Russian Cargo Ship Docks to Station with Food, Fuel and Supplies

Oct. 29, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships.
Oct. 29, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships.

An uncrewed Russian Progress 79 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Zvezda module at 9:31 p.m. EDT, two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 66 crew, the Progress 79 resupply spacecraft will spend about seven months at the station.

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.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Crew Dragon Nears Launch as Russian Space Cargo Races to Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endurance atop is pictured at its launch pad in Florida during sunset. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endurance atop is pictured at its launch pad in Florida during sunset. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Four commercial crew astronauts await their launch to join the Expedition 66 crew this weekend as a Russian space cargo mission is on its way to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the seven station residents orbiting the Earth today are headlong into a series of life science and physics experiments.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon Endurance attached at top, stands at its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Crew-3 mission, with its four commercial crew astronauts inside Endurance, will blast off on Sunday at 2:21 a.m. EDT for a 22-hour ride to the orbiting lab.

Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari, along with Pilot Thomas Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer, will automatically dock inside Endurance to the Harmony module’s forward docking port on Monday at 12:10 a.m. The quartet will then open the hatches at 1:45 a.m., enter the station, and begin a six-month orbital research mission as Expedition 66 flight engineers.

Back in space, the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship, with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies packed inside, is racing toward the station after launching Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT from Kazakhstan. Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov will be on duty Friday monitoring the Progress 79’s arrival when it automatically docks to the Zvezda service module’s aft port on at 9:34 p.m.

The Roscosmos duo practiced and reviewed procedures on a computer in Zvezda for Friday’s Progress 79 arrival. Dubrov also continued his space exercise research while Shkaplerov was back on plasma-dust structures physics research.

While the station awaits the new cargo and crewmates, the orbital residents continued their intense schedule of advanced microgravity research.

Flight Engineers Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide collected and stowed their blood samples for a pair of human research studies this morning. One long-running study looks at how an astronaut’s body adapts to microgravity before, during and after a space mission. The other observes the cardiovascular health risks of a long-term spaceflight.

Commander Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei worked in the Columbus laboratory module on different science maintenance tasks. Pesquet restocked the Human Research Facility with electrodes, needles, and biological sample kits. Vande Hei reinstalled the Light Ions Detector, an advanced radiation detection device, that provides data into the health risk astronauts are exposed to.

Successful Launch of Russian Resupply Ship to Station

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV
Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV

The uncrewed Russian Progress 79 is safely in orbit headed for the International Space Station following launch at 8 p.m. EDT (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, 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 66 crew members.

After making 33 orbits of Earth on its journey, Progress will dock to the aft port of the station’s Zvezda module at 9:34 p.m. Friday, Oct 29. Live coverage on NASA TV of rendezvous and docking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

Carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 66 crew, the Progress 79 resupply spacecraft will spend about seven months at the station. The space station was flying over the south Atlantic Ocean at the time of the launch.

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.

Station Crew Awaits Russian, U.S. Rockets Counting Down to Launch

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour attached rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour attached rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Two rockets on opposite sides of the Earth are at their launch pads today counting down to liftoff to the International Space Station. Back on the orbiting lab, the seven Expedition 66 residents are busy conducting space research, station maintenance, and preparing for the upcoming departure of four crewmates.

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship is standing vertical at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will blast off today at 8 p.m. EDT with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies, destined for the station crew. The ISS Progress 79 will arrive at the station on Friday for an automated docking to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:34 p.m.

At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Falcon 9 rocket with the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance attached rolled out to the launch pad early Wednesday morning and now stands vertical. Endurance will launch four commercial crew astronauts toward the space station on Sunday at 2:21 a.m. SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari will lead Pilot Thomas Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer on a one-day ride to the Harmony module’s forward docking port.

