Dragon Docks to Station with Solar Arrays and Science

Nov. 27, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including the Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft and Crew Dragon Endurance, and Russia's Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 81 and 82 resupply ships.
Nov. 27, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including the Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft and Crew Dragon Endurance, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 81 and 82 resupply ships.

While the International Space Station was traveling over the Pacific Ocean, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module at 7:39 a.m. EST, with NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada monitoring operations from the station.

The Dragon launched on SpaceX’s 26th contracted commercial resupply mission for NASA at 2:20 p.m. EST, Saturday, Nov. 26, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dragon spends about one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station are:

Big Hopes for Small Tomatoes

A continuous source of nutritious food is essential for long-duration exploration missions, and the typical pre-packaged astronaut diet may need to be supplemented by fresh foods produced in space. Researchers have been testing a plant growth unit on station known as Veggie and have successfully grown a variety of leafy greens. Veg-05, the next step in that work, focuses on growing dwarf tomatoes.

Picture of Health

Moon Microscope tests a kit for in-flight medical diagnosis that includes a portable hand-held microscope and a small self-contained blood sample staining device. An astronaut collects and stains a blood sample, obtains images with the microscope, and transmits images to the ground, where flight surgeons use them to diagnose illness and prescribe treatment.

The kit could provide diagnostic capabilities for crew members in space or on the surface of the Moon or Mars, as well as the ability to test water, food, and surfaces for contamination. The hardware also may enable improved medical monitoring on upcoming Artemis and Gateway missions.

Building Bigger Structures

On Earth, gravity deforms large objects such as the beams used in large-scale construction. Microgravity enables fabrication of longer and thinner structures without this deformation. Extrusion demonstrates a technology using liquid resin to create shapes and forms that cannot be created on Earth. Photocurable resin, which uses light to harden the material into its final form, is injected into pre-made flexible forms and a camera captures footage of the process. The capability for using these forms could enable in-space construction of structures such as space stations, solar arrays, and equipment.

The Space Exploration Initiative supports a range of microgravity and lunar research across science, engineering, art, and design. The experiment is packed inside a Nanoracks Black Box with several other experiments from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and is sponsored by the ISS National Lab.

On-Demand Nutrients

Supplying adequate nutrition is a major challenge to maintaining crew health on future long-duration space missions. Many vitamins, nutrients, and pharmaceuticals have limited shelf-life, and the ability to make such compounds on-demand could help maintain crew health and well-being. BioNutrients-2 tests a system for producing key nutrients from yogurt, a fermented milk product known as kefir, and a yeast-based beverage.

The investigation kicks off phase two of the five-year BioNutrients program, headed by NASA’s Ames Research Center and managed by Game Changing Development in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The program began with the launch of BioNutrients-1 in 2019. BioNutrients-2 employs a smaller system with a heated incubator that promotes growth of beneficial organisms.

The researchers also are working to find efficient ways to use local resources to make bulk products such as plastics, construction binders, and feedstock chemicals. Such technologies are designed to reduce launch costs and increase self-sufficiency, extending the horizons of human exploration.

Adding Solar Power

Two International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays, or iROSAs, launched aboard SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply mission for the agency and were installed in 2021. These solar panels, which roll out using stored kinetic energy, expand the energy-production capabilities of the space station. The second set launching in the Dragon’s trunk once installed, will be a part of the overall plan to provide a 20% to 30% increase in power for space station research and operations.

These arrays, the second of three packages, will complete the upgrade of half the station’s power channels. iROSA technology was first tested on the space station in 2017. Roll-out solar array technology was used on NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission and is planned for use on the Gateway lunar space station, a vital component of NASA’s Artemis program. The iROSA upgrades use the space station as a proving ground for the technology and research needed to explore farther into space.

Easing Gravity Transitions

Travelers to space all face the transition from one gravity field to another. On future exploration missions, astronauts may encounter three different gravity fields: weightlessness while traveling in space, the gravity of another planet, and Earth’s gravity when they return. These transitions can affect spatial orientation, head-eye and hand-eye coordination, balance, and locomotion, and cause some crew members to experience space motion sickness.

The Falcon Goggles hardware captures high-speed video of a subject’s eyes, providing precise data on ocular alignment and balance.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars through NASA’s Artemis missions.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Dragon Cargo Craft Arriving at Station Live on NASA TV

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo craft lifts off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station on Nov. 26, 2022.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo craft lifts off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station on Nov. 26, 2022.

The SpaceX Dragon is on track to arrive at the International Space Station today, Sunday, Nov. 27, with an expected docking of the cargo spacecraft at about 7:30 a.m. EST. Live coverage is underway on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

When it arrives at the space station, Dragon will dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.

Dragon successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 2:20 p.m. EST, Saturday, Nov. 26, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 7,700 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies to the International Space Station.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Station Power Channel Handover Completed, No Impact to Operations

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place on Nov. 8, 2021.
The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place on Nov. 8, 2021.

