Crew Gearing Up for Cygnus Capture and Cargo Operations

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter sits atop the Antares rocket at the Wallops Flight Facility launch pad in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Patrick Black
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter sits atop the Antares rocket at the Wallops Flight Facility launch pad in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Patrick Black

The Expedition 64 crew is getting ready for next week’s arrival of the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship following its launch on Saturday. The orbital residents are also maintaining science operations and unpacking a new Russian spacecraft at the International Space Station.

The Antares rocket with the Cygnus space freighter atop rolled out to its launch pad on Tuesday at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft will blast off on Saturday at 12:36 p.m. EST carrying about 8,000 pounds of science experiments, station hardware and crew supplies for the orbital lab. NASA TV will broadcast the launch activities live beginning at 12 p.m.

Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and Michael Hopkins will be on duty Monday morning when Cygnus arrives for its approach and capture. Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus at about 4:40 a.m. Hopkins of NASA will monitor Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous as it reaches a point about 10 meters from the station.

The duo was joined Thursday afternoon by NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover to review the upcoming Cygnus cargo operations. Afterward, the quintet called down to mission controllers to discuss unpacking and activating some of the critical science experiments arriving on the U.S. space freighter.

Combustion research and eye checks were also on the schedule aboard the station on Thursday. Walker and Hopkins partnered up on a study observing how flames spread in microgravity. Rubins took charge of eye exams and checked the eyes of Glover and Noguchi using optical coherence tomography.

Russia’s new cargo craft, the ISS Progress 77, is being unpacked today by Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The pair also serviced a variety of Russian electronics and life support gear throughout Thursday.

3 thoughts on “Crew Gearing Up for Cygnus Capture and Cargo Operations”

  1. Is there a project to build a rotating device which could simulate some gravity, even lower than g ?

    Sincerely yours

    1. There is a scientific device on the space station that can simulate different gravity environments for space biology studies. The commercially developed, owned and operated Techshot Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) includes 2 internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. MVP is used to conduct research in space with a wide variety of sample types, such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others…

      https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1777

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