A docked Russian cargo craft fired its engines today slightly raising the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbital boost sets up next month’s crew swap. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft also received a new target launch date while the crew gets ready for a spacewalk next week.
NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will return to Earth on Sept. 2 with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapping up their Expedition 52 mission. Fischer and Yurchikhin will each have lived 135 consecutive days in space while Whitson will have 289 days. The next crew, with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, launches Sept. 13 to begin a 167-day mission in space.
SpaceX announced a one-day launch slip of its Dragon cargo craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon is now targeted to launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. Fischer and astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are training for Dragon’s arrival and capture planned for Wednesday at 7 a.m.
Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for a spacewalk amidst the cargo mission and crew swap preparations. The experienced Russian spacewalkers, Yurchikhin with eight career spacewalks and Sergey Ryazanskiy with three, performed leak checks, installed batteries and sized up their Orlan spacesuits and ahead of their Aug. 17 spacewalk.
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