Russian Progress Cargo Ship Reaches Station in Just Two Orbits

Russia's Progress 73 resupply ship
This image from an external high definition video camera shows Russia’s Progress 73 resupply ship nearing its docking port on the space station.

Traveling about 259 miles over northwest China, the unpiloted Russian Progress 73 cargo ship docked at 11:29 a.m. EDT to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the complex.

In addition to the arrival of Progress today, the six crewmembers aboard the space station welcomed SpaceX’s cargo Dragon spacecraft on July 27, two days after launching on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

On July 20, the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft arrived to the space station carrying NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Their arrival restored the station’s crew complement to six. They joined NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Russia’s Progress Cargo Craft Racing Toward Space Station

Progress 73 cargo craft launch
Russsia’s Progress 73 cargo craft launches on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.

Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted Russian Progress 73 cargo spacecraft launched at 8:10 a.m. EDT (5:10 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. Following a 2-orbit rendezvous, the Russian cargo spacecraft will dock to the orbiting laboratory at 11:35 a.m. NASA Television coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 10:45 a.m.

Progress 73 will remain docked at the station for five months before departing in December for its deorbit in Earth’s atmosphere.

The Progress is the second of two cargo resupply ships delivering supplies to the six crewmembers aboard the space station this month. SpaceX’s cargo Dragon spacecraft attached to station on Saturday, July 27, two days after launching on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Live Now on NASA TV: Launch Coverage of Russian Resupply Mission

Progress 73 rocket at the launch pad
Russia’s Progress 73 resupply ship stands at the launch pad in Kazakhstan surrounded by support gantries during final processing before its liftoff to the space station. Credit: Roscosmos

NASA Television is live for the launch of a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 60 crew aboard the International Space Station. Watch live on NASA TV and the agency’s website now!

The Progress 73 spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:10 a.m. EDT (5:10 p.m. Baikonur time).

The Progress will orbit Earth twice then rendezvous with the station, where it will dock to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the complex. Live coverage of its arrival and docking will begin at 10:45 a.m., with docking scheduled for 11:35 a.m.

The spacecraft will remain at the orbital outpost until mid-December.

To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 73 online, follow @space_station.

NASA TV Broadcasts Russian Rocket Launching To Resupply Station

Support gantries rise toward the Progress 73 resupply ship
Support gantries rise toward the Progress 73 resupply ship during final processing at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

NASA Television will provide live launch coverage of a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 60 crew aboard the International Space Station. Watch live on NASA TV and the agency’s website on Wednesday beginning at 7:45 a.m. EDT.

The Progress 73 spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:10 a.m. EDT (5:10 p.m. Baikonur time).

The Progress will orbit Earth twice then rendezvous with the station, where it will dock to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the complex. Live coverage of its arrival and docking will begin at 10:45 a.m., with docking scheduled for 11:35 a.m.

The spacecraft will remain at the orbital outpost until mid-December.

To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 73 online, follow @space_station.

 New Space Research Kicks Off Ahead of Wednesday Cargo Launch

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are pictured working inside the Unity module which connects the International Space Station’s U.S. segment with the Russian segment.

Microgravity research is ramping up aboard the International Space Station with brand new science payloads and an expanded Expedition 60 crew. July will see one more mission going up to the orbiting lab as a Russian cargo craft counts down to a Wednesday launch and docking.

The Cell Science-02 experiment is underway on the station to explore bone-healing therapies. Astronauts Nick Hague and Luca Parmitano activated the Life Sciences Glovebox this morning to conduct the new bone research. Hague then retrieved bone cell samples to observe healing and tissue regeneration properties to promote human health on Earth and in space.

Parmitano then photographed samples inside the Kubik incubator for the new Biorock space-mining study. Harnessing the power of microbes could help future astronauts extract precious minerals from the surface of the Moon and Mars.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan completed setting up habitats housing mice shipped aboard the SpaceX Dragon space freighter. Scientists are comparing the space rodents to a sample of mice back on Earth to understand biological changes caused by microgravity.

Russia’s Progress 73 (73P) cargo craft is standing at its launch pad in Kazakhstan counting down to a liftoff Wednesday at 8:10 a.m. EDT. It will take a three-and-a-half-hour trip to the station’s Pirs Docking Compartment carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the crew. NASA TV is broadcasting the fast-track launch and docking activities live starting at 7:45 a.m.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov will be monitoring the 73P’s automated approach and rendezvous Wednesday. Today, the veteran station residents split their time between human research, computer maintenance and hardware inspections.

