurance docked to the complex at 5:01 p.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 258 miles above the west coast of Africa.
Following Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the crew aboard Dragon Endurance and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 6:42 p.m.
Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina will join the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-4 departs.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission.
Three astronauts and one cosmonaut are headed to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship today. The seven-member Expedition 68 crew worked half-a-day today before sleep-shifting Thursday afternoon to prepare for the rendezvous and docking of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission.
Crew-5 Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada, both NASA astronauts, with Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, are due to dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 4:57 p.m. EDT today. About two hours later, the commercial crew quartet will open the vehicle’s hatch and enter the orbiting lab. Finally, all 11 station crew members will gather for welcoming remarks at 8:05 p.m. NASA TV is providing live coverage of the rendezvous, docking, and crew greeting activities on the agency’s app and website.
In the meantime, NASA Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins spent the morning collecting their blood samples, spinning the samples in a centrifuge, and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. Afterward, the pair joined ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren and tested wearing a specialized garment that can manage blood pressure in microgravity. The orthostatic intolerance garment may help astronauts quickly adapt to the return to Earth’s gravity. The foursome is due to board the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship and parachute to a landing off the coast of Florida about a week after the Crew-5 mission arrives.
Astronaut Frank Rubio of NASA, just over two weeks into his first spaceflight, spent his morning on human research collecting and stowing his saliva and urine samples for later analysis, taking a hearing test, then completing a periodic health exam. First time cosmonaut Dmitri Petelin replaced electronics and ventilation components in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, on his second station mission, serviced an oxygen generator as part of standard life support maintenance.
It was a picture-perfect launch during a sun-splashed afternoon on Florida’s Space Coast, as NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission.
“The weather couldn’t have been better here at the Kennedy Space Center,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at Johnson Space Center in Houston, during a postlaunch news conference at Kennedy about 90 minutes after launch. “We didn’t have to look at any weather on a monitor, we could just look out the window and see a beautiful blue sky.”
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft – named Endurance – atop, lifted off from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A at noon EDT. Crew members are now a few hours into their 29-hour trip to the International Space Station for a science expedition mission.
“It was an outstanding launch,” said Joel Montalbano, manager of the International Space Station Program at Johnson. “Just a fantastic day to be in human spaceflight.”
Crew-5 marks the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina, and the fifth for Wakata. This is the sixth SpaceX flight with NASA astronauts – including the Demo-2 test flight in 2020 to the space station – as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Mann has become the first Native American woman in space.
After docking, Crew-5 crewmates will be welcomed inside the station by the seven-member crew of Expedition 68. The astronauts of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission will undock from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida later this month.
“These are real human endeavors, and there’s a team here that had to recover from the hurricane (Ian) last week,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. “The fact that we’re here today is a testimony to all the work that team did.”
Crew-5 is scheduled for a long-duration stay of up to six months aboard the space station before returning to Earth in the spring of 2023. The crew will conduct new scientific studies to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.
Planned experiments include studies on printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon, and advancing research in heart disease. These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during the Crew-5 mission.
Safely in orbit, Endurance remains on schedule for a rendezvous with the orbiting laboratory for tomorrow’s main activities.
“Dragon has completed its initial on-orbit checkouts and soon it will start performing a series of burns that will help it catch up with the International Space Station for docking tomorrow,” said Sarah Walker, director of Dragon Mission Management at SpaceX.
NASA TV and the agency’s website are providing comprehensive coverage of upcoming Crew-5 events. On Thursday, Oct. 6, live mission coverage begins at 3:15 a.m. EDT – continuing through Dragon spacecraft docking at 4:57 p.m. EDT, hatch opening at 6:42 p.m., and the welcome ceremony at the space station at 8:15 p.m.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina has safely reached orbit, and the nosecone has been opened.
At 1:30 p.m., NASA will host a postlaunch news conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be broadcast live on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Participants in the briefing will be:
Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson
Sarah Walker, director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX
Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
Sergei Krikalev, executive director, Human Space Flight Programs, Roscosmos
Crew-5 will dock at the space station on Thursday, Oct. 6, at approximately 4:57 p.m. EDT. Live mission coverage begins at 3:15 a.m. EDT and continues through Dragon spacecraft docking and the welcome ceremony at the space station.