On Nov. 23, the team in Mission Control Houston performed a change in electrical power routing to remove one of the eight International Space Station power channels from use. This procedure was performed in response to unexpected readings and intermittent tripping of the 1B power channel in the overnight hours. When the power channel tripped, the batteries were no longer charged at expected levels so flight operators moved the 1B powered equipment from 1B to 1A. Space station systems are in a stable configuration, and the team is evaluating the event and discussing forward plans. Upcoming space station operations including Saturday’s launch of NASA and SpaceX’s 26th commercial resupply mission, as well as spacewalks are not impacted.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Roscosmos Spacewalk Postponed

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are pictured conducting a six-hour and 25-minute spacewalk in their Orlan spacesuits on Nov. 17, 2022.
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are pictured conducting a six-hour and 25-minute spacewalk in their Orlan spacesuits on Nov. 17, 2022.

Today’s spacewalk with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin was postponed due to an issue with the water coolant system pump on Prokopyev’s Orlan spacesuit. The team is in the process of returning onboard systems to a nominal configuration. The duo, with assistance from European robotic arm operator Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, were slated to relocate a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka science module on the International Space Station.

Today’s spacewalk would have continued the duo’s previous spacewalk on Nov. 17 where they prepared the radiator for its relocation. A back-up date for today’s spacewalk is to be determined.


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Crew Goes into Thanksgiving with Spacewalk and Dragon Preps

The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia's island state of Tasmania.
The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

Four Expedition 68 astronauts will relax on Thanksgiving day as three cosmonauts continue preparing for a spacewalk on Friday. The International Space Station residents are also expecting a space delivery this weekend bringing new roll-out solar arrays and science experiments.

Three NASA astronauts and one astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spent Wednesday performing numerous research, cargo, and maintenance tasks. The quartet will also be off-duty the next day observing the U.S. holiday before going into a busy weekend.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio turned on the Ultrasound 2 device on Wednesday and scanned the leg, neck, and shoulder veins of JAXA Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata to observe the effects of microgravity on humans. Earlier, Rubio had partnered with fellow NASA astronaut Josh Cassada and inspected spacewalking tethers before participating in a NanoRacks botany experiment. Wakata checked ethernet connections inside the Columbus laboratory module.

Cassada began his day filming a demonstration showing how to measure the mass of everyday objects in weightlessness. Afterward, he unpacked cargo from the Cygnus space freighter that arrived on Nov. 9. NASA Flight Engineer Nicole Mann spent most of Wednesday working on life support maintenance in the Harmony module. She wrapped up her day organizing cargo that will be packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for return to Earth after it arrives in a few days.

The Dragon resupply ship is attached to the top of the Falcon 9 rocket and is standing at the launch pad targeting a liftoff at 2:20 p.m. EST on Saturday from Kennedy Space Center. It will arrive on Sunday for an automated docking at 7:30 a.m. to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. Dragon will deliver a pair of new roll-out solar arrays, new space agriculture and biotechnology studies, and food, fuel, and crew supplies. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its launch coverage at 2 p.m. on Saturday and docking coverage at 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are outfitting their Orlan spacesuits and checking them for leaks ahead of a spacewalk scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. on Friday. The duo will spend about seven hours on Friday relocating a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Cosmonaut Anna Kikina readied the European robotic arm and practiced the robotics maneuvers today she will use to help the spacewalkers move the radiator at the end of the week.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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SpaceX CRS-26: Scrubbed; NASA, SpaceX Now Targeting Nov. 26 for Launch

Due to poor weather conditions in the area along Florida’s Space Coast for today’s planned launch of SpaceX’s 26th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX and NASA now are targeting liftoff for 2:20 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 26, from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Launch coverage will begin at 2 p.m. EST on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

A launch Saturday would lead to docking Sunday, Nov. 27, for the Dragon to deliver important research, crew supplies and hardware to the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory. Docking coverage will begin at 6 a.m. with the spacecraft planned to arrive at the space station around 7:30 a.m.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Preparing for Spacewalks as Cargo Dragon Launch Nears

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are pictured conducting a six-hour and 25-minute spacewalk in their Orlan spacesuits on Nov. 17, 2022.
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are pictured conducting a six-hour and 25-minute spacewalk in their Orlan spacesuits on Nov. 17, 2022.

The Expedition 68 crew continues gearing up for more spacewalks at the International Space Station before the end of the year. Meanwhile, a U.S. cargo craft is counting down to its launch this week to resupply the seven-member crew living aboard the orbiting lab.

