Astronauts Relaxing Day Before Cygnus Cargo Ship Lifts Off to Station

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet is pictured inside the cupola, the space station's "window to the world," while orbiting above the Atlantic Ocean.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet is pictured inside the cupola, the space station’s “window to the world,” while orbiting above the Atlantic Ocean.

Northrop Grumman is “go” to launch its Cygnus space freighter atop an Antares rocket on Tuesday at 5:56 p.m. EDT. It will arrive at the International Space Station on Thursday for a capture at 6:10 a.m. with NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Cygnus will lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia with live NASA TV coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. NASA TV will go back on the air at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday broadcasting Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous as ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet assists McArthur during the robotics activities.

Most of the Expedition 65 crew relaxed on Monday aboard the orbiting lab with some time set aside for blood and urine collections as well as battery swaps. McArthur and Pesquet processed the biological samples spinning them in a centrifuge before stowing them in a science freezer. McArthur also charged and swapped out batteries inside the Astrobee robotic helpers ahead of upcoming research activities planned for the devices.

The two cosmonauts in the station’s Russian segment had a full schedule as they continued focusing on cargo transfers from the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module during the morning. Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov then split up in the afternoon to work on a variety of life support and power supply maintenance.

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