Crew Departure Preps, Biochemistry Research Start Workweek

Four Expedition 60 crewmembers and a spaceflight participant
Four Expedition 60 crewmembers and a spaceflight participant gather inside the Unity module for a meal. Pictured from left are, astronauts Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Christina Koch of NASA, spaceflight participant and United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori and NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Nick Hague.

The nine-member crew aboard the International Space Station will split up Thursday and see three humans return to Earth. Meanwhile, there is still a multitude of space research to conduct as well as a new Japanese space freighter to unload.

Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin and NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague are in their final week aboard the orbiting lab. The homebound residents are packing up their Soyuz MS-12 crew ship and handing over their duties to the crewmates staying in space.

They will undock Thursday from the Rassvet module at 3:36 a.m. EDT along with spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori. The trio will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 7 a.m. (5 p.m. Kazakhstan time). All three returning crewmates reviewed their undocking and landing procedures today.

Astronauts Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan took turns today exploring how astronauts grip and manipulate objects in microgravity. Observations may inform the design of intelligent, haptic interfaces for future crews on deep space missions.

Morgan then explored increasing the purity of protein crystals in space to improve pharmaceutical and biochemistry research. Veteran cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov conducted his own biochemistry research in the Russian segment of the space lab studying how the microgravity environment impacts enzymes in the human body.

New Expedition 61 crewmates Jessica Meir of NASA and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos continue settling in for their 189-day mission inside the orbiting lab. Meir reviewed Canadarm2 robotics procedures today to support upcoming spacewalks. She wrapped up the day observing protein crystals to support cancer research. Skripochka tested a specialized suit that counteracts the headward flow of fluids in astronauts due to microgravity. He finally checked out the Magnetic 3D Printer that explores the benefits of printing organic tissue in space.

Japan’s eighth station resupply ship, also known as the Kounotori, is open for business and Parmitano and NASA astronaut Christina Koch are unloading its cargo and new science hardware today. Kounotori is due for a month-long stay attached to the Harmony module for internal and external cargo operations. Ground controllers will be commanding the Canadarm2 to remove new lithium-ion batteries delivered on Kounotori’s external pallets. The robotics work will be setting up a series of power upgrade spacewalks planned for October.

Japan’s Kounotori Spaceship Attached to Station

Sept. 28, 2019: International Space Station Configuration.
Sept. 28, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are attached to the space station including Japan’s HTV-8 cargo craft with Russia’s Progress 73 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-12, MS-13 and MS-15 crew ships.

Ground controllers successfully installed the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kounotori 8 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-8) to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 10:09 a.m. EDT.

Named Kounotori, meaning “white stork” in Japanese, the craft delivered six new lithium-ion batteries and corresponding adapter plates that will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two power channels on the station’s far port truss segment. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotics and spacewalks the station’s crew members will conduct later this year.

Additional experiments on board HTV-8 include an upgrade to the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF-L), a small-sized satellite optical communication system (SOLISS), and a payload for testing the effects of gravity on powder and granular material (Hourglass).

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Watch NASA TV Live Coverage of HTV-8 Installation

The Japanese HTV-8 cargo vehicle
The Japanese HTV-8 cargo vehicle during installation on Saturday Sept. 28, 2019.

Robotic ground controllers are preparing to install the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle 8 (HTV-8) on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module.

Live coverage of the berthing has begun, and can be viewed on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

The HTV-8 is loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware for the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

U.S. Astronauts Captured Japanese Cargo Spacecraft at 7:12 a.m. EDT

The Japanese HTV-8 cargo vehicle
The Japanese HTV-8 cargo vehicle captured by the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm at 7:12 am EDT on Saturday Sept. 28, 2019.

Using the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA, backed up by her NASA crewmate Andrew Morgan, operated the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to capture the 12-ton spacecraft as it approached from below. Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) monitored HTV-8 systems during its approach to the station.

Next, robotic ground controllers will install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module. NASA TV coverage of the berthing will begin at 9:30 a.m.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Watch NASA TV Live Coverage of HTV-8 Arrival to Station

The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7
The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) is pictured after it was captured by the Canadarm2 on Sept. 27, 2018

A Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo spacecraft is approaching the International Space Station. Watch live coverage on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

Capture of the unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) is expected around 7:15 a.m. The HTV-8 is loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware for the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Named Kounotori, meaning “white stork” in Japanese, the craft will deliver six new lithium-ion batteries and corresponding adapter plates that will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two power channels on the station’s far port truss segment. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotics and spacewalks the station’s crew members will conduct later this year.

Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA, backed up by her NASA crewmate Andrew Morgan, will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to capture the 12-ton spacecraft as it approaches from below. Robotics flight controllers will then take over the operation of the arm to install HTV-8 to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module where it will spend a month attached to the orbiting laboratory. Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will monitor HTV-8 systems during its approach to the station.