Two astronauts and two cosmonauts are preparing for five spacewalks to be conducted outside the space station in less than two months. One set of spacewalks is augmenting the station’s power generation system. The other set of spacewalks is deploying a radiator and installing an airlock on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio prepared the station for new roll-out solar arrays during a spacewalk on Nov. 15 after assembling a mounting bracket on the station’s starboard truss structure. The roll-out solar arrays are due to be installed on the new mounting bracket on Nov. 29 by a pair of spacewalkers soon to be named by mission managers. On Monday, Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata reviewed the robotics procedures necessary to support the successful installation of the solar arrays

The roll-out solar arrays are packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon is scheduled to lift off atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 3:54 p.m. EST on Tuesday and arrive at the station for an automated docking at 5:57 a.m. on Wednesday. Dragon is also delivering new space agriculture and biotechnology studies, as well as food, fuel, and crew supplies. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its launch coverage at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and docking coverage at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

After Dragon is docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing, or zenith port, robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach and remove the roll-out solar arrays from Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. The controllers will then remotely guide the Canadarm2 to stage the roll-out solar arrays on truss structure attachment points. From there the spacewalkers will access the solar arrays to begin the upcoming installation work.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent Monday setting up the Poisk airlock, organizing tools, and studying procedures for their second spacewalk together planned to begin at 6:15 a.m. on Friday. The duo, with assistance from European robotic arm operator Anna Kikina, will relocate a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka science module. The Roscosmos spacewalkers prepared the radiator for its relocation during a spacewalk on Nov. 17.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Station Awaits One Dragon, Five Spacewalks Before End of Year

Astronaut Nicole Mann (center) assists astronauts Josh Cassada (left) and Frank Rubio (right), suited up in their Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU), or spacesuits, before starting a spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2022.
Astronaut Nicole Mann (center) assists astronauts Josh Cassada (left) and Frank Rubio (right), suited up in their Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU), or spacesuits, before starting a spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2022.

The International Space Station is due to welcome a U.S. cargo craft after it launches from Florida next week. In the meantime, the Expedition 68 crew is staying focused on completing five more spacewalks for assembly and installation work before the end of the year.

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is due to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 3:54 p.m. EST on Tuesday and take a daylong trip to the orbiting lab. It will automatically dock to the space-facing, or zenith port, on the station’s Harmony module at 5:57 a.m. on Wednesday. Dragon is delivering new space agriculture and biotechnology studies, as well as the next pair of rollout solar arrays to augment the station’s power generation system. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its launch coverage at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and docking coverage at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

After Dragon completes is delivery mission to the space station, robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract two rollout solar arrays from inside the U.S. space freighter’s trunk. The remotely controlled Canadarm2 will then stage the rollout solar arrays on truss segment attachment points to be retrieved on a pair of spacewalks planned for Nov. 29 and Dec. 3. Two yet-to-be-named Expedition 68 astronauts will remove the rollout solar arrays from their attachment points then install them at the base of the two main solar arrays on both the port and starboard truss segments.

NASA Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann trained Friday on a computer for Dragon’s automated arrival on Monday. The duo studied approach and docking procedures and reviewed the upcoming cargo unpacking activities. The astronauts were joined at the end of the day by Flight Engineers Frank Rubio of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for a conference with NASA and SpaceX mission controllers.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin completed the first of four planned Russian spacewalks this year at 4:07 p.m. EST Thursday. The two Roscosmos cosmonauts spent six hours and 25 minutes in their Orlan spacesuits preparing a radiator for its relocation from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module where it will be installed on an upcoming spacewalk.

The duo has three more spacewalks to complete before the end of the year with the next excursion set for Friday, Nov. 25. The Roscosmos spacewalkers, with assistance from the European Robotic Arm (ERA) controlled by Flight Engineer Anna Kikina, will move the radiator from Rassvet to Nauka and make electrical and hydraulic connections. The next two Russian spacewalks, on Dec. 6 and 21, will see Rassvet’s airlock transferred and installed to Nauka using the ERA, then the deployment of the newly relocated radiator attached to Nauka.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cosmonauts Finish Spacewalk for Work on Science Module

Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin work on the outside of the Rassvet module on Nov. 17, 2022, during the first of four Russian maintenance spacewalks planned before the end of the year. Credit: NASA TV
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin work on the outside of the Rassvet module on Nov. 17, 2022, during the first of four Russian maintenance spacewalks planned before the end of the year. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 68 Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both of Roscosmos, concluded their spacewalk at 4:07 p.m. EST after 6 hours and 25 minutes.

Prokopyev and Petelin completed their major objective, preparing a radiator on the Rassvet module for installation on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

This was the third spacewalk in Prokopyev’s career, and the first for Petelin. It was the tenth spacewalk at the station in 2022 and the 255th spacewalk for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cosmonauts Begin First in a Series of Spacewalks for Station Maintenance

Spacewalkers Prokopyev and Petelin opened the hatch of the Poisk airlock at 9:39 a.m. EST today, beginning their spacewalk.
Spacewalkers Prokopyev and Petelin opened the hatch of the Poisk airlock at 9:39 a.m. EST today, beginning their spacewalk.

Expedition 68 Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both of Roscosmos, began a spacewalk at 9:39 a.m. EST to prepare hardware on the Rassvet module for installation on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module by opening the hatch of the Poisk docking compartment airlock. Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

The duo is preparing a radiator on Rassvet for its move to Nauka.

Prokopyev is wearing a Russian spacesuit with red stripes, while Petelin is wearing a Russian suit with blue stripes. This is the third spacewalk in Prokopyev’s career, and the first for Petelin. It is the tenth spacewalk at the station in 2022 and the 255th spacewalk for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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