Astronauts Relaxing Ahead of U.S. Cargo Mission

Noctilucent clouds, or night shining clouds
Noctilucent clouds, or night shining clouds, the highest clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere, are pictured from the International Space Station orbiting 269 miles above the South Pacific.

Two NASA astronauts are relaxing for the next couple of days as a U.S. space delivery nears its launch to the International Space Station. The Expedition 62 Commander is staying busy with the research and the upkeep of Russian orbital lab systems.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan are taking it easy Thursday and Friday as they look ahead to the arrival of the Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman. Cygnus launches Friday at 3:43 p.m. EST and will reach the station less than two days later. Morgan will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and grapple Cygnus on Sunday at about 4 a.m. Meir will assist and monitor the space freighter’s approach and rendezvous.

Mission controllers will take over and remotely guide the Cygnus in the grips of Canadarm2 and install it to the Unity module. The two NASA astronauts will open Cygnus’ hatch Sunday afternoon and begin unloading about 7,500 pounds of new science, crew supplies and station hardware. NASA TV will cover all the launch, capture and installation activities live.

Roscosmos Commander Oleg Skripochka started his day jogging on a treadmill for an exercise study. Afterward, the veteran cosmonaut worked on orbital plumbing tasks and housecleaning tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

Station Crew Demos Wi-Fi Power, Sets Up For Rodent Research

The three-member Expedition 62 crew
The three-member Expedition 62 crew, sporting their mission patch on t-shirts, will be living aboard the station until April. In the center, is Roscosmos Commander Oleg Skripochka flanked by NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan.

A science demonstration for students and space research to improve life kept the Expedition 62 crew busy on Wednesday. The International Space Station residents also worked on a host of orbital plumbing and housecleaning tasks.

Radio waves generate energy that can be harnessed for a variety of applications including wirelessly powering devices or possibly beaming solar energy down to Earth. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir filmed how a flashlight powered by Wi-Fi gets brighter and darker as it moves closer or farther away from a Wi-Fi device aboard the station. The video will be sent down to students to demonstrate the technology developed by the Naval Research Laboratory.

Biology research also takes place aboard the orbiting lab and the crew will soon continue exploring how microgravity affects rodents. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan worked in Japan’s Kibo lab module setting up the Life Science Glovebox that will house the rodents to be delivered on an upcoming cargo mission. Mice physiology is similar to humans so researchers observe how their bodies react to weightlessness as well as countermeasures to the long-term effects.

Meir and Morgan also split their on life support maintenance and space plumbing. Meir set up acoustic monitors to measure station sound levels before checking on safety masks and charging spacesuit batteries. Morgan printed out housecleaning to-do lists then worked on the U.S. bathroom, also known as the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos serviced Russian Orlan spacesuit water loops and checked for leaks. After checking on water tanks in the Progress 74 cargo craft, he set up exercise research gear then photographed the after effects of catastrophes on Earth.

The Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman is counting down to a launch from Virginia on Friday at 3:43 p.m. EST. The U.S. space freighter, loaded with 7,300 pounds of science, supplies and hardware, will arrive Sunday for a robotic capture with the Canadarm2 at 4 a.m. NASA TV will cover all the launch, capture and installation activities live.

U.S. Cargo Mission Targets Friday Launch as Crew Maintains Lab

The Cygnus cargo craft departs the station on Jan. 31, 2020
The most recent Cygnus cargo craft to visit the station is seen moments before its departure and release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm on Jan. 31, 2020.

The next U.S. cargo mission is now targeting Friday for its launch to replenish the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the Expedition 62 crew is continuing the upkeep of orbital lab systems.

Mission managers are waiting for the weather to clear up at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia so they can launch the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman. Cygnus is now targeted to lift off Friday at 3:43 p.m. EST atop an Antares rocket.

Cygnus will arrive at the space station on Sunday packed with new science experiments, crew supplies and station hardware. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will be in the cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus at 5:11 a.m. Robotics controllers will then take over and remotely command the Canadarm2 to install Cygnus to the Unity module where it will stay for three months.

NASA TV will cover all the launch, capture and installation activities live. View the NASA TV schedule here.

Morgan started his day replacing components inside an oxygen generator in the Tranquility module. Afterward, he serviced the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device that enables astronauts to maintain muscle strength during long-term space missions.

Jessica Meir of NASA worked throughout the day in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module. She was shifting cargo to access an area behind the Human Research Facility-2 rack. Once there, she installed cables that link to the Bartomoleo external payload facility on the outside of Columbus.

Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos began Tuesday transferring water from a docked Progress 74 cargo craft to a station tank. Skripochka, who is on his third station flight, then spent the afternoon cleaning cooling loops on a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits.

Crew Studies DNA and Space Flames Before Cargo Ship Launch

Expedition 62 crew portrait with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. Image Credit: NASA
Expedition 62 crew portrait with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. Image Credit: NASA

The three-member Expedition 62 crew is getting ready for a resupply mission scheduled to launch to the International Space Station no earlier than Thursday, Feb. 13, at 4:06 p.m. EST due to an unfavorable weather forecast in the next few days and the time required to address a ground support issue. The crewmates from the United States and Russia also ran advanced space science experiments while maintaining orbital lab systems.

NASA Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir split their time today between robotics training and microgravity research. The two U.S. astronauts used a computer to practice the techniques they will use to capture the Cygnus space freighter Saturday, Feb. 15.

Morgan will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and grapple Cygnus. Meir will back him up and monitor the Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous. Ground controllers will take over the Canadarm2 after Cygnus’ capture and remotely install the cargo craft to the Unity module.

Morgan started his day sequencing DNA for the Genes in Space-6 experiment. The experiment places microbial samples inside the hand-held Biomolecule Sequencer to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based DNA sequencing. Results could boost astrobiology research on not just the space station, but also future spacecraft and planetary bodies.

