A U.S. resupply ship departed the International Space Station on Thursday morning and will return to Earth in the evening. A Russian rocket is scheduled to roll out on Friday to prepare for next week’s launch with the crew members to the orbiting lab.
NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough was on duty monitoring the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle during its automated undocking from the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter today at 9:12 a.m. EDT. It will orbit Earth for several more hours before parachuting to a splashdown off the coast of Florida later tonight. NASA and SpaceX personnel will be on support boats ready to retrieve the cargo craft containing station hardware and completed science experiments for analysis.
The next mission to the orbiting lab will blast off on Tuesday at 4:55 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz MS-19 crew ship will carry veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov leading spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild. The Russian trio will dock to the station’s Rassvet module less than three-and-a-half hours after launch.
NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei spent their day on botany and biology studies. McArthur cleaned up debris and took photographs of Hatch chile plants growing inside the Plant Habitat. Vande Hei started his morning processing blood samples in a centrifuge then spent the afternoon stowing biological samples in a science freezer for the Food Physiology experiment.
Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy monitored his blood pressure while wearing the lower body negative pressure suit that counteracts the effect of microgravity pulling fluids toward the human head. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov photographed microbe samples swabbed from station surfaces to understand the risk to spacecraft and future human missions.
Cargo Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance away from the station prior to a deorbit burn later in the day that will begin its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. The spacecraft will make parachute-assisted splashdown around 11 p.m. off the coast of Florida. NASA Television will not broadcast the splashdown live, but will provide updates on the space station blog..
Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, delivering some science back into the hands of the researchers hours after splashdown. This shorter transportation timeframe allows researchers to collect data with minimal loss of microgravity effects.
Dragon launched Aug. 29 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy, arriving at the station the following day. The spacecraft delivered more than 4,800 pounds of research investigations, crew supplies, and vehicle hardware to the orbiting outpost.
NASA Television coverage is underway for departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station. The spacecraft is scheduled for automated release at 9:12 a.m. EDT.
Ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will command Dragon to undock from the forward port on the station’s Harmony module. After firing its thrusters to move a safe distance away from the station, Dragon will execute a deorbit burn to leave orbit as it heads for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida around 11 p.m.
Dragon launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Aug. 29 from Space Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and arrived at the station the following day with more than 4,800 pounds of science, supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s 23rd commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA.
Cargo Dragon’s automated undocking from the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter is set for Thursday at 9:05 a.m. EDT. The station’s astronauts will continue loading Dragon with hardware and science experiments until about two hours before its departure. Just over half-a-day later the U.S. cargo craft will parachute to a nighttime splashdown off the coast of Florida. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacecraft’s undocking at 8:45 a.m. on the NASA app and the agency’s website. NASA TV will not broadcast the Cargo Dragon’s return to Earth.
NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough took turns on Wednesday carefully packing and safely attaching cargo inside the U.S. space freighter. Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet installing science freezers containing research samples inside the Cargo Dragon for analysis back on Earth.
Hoshide, a three-time station veteran, began his day setting up the Astrobee robotic helpers inside the Kibo laboratory module. The toaster-sized robotic free-flyers then performed maneuvers using programs written by Japanese and American students competing in a robotics challenge. The event is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to improve space-based and Earth-bound technologies.
Pesquet and NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei partnered up for a space exercise study inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module on Wednesday morning. The duo each spent about an hour on Destiny’s exercise cycle wearing sensors and breathing equipment to measure how working out affects pulmonary function in weightlessness.
Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy started his morning servicing a variety of Russian life support gear and electronics hardware before an hourlong cardiac study. Pyotr Dubrov, a first time space-flyer from Roscosmos, joined Novitskiy for the cardiac study that measured their heart function during a rest period with electrocardiogram sensors. Dubrov then spent the day removing camera gear from the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft and downloading imagery captured during Tuesday’s relocation maneuver.
It is the first time a spacecraft has attached to the new Nauka module, which arrived at the station in July, and is the 20th Soyuz port relocation in station history and the first since March 2021.
The relocation frees the Rassvet port for the arrival October 5 of another Soyuz spacecraft, designated Soyuz MS-19, which will carry Soyuz commander and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild.
Vande Hei and Dubrov are scheduled to remain aboard the station until March 2022. At the time of his return, Vande Hei will have set the record for the longest single spaceflight for an American. Novitskiy, Shipenko, and Peresild are scheduled to return to Earth in October aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft.