Meanwhile, station Commander Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Megan McArthur began the day collecting their blood samples. They spun the samples in a centrifuge and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. Pesquet and McArthur also partnered up inside the Cygnus space freighter for cargo work before packing up personal gear ahead of their return to Earth inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour next month.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide are also packing up for next month’s departure aboard Endeavour. Kimbrough still had time today for computer maintenance while Hoshide worked on U.S. spacesuit components. Kimbrough will command Endeavour leading McArthur, Pesquet and Hoshide, from undocking to a splashdown off the coast of Florida ending the SpaceX Crew-2 mission that began in April.

Staying behind on the station will be Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov. Today, Vande Hei was back setting up the Fluids Integrated Rack research facility for the new the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment. Dubrov continued his research into effective space exercise methods while Shkaplerov studied the behavior of plasma-dust structures in the Russian segment of the station.

Station Gets Ready for Russian Cargo and SpaceX Crew Missions

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer are pictured before departing Houston, Texas, for Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer are pictured before departing Houston, Texas, for Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is getting ready for a Russian cargo mission and the arrival and departure of two commercial crews over the next several days. Nevertheless, a host of advanced space research is ongoing today aboard the International Space Station keeping the orbital residents busy and focused.

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship stands atop its rocket today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. Loaded with nearly three tons of cargo, the Progress 79 is due to blast off toward the orbiting lab on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT and replenish the station crew two days later. NASA TV on the agency’s website and the NASA app will broadcast both mission events live.

Mission managers gave a “go” on Monday for all teams to proceed toward this weekend’s launch of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission. The four Crew-3 astronauts are in Florida counting down to their launch aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance on Sunday at 2:21 a.m. The commercial crew foursome, Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Thomas Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer, will dock to the Harmony module’s forward port just one day later.

Four space station astronauts spent Monday afternoon getting ready for their return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour in November. Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough joined Pilot Megan McArthur and Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet and practiced their undocking and departure procedures on a computer. The quartet then called down to NASA and SpaceX mission controllers and discussed their upcoming ride through Earth’s atmosphere and splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Science as usual is continuously ongoing aboard the space station. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. Next, he removed a specialized microscope from the Fluids Integrated Rack to start work on the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment. Hoshide, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), serviced samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that enables safe research into high temperature physics in space.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov spent the day in the station’s Russian segment on their complement of space research and lab maintenance. Shkaplerov studied the behavior of plasma-dust structures using neon and argon gases before cleaning Soyuz crew ship fan screens and working on a Russian oxygen generator. Dubrov had a physical fitness test then moved on and checked electrical connections between the Zvezda service module and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Crew-3 FRR Concludes; NASA, SpaceX ‘Go’ for Oct. 31 Launch

 

The Flight Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a 2:21 a.m. liftoff on Sunday, Oct. 31, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. NASA will hold a media conference at approximately 7:15 p.m. to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on the agency’s website.

Participants in the teleconference are:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Holly Ridings, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station, European Space Agency (ESA)

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, for the third crew rotation flight under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

More details about the mission and the Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit, or by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew, and commercial crew on Facebook.

 

Science, Spacewalk Preps Ahead of Cargo and Crew Missions

Russia's ISS Progress 79 resupply rocket rolls out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early in the morning on Oct. 25, 2021. Credit: RSC Energia
Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply rocket rolls out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early in the morning on Oct. 25, 2021. Credit: RSC Energia

Life science and spacewalk preparations are just part of the busy schedule aboard the International Space Station today. The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for a Russian cargo mission and a commercial crew swap taking place over the next two weeks.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur joined Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) in the Columbus laboratory module for muscle scans and measurements. The duo started Monday morning taking turns using an ultrasound device scanning each other’s neck, back and leg muscles. They got back together Monday afternoon after exercise sessions and measured each other’s muscle tone, stiffness, and elasticity. The measurements are part of the Myotones study which may improve muscle rehabilitation on Earth and in space.

In the U.S. Quest airlock, NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei began configuring tools and organizing the module for an upcoming spacewalk. Kimbrough also collected and stowed his blood samples before moving on to light orbital plumbing work. Vande Hei checked carbon dioxide monitors then updated station inventory systems.

