Station Crew Works Japanese and Russian Research

Russia's Progress 76 resupply ship is pictured docked to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment. Below the orbiting lab are the city lights of southeastern Europe.
Russia’s Progress 76 resupply ship is pictured docked to the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment. Below the orbiting lab are the city lights of southeastern Europe.

Advanced space science, cargo transfers and orbital maintenance kept the three Expedition 63 crew members occupied Thursday aboard the International Space Station.

Commander Chris Cassidy spent a good portion of his day working inside JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Kibo laboratory module. The experienced shuttle and station astronaut retrieved the Handhold Experiment Platform-2 (HXP-2), packed with several experiments, from inside Kibo’s airlock.

The HXP-2 was grappled by Japan’s robotic arm, removed from Kibo’s Exposed Facility and placed inside the airlock last week. The small research platform housed a variety of experiment samples exposed to the vacuum of space for observation.

Russia’s newest resupply ship, the Progress 76 (76P) which delivered nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies last month, continued to be offloaded today. Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner unpacked electronics gear from the 76P and updated the space station’s inventory system.

Ivanishin then moved on to science exploring how bone marrow and enzymes adapt to weightlessness and studied Earth’s upper atmosphere. Vagner checked station smoke detectors and transferred waste fluids into the Progress 75 cargo craft.

Spacex Crew Dragon Is on Its Way Home

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley participate in a fully integrated test of SpaceX Crew Dragon flight hardware at the SpaceX processing facility in Florida on March 30.

Crew Dragon has completed all four planned departure burns to begin its journey back to Earth with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley 

With the spacecraft on its path home, the astronauts will settle in for an eight-hour sleep period. While they’re asleep, a six-minute departure phasing burn at 1:48 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 will set the Dragon Endeavour on the proper orbital path to a planned splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

NASA’s live coverage of the crew’s return home to Earth continues through the night.

Behnken and Hurley will begin their last day in space at 7:40 a.m. tomorrow.

The Crew Dragon will separate from its trunk and jettison it at 1:51 p.m., followed five minutes later at 1:56 p.m. with the start of the deorbit burn to commit the spacecraft to a trajectory to splashdown at 2:48 p.m.

More details about the return can be found in the Top 10 Things to Know for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Return and the splashdown weather criteria fact sheet. 

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew  and commercial crew on Facebook

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

Endeavour Spacecraft Undocked from Station

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft moments after undocking from the International Space Station on NASA TV
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft moments after undocking from the International Space Station on NASA TV

The SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley inside undocked from the forward end of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 7:35 p.m. EDT to complete a two-month mission.  

 

Two very small engine burns separated Crew Dragon from the station, and the spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to Earth. 

 

Once flying free, Dragon Endeavour will autonomously execute four departure burns to move the spaceship away from the space station and begin the flight home.  

 

The return timeline with approximate times in EDT is: 

 

August 1 

7:35 p.m.             Departure burn 0 

7:40 p.m.             Departure burn 1 

8:27 p.m.             Departure burn 2 

9:14 p.m.             Departure burn 3 

  

August 2 

1:51 p.m.             Trunk jettison 

1:56 p.m.             Deorbit burn 

2:48 p.m.             Crew Dragon splashdown 

 

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until astronaut Behnken and Hurley splashdown off the coast of Florida and are recovered from the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

The duo arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31, following a successful launch on May 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During their 63 days aboard station, Behnken and Hurley contributed more than 100 hours of time to supporting the orbiting laboratory’s investigations, participated in public engagement events, and supported four spacewalks with Behnken and Cassidy to install new batteries in the station’s power grid and upgrade other station hardware. 

 

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook 

 

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 Astronauts are Now Seated Inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley seated inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft on NASA TV before undocking
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley seated inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft on NASA TV before undocking

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are now seated inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft as fellow Expedition 63 astronauts Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner closed the hatch between Crew Dragon and the orbital laboratory at 5:37 p.m. EDT. 

 

Teams will conduct standard leak checks and depressurization of the space between the spacecraft and the station, called the vestibule, in preparation for Dragon Endeavour’s undocking and return to Earth. Undocking is scheduled for 7:34 p.m. EDT. After hooks holding Crew Dragon in place retract, two very small engine burns will fire to separate the spacecraft from the station. 

 

NASA is providing live uninterrupted coverage through the Dragon Endeavour’s return to Earth. 

 

Conditions remain “Go” at the primary targeted site, off the coast of Pensacola, and alternate site off the coast of Panama City in the Gulf of Mexico for splashdown and recovery on Sunday, Aug. 2. 

 

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook. 

 

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 Now as Dragon Crew Prepares for Undocking

NASA's first commercial crew astronauts (front to back) Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are pictured in January during tests inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. Credit: SpaceX
NASA’s first commercial crew astronauts (front to back) Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are pictured in January during tests inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. Credit: SpaceX

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV and the agency’s website as undocking preparations are underway for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station 

 

SpaceX and NASA are targeting 7:34 p.m. EDT for Crew Dragon to autonomously undock from the space station, with Behnken and Hurley aboard the spacecraft, and return to Earth. Approximately 19 hours later, after jettisoning its trunk and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, Crew Dragon will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida at 2:48 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 2. The primary splashdown target is Pensacola. 

