Space Station Stable After Earlier Unplanned MLM Thruster Firing

July 29, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship. The new Nauka Multipurpose Logistics Module (MLM) is now attached to the Zvezda service module's Earth-facing port.
July 29, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship. The new Nauka Multipurpose Logistics Module (MLM) is now attached to the Zvezda service module’s Earth-facing port.

Following the docking of the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), named Nauka, to the International Space Station at 9:29 am EDT, Russian cosmonauts aboard the space station conducted leak checks between Nauka and the service module. At 12:45 pm, the flight control team noticed the unplanned firing of MLM thrusters that caused the station to move out of orientation. Ground teams have regained attitude control and the motion of the space station is stable.

The crew was never and is not in any danger, and flight controllers in Mission Control Houston are monitoring the status of the space station. Teams are also monitoring the impact to tomorrow’s launch of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft. Updates on the space station will be provided on NASA.gov and the agency’s social media pages.

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.

Progress 77 and Pirs Undocked from Station

Russia's ISS Progress 77 (77P) cargo craft is pictured docked to the Pirs docking compartment on the station's Russian segment.
Russia’s ISS Progress 77 (77P) cargo craft is pictured docked to the Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment.

The unpiloted Russian Progress 77 cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station while attached to the Pirs docking compartment at 6:55 a.m. EDT.

The spacecraft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and harmlessly burn up over the south Pacific. The mission launched and docked to the space station in February delivering more than a ton of cargo to the Expedition 65 crew. Deorbit and re-entry will not be covered on NASA TV.

With the port on the Earth-facing side of the Russian segment station vacated by the departure of Pirs and Progress, Russia’s Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) is scheduled to dock at the station Thursday, July 29. Named Nauka, after the Russian word for “science,” MLM launched on July 21 and will serve as a new science facility, docking port, and spacewalk airlock for future operations.

Crew Dragon Endeavour Has Re-Docked to Station

The SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon is pictured after maneuvering to the Harmony module's space-facing international docking adapter.
The SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon is pictured after maneuvering to the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter. Credit: NASA TV

Crew Dragon Endeavour with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, have re-docked to the International Space Station.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:45 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:35 a.m. completing the second space station port change for the crewed spacecraft.

Next up for commercial crew, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station about one day following its launch at 2:53 p.m. Friday, July 30, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The uncrewed flight test, NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner from launch to docking, atmospheric re-entry, and a desert landing in the western United States. The uncrewed mission will provide valuable data about Boeing’s crew transportation system, and help NASA certify Starliner and the Atlas V rocket for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.

Crew-2 astronauts are targeted to return to Earth in early-to-mid November following a short handover with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts targeted to launch on Sunday, Oct. 31.

Coverage Underway for Crew-2 Port Relocation

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station on April 24, 2021

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as four residents of the International Space Station prepare to take a spin around their orbital neighborhood in the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, relocating it to prepare for the arrival of the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet boarded the Crew Dragon spacecraft about 4:30 a.m. and are scheduled to undock from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:45 a.m. The spacecraft will dock again at the station’s space-facing port at 7:32 a.m.

This will be the second port relocation of a Crew Dragon spacecraft. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission lifted off April 23 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station April 24. Crew-2, targeted to return in early-to-mid November, is the second of six certified crew missions NASA and SpaceX have planned as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA TV to Air Crew Dragon’s Port Relocation

The SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon maneuvers to another port on the International Space Station on April 5, 2021
The SpaceX Crew-1 Dragon maneuvers to another port on the International Space Station on April 5, 2021

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts on the International Space Station will relocate their Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft Wednesday, July 21, setting the stage for a historic first when two different U.S. commercial spacecraft built for crew will be docked to the microgravity laboratory at the same time.

Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will board the Crew Dragon spacecraft about 4:30 a.m. and undock from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:45 a.m. The spacecraft will dock again at the station’s space-facing port at 7:32 a.m.

The relocation will free up Harmony’s forward port for the docking of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, scheduled for launch Friday, July 30, as part of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2). The flight will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner from launch to docking, atmospheric re-entry, and a desert landing in the western United States. The uncrewed mission will provide valuable data about Boeing’s crew transportation system, and help NASA certify Starliner and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.

This will be the second port relocation of a Crew Dragon spacecraft. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission lifted off April 23 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station April 24. Crew-2, targeted to return in early-to-mid November, is the second of six certified crew missions NASA and SpaceX have planned as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Spacewalkers Complete Second Roll Out Solar Array Installation

The new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.
The new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet concluded their spacewalk at 2:37 p.m. EDT, after 6 hours and 45 minutes. In the ninth spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts installed and deployed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6).

Kimbrough and Pesquet successfully removed the array from its position in the flight support equipment, maneuvered it into position, connected the electrical cables, and released it to extend the solar array to its fully deployed position at the 4B power channel. After deployment, Pesquet also retrieved an articulating portable foot restraint (APFR) to bring inside the space station.

During two spacewalks June 16 and 20, Kimbrough and Pesquet installed and deployed a new array on 2B power channel also on the port 6 truss. Both new solar arrays are providing good power generation. Each new iROSA is expected to produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity.

NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays to ensure a sufficient power supply is maintained for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond as well as utilization and commercialization.

This was the ninth spacewalk for Kimbrough, the fifth for Pesquet, and the fifth they conducted together. Kimbrough has now spent a total of 59 hours and 28 minutes spacewalking, and Pesquet’s total spacewalking time is 33 hours exactly.