The trio are relocating the Soyuz to the new “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module and are expected to dock again at 9 a.m. Nauka arrived at the station in July and was attached to the station’s Zvezda module, providing a new laboratory and robotic arm aboard the orbiting outpost to conduct experiments and store scientific instruments. In addition, Nauka provides an additional sleeping area and toilet for station crew members.
NASA is providing live coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website as three residents of the International Space Station prepare to take a short ride aboard a Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft to relocate it in preparation for the arrival of the next set of station crew members.
They will dock again at the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9 a.m. This will be the first time a spacecraft has attached to the new Nauka module, which arrived at the station in July. This will be the 20th Soyuz port relocation in station history and the first since March 2021.
The relocation will free the Rassvet port for the docking of another Soyuz spacecraft, designated Soyuz MS-19, scheduled to arrive October 5 with Soyuz commander and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild following a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
A Soyuz crew ship with three Expedition 65 crew members aboard will move to a new docking port on Tuesday. Two days after that a U.S. cargo craft will depart the International Space Station and return to Earth packed with science experiments and station hardware for retrieval.
This opens up Rassvet’s port for next month’s arrival of the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship carrying veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and two Russian spaceflight participants to the station. NASA TV will begin its live Tuesday coverage of the relocation at 8 a.m. on the NASA app and the agency’s website.
While the station trio ramps up for the docking port change, two NASA astronauts are loading the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship today with science gear and other cargo. Flight Engineer Megan McArthur started her day transferring cargo inside the Dragon vehicle. NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough configured science freezers inside Dragon that will contain research samples for analysis back on Earth.
Cargo Dragon leaves the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter on Thursday at 9:05 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will broadcast Dragon’s undocking and departure starting at 8:45 a.m. but will not be on air when the returning spacecraft splashes down off the coast of Florida about 14 hours later.
Science rolled on today, as Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet partnered up during the afternoon for space biology work in the Kibo laboratory module. The duo later prepared research samples for return to Earth inside Dragon’s science freezers.
Rodent research, microbe sampling and Dragon packing filled the Expedition 65 crew’s day at the end of the week aboard the International Space Station. Three orbital residents are also preparing their Soyuz crew ship to switch docking ports next week.
Assisting the duo, ESA (European Space Agency) Thomas Pesquet continued the mice observations during the afternoon. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei handled the LSG set up and closeout operations during Friday’s experiment work.
During the afternoon, McArthur swabbed and collected microbe samples from surfaces in the station’s U.S. segment. She photographed the surface areas and stowed the samples for later analysis to document the types of microbes living on the orbiting lab.
Vande Hei and Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration (JAXA) spent a couple of hours on Friday loading the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship for return to Earth. The Cargo Dragon will undock from the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter on Thursday at 9:05 a.m. EDT. It will parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida several hours later for retrieval by SpaceX and NASA personnel.
Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov reviewed the procedures today and the path they will take when their Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft moves to a new port. Vande Hei will join his Russian crewmates when they undock from the Rassvet module at 8:21 a.m. on Tuesday. They will temporarily maneuver toward the station’s U.S. segment where they will photograph the orbiting lab’s configuration. Shortly after that, they will move back toward the Russian segment and redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module at around 9 a.m.
The Russian segment’s Zvezda service module fired its engines for less than a minute today slightly lowering the space station’s orbit. The deorbit boost, as it is called, places the station at the correct phase ahead of the arrival of the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and the departure of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship in October.
The Expedition 65 astronauts are moving full speed ahead today studying how living in space affects skin processes. The International Space Station is also gearing up for a busy period of spaceship activities.
Rodents continue to be observed aboard the orbiting lab today so scientists can identify genes and observe cell functions that are impacted by weightlessness and affect skin processes. The Rodent Research-1 Demonstration will take place until next week when the mice are transferred into the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle for return and examination on Earth.
Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spent Thursday morning exploring how weightlessness affects microbes living on the station. He extracted DNA earlier this week from microbe samples he swabbed from surfaces inside the station. Today, Hoshide prepared the DNA for onboard sequencing to help researchers understand the microbial environment of the station and future spacecraft.
In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are familiarizing themselves with the procedures for next week’s relocation of their Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The duo, along with Vande Hei, will take a short ride in the Soyuz on Tuesday when they undock from the Rassvet module at 8:21 a.m. EDT.
They will temporarily maneuver toward the station’s U.S. segment where they will photograph the orbiting lab’s configuration. Shortly after that, they will move back toward the Russian segment and redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module module at around 9 a.m.