Crew Unloads Dragon as Russian Cargo Ships Depart, Prep for Launch

Russia's Progress 73 cargo craft stands at its launch pad
Russia’s Progress 73 cargo craft stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a Wednesday liftoff.

A new U.S. space freighter is open for business today after delivering its payload to the International Space Station on Saturday. Meanwhile, a Russian resupply rocket is processing for another space delivery mission on Wednesday that will take less than three and a half hours after launch.

NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague opened Dragon’s hatch early Sunday beginning a month of cargo operations. His fellow crewmates Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are unloading critical research samples and stowing them inside the station’s science freezers and incubators for analysis.

The new experiments will be exploring microgravity’s effect on a variety of biological and physical processes benefitting humans on Earth and in space. The crew will be researching 3-D bio-printing, silica manufacturing, botany and tissue regeneration and a host of other space phenomena.

Robotics controllers will remove the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3), a new commercial crew ship docking port, from Dragon’s unpressurized trunk in mid-August. A pair of spacewalkers will install the IDA-3 on the Harmony module’s space-facing Pressurized Mating Adapter a few days later.

Russia’s Pirs Docking Compartment port opened up today at 6:44 a.m. EDT when the Progress 72 (72P) cargo craft undocked completing a four-month stay at the orbiting lab. It will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery, but safe disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

The new Progress 73 cargo ship will replace 72P after it launches Wednesday at 8:10 a.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will dock to Pirs that same morning at 11:35 a.m. after just two Earth orbits packed with more food, fuel and supplies for the crew.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov are training today on the tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit (TORU) for Wednesday’s arrival of the 73P. The duo will be in the Zvezda service module at the controls of the TORU monitoring the 73P’s approach ready to take over manual docking operations in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Dragon Installed to Station’s Harmony Module for Cargo Operations

July 27, 2019: International Space Station Configuration
July 27, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Progress 72 resupply ship and the Soyuz MS-12 and MS-13 crew ships.

Two days after its launch from Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 12:01 p.m. EDT.

The 18th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-18) delivers more than 5,000 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.

A key item in Dragon’s unpressurized cargo section is International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3). Flight controllers at mission control in Houston will use the robotic arm to extract IDA-3 from Dragon and position it over Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, on the space-facing side of the Harmony module. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and  Andrew Morgan, who arrived at the station Saturday, July 20, will conduct a spacewalk in mid-August to install the docking port, connect power and data cables, and set up a high-definition camera on a boom arm.

Robotics flight control teams from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will move the docking port into position remotely before the astronauts perform the final installation steps. IDA-3 and IDA-2, which was installed in the summer of 2016, provide a new standardized and automated docking system for future spacecraft, including upcoming commercial spacecraft that will transport astronauts through contracts with NASA.

Here’s some of the science arriving at station:

Effects of Microgravity on Microglia 3D Models

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) – adult cells genetically programmed to return to an embryonic stem cell-like state – have the ability to develop into any cell type in the human body, potentially providing an unlimited source of human cells for therapeutic purposes. Space Tango-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells examines how specialized white blood cells derived from iPSCs of patients with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis grow and move in 3D cultures, and any changes in gene expression that occur as a result of exposure to a microgravity environment. Results could lead to the development of potential therapies.

Mechanisms of Moss in Microgravity

Space Moss compares mosses grown aboard the space station with those grown on Earth to determine how microgravity affects its growth, development, and other characteristics. Tiny plants without roots, mosses need only a small area for growth, an advantage for their potential use in space and future bases on the Moon or Mars. This investigation also could yield information that aids in engineering other plants to grow better on the Moon and Mars, as well as on Earth.

After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Dragon Captured With New Science Experiments

The SpaceX Dragon is in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm
The SpaceX Dragon is in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm shortly after it was captured over southern Chile.

While the International Space Station was traveling more than 260 miles over southern Chile, astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA grappled Dragon at 9:11 a.m. EDT using the space station’s robotic arm Canadarm2.

Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation of the spacecraft on bottom of the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

The Dragon lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Thursday, July 25 with more than 5,000 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Here’s some of the research arriving at station:

Bio-Mining in Microgravity

The Biorock investigation will provide insight into the physical interactions of liquid, rocks and microorganisms under microgravity conditions and improve the efficiency and understanding of mining materials in space. Bio-mining eventually could help explorers on the Moon or Mars acquire needed materials, lessening the need to use precious resources from Earth and reducing the amount of supplies that explorers must take with them.

