Cygnus Cargo Craft Fires Engine for Limited Station Reboost

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured attached to the space station.
The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured attached to the space station.

On Saturday, June 25, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus completed its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’ gimbaled delta velocity engine was used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. The maneuver lasted 5 minutes, 1 second and raised the station’s altitude 1/10 of a mile at apogee and 5/10 of a mile at perigee. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived to the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from space station Tuesday, June 28, where it will burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA TV coverage for the unberthing will begin at 5:45 am EDT on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.


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Crew Studies Aging in Space, Harvests Edible Plants Before Cygnus Reboost

The sun's rays burst above Earth's horizon as the space station orbited 264 miles above Western Australia on the coast of Shark Bay.
The sun’s rays burst above Earth’s horizon as the space station orbited 264 miles above Western Australia on the coast of Shark Bay.

Human research and space botany were the main research activities aboard the International Space Station today helping NASA and its international partners keep astronauts healthy on long-term missions. The seven Expedition 67 crew members also ensured the orbiting lab continues operating in tip-top shape at the end of the workweek.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren continued investigating why microgravity accelerates aging-like symptoms in humans. He processed blood and urine samples then stowed them in a science freezer for the Phospho-Aging study. Living in space affects molecular mechanisms that speed up the loss of bone and muscle mass. Results may inform countermeasures to keep astronauts healthier longer in space and improve the lives of aging citizens on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins began harvesting radishes and mizuna greens growing without soil for the XROOTS space gardening study today. The experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow edible plants so future crews can sustain themselves on longer spaceflight missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines activated the Astrobee robotic free-flyers today to test their ability to autonomously navigate and maneuver inside the Kibo laboratory module using smartphone technology. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut spent her day servicing orbital plumbing components inside the Tranquility module.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev programmed a camera for an Earth observation study while Flight Engineer Denis Matveev transferred air and water from the Progress 81 cargo craft into the station. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov closed out test operations of the European robotic arm then moved on to ventilation system work.

On Saturday, June 25, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft will perform its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’ gimbaled delta velocity engine will be used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’ ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived to the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from space station Tuesday, June 28, where it will burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA TV coverage for the unberthing will begin at 5:45 am EDT on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

This reboost follows an initial attempted reboost on June 20 which was terminated early as a conservative measure due to system parameters that differed from Cygnus flight operations. Investigation by engineers showed that these parameters were acceptable for the reboost and the limits were adjusted for Saturday’s attempt.


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.

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Aging, Heart Studies on Station Ahead of Cygnus Reboost Test

As the Moon sets below Earth's horizon the atmosphere refracts, or bends, its light making it appear flatter in this photograph taken from the space station.
As the Moon sets below Earth’s horizon the atmosphere refracts, or bends, its light making it appear flatter in this photograph taken from the space station.

The seven-member Expedition 67 crew split its time with a variety of human research and lab maintenance tasks on Thursday. A U.S. resupply ship is also gearing up for a test of its ability to reboost the International Space Station this weekend before its departure next week.

NASA and its international partners continuously explore how living in space affects the human body. Numerous experiments investigate how space station crew members adapt to weightlessness during their months-long missions. Scientists on Earth gain insights into how the human physiology changes and inform ways to sustain crew health over the course of a long-term space mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren explored how living in space speeds up aging-like symptoms in humans today. He collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for the Phospho-Aging study that seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the rapid loss of bone and muscle mass that takes place in microgravity. Results may inform countermeasures to keep astronauts healthier longer in space and improve the lives of aging citizens on Earth.

Astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Jessica Watkins of NASA worked throughout Thursday on station upkeep activities. Cristoforetti replaced centrifuge components inside the BioLab, a research facility that studies the effects of space and radiation on single celled and multi-cellular organisms. Watkins rearranged computer hardware and installed new science computer software in the Destiny laboratory module.

NASA astronaut Bob Hines, along with Lindgren, trained on a computer to remain proficient in SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle operations. Hines also joined Watkins continuing to film and narrate station operations for downlinking to train astronauts scheduled on future missions.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov attached sensors to themselves today monitoring their cardiac activity. Artemyev then activated Earth observation gear while Korsakov unpacked Russian cargo and worked on hatch sealing mechanisms. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev configured radiation detectors and measured the radiation environment aboard the orbiting lab.

NASA and Northrop Grumman have given the go for Cygnus to try another reboost attempt on Saturday that would lead to Cygnus potentially departing the station on Tuesday, June 28. The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA.


