Watch NASA TV to see Russian Rocket Blast Off to Station

The Prgress Spacecraft
The Progress spacecraft is seen at the launch vehicle processing facility in Kazakhstan before being rolled out to the launch pad. Credit: RSC Energia

At 5:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 16, NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of an unpiloted Russian Progress spacecraft carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 48 crew aboard the International Space Station.

Launch of ISS Progress 64 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 5:41 p.m. (3:41 a.m. Baikonur time July 17). Watch live on NASA TV: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress 64 is scheduled to link up to the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station at 8:22 p.m. Monday, July 18. It will remain docked to the station for more than six months.

The Expedition 48 crew will monitor key events during Progress 64’s automated rendezvous and docking. Three of the six crew members recently arrived on station and are preparing for back-to-back cargo deliveries. First-time flyer NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) joined Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos aboard their orbital home July 9.

On the heels of this cargo launch, SpaceX’s ninth commercial resupply services mission for NASA is scheduled to deliver nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station. The SpaceX Dragon capsule is targeted to launch at 12:45 a.m. Monday, July 18, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon will carry critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 48 and 49.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 64 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Crew Training for the Arrival of Two New Spaceships

Astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins
Astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins talk to journalists from La Crosse, Wis., and Reuters Science. Credit: NASA TV

A Russian Progress 64 (64P) cargo craft is getting ready for a Saturday launch to the International Space Station. A private U.S. space freighter, the SpaceX Dragon, is also getting prepared for a launch early Monday morning.

Both spacecraft will take two-day trips to the orbital laboratory. Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin are practicing manual docking techniques in the unlikely event the 64P is unable to dock automatically Monday night. Commander Jeff Williams is also training for the robotic capture of Dragon when it arrives Wednesday morning.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins set up hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox to prepare for the Heart Cells experiment flying on Dragon next week. The study will explore how living in space affects heart muscle tissue changing its shape and gene expression.

Pair of Cargo Ships Getting Ready for Launch to Station

Expedition 48-49 Crew Members Kate Rubins and Anatoly Ivanishin
Expedition 48-49 crew members Kate Rubins (left) and Anatoly Ivanishin are pictured during their first day aboard the orbital laboratory.

The Expedition 48 crew is getting ready for next week’s arrival of a pair resupply ships. The station residents are also continuing space research benefitting life on Earth and future crews.

The first cargo craft due next week is the Progress 64 (64P) resupply ship and will launch Saturday at 5:41 p.m. EDT. The 64P will take a two-day trip, or 34 Earth orbits, and dock Monday at 8:22 p.m. to the Pirs docking compartment.

SpaceX will launch its ninth commercial cargo mission Monday at 12:44 a.m. delivering the first of two international docking adapters. The Dragon cargo craft will also be carrying new science gear to enable DNA sequencing and a bone loss study. Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are setting up communications gear and training for the robotic capture of Dragon when it arrives early Wednesday.

Back inside the orbital lab, the six station residents continued ongoing human research to understand how living in space affects the human body. A Russian experiment looked at how weightlessness affects blood flow in the carotid artery. A U.S. study is exploring the efficacy of medicine, symptom relief and side effects during long-term space missions.

Expanded Crew Trains for SpaceX Dragon Capture

The Soyuz MS-01 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is pictured docked to the Rassvet module after its arrival Saturday morning.

The newly-expanded Expedition 48 crew is preparing for next week’s arrival of the ninth SpaceX mission. In the meantime, the International Space Station’s newest trio is getting used to their new home in space and conducting science and maintenance with their crewmates.

New astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi joined Commander Jeff Williams and trained for the robotic capture of the SpaceX Dragon. The Dragon cargo craft is scheduled to launch early July 18 from Florida and arrive at the station two days later. Dragon will deliver an international docking adapter and new science experiments to sequence DNA and understand bone loss.

Meanwhile, Rubins and Onishi along with veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin are familiarizing themselves with the orbital laboratory and its systems. The trio arrived Saturday morning after a two-day trip inside the upgraded Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft. Rubins and Onishi are on their first space mission. Ivanishin is on his second mission and was last aboard the station from November 2011 through April 2012 as an Expedition 29-30 Flight Engineer.

Science Ops Continue as Crew Waits for New Arrivals

Lift-off of the Expedition 48-49 Crew
The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with Expedition 48-49 crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi onboard. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A new set of Expedition 48 crew members is on its way to the International Space Station after launching Wednesday night (Thursday morning Baikonur time) aboard the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft. The trio from Japan, Russia and the United States will arrive at their new home in space early Saturday morning for a four-month stay.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin is commanding the Soyuz spacecraft that is carrying him and first time astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi to the orbital laboratory. They will dock to the Rassvet module Saturday at 12:12 a.m. EDT, open the hatches about two-and-a-half hours later and begin a mission scheduled to last until October. NASA TV will cover the docking activities beginning at 11:30 p.m.

While they wait for the new arrivals, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin are keeping up science operations and lab maintenance work. They have been aboard the station since March 18 and are due to return to Earth in September.

Williams installed gear in the Japanese Kibo lab module today for a new life science experiment set to arrive on the next SpaceX mission. Next he configured an observation rack in the U.S. lab module that will collect imagery of meteor showers pictured from space.

Crew Will Take Two-Day Ride on Upgraded Soyuz

The Soyuz MS-01 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is raised vertical after it was rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, July 4, 2016. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Two astronauts and one cosmonaut are scheduled to launch July 6 at 9:36 p.m. EDT (7:36 a.m. Baikonur time, July 7) for a two-day ride to the International Space Station. During their two-day transit from the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the station, the Expedition 48-49 crew will test a variety of upgraded systems on their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft.

The modified Soyuz is equipped with upgraded thrusters that are fully redundant, additional micrometeoroid debris shielding, redundant electrical motors for the Soyuz’ docking probe and increased power with more photovoltaic cells on the spacecraft’s solar arrays.

Other enhancements for the Soyuz include a new digital video transmitter and encoder to send engineering video of the ship’s approach to the station for docking, a new relay telemetry capability along with an upgraded Kurs automated rendezvous antenna and an improved satellite navigation system to better calculate the Soyuz’ position in space.

Soyuz commander Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, board engineer Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and board engineer Kate Rubins of NASA will test these systems periodically throughout their 34-orbit journey to the station, the first of at least two missions in which enhanced Soyuz hardware will be tested and verified.