Kimbrough is also getting ready for his return to Earth next month with his SpaceX Crew-2 crewmates McArthur, Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He and McArthur have started packing their spacecraft, Crew Dragon Endeavour, that will return the quartet to Earth for a splashdown off the coast of Florida ending their six-and-a-half month space mission.

However, the station will soon host eleven crew members just one day after the SpaceX Crew-3 mission launches from Florida on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. EDT. Flying aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance will be Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Thomas Marshburn, Mission Specialist Kayla Barron, all NASA astronauts, with Mission Specialist Matthias Maurer of ESA.

But first, there will be a cargo mission blasting off toward the station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian ISS Progress 79 resupply ship will launch on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and dock on Friday at 9:34 p.m. to replenish the orbital residents. Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov are training for that mission today practicing for the unlikely event they would have to take remote command of the Progress 79. The pair from Roscosmos trained on the Zvezda service module’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU, that would take control during the Progress 79’s automated approach and rendezvous.

Crew Stepping Up Upcoming Cargo Mission and Crew Swap Preps

A vivid aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.
A vivid aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.

The Expedition 66 crew will have a restful weekend before stepping up preparations next week for an intense period of Russian resupply ship and SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle activities. However, the International Space Station residents are wrapping up the work week with a host of maintenance activities.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei worked on robotics activities in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock attached to the end cone of the Tranquility module during the afternoon. McArthur kicked off the work uninstalling the tiny GITAI robotic arm, located in Bishop, that is testing its abilities to perform routine support work saving the crew time. Vande Hei joined her afterward stowing the experimental robotic arm’s components, cleaning up Bishop, then closing its hatch.

Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started his morning flushing the oxygen generation system’s hoses of contaminants. Then the three-time station resident turned his attention in the afternoon toward assisting the two NASA astronauts with the Bishop cleanup work.

Over in the European Columbus laboratory module, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough uninstalled science hardware that tests new radiation measurement techniques to make way for orbital plumbing work. Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) took over the plumbing duties and replaced water valves behind a research rack located in Columbus.

Two cosmonauts are sleeping in today after adjusting their shifts two days ago to monitor the undocking then the redocking of the ISS Progress 78 resupply ship. The automated maneuvers saw the Progress 78 back away from the Poisk module on Wednesday night then redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just after midnight on Friday. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov were on duty checking the Progress’ systems ready to take over and remotely control the spacecraft from the Zvezda service module if necessary.

The next cargo craft to replenish the crew will be the ISS Progress 79 when it launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the middle of next week. It will dock two days later to the aft port of Zvezda where it will stay for about seven months.

A crew swap is scheduled to begin in just over a week. The four astronauts of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are due to blast off aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. from Florida toward the orbiting lab. Commander Raja Chari will lead Pilot Thomas Marshburn with Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer inside Endurance and dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 22 hours later.

Several days after that, four astronauts who have been on the station since April will return to Earth inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour completing the SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Kimbrough will lead McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet back home for a retrieval by NASA and SpaceX personnel off the coast of Florida.

Russian Cargo Craft Redocked to Station

Oct. 21, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Oct. 21, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft automatically docked to the International Space Station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 12:21 a.m. EDT Friday after undocking from the station’s Poisk module Wednesday night.

The relocation positions Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station.

A new Russian cargo freighter, Progress 79, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time). Progress 79 launch overage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will begin at 7:45 p.m.

Loaded with almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the station crew, the resupply ship will dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:34 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. Live coverage of docking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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 Live for Russian Cargo Craft Redock to Station

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station for a docking to the Poisk module two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station for a docking to the Poisk module two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as an uncrewed Russian cargo spacecraft arrives at the International Space Station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module.

The Progress 78 spacecraft, which undocked from the station Wednesday, Oct. 20, is scheduled to make an automated docking to the new module at 12:23 a.m. Friday.

The relocation will position Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station.

Another Russian cargo freighter, Progress 79, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time). Progress 79 launch overage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will begin at 7:45 p.m.

For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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