Cargo Ship Takes out Trash; Crew Works on Cygnus Preps and Science Hardware

Jan. 25, 2019: International Space Station Configuration
Jan. 25, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship and Russia’s Progress 71 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-11 crew ship.

A Russian cargo ship left the International Space Station this morning and was deorbited for a destructive demise over the Pacific Ocean. The Expedition 58 crew now turns its attention to the departure of a U.S. space freighter next month.

The Progress 70 (70P) resupply ship ended its six-and-a-half month stay at the station when it undocked from Pirs docking compartment today at 7:55 a.m. EST. It descended into Earth’s atmosphere less than four hours later loaded with trash and discarded gear and burned up safely over the southern Pacific.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus commercial cargo vessel is next up, scheduled to depart the Unity module in early February. Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques have been reviewing Cygnus departure procedures and carefully packing the spaceship throughout the week.

McClain and Saint-Jacques spent Friday working on a variety of science hardware and life support gear aboard the orbital lab. The duo first set up gear to measure airflow inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Next, they serviced a pair of science freezers nicknamed MELFI and GLACIER that store research samples at ultra-cold temperatures.

NASA’s McClain also replaced hardware in the Actiwatch Spectrum, a wearable device that analyzes an astronaut’s sleep quality, sleep onset, hyperactivity and other daily routines. Saint-Jacques from the Canadian Space Agency activated a new 3D printer known as the Refabricator that uses recycled plastics.

Commander Oleg Kononenko from Roscosmos monitored this morning’s 70P undocking and photographed the departing spacecraft. The station veteran also checked on Russian laptop computers and participated in a study that explores how cosmonauts adapt to complex space tasks.

5 thoughts on “Cargo Ship Takes out Trash; Crew Works on Cygnus Preps and Science Hardware”

  1. Rather than allowing the used hardware and experiment leftovets to be burnt in the atmosphere. Specially designed containers could be made to store the debris inside those containers and strategically placed on the outside of the space station. Would slightly protect crew from solar radiation and micro meteorites. If stacked outside the spacestaion enough times, would add up to a lot of shielding. Plus if another craft needed any shielding it could potentually shed some of these containers to add to the shielding of this other craft. Recycle and save cost of not having to bring more material in space for shielding.

  2. Containers full of recycleables if placed and stacked in between modules could also act as reinforcement and or structural support for the various attached modules as well or to add for such space structures for the likes of space telescopes or spacecrafts. Structural supports. Glue items inside the containers would probably be the best solution so as to not contribute to more debris in space it it’s hit by micrometeorites.

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