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.

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Space Gardening, Digestion, and Robotics Top Crew Schedule

Expedition 67 crew members pose with fresh fruit delivered aboard the Progress 81 cargo craft on June 3, 2022.
Expedition 67 crew members pose with fresh fruit delivered aboard the Progress 81 cargo craft on June 3, 2022.

Space gardening and the human digestive system were at the top of the science schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The seven Expedition 67 residents also worked throughout the day filming their activities, inspecting station hardware, and testing a new robotic arm.

Space agriculture is a way to sustain healthy astronauts on future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond without relying on packed cargo missions traveling farther in space. The XROOTS experiment on the orbiting lab is exploring growing radishes and mizuna greens using hydroponic and aeroponic techniques. NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines nourished those plants today and checked seed cartridges and wicks to ensure they germinate and grow.

Hines also inspected and photographed the condition of windows in the Destiny laboratory and the Kibo laboratory modules. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren continued testing a headset that enables 3-D high definition holograms in real-time for immersive and innovative communication and research techniques. He also swapped hard drives on a station laptop computer.

Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti joined each other today inspecting and cleaning hatch components on the U.S. modules. Watkins also audited, inspected, and stowed hardware in the Tranquility module and the Quest airlock. Cristoforetti checked smoke detectors in the Columbus laboratory module and tested a specialized garment that can monitor an astronaut’s health wirelessly.

All four astronauts have also been filming their activities this week to prepare future crews training for upcoming station missions. The quartet have been recording, narrating, and downlinking videos documenting the operation of exercise equipment, network communications gear, and cargo stowage aboard the space station.

The lack of gravity affects the human body in a multitude of ways. Scientists observe station crew members during long-term missions to understand and counteract the undesired effects of weightlessness. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev once again scanned their digestive system using an ultrasound device after breakfast. Researchers are exploring how organs and vessels in the gastrointestinal tract adapt to spaceflight.

Robotics testing is still ongoing this week in the station’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov continued checking out and filming the European robotic arm, the station’s third and newest robotic manipulator, and its ability to maneuver on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

NASA and Northrop Grumman are continuing to work on a plan for Cygnus to try another reboost attempt as early as Saturday, June 25, that would lead to Cygnus potentially departing the station next Tuesday, June 28. The plan is being discussed with the International Space Station partners this week and a forward plan is expected as early as Thursday.

The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA.


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.

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Crew Works Biomedical Science and Hologram, Robotics Tech

The island of Groix is pictured off the northwestern coast of France with the Atlantic Ocean beaming from the sun's glint.
The island of Groix is pictured off the northwestern coast of France with the Atlantic Ocean beaming from the sun’s glint in this photograph from the space station.

A host of biomedical studies filled the Expedition 67 crew’s day as NASA and its international partners continue exploring how living in space long-term affects the human body. The residents aboard the International Space Station also set up a 3-D hologram device and tested a new robotic arm.

The orbiting lab’s four astronauts took turns scanning each other’s veins with the Ultrasound 2 device on Tuesday morning. NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, and Kjell Lindgren joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti and scanned their neck, shoulder, and leg veins during the morning with researchers on the ground monitoring the data in real-time. Doctors on Earth gain insight into how an astronaut’s cardiac, vessel, and muscle systems adjust to weightlessness.

Hines and Cristoforetti also spun blood samples in the Human Research Facility’s centrifuge before stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. Watkins spent the rest of her day inspecting U.S. module hatch components and auditing hardware inside the station’s pantry. Cristoforetti worked on orbital plumbing tasks before reorganizing cargo to create more space aboard the space station.

Lindgren charged and configured a headset that enables 3-D high definition holograms in real-time for immersive and innovative communication and research techniques. Afterward, he launched a computer application beginning a session to demonstrate ways holoportation can be used for teleconferences and telemedicine, as well as assisting crew members with complex procedures in space.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev partnered together for ultrasound scans of their digestive system after breakfast. Researchers are investigating how organs and vessels in the gastrointestinal tract adapt to microgravity. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module testing the operation and mobility of the new European robotic arm.


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.

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Cygnus Reboost Aborted, Next Steps Being Planned

International Space Station Configuration: Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.
International Space Station Configuration: Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.

On Monday at 10:20 a.m. Central time, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG CRS-17 engine was scheduled to fire for 5 minutes, 1 second to test the cargo craft’s ability to reboost the International Space Station in the future. The engine firing was aborted after five seconds. Cygnus’ Mission Director at Dulles, Virginia reported that the cause for the abort is understood and under review.

