Russian Resupply Ship Arriving Thursday, Cargo Dragon Leaves Next Week

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: Roscosmos
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: Roscosmos

A Russian resupply ship is racing toward the International Space Station as another U.S. cargo craft nears the end of its mission. Meanwhile, the Expedition 65 crew focused its research activities today on a variety of physics and biology studies.

Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship is orbiting Earth today following its Tuesday launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress will arrive on Thursday with over 3,600 pounds of food, fuel and supplies, for an automated approach and docking to the Poisk module at 9:03 p.m. NASA TV will broadcast its arrival beginning at 8:15 p.m. on the agency’s website and the NASA app,.

The next cargo craft to depart the station will leave on July 6 at 11:05 a.m. EDT. The SpaceX Cargo Dragon will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter and parachute to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida two days later.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei worked throughout Wednesday readying the Cargo Dragon for next week’s departure. Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet joined the NASA trio packing and organizing Dragon before final loading of critical research samples begins for analysis back on Earth.

Hoshide also kicked off the InSpace-4 physics study that will explore advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. Pesquet collected and stowed his blood samples before charging a headband device that monitors an astronaut’s sleep patterns for the Dreams study.

McArthur and Vande Hei collected samples of microbes from station surfaces and air for incubation and analysis. Some of those samples will be returned to Earth next week inside the Cargo Dragon.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov concentrated on maintenance and science in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Novitskiy checked Orlan spacesuit gloves and analyzed the air in the Zvezda service module. Dubrov serviced a variety of life support hardware.

Russian Resupply Ship Blasts Off on Two-Day Trip to Station

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 is safely in orbit headed for the International Space Station following launch at 7:27 p.m. (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned for a two-day rendezvous on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 65 crew members.

After making 34 orbits of Earth on its journey, Progress will dock to the station’s Poisk module on the space-facing side of the Russian segment at 9:03 p.m. Thursday, July 1. Live coverage on NASA TV of rendezvous and docking will begin at 8:15 p.m.

Carrying more than 3,600 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 65 crew, the Progress 78 resupply spacecraft will spend almost five months at the station. The cargo craft is scheduled to perform an automated undocking and relocation to the new “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module in late October. Named for the Russian word for “science,” Nauka is planned to launch to the space station in mid-July.

Progress 78 will undock from the orbiting laboratory in November for a re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere that results in its safe destruction.

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

Russian Resupply Rocket Launching to Station Today

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Energia
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Energia

NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app now are providing live coverage of the launch of a Russian cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 is scheduled to lift off on a Soyuz rocket at 7:27 p.m. EDT (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a two-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

For departure 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.

Cygnus Departs Station After Four Month Mission

The Cygnus space freighter is pictured shortly after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm above the United States. Credit: NASA TV
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured shortly after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm above the United States. Credit: NASA TV

At 12:32 p.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying 270 miles over southern Wyoming.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station four months after arriving at the space station to deliver about 8,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

After departure, Cygnus will remain in orbit to deploy five cube satellites, including the Ionosphere Thermosphere Scanning Photometer for Ion-Neutral Studies (IT-SPINS), which will add to researchers’ fundamental understanding of Earth’s Ionosphere, and the Khalifa University Students Satellite-2 (MYSat-2), which will train graduate students through the development and evaluation of its software.

Thursday evening Cygnus will perform a deorbit engine firing to set up a destructive re-entry in which the spacecraft, filled with waste the space station crew packed, will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

As one cargo spacecraft departs the station, another is preparing to launch and deliver more than 3,600 pounds of supplies. Beginning at 7 p.m., NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide live coverage of the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan of Russia’s Progress 78 cargo spacecraft on a Soyuz 2.1a rocket at 7:27 p.m. (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time).

For departure 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.

Cygnus Resupply Ship Leaving Station Today Live on NASA TV

The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments before its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm on Feb. 22, 2021.
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments before its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm on Feb. 22, 2021.

About four months after delivering several tons of scientific experiments and supplies to the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to depart the orbiting laboratory Tuesday, June 29. This morning, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to robotically detach Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module and maneuver it into place.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s release will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at noon EDT, with its release from the robotic arm scheduled for 12:25 p.m.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur will monitor Cygnus’ systems upon its departure from the space station.

The Cygnus resupply spacecraft is named after NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, a Black woman who broke through barriers of gender and race, calculating orbital mechanics for some of the first U.S. human spaceflights.

Cygnus arrived at the International Space Station Feb. 22 with nearly 8,000 pounds of scientific investigations and supplies following a launch two days prior on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 15th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA.

For departure 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.

U.S., Russian Resupply Ships Depart and Launch on Tuesday

(From left) The Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship and Russia's ISS Progress 78 cargo craft will depart and launch just hours apart on Tuesday.
(From left) The Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship and Russia’s ISS Progress 78 cargo craft will depart and launch just hours apart on Tuesday.

The Cygnus resupply ship will complete its cargo mission to the International Space Station on Tuesday. Several hours later, Russia’s ISS Progress 78 (78P) cargo craft will launch on a two-day trip to replenish the Expedition 65 crew.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide joined Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet and closed the hatch on the trash-filled Cygnus early Monday morning. Following that, NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei installed the Slingshot small satellite deployer on Cygnus’ hatch.

Cygnus will be released from the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 12:25 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. Once Cygnus reaches a safe distance from the station, the Slingshot will deploy five CubeSats for a variety of research including atmospheric physics as well as software evaluation and development.

The 78P cargo craft sits atop its rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. It will launch Tuesday at 7:27 p.m. carrying over 3,600 pounds of food, fuel and supplies for the seven space station residents.

Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov spent Monday morning preparing for the arrival of the 78P scheduled on Thursday at 9:03 p.m. The duo practiced telerobotically operated maneuvers to manually dock the ISS Progress 78 to the Poisk module in the unlikely event the Russian cargo craft was unable to automatically dock on its own.

NASA TV, on the agency’s website and the NASA app, will broadcast all three mission events live. Cygnus departure coverage begins at noon. The ISS Progress 78 launch broadcast starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday with docking coverage starting Thursday at 8:15 p.m. View the NASA Television schedule here.

Despite the cargo craft preparations, there was time for science today aboard the orbiting lab. Kimbrough set up the InSpace-4 physics study that will explore advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur studied ways to produce high-quality protein crystals in microgravity to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries on Earth.

Spacewalkers Complete Second Roll Out Solar Array Installation

The new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.
The new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet concluded their spacewalk at 2:37 p.m. EDT, after 6 hours and 45 minutes. In the ninth spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts installed and deployed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6).

Kimbrough and Pesquet successfully removed the array from its position in the flight support equipment, maneuvered it into position, connected the electrical cables, and released it to extend the solar array to its fully deployed position at the 4B power channel. After deployment, Pesquet also retrieved an articulating portable foot restraint (APFR) to bring inside the space station.

During two spacewalks June 16 and 20, Kimbrough and Pesquet installed and deployed a new array on 2B power channel also on the port 6 truss. Both new solar arrays are providing good power generation. Each new iROSA is expected to produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity.

NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays to ensure a sufficient power supply is maintained for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond as well as utilization and commercialization.

This was the ninth spacewalk for Kimbrough, the fifth for Pesquet, and the fifth they conducted together. Kimbrough has now spent a total of 59 hours and 28 minutes spacewalking, and Pesquet’s total spacewalking time is 33 hours exactly.

Space station crew members have conducted 241 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 63 days, 7 hours, and 41 minutes working outside the station.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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

Second of the New Solar Arrays Successfully Deployed

The 60-foot-long roll out solar arrays were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.
The 60-foot-long roll out solar arrays were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.

Working together outside the International Space Station, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough successfully installed, connected, and deployed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA). The array deployment began at 1:45 p.m. EDT using stored kinetic energy, unfurling over the course of about 10 minutes. Mission control confirmed good power generation on the new array.

It is the second of six total new iROSAs that will be installed in the coming years to upgrade the station’s power supply and completes installation of the pair delivered aboard SpaceX’s cargo Dragon on the company’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the station.

The new solar arrays are positioned in front of current arrays, which are functioning well but have begun to show signs of expected degradation as they have operated beyond their designed 15-year service life. The first pair of legacy solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years.

The new solar array is positioned in front of the current solar array on the same plane and rotary joints, but not directly on top of the primary solar arrays. The new arrays are 60 feet long by 20 feet wide (18.2 meters by 6 meters) and will shade a little more than half of the original array, which is 112 feet long by 39 feet wide. Each new iROSA will produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity, while the current arrays generate, on average, 17 to 23 kilowatts each.

Boeing, NASA’s prime contractor for space station operations, its subsidiary Spectrolab, and major supplier Deployable Space Systems (DSS) provided the new arrays. The technology was developed and proven by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate during a demonstration on the space station in 2017, and the same solar array design will be used to power elements of the agency’s Gateway lunar outpost as well as on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.

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

Astronauts Begin Spacewalk to Install New Solar Array

Spacewalkers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet work to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station's P-6 truss structure on June 16, 2021.
Spacewalkers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet work to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station’s P-6 truss structure on June 16, 2021.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough have begun their spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install and deploy the second of two new ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA).

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:52 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Pesquet is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing a spacesuit bearing red stripes and using helmet camera #20. Kimbrough is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the unmarked spacesuit and helmet camera #22.

It is the fifth spacewalk Kimbrough and Pesquet have conducted together and the third during this mission to install new solar arrays. During Expedition 50, they conducted two spacewalks together in January and March 2017 that included another station power upgrade, replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries.

From inside the space station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur will command Canadarm2 with Pesquet attached to maneuver the array closer to the installation location on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6) to upgrade the 4B power channel.

This is the 241st spacewalk in support of space station assembly.

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

NASA TV is Live Now as Astronauts Ready for Spacewalk

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough are conducting their fifth spacewalk together today. Their first two spacewalks together were during Expedition 50 on 2017.
Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough are conducting their fifth spacewalk together today. Their first two spacewalks together were during Expedition 50 on 2017.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 65 are preparing to go outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 8 a.m. EDT and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in their spacesuits in the airlock in preparation to exit the space station and begin today’s activities to install and deploy the second new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) to upgrade the station’s power supply.

Kimbrough and Pesquet will be working near the farthest set of current solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6, to upgrade the 4B power channel. First they will prepare and release the new solar array from the carrier in which it arrived aboard the SpaceX cargo Dragon.

Pesquet will attach himself to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm2, from where he and Kimbrough will work together to maneuver the array out of the carrier. Operating from inside the station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei serving as backup, will command the robotic arm to maneuver Pesquet and the array as far out on the station as it can reach, where he will then pass the array to Kimbrough. Pesquet will reposition himself to receive the array from Kimbrough for its final installation location. The crew members will work together to install it, rotate it to its deploy location, position the mounting bolts, install the electrical cables, and drive the final two bolts to extend the solar array to its fully deployed position.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Pooja Jesrani with support from Kieth Johnson as the lead spacewalk officer.

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