The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Poisk module at 7:42 p.m. EDT today and will arrive at the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module for redocking tomorrow.
Progress 78 will back out to a distance of 120 miles from the space station for a period of just over 24 hours to allow for station keeping. The cargo spacecraft will then make an automated docking at 12:23 a.m. Friday, Oct. 22, to the new module.
NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will offer live coverage of the rendezvous and redocking beginning at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21.
The maneuver 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. Progress 78 arrived at the station in July and will depart in late November.
Life support, spacesuits and botany work filled Wednesday’s schedule for the Expedition 66 crew aboard the International Space Station. The orbital residents are also gearing up for a Russian resupply ship backing away from the station tonight and switching docking ports just over a day later.
Astronauts Megan McArthur of NASA and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were back in the Tranquility module today replacing components inside the oxygen generation system (OGS). The duo started the work on Tuesday flushing OGS parts of contaminants. They closed out the work today and reactivated the U.S. life support device.
Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) spent the afternoon in the U.S. Quest airlock working on a U.S. spacesuit. The two-time space station resident verified the resized suit is fully functional ahead of an upcoming spacewalk planned for later this year.
NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei serviced a pair of science freezers during the morning. Afterward, he cleaned debris around the Advanced Plant Habitat then photographed the condition of the botany research facility. Station Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough of NASA, who is also commander of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, is now packing cargo and turning his attention to early November’s return to Earth of he and his Crew-2 crewmates McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Roscosmos Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov will be on duty monitoring the Progress 78’s undocking tonight at 7:42 p.m. EDT. However, there will be no live TV coverage of the undocking. NASA TV will be on the air on Thursday at 11:30 p.m. and broadcast its redocking to Nauka set for Friday at 12:23 a.m.
Tuesday aboard the International Space Station was devoted mainly to orbital maintenance tasks with some light science duties on the schedule. The Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for a Russian cargo craft backing away from the station and moving to a new docking port this week.
Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide began two days of work on the Tranquility module’s oxygen generation system (OGS) today. NASA’s McArthur and Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) partnered up and cleaned out contaminants in the OGS throughout the day. They will continue replacing components and reactivating the life support device on Wednesday.
The Expedition 66 crew focused on exercise, EVA preparation, and routine maintenance checks as part of its activities aboard the International Space Station today.
International astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent a portion of the day setting up hardware and completing a session for the Immersive Exercise project. Pesquet was tasked with deploying a wireless virtual reality (VR) headset, which he donned while biking. Pesquet and other crew members took turns performing resistive exercises throughout the day. Roscosmos cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov also exercised for a study alongside other maintenance activities.
Beyond exercising, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, and Mark Vande Hei, and JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide were busy performing a variety of extravehicular (EVA)-related tasks. Among these tasks, Kimbrough took photos of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Scrubber Assembly to help determine the nature of a previously observed leak. McArthur performed preventive maintenance on the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), a device that astronauts wear in case they become untethered during spacewalks. Meanwhile, Vande Hei and Hoshide used a camcorder to inspect and provide feedback about how to improve the stowage of EVA hardware.
As for other maintenance activities, Kimbrough collected water samples from the Portable Water Dispenser (PWF) for in-flight analysis. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur changed batteries in devices that monitor the levels of specific compounds aboard the space station as well.
Looking forward, McArthur prepared for an in-flight interview with Space.com at 1:05 p.m. EDT Thursday, October 21. She will be joined with Vande Hei during the event.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko landed on Earth at 12:35 a.m. EDT Sunday, October 17 in Kazakhstan (10:35 a.m. Kazakhstan time), southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft at 9:14 p.m.
Novitskiy arrived to the space station April 9 and returns to Earth after 191 days in space on his third mission that spanned 3,056 orbits of Earth and 80.9 million miles. During the mission, he completed three spacewalks totaling 22 hours, 38 minutes. He has now logged 531 days in space on his three flights.
Peresild and Shipenko arrived at the station Oct. 5 as spaceflight participants for 12 days of filming their movie, “Challenge,” under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities.
The trio will return by Russian helicopters to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, before boarding a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft to return to their training base in Star City, Russia.
Remaining aboard the station is the seven-person crew of Expedition 66 with station commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, and Mark Vande Hei, JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.
Later this month, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 members – NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer – will join the Expedition 66 members aboard the station. Crew-3 will be the third long-duration mission to fly as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, continuing to provide the capability of regularly launching humans from American soil.
In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed a 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique technological demonstrations and research that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars while also improving life on Earth. To date, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.
NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of a trio of Russian spacefarers.
The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko will make its deorbit burn at 11:41 p.m. EDT to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 12:35 a.m. (10:35 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, October 17.
A veteran cosmonaut will soon lead two Russian spaceflight participants on a ride through Earth’s atmosphere to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan this weekend. Meanwhile, the rest of the Expedition 65 crew stayed focused on a multitude of science, cargo, and maintenance activities throughout Thursday.
Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy will complete his third station mission when he undocks from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory on Saturday at 9:14 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. He, with the station’s two filmmaking guests Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko riding alongside him, will touchdown on the Kazakh steppe on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).
Novitskiy has been packing the Soyuz spacecraft for several days with station hardware, science samples and personal items. He has also been practicing Soyuz descent techniques and training for the departure maneuvers on a Russian computer. The three-time station resident, with assistance from cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, has also been testing a specialized suit, the lower body negative pressure suit, that may help his body adjust quickly to Earth’s gravity after 191 days in space.
The station’s three NASA flight engineers had their hands full today with a host of research and lab upkeep activities in the orbiting lab’s U.S. segment. Megan McArthur swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then performed simulated robotic tasks for a cognition test. Shane Kimbrough had some light plumbing duties during the morning before continuing cargo work inside the Cygnus space freighter. Mark Vande Hei, who is staying on the station for nearly a year, filmed a video about safety in space for students on Earth then worked on life support and networking gear.
The two international astronauts, Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide, spent some time in their respective modules, Europe’s Columbus laboratory and Japan’s Kibo laboratory, ensuring smooth lab operations. Pesquet, of ESA (European Space Agency), serviced a variety of science freezers inside Columbus. Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reorganized stowage space inside Kibo making room for new science gear soon to be delivered on the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission.
Over in the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov worked on an exercise study and dismantled a radiation detector. Dubrov downloaded and checked radiation data then configured radiation sensors, or dosimeters.
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko docked to the International Space Station at 8:22 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above Earth to the north of the Philippine islands.
When the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks, the trio will join Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.
Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at 9:30 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for about 10 a.m.