Printing Biological Tissues in Space

Using 3D biological printers to produce usable human organs has long been a dream of scientists and doctors around the globe. However, printing the tiny, complex structures found inside human organs, such as capillary structures, has proven difficult to accomplish in Earth’s gravity. To overcome this challenge, Techshot designed their BioFabrication Facility to print organ-like tissues in microgravity – a stepping stone in a long-term plan to manufacture whole human organs in space using refined biological 3D printing techniques.

Improving Tire Manufacturing from Orbit

The Goodyear Tire investigation will use microgravity to push the limits of silica fillers for tire applications. A better understanding of silica morphology and the relationship between silica structure and its properties could improve the silica design process, silica rubber formulation and tire manufacturing and performance. Such improvements could include increased fuel efficiency, which would reduce transportation costs and help to protect Earth’s environment.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Station Gets Ready to Receive Dragon Cargo Craft Saturday Morning

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft moments before its release
The last SpaceX Dragon cargo craft to visit the space station is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm moments before its release on June 3, 2019.

The SpaceX Dragon space freighter is on its way to the International Space Station following a Thursday launch from Florida. The six-member Expedition 60 crew will be waiting for the commercial cargo craft’s arrival Saturday morning.

Dragon will rendezvous with the station Saturday morning reaching a point about 10 meters from the station. Flight Engineer Nick Hague will then command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple the resupply ship about 10 a.m. EDT. Fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch will back him up inside the cupola as NASA Flight Engineer Drew Morgan monitors Dragon’s approach and rendezvous. NASA TV begins its live capture and installation coverage Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

The three NASA astronauts continued robotics training today and practiced techniques to capture the commercial space freighter. The trio conducted simulation capture runs on a computer today preparing for a variety of Dragon approach and rendezvous scenarios.

Dragon is delivering over 5,000 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies and vehicle hardware. This includes the International Docking Adapter-3 for installation during an upcoming spacewalk on the Harmony module’s space-facing Pressurized Mating Adapter.

The Dragon-capturing trio later joined new crewmates Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov in the afternoon reviewing the spacecraft’s payload configuration. They will be unpacking time-critical research samples for stowage in station science freezers and incubators to analyze microgravity’s effect on biology.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin started Friday briefing his three newest crewmembers, who have been in space six days, on emergency hardware locations and procedures. The veteran cosmonaut then packed obsolete gear and trash inside a Russian resupply ship that is departing on Monday.

Dragon Reaches Orbit, Astronauts Prepare for Saturday Capture

NASA astronaut Christina Koch
NASA astronaut Christina Koch trains on the robotics workstation inside the cupola to capture the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Dragon’s solar arrays have deployed and the spacecraft is safely in orbit following a launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 6:01 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 5,000 pounds of research, hardware and supplies to the International Space Station. Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory Saturday, July 27.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague will grapple Dragon with Christina Koch acting as a backup. NASA’s Andrew Morgan will assist the duo by monitoring telemetry during Dragon’s approach. The station crew will monitor Dragon vehicle functions during rendezvous. After Dragon capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.

Mission Controllers watch SpaceX Dragon launch
Mission Controllers in Houston watch the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Florida on its way to the space station

Mission coverage is as follows:

  • 8:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous, grapple and berthing. Capture is scheduled for approximately 10 a.m.
  • 12 p.m. – Dragon installation to the nadir port of the Harmony module of the station

This delivery, SpaceX’s 18th cargo flight to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, will support dozens of new and existing investigations. NASA’s research and development work aboard the space station contributes to the agency’s deep space exploration plans, including returning astronauts to the Moon’s surface in five years.

  • Highlights of space station research that will be facilitated by Dragon spacecraft’s arrival are:
    • The BioFabrication Facility is designed to print organ-like tissues in microgravity, acting as a stepping- stone in a long-term plan to manufacture whole human organs in space using refined biological 3D printing techniques.
    • A Goodyear Tire investigation is pushing the limits of silica fillers for tire applications. A better understanding of silica morphology and the relationship between silica structure and its properties could improve the silica design process, silica rubber formulation, and tire manufacturing and performance on the ground.
    • The Space Tango – Induced Stem Cells investigation will take cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis to be cultured on the space station to examine cell to cell interactions that occur in neurodegenerative disease.
    • The Cell Science-02 investigation is comparing the ability of two different bone inducing growth factors, one novel and one currently used in bone healing therapies, to stimulate growth, differentiation and related cellular functions of osteoblast in the microgravity environment.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.