Expedition 56 Flight Engineers Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 8:37 a.m. EDT. At the time of release, the station was flying 253 miles above the Southeastern border of Colombia. Earlier, ground controllers used the robotic arm to unberth Cygnus.
The departing spacecraft will move a safe distance away from the space station before deploying a series of CubeSats. Cygnus will remain in orbit for two more weeks to allow a flight control team to conduct engineering tests.
Cynus is scheduled to deorbit with thousands of pounds of trash on Monday, July 30, as it burns up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean while entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The satellite deployment and deorbit burn will not be broadcast on NASA Television.
The spacecraft arrived on station May 24 delivering cargo for Orbital ATK’s (now Northrop Grumman’s) ninth contracted mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
The Expedition 56 crew members explored a variety of microgravity science today potentially improving the lives of people on Earth and astronauts in space. The orbital residents are also unpacking a new resupply ship and getting ready for the departure of another.
Cancer research is taking place aboard the International Space Station possibly leading to safer, more effective therapies. Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor contributed to that research today by examining endothelial cells through a microscope for the AngieX Cancer Therapy study. AngieX is seeking a better model in space to test a treatment that targets tumor cells and blood vessels.
She also teamed up with Commander Drew Feustel imaging biological samples in a microscope for the Micro-11 fertility study. The experiment is researching whether successful reproduction is possible off the Earth.
The Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter has been packed full of trash and is due to leave the space station Sunday morning. Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus at 8:35 a.m. EDT as Auñón-Chancellor backs him up. It will orbit Earth until July 30 for engineering studies before burning up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.
Expedition 56 crew members are transferring cargo in and out of U.S. and Russian cargo ships today. Two astronauts are also planning to release a U.S. resupply ship on Sunday ending its mission at the International Space Station.
The Cygnus resupply ship will complete its stay at the orbital Sunday at 8:35 a.m. EDT after 52 days attached to the Unity module. Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus back into Earth orbit backed up by Auñón-Chancellor of NASA. Cygnus will remain in orbit until July 30 supporting engineering activities before it is deorbited to burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.
Space research aboard the orbital lab is always ongoing as the crew explored a variety of life science today. The space residents explored how microgravity impacts fertility, algae production and the gastrointestinal system. The crew also completed routine eye checks with an ultrasound device Wednesday morning to maintain good vision during spaceflight.
Russia’s Progress 70 (70P) cargo craft delivered nearly 5,700 pounds of crew supplies and station cargo to the International Space Station on Monday less than four hours after launch. Meanwhile, the U.S. Cygnus resupply ship from Northrop Grumman tested its ability to boost the orbital laboratory’s altitude today.
Monday’s arrival of the Russian resupply craft set a milestone for station operations by arriving with its cargo in just 3 hours and 40 minutes, or only two Earth orbits. The new Progress makes six spacecraft parked at the orbital complex including the Progress 69 resupply ship, the Soyuz MS-08 and MS-09 crew ships and the SpaceX Dragon and Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighters.
The engine on Northrup Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship fired for 50 seconds Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. EDT to reboost the station in a test designed to verify an additional capability to adjust the station’s altitude, if required. The brief engine firing raised the station’s altitude by about 295 feet. Cygnus will depart the station on Sunday after delivering several tons of supplies and science experiments back in May for the six crewmembers on board.
Traveling about 250 miles over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, the unpiloted Russian Progress 70 cargo ship docked at 9:31 p.m. EDT to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station.
Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted Russian Progress 70 cargo craft launched at 5:51 p.m. EDT (3:51 a.m. July 10 in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 250 miles over southwest Uzbekistan, south of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Russian cargo craft will make two orbits of Earth before docking to the orbiting laboratory. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will resume on the NASA’s website at 9 p.m.
To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 70 online, follow @space_station on Twitter.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 56 crew aboard the International Space Station beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 9.
Launch of the ISS Progress 70 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 5:51 p.m. (3:51 a.m. July 10 local time). Watch the launch live on NASA TV or the agency’s website.
NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 9 p.m. Following two orbits of Earth, Progress 70 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station after a less-than-four-hour trip for docking at 9:39 p.m. It will remained docked to the station until late January 2019.
The Expedition 56 crew will monitor key events during Progress 70’s approach and docking.
To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 70 on Twitter, follow @space_station.
More research gear continues to be unloaded from inside and outside of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft today. Back on Earth, another resupply ship is poised to blast off Monday on a quick delivery mission to the International Space Station.
Overnight, mission controllers commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract a new Earth-observing experiment from the rear of the Dragon space freighter. The new ECOSTRESS gear was then remotely installed on the outside of the Kibo laboratory module. ECOSTRESS will provide thermal infrared measurements of Earth’s surface helping scientists assess water and vegetation changes on agriculture.
Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst processed and stowed their blood samples today for the Myotones muscle study. Observations may help doctors develop strategies to keep astronauts healthy in space and improve conditions for patients on Earth with mobility or aging issues.
The Progress 70 resupply ship from Roscosmos is being processed for launch Monday at 5:51 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Russian mission controllers are planning a short 3 hour and 48 minute delivery trip, or just two orbits, to the station’s Pirs docking compartment. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and automated docking live beginning Monday at 5:30 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.
The International Space Station crew from the United States, Russia and Germany is going into the Fourth of July holiday unpacking new research gear from the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. The six Expedition 56 crew members also conducted advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance today.
NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold opened the hatches to the SpaceX Dragon space freighter Tuesday morning beginning a month of cargo swaps. He and Commander Drew Feustel began retrieving and unpacking a variety of new space cargo. Next, Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst transferred critical science gear into the space station. The duo reviewed the experiment installation and research operations to help scientists learn how microgravity affects physics and biology.
The space residents, including cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev, will spend the Fourth of July holiday with light duty. Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor will begin transferring mice delivered aboard Dragon into their new habitats aboard the station on Wednesday. The rodents will be observed to understand how microbes impact the gastrointestinal system in microgravity. Arnold and Feustel will be swapping frozen research samples from the Japanese Kibo lab module into the U.S. Destiny lab module.
Among the research arriving to the U.S. National Laboratory is the Space Algae investigation, will discuss research to select algae strains adapted to space and sequence their genomes to identify growth-related genes. Algae consume waste carbon dioxide, can provide basic nutrition and may perceive microgravity as a trigger to produce algae oils rich in antioxidants that may help mitigate the harmful effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation during spaceflight. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the U.S. National Laboratory, is sponsoring the investigation.
A technology demonstration arriving is an observational pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON) that aims to provide first insights into the effects of crew support from an artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space.
After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with about 3,800 pounds of cargo and research, including an investigation to advance DNA sequencing in space and the Angiex cancer therapy investigation to improve understanding of endothelial cells that line the walls of blood vessels.