U.S. and Russia Targeting Mid-October Cargo Missions

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NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins holds a reference guide during an emergency descent drill aboard the space station.

The United States and Russia are working to get a pair of cargo ships ready for a mid-October launch schedule to the International Space Station. While the new shipments are being processed, the Expedition 49 crew conducted eye checks, wore carbon dioxide monitors and prepared for a fuel combustion experiment.

The U.S. company Orbital ATK is targeting the Oct. 9-13 time frame for the launch of its sixth Commercial Resupply Services mission to the space station. Its Cygnus spacecraft will be scheduled to launch atop an Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va., after successfully completing operational milestones and technical reviews.

The next resupply mission will be Oct. 20 when the Progress 65 cargo craft launches from Kazakhstan on a two-day trip to the space station. The new Russian space freighter will replace the Progress 63 after it undocks Oct. 14 from the rear port of the Zvezda service module.

Back on orbit, astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi paired up for routine eye exams today with remote support from ground personnel. Rubins, from NASA, also wore personal devices to demonstrate the ability to monitor a crew member’s exposure to carbon dioxide aboard a spacecraft.

Onishi, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, continued setting up gear to begin the Group Combustion experiment next week. That study will explore how flames fed by fuel droplets spread in microgravity.


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