Meir also spent a portion of Monday researching how flames spread in space. She burned a variety of fabric and acrylic samples inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the Confined Combustion study. The research will inform the design and development of fire safety products and procedures for humans on Earth and in space.

Commander Oleg Skripochka spent his day in the Russian segment of the station. The veteran cosmonaut primarily serviced life-support gear before checking components on the Progress 74 cargo craft and updating an inventory database.

U.S. Cygnus Cargo Craft Launch Scrubbed

Cygnus-13 Scrubbed Launch
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with a Cygnus resupply spacecraft Sunday February 2, 2020 after a scrubbed launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA TV

Northrop Grumman scrubbed tonight’s Antares launch after off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor. Northrop Grumman and NASA have set the next launch attempt to no earlier than Feb. 13 at 4:05 p.m. ET, due to an unfavorable weather forecast over the next two days, and time required to address the ground support issue. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30pm ET. Teams will refresh 24-hour late load cargo the day before. The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft remain healthy. A launch Thursday would result in a capture of Cygnus on Saturday, Feb. 15. For more information on this mission, please visit www.nasa.gov/northropgrumman and NASA’s homepage .

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasts Launch of U.S. Cygnus Cargo Craft

Northrop Grumman Antares CRS-13 Prelaunch
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is seen at sunrise as the Moon sets on Pad-0A, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The latest weather forecast is 100% favorable for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Northrop Grumman’s 13th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver more than 7,500 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station at 5:39 p.m. EST on Feb. 9.

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Christina Koch Completes 328-Day Mission in Space

Astronaut Christina Koch smiles as she gives a "thumbs up" sign
Astronaut Christina Koch smiles as she gives a “thumbs up” sign shortly after being extracted from the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship that brought her home after 328 days in space. Credit: NASA TV

Setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) landed on Earth at 4:12 a.m. EST in Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft at 12:50 a.m.

For Parmitano and Skvortsov, this landing completed a 201-day stay in space, 3,216 orbits of Earth and a journey of 85.2 million miles.

Koch’s first journey into space became a 328-day mission in which she orbited Earth 5,248 times, a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She conducted and supported more than 210 investigations during Expeditions 59, 60, and 61, including as a research subject volunteer to provide scientists the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

One particular research project in which Koch participated is the Vertebral Strength investigation, which better defines the extent of spaceflight-induced bone and muscle degradation of the spine, and the associated risk for broken vertebrae. This timely endeavor is expected to provide insight into the development of future countermeasures, such as preventative medicine or exercise. These results also could provide recommendations for limiting the amount of force astronauts are subjected to during launch.

Koch lived in space with four fellow NASA astronauts and classmates: Anne McClain, Nick Hague, Andrew Morgan, and Jessica Meir as well as four Russian cosmonauts, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, ESA astronaut Parmitano, and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Watch Koch’s most memorable moments from her record-breaking mission at: https://go.nasa.gov/36E40MZ

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

Expedition 61 Crew With Christina Koch Landing Soon on NASA TV

NASA astronaut Christina Koch
NASA astronaut Christina Koch works on U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest joint airlock.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency). Their Soyuz MS-13 is expected to make its deorbit burn at 3:18 a.m. EST to set the spacecraft on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m.

Koch’s extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

She shared 10 ways she will need to readjust back to life on Earth, including how her perspective has changed while living in space:

“Earth is alive, and I have witnessed its power and beauty from a special vantage point 250 miles above the surface. From the space station we see no borders, no boundaries – we are all part of one giant organism that breathes and adapts. I have been in awe of this perspective for almost a year now. Back on Earth I anticipate looking up and seeing the space station streak across the sky, wondering how my friends and colleagues are doing up there without me. For almost 20 years humans have continuously lived and worked in space and the mission continues.

“Of note, the Moon looks the same from orbit as it does from Earth. It is a common point of reference for us all and offers a common interest as we strive to return to its surface.”

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

Christina Koch Undocks in Soyuz Crew Ship With Expedition 61 Crew

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft backs away from the International Space Station after undocking from the Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three people back to Earth undocked from the  International Space Station at 12:50 a.m. EST.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov are expected to land in their Soyuz MS-13 at 4:12 a.m. EST southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan (3:12 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 3 a.m. for the deorbit burn at 3:18 a.m. and the spacecraft’s parachute-assisted landing.

When the Soyuz spacecraft undocked, Expedition 62 officially began aboard the station with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Morgan as flight engineers and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos as station commander. They will remain on board as a three-person crew until early April, when NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin will launch to the station.

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

Expedition 61 Crew with Christina Koch Prepares to Undock Live on NASA TV

Expedition 61 crewmembers in their Sokol launch and entry suits
Expedition 61 crewmembers (from left) Christina Koch, Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov are pictured in their Sokol launch and entry suits during mission training in Russia.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website of the undocking at 12:50 a.m. EST and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return record-setting astronauts Christina Koch of NASA, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency), and Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos to Earth in the early hours of Thursday, Feb. 6.

Koch’s first journey into space spanned 328 days since her launch March 14, 2019 is the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, the second-longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut, and places her seventh on the list of American space travelers for total time in space. She conducted six spacewalks, including the first three all-woman spacewalks with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station.

Completing his second mission, Parmitano now has spent 367 days in space, more than any ESA astronaut in history. During his time in space for Expeditions 60 and 61, Parmitano conducted four spacewalks totaling 25 hours and 30 minutes to complete improvements to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in an effort to extend its life and support its mission of looking for evidence of dark matter. Parmitano was commander of Expedition 61.

Skvortsov completes his third mission and a total of 546 days in space, placing him 15th on the all-time spaceflight endurance list.

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