Coverage of the final installation to Harmony will resume at 9:30 a.m. Robotic ground controllers will install HTV-8 on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo spacecraft launched at 12:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 24 (1:05 a.m. Sept. 25 Japan standard time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV to Broadcast Arrival of Japanese Spaceship to Station

The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7)
The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) is pictured as the Canadarm2 robotic arm moves in to capture the resupply ship on Sept. 27, 2018.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo spacecraft that launched at 12:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 24 (1:05 a.m. Sept. 25 Japan standard time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan is set to arrive at the International Space Station early tomorrow morning.

NASA will provide live coverage of the arrival of the unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) via NASA TV and the agency’s website at 5:45 a.m.

Capture is scheduled around 7:15 a.m. Coverage of the final installation to the Harmony module will resume at 9:30 a.m.

The HTV-8 is loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware for the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Named Kounotori, meaning “white stork” in Japanese, the craft will deliver six new lithium-ion batteries and corresponding adapter plates that will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two power channels on the station’s far port truss segment. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotics and spacewalks the station’s crew members will conduct later this year.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Slime and Cancer Research Before Japan Cargo Ship Arrives Saturday

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan stow biological research samples into a science freezer located inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan stow biological research samples into a science freezer located inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA

A Japanese space freighter is on track to deliver more than four tons of cargo to the International Space Station on Saturday morning. The Expedition 60 crew is preparing for its arrival while also researching a variety of microgravity phenomena.

Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are practicing on a computer the techniques they will use to maneuver the Canadarm2 robotic arm and capture the HTV-8 resupply ship on Saturday. The duo will be in the cupola monitoring the cargo craft’s approach when Koch will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple the HTV-8 at 7:15 a.m. EDT.

Astronaut Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) started his morning playing with slime for the Non-Newtonian Fluids in Microgravity experiment. Koch and Morgan joined him for the fun research being filmed for students on Earth to excite them about space research.

New station resident Jessica Meir of NASA began her day observing and photographing protein crystal samples in a microscope. The research is exploring cancer therapies targeting a protein responsible for tumor growth and survival.

Meir and the station’s other new crewmates, cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates, joined the rest of the station crew to review their roles in the event of an emergency. All nine crewmembers practiced evacuating the station, communications and using safety hardware during the afternoon.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineer Nick Hague are less than a week away from returning to Earth after 203 days in space. They are finalizing packing and readying their Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft for the undocking on Oct. 3. The duo will parachute to Earth with Almansoori aboard their Soyuz crew ship and land in Kazakhstan.

Expanded Station Crew Relaxes Before Cargo Delivery, Crew Departure

The International Space Station
The International Space Station is pictured orbiting Earth in October of 2018.

The Expedition 60 crew is relaxing today after welcoming three new space residents to the International Space Station on Wednesday. They will receive a cargo shipment on Saturday before turning their attention to a crew departure next week.

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir took a five-hour and 45-minute ride to the orbiting lab on Wednesday with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and spaceflight participant Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates. They blasted off from Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-15 crew ship and docked to the rear port of the Zvezda service module. Family and mission officials on the ground congratulated the trio shortly after the new crew boarded the station expanding the population of the space lab to nine.

All nine crewmembers are sleeping in today and will soon be getting ready for more space traffic. The new crew was briefed on station safety procedures and will be getting up to speed with life in microgravity over the next several days.

Japan’s HTV-8 space freighter has been orbiting Earth since Tuesday after launching to the station from the Tanegashima Space Center. It will arrive Saturday carrying over four tons of crew supplies, station hardware and new science experiments.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan will capture the HTV-8 on Saturday with the Canadarm2 robotic arm around 7:15 a.m. EDT. Ground controllers will then take over and remotely install the Japanese resupply ship to the Harmony module about three hours later. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the capture and installation activities starting at 5:45 a.m.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight Engineer Nick Hague are getting ready for their return to Earth on Oct. 3. They will take Almansoori home with them aboard their Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.

Soyuz Spacecraft With Three Crewmates Docks to Orbiting Lab

Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft approaches for a docking
The camera on the rear port of the Zvezda service module captures the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft approaching for a docking.

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) docked to the International Space Station at 3:42 p.m. EDT.

The new crew members will be greeted by station commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Nick Hague, Andrew Morgan, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.

During Expedition 61, crew members will install new lithium-ion batteries for two of the station’s solar array power channels through a series of spacewalks. Later in the expedition, spacewalkers are scheduled to upgrade and repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a key science instrument housed outside the station to study dark matter and the origins of the universe.

NASA TV coverage will begin at 5 p.m. for the hatch opening at 5:45 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Soyuz Rocket Blasts Off to Station With Multinational Crew

The Soyuz MS-15 rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan
The Soyuz MS-15 rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan with a multinational crew of three people. Creedit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, Oleg Skripochka of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched safely for their mission aboard the International Space Station on the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft at 9:57 a.m. EDT.

The crew began their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory during which they will orbit Earth four times. Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 3 p.m., with the spacecraft docking expected at 3:45 p.m. NASA TV coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 5 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.