Late this afternoon in their evening planning conference with flight controllers in Houston, the crew was informed that NASA and Northrop Grumman are working on a plan for Cygnus to try another reboost attempt as early as Saturday, June 25  that would lead to Cygnus potentially departing the station next Tuesday, June 28. The plan will be discussed with the International Space Station partners later this week.

The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA.

Editor’s Note: A portion of this blog was updated on June 20, 2022 at 4:22 p.m. EDT to reflect a second reboost attempt and Cygnus’ potential departure from 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.

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Crew Wraps Week with Research Hardware Work, Cygnus Packing

NASA astronaut and Expedition 67 Flight Engineer Bob Hines is pictured during cargo operations and inventory tasks inside the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 67 Flight Engineer Bob Hines is pictured during cargo operations and inventory tasks inside the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman.

Space research hardware kept the Expedition 67 crew busy on Friday as the four astronauts and three cosmonauts turned on free-flying robots, configured nanosatellites, and replaced a fuel bottle inside a furnace. The septet also split its day inside the International Space Station with Earth observations, spacesuit helmet work, and cargo packing.

The Astrobee robotic assistants were flying autonomously inside the Kibo laboratory module today streaming video of their activities to mission controllers on Earth. NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines configured the cube-shaped Astrobees to test their ability to navigate and visualize the inside of Kibo on their own.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti swapped a fuel bottle inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that enables safe observations of high-temperature phenomena in microgravity. She started the day partnering with NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins collecting blood samples and processing them in a centrifuge. Watkins also photographed Earth landmarks in North America, Spain, and Africa while verbally providing descriptions to assist researchers on the ground.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren checked out components on a U.S. spacesuit helmet before continuing to pack Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter. Cristoforetti and Watkins both joined Lindgren at the end of the day as they loaded Cygnus with trash and discarded gear ahead of its departure later this month.

In the Russian segment of the orbiting lab, Commander Oleg Artemyev tested a set of nanosatellites before their future deployment. He also assisted Cristoforetti while she pedaled on an exercise cycle for a physical fitness evaluation. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev spent Friday servicing a Russian oxygen generator while Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on configuration tasks and computer maintenance inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

The International Space Station Flight Control Team has decided to postpone the first limited reboost of the International Space Station by the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply vehicle from Saturday to Monday to refine the duration and magnitude of the activity in the wake of Thursday’s debris avoidance maneuver. The postponement will have no impact on station operations.

This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived at the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from the space station later this month when it will be deorbited to burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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.

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Life Science, Debris Avoidance Maneuver Takes Place on Station

The Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFelx solar arrays, approaches the station on Feb. 21, 2022.
The Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFelx solar arrays, approaches the station on Feb. 21, 2022.

Life Science, Debris Avoidance Maneuver Takes Place on Station

The Expedition 67 crew studied advanced physics, continued its human research, and worked on space gardening inside the International Space Station on Thursday. The orbital residents are also readying the Cygnus space freighter for its departure next week.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins split her day between physics research hardware and sample processing. She stowed components from the Transparent Alloys industrial manufacturing experiment and returned the Microgravity Science Glovebox to its standard configuration. Watkins also collected blood and urine samples throughout the day and stowed them in a science freezer for future analysis.

Space botany and fluid physics were on the research schedule as well for Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency). Lindgren nourished radishes and mizuna greens growing for the XROOTS hydroponics and aeroponics study. Cristoforetti ran a pair of experiment sessions for the Fluidics study that is exploring how fuel behaves in microgravity.

NASA astronaut Bob Hines worked on communications hardware and serviced centrifuge components inside the Human Research Facility. Hines also worked throughout the day with Lindgren, Watkins, and Cristoforetti loading the Cygnus resupply ship with trash and discarded gear ahead of its departure on June 23. NASA TV will broadcast Cygnus’ release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm on the agency’s app and website.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts focused on their complement of research today exploring how to improve space operations. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov took turns participating in an investigation that may inform piloting and robotics control techniques on future planetary missions. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev set up dosimeters for a long-running radiation detection experiment before removing a sensor that monitored his heart activity for 24 hours.

This afternoon, the International Space Station’s Progress 81 thrusters fired for 4 minutes, 34 seconds in a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) to provide the complex and extra measure of distance away from the predicted track of a fragment of Russian Cosmos 1408 debris.

