Monthly Archives: December 2016

Watch NASA TV to See Japanese Spaceship Arrival

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Japan's HTV-3 cargo craft

Japan’s HTV-3 cargo craft is seen arriving at the International Space Station during Expedition 32 on July 27, 2012.

A Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo spacecraft is set to arrive at the International Space Station early Tuesday morning. NASA TV coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. EST at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Capture is scheduled around 6 a.m. Coverage of the final installation to Harmony will resume at 9:15 a.m.

The HTV-6 is loaded with more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew will approach the station from below, and is slowly inching its way toward the complex. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to reach out and grapple the 12-ton spacecraft.

Robotic ground controllers will then install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will spend more than five weeks. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will monitor HTV-6 systems during the rendezvous and grapple.

The cargo spacecraft launched on an H-IIB rocket at 8:26 a.m. EST (10:26 p.m. Japan time) on Friday, Dec. 9 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Sixth Japanese Spaceship Arrives Tuesday Morning

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Japan's fifth Kounotori HTV spacecraft was pictured attached to the International Space Station Aug. 24, 2015.

Japan’s fifth Kounotori HTV spacecraft was pictured attached to the International Space Station Aug. 24, 2015.

The six crew members aboard the International Space Station are getting ready for the arrival of new resupply ship early Tuesday. The crew is also exploring human research and physics and cleaning spacesuits.

Japan’s sixth cargo craft, the Kounotori HTV-6, has been orbiting Earth and chasing the International Space Station for three days after its launch from the Tanegashima Space Center last week. It will arrive Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. EST for a robotic capture and installation to the Harmony module. NASA TV will cover the events live beginning Tuesday at 4:30 a.m.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will be in the cupola Tuesday morning commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple the HTV-6 while monitoring its approach. After its successful capture, ground controllers will remotely guide the 57.7-foot-long robotic arm with the HTV-6 in its grasp and begin the careful, methodical process of attaching the cargo craft to Harmony’s Earth-facing port where it will stay until January.

The six-member Expedition 50 crew in the meantime is continuing advanced space research to improve the health of astronauts in space and benefit life on Earth. The crew collected blood and urine samples today so scientists can analyze health changes an astronaut goes through before, during and after a spaceflight. The samples were collected for the Biochemical Profile, Repository and Multi-Omics experiments.

The crew also checked gear that enables the observation of fuel burning in space for the Group Combustion study. The gas supply was also swapped inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that observes how different materials melt in space.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson scrubbed the cooling loops and collected water samples from inside two U.S. spacesuits. The spacesuits will be used for a pair of battery maintenance spacewalks scheduled for the beginning of January.

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Japanese Cargo Craft Flying to Station, Arrives Tuesday

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Japan's H-IIB rocket launches on time

Japan’s H-IIB rocket launches on time from the Tanegashima Space Center. Credit: NASA TV

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s H-IIB rocket launched at 8:26 a.m. EST (10:26 p.m. Japan time) on Friday, Dec. 9 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. At the time of launch, the space station was flying about 250 miles over the Philippine Sea south of Japan.

A little more than 15 minutes after launch, the HTV-6 cargo spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket and began its four-day rendezvous with the International Space Station.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the HTV-6 will approach the station from below, and slowly inch its way toward the complex. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to reach out and grapple the 12-ton spacecraft. Robotic ground controllers will then install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will spend more than five weeks. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will monitor HTV-6 systems during the rendezvous and grapple.

NASA TV coverage of the Dec. 13 rendezvous and grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m. Capture of the spacecraft is scheduled around 6 a.m. Coverage of the final installation to Harmony will resume at 9:15 a.m.

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Japanese Rocket Fueled and Ready for Launch

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Japan's Kounotori HTV-2 resupply ship

Japan’s Kounotori HTV-2 resupply ship is seen March 2011 in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

A Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-IIB rocket at the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan is fueled and ready for a launch of the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6) at 8:26 a.m. EST. NASA Television is providing live coverage of the launch, which can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Loaded with more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew, the unpiloted cargo spacecraft, named “Kounotori” – the Japanese word for white stork – will set sail on a four-day flight to the station. Also aboard the resupply vehicle are six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station’s solar arrays. These will be installed during a series of robotic operations and spacewalks between late December and mid-January.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

NASA TV to Broadcast Live Launch of Japanese Rocket to Station

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HTV-6 at Launch Pad

The HTV-6 cargo craft sits atop Japan’s H-IIB rocket at its launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center. Credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is scheduled to launch its H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 at 8:26 a.m. EST (10:26 p.m. Japan time) Friday, Dec. 9, from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The launch vehicle will send the Kounotori HTV-6 into orbit on a four-day rendezvous for an arrival at the International Space Station.

Live coverage of the launch will begin at 8 a.m. on NASA Television and https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Japan Ready for Launch as Crew Focuses on Space Research

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NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson floats inside the seven-window cupola with the Earth below her. Whitson is on her third space station mission.

Japan is getting ready to roll out its H-IIB rocket today at the Tanegashima Space Center for a launch Friday at 8:26 a.m. EST to the International Space Station. Riding atop the H-IIB rocket is the Kounotori HTV-6 cargo craft that will take a four-day flight to the station before its capture and installation to the Harmony module Tuesday morning.

Onboard the station, Commander Shane Kimbrough set up gear and ran test runs for the Capillary Flow Experiment-2 today to study how liquids such as fuel and water behave in microgravity. Later in the day Kimbrough photographed lettuce for the VEGGIE-3 study as well as the port solar arrays and radiators for inspection.