Space station crew members have conducted 241 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 63 days, 7 hours, and 41 minutes working outside the station.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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.

Second of the New Solar Arrays Successfully Deployed

The 60-foot-long roll out solar arrays were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.
The 60-foot-long roll out solar arrays were successfully deployed in a process that took about 10 minutes.

Working together outside the International Space Station, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough successfully installed, connected, and deployed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA). The array deployment began at 1:45 p.m. EDT using stored kinetic energy, unfurling over the course of about 10 minutes. Mission control confirmed good power generation on the new array.

It is the second of six total new iROSAs that will be installed in the coming years to upgrade the station’s power supply and completes installation of the pair delivered aboard SpaceX’s cargo Dragon on the company’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the station.

The new solar arrays are positioned in front of current arrays, which are functioning well but have begun to show signs of expected degradation as they have operated beyond their designed 15-year service life. The first pair of legacy solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years.

The new solar array is positioned in front of the current solar array on the same plane and rotary joints, but not directly on top of the primary solar arrays. The new arrays are 60 feet long by 20 feet wide (18.2 meters by 6 meters) and will shade a little more than half of the original array, which is 112 feet long by 39 feet wide. Each new iROSA will produce more than 20 kilowatts of electricity, while the current arrays generate, on average, 17 to 23 kilowatts each.

Boeing, NASA’s prime contractor for space station operations, its subsidiary Spectrolab, and major supplier Deployable Space Systems (DSS) provided the new arrays. The technology was developed and proven by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate during a demonstration on the space station in 2017, and the same solar array design will be used to power elements of the agency’s Gateway lunar outpost as well as on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.

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.

Astronauts Begin Spacewalk to Install New Solar Array

Spacewalkers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet work to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station's P-6 truss structure on June 16, 2021.
Spacewalkers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet work to install new roll out solar arrays on the International Space Station’s P-6 truss structure on June 16, 2021.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough have begun their spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install and deploy the second of two new ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA).

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:52 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Pesquet is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing a spacesuit bearing red stripes and using helmet camera #20. Kimbrough is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the unmarked spacesuit and helmet camera #22.

It is the fifth spacewalk Kimbrough and Pesquet have conducted together and the third during this mission to install new solar arrays. During Expedition 50, they conducted two spacewalks together in January and March 2017 that included another station power upgrade, replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries.

From inside the space station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur will command Canadarm2 with Pesquet attached to maneuver the array closer to the installation location on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6) to upgrade the 4B power channel.

This is the 241st spacewalk in support of space station assembly.

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 is Live Now as Astronauts Ready for Spacewalk

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough are conducting their fifth spacewalk together today. Their first two spacewalks together were during Expedition 50 on 2017.
Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough are conducting their fifth spacewalk together today. Their first two spacewalks together were during Expedition 50 on 2017.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 65 are preparing to go outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 8 a.m. EDT and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in their spacesuits in the airlock in preparation to exit the space station and begin today’s activities to install and deploy the second new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) to upgrade the station’s power supply.

Kimbrough and Pesquet will be working near the farthest set of current solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6, to upgrade the 4B power channel. First they will prepare and release the new solar array from the carrier in which it arrived aboard the SpaceX cargo Dragon.

Pesquet will attach himself to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm2, from where he and Kimbrough will work together to maneuver the array out of the carrier. Operating from inside the station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei serving as backup, will command the robotic arm to maneuver Pesquet and the array as far out on the station as it can reach, where he will then pass the array to Kimbrough. Pesquet will reposition himself to receive the array from Kimbrough for its final installation location. The crew members will work together to install it, rotate it to its deploy location, position the mounting bolts, install the electrical cables, and drive the final two bolts to extend the solar array to its fully deployed position.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Pooja Jesrani with support from Kieth Johnson as the lead spacewalk officer.

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

Astronauts Get Ready for Spacewalk While Science Continues

(Clockwise from bottom) Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet participate in robotics training to support the solar array installation spacewalks.
(Clockwise from bottom) Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet participate in robotics training to support the solar array installation spacewalks.

Four Expedition 65 crew members spent Thursday preparing for the third spacewalk to continue new roll-out solar array installation work. The other three International Space Station crew members continued with variety of space research.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to exit the space station shortly after they set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 8 a.m. EDT on Friday. The veteran spacewalking duo will work about 6.5 hours to begin installing a second ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) on the station’s Port-6 truss structure.

Both astronauts set up their spacesuits then readied their tools inside the U.S. Quest airlock just before lunchtime today. Afterward, they joined NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei and reviewed the procedures and robotics activities planned for Friday’s excursion. NASA TV will begin its live spacewalk coverage at 6:30 a.m. on both the agency’s website and the NASA app.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide started his day swapping samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory. Those samples, such as metals, polymers and alloys, are exposed to high temperatures possibly leading to new applications or new materials on Earth and in space. The three-time station visitor also investigated how microgravity affects bacteria and ways to counteract harmful changes for the Oral Biofilms experiment.

In the Russian segment of the orbiting lab, Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov partnered together and explored how long-term spaceflight impacts the blood circulation system. Novitskiy later worked in the Columbus laboratory module trapping clouds of particles for a plasma crystal experiment. Dubrov also researched piloting techniques that astronauts might use to maneuver future spacecraft and robots on planetary surfaces.