The thruster firing occurred at 2:03 p.m. Central time. The crew was never in any danger and the maneuver had no impact on station operations.

Without the maneuver, it was predicted that the fragment could have passed within around a half mile from the station.

The PDAM increased the station’s altitude by 3/10 of a mile at apogee and 7/10 of a mile at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 261.2 x 257.3 statute miles.

The scheduled reboost of the station on Saturday to test Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG-17 vehicle’s reboost capability for the first time will still be conducted, but with a slightly reduced engine firing duration to preserve the phasing for Russian Soyuz launch and landing operations in September.

On Saturday, June 18, the Cygnus spacecraft will perform its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’s gimbaled delta velocity engine will be used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived to the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from space station later this month where it will burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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.

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Advanced Space Biology, Tech Research Inform Mission Success

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti works on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti works on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station’s Quest airlock.

The International Space Station hummed with research activity today as the Expedition 67 crew members continued exploring how microgravity affects the human body. The orbital residents also tested ways autonomous robots can assist astronauts and researched how fuel behaves in the weightless environment of space.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines worked throughout Wednesday processing blood and urine samples collected from crew members and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. The astronaut also configured wrist-worn sleep monitoring devices, known as Actiwatches, that station residents wear periodically for research purposes. Data, including sleep-wake activity and light exposure, is downloaded to scientists on Earth to review how living in space affects an astronaut’s sleep cycle.

The Astrobee robotic free-flyers were activated today inside the Kibo laboratory module. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins outfitted the toaster-sized robotic assistants with acoustic monitors and let them autonomously fly around Kibo for a technology demonstration. The experiment tests using listening techniques to monitor the health of spacecraft systems and detect potential issues.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren kicked off his day configuring video cables inside the Cell Biology Experiment Facility before photographing landmarks over Europe and Asia. Afterward, he partnered with Watkins after lunchtime for cargo operations inside the Cygnus space freighter. The private resupply ship from Northrop Grumman is due to complete its station mission at the end of June.

On Saturday, Cygnus is slated to complete its first reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’s gimbaled delta velocity engine will be used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the orbital outpost. The maneuver will last 10 minutes and 53 seconds and raise the station’s altitude by 0.7 miles. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti studied fluid physics using distilled water and a specialized low-viscous liquid inside the Columbus laboratory module today. The Fluidics experiment explores ways to optimize fuel management in satellites and may even provide insights on the behavior of Earth’s ocean waves.

Commander Oleg Artemyev continued partnering today with Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov to learn how to exercise more effectively in weightlessness. Artemyev also charged video camera and laptop computer batteries while Korsakov serviced Russian life support equipment. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev researched piloting and robotic techniques for future planetary missions then attached a sensor to himself to measure his cardiac activity for 24 hours.

Crew Observes Quiet Monday, Prepares for Upcoming Cargo Operations

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is pictured inside the seven-windowed cupola while orbiting 264 miles above Kazakhstan.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is pictured inside the seven-windowed cupola while orbiting 264 miles above Kazakhstan.

All seven Expedition 67 crew members are enjoying a quiet Monday on station as the four astronauts and three cosmonauts relaxed for a three-day weekend. However, science is always ongoing on the International Space Station as researchers continuously explore how to stay healthy and work effectively in microgravity.

The septet will get back to a full work day on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week maintaining space station systems and conducting an array of advanced space research, including robotics and botany. However, NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines did spend an hour-and-a-half on Monday tending to mizuna greens and radishes growing for the XROOTS space gardening study. Commander Oleg Artemyev from Roscosmos retrieved a set of nanosatellites from the Progress 81 resupply ship for assembly and future deployment.

Cargo craft operations will soon be keeping the crew busy as it plans for the departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter slated to leave the station’s Unity module next week. Cygnus will be completing a four-month stay at the orbital lab when the Canadarm2 robotic arm releases the resupply ship from Unity for a fiery, but safe atmospheric reentry above the Pacific Ocean.

NASA and SpaceX officials met today to discuss the initial findings from additional inspections and testing of the Dragon spacecraft after teams measured elevated vapor readings of mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) in an isolated region of the Dragon propulsion system. After offloading propellant from that region, SpaceX was able to narrow down the source of the issue to a Draco thruster valve inlet joint. Teams will now remove the specific hardware to replace it ahead of flight. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than July 11 for launch of the CRS-25 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

NASA TV will broadcast the Cygnus and Dragon mission events live on the agency’s app and its website after official dates and times are announced.


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.

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