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet scanned his neck, thigh and heart with an ultrasound to examine changes to blood vessels that occur while living in space. He later wore a “smart shirt” for the EVERYWEAR study that collects biomedical data for a wide variety of experiments.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson worked throughout the day relocating fluid gear and refilling coolant in the U.S., Japanese and European lab modules.

Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitskiy conducted an electrocardiogram to study how the heart adapts to long-term space missions. Andrey Borisenko researched ways to improve piloting skills in space and explored plasma physics.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

More Robotics Training as Crew Studies Eye Pressure

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Nighttime View of Earth

This nighttime view of Earth includes two docked spacecraft – the Soyuz crew vehicle (bottom left) and the Progress resupply ship (top left) – at the International pace Station.

Japan is preparing to launch its sixth cargo mission to the International Space Station Friday morning. The Expedition 50 crew is training for the cargo ship’s arrival while studying how living in space affects the human body and maintaining station systems.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is getting ready to roll out its H-IIB rocket Thursday afternoon for a launch Friday at 8:26 a.m. Eastern time (10:26 p.m. Japan time) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The H-IIB is carrying the Kounotori HTV-6 cargo craft that will deliver over 4.5 tons of cargo to the International Space Station. Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet continue studying the robotic procedures they will use to capture the HTV-6 when it arrives Tuesday morning.

Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson, who is on her third station mission, spent the entire day researching how microgravity pulls fluids towards the head. Doctors have noted how these fluid shifts apply pressure to the back of astronauts’ eyes potentially causing damage and affecting vision.

Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko joined Whitson throughout the day for ultrasound scans and eye checks as part of the Fluid Shifts study. Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy measured how activities on the station affect its magnetic field and microgravity environment.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Artery, Vein Measurements and Robotic Training on Schedule Today

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Storm near South America

This non-tropical storm system was captured by Commander Shane Kimbrough Dec. 6 as the International Space Station flew 250 miles over the northeast coast of South America. At the time, Kimbrough was practicing robotic maneuvers with the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm in preparation for the capture of the Japanese HTV-6 cargo ship planned for Dec. 13.

The Expedition 50 crew worked on a series of life science experiments and maintenance operations today. A pair of astronauts also trained for the arrival of Japan’s HTV-6 resupply ship next week.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko started work this morning on the long-running Fluid Shifts experiment. The crew measured their arteries and veins while wearing the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit that pulls fluids towards the feet. The crew then took ultrasound scans to help doctors understand and prevent vision changes astronauts have reported experiencing while living in space.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will roll out its H-IIB rocket with the HTV-6 cargo craft to the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan Thursday afternoon for liftoff Friday at Friday at 8:26 a.m. EST. The Japanese resupply ship will deliver fresh fruit, science hardware, life support gear and new lithium-ion batteries. NASA Television will broadcast the HTV-6 launch live as well as its arrival Dec. 13.

Commander Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet got together again this afternoon practicing the robotics maneuvers necessary to capture the HTV-6 when it arrives next Tuesday at 6 a.m. Ground controllers are positioning and configuring the Canadarm2 robotic arm so it can grapple the Japanese cargo ship and install it to the Harmony module.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Crew Preps for Japanese Cargo Mission

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ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, from France, works inside the Columbus lab module.

The Expedition 50 crew is getting ready for next week’s arrival and capture of Japan’s sixth resupply ship, the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6). The six station residents also worked on a pair of spacesuits and conducted a variety of human research experiments.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is set to launch its HTV-6 resupply ship Friday at 8:26 a.m. EST from the Tanegashima Space Center. Nicknamed “Kounotori,” the HTV-6 is delivering fresh fruit, experiment hardware, Cubesats, life support gear and new lithium-ion batteries. NASA Television will broadcast the HTV-6 launch live as well as its arrival next Tuesday at 6 a.m.

The new lithium-ion batteries will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries located on the S4 truss structure and upgrade the station’s power output. The replacement work will take place using a series of robotics maneuvers and spacewalks through mid-January.

Commander Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet practiced next week’s HTV-6 robotic capture activities. The duo also reviewed the cargo craft’s rendezvous and approach maneuvers before its capture and installation to the Harmony module.

Kimbrough started his day with some plumbing work before scrubbing the cooling loops on two U.S. spacesuits. Pesquet assisted NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in the morning with an ultrasound scan for the Cardio Ox study that explores the long-term risk of atherosclerosis in astronauts.

Whitson then moved on to collecting gear with cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov for upcoming work on the Fluid Shifts experiment. That experiment researches the pressure an astronaut experiences on the brain and eyes. Veteran cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy worked on numerous Russian science experiments and life support systems.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Japan Preps Next Cargo Mission

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Japan's fifth HII-Transfer Vehicle

Japan’s fifth H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-5) was pictured Sept. 23, 2015 during Expedition 45.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is getting the last cargo mission of 2016 ready for launch next week. It’s sixth H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6) nick-named “Kounotori” has been in processing for months and will lift off Dec. 9 from Tanegashima, Japan for a three-day trip to the station. The payload aboard HTV-6 will include potable water, fresh food, seven Cubesats, a second small satellite deployer, hardware for new experiments, high-definition video cameras and lithium-ion batteries that will replace older nickel-hydrogen batteries.

Onboard the station, the crew collected blood samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. The blood draws were for a set of experiments exploring how microgravity affects crew health and the long-term risk of plaque build-up in artery walls, or atherosclerosis, in astronauts.

The crew also checked out science hardware aimed at studying the effects of fire and heat in space. A gear replacement task in the Combustion Integrated Rack was put on hold due to an obstruction in the device and is currently being investigated. Samples were also removed from the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that were heated and observed to understand the thermophysical properties of materials heated to high temperatures.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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