Station Preps for Progress and Dragon Cargo Missions

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon (top) and Crew Dragon vehicles are pictured on Sept. 12, 2021, docked to the station's Harmony module.
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon (top) and Crew Dragon vehicles are pictured on Sept. 12, 2021, docked to the station’s Harmony module.

There are now four spacecraft parked at the International Space Station today after a Russian cargo craft undocked Wednesday morning. A fifth spaceship will arrive on Friday to replace it and replenish the Expedition 67 crew with food, fuel, and supplies.

The ISS Progress 79 resupply ship undocked from the rear port of the Zvezda service module at 4:03 a.m. EDT today completing a 214-day cargo mission at the station. The trash-filled space freighter reentered Earth’s atmosphere just over three hours later for a fiery, but safe demise over the Pacific Ocean.

A new resupply ship, the ISS Progress 81 (81P), stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a lift off at 5:32 a.m. on Friday. The 81P will dock three-and-a-half hours later to the same Zvezda port vacated by the 79P. The launch and docking activities will be broadcast live on the NASA app and on the NASA website.

Less than a week later, SpaceX will launch its 25th commercial resupply mission to the space station. The Cargo Dragon will launch atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Florida at 10:45 a.m. on June 9. It will arrive the next day at 1:30 p.m. automatically docking to the Harmony module’s forward port previously occupied by Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. NASA TV will broadcast both the Dragon’s liftoff and its arrival at the station.

Meanwhile, the seven station residents orbiting Earth started their shifts today with body mass measurements. The crew mates took turns attaching themselves to a mass measurement device that applies a known force to the individual with the resulting acceleration being used to calculate body mass. The measurements are based on a formula using Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force equals mass times acceleration).

Lab maintenance took precedence today for NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins as they worked throughout Wednesday on life support gear and orbital plumbing components. Lindgren and Hines also had time for blood sample collections as well as tending to the XROOTS space botany experiment.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti also worked on the space botany study as she checked and photographed the growing plants. The two-time station visitor from Italy also analyzed changes in her body composition for the NutrISS investigation then checked out a robotics control terminal.

Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev took turns today studying future planetary piloting and robotic control techniques. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov serviced power supply systems inside the Zarya module then replaced a laptop computer battery in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

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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