 

Hurley and Behnken arrived at the orbiting laboratory in the Crew Dragon May 31 following a launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30. This is SpaceX’s final test flight and is providing data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, splashdown, and recovery operations.  

 

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook. 

 

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 Astronauts Conclude Today’s Spacewalk

NASA astronaut pictured tethered on the space station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to swap batteries and route cables.
NASA astronaut pictured tethered on the space station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to swap batteries and route cables.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken concluded their spacewalk at 1:10 p.m. EDT, after six hours. The two NASA astronauts completed all the work to replace batteries that provide power for the station’s solar arrays on the starboard truss of the complex. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

The spacewalkers removed six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for the second of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed the three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries. Mission control reports that all three new batteries are working.

The work nearly completes a 3.5-year effort to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system. At completion, 24 new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates will replace 48 aging nickel-hydrogen batteries. In April 2019, one of the newly installed lithium-ion batteries on the near port truss blew a fuse, so two nickel-hydrogen batteries were re-installed to take its place. A new replacement lithium-ion battery arrived to the space station in January 2020 aboard the SpaceX Dragon on its 19th commercial resupply services mission and is stowed on the station’s truss until it can be installed during a future spacewalk later this year.

Behnken and Cassidy are scheduled to conduct one more spacewalk Tuesday, July 21, during which they will remove two lifting fixtures used for ground processing of the station’s solar arrays prior to their launch. They’ll also begin preparing the Tranquility module for the installation of a commercial airlock provided by NanoRacks and scheduled to arrive on a SpaceX cargo flight later this year. The airlock will be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.

This was the ninth spacewalk for each astronaut. Behnken has now spent a total of 55 hours and 41 minutes spacewalking. Cassidy now has spent a total of 49 hours and 22 minutes spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 230 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 60 days, 6 hours, and 34 minutes working outside 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.

Astronauts Have Begun Spacewalk Live on NASA TV

NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Flight Engineer Bob Behnken works during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the International Space Station's Starboard-6 truss structure.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Flight Engineer Bob Behnken works during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the International Space Station’s Starboard-6 truss structure.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy have begun the first of two final spacewalks to finish a 3.5-year effort to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system. They will replace batteries on one of two power channels on the station’s far starboard truss (S6 Truss).

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:10 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last between six and seven hours.

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

The spacewalkers will be removing five existing nickel-hydrogen batteries and replacing them with three new lithium-ion batteries that arrived on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The batteries store electricity for one pair of the station’s solar arrays, and the swap will upgrade the station’s power supply capability. The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the microgravity laboratory when the station is not in sunlight as it circles Earth during orbital night.

This is the 230th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Behnken is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #20. Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #18. It is the ninth spacewalk for both astronauts.

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.

NASA TV is Live Now as Astronauts Prepare for Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Bob Behnken (far left) and Chris Cassidy (far right) are suited up ahead of their June 26 spacewalk.
Spacewalkers Bob Behnken (far left) and Chris Cassidy (far right) are suited up with assistance from Expedition 63 Flight Engineers (middle left) Doug Hurley and Ivan Vagner (middle right) ahead of their June 26 spacewalk.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy is now underway and available on the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 63 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT and last as long as seven hours.

The crew is in the airlock and have donned their suits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities working on one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the station.

Mirroring the work they completed in the first spacewalk June 26 on the other power channel, the primary tasks for the crew are to remove five of six older nickel-hydrogen batteries for the truss’ power system and install three new lithium-ion batteries. The batteries store electricity for one pair of the station’s solar arrays. Behnken and Cassidy also will be installing two of three adapter plates to complete the circuit to the new batteries and relocating the nickel-hydrogen batteries for storage and for future disposal.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Allison Bolinger with support from Sandy Moore 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.

Cassidy and Behnken Conclude Spacewalk to Replace Batteries

NASA Astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken during spacewalk to replace batteries to upgrade the power supply capability
NASA Astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken during spacewalk to replace batteries to upgrade the power supply capability

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken concluded their spacewalk at 1:39 p.m. EDT, after six hours and seven minutes. The two NASA astronauts completed all the work planned for this first of four spacewalks to replace batteries that provide power for the station’s solar arrays on the starboard truss of the complex as well as initial tasks originally planned for the second scheduled spacewalk next Wednesday. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

The spacewalkers removed five of six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for one of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed two of three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed two of three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries. Mission control reports that the two new batteries are working.

Cassidy and Behnken are scheduled to complete the upgrade to this initial power channel in a second spacewalk on July 1, during which they will install one more lithium-ion battery and one more adapter plate and remove the sixth nickel-hydrogen battery that will no longer be used.

This was the seventh spacewalk for both each astronaut. Cassidy now has spent a total of 37 hours and 21 minutes spacewalking, and Behnken has spent a total of 43 hours and 40 minutes spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 228 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 59 days, 18 hours, and 33 minutes working outside 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.

 

Spacewalkers Begin Work to Replace Batteries

Spacewalkers Bob Behnken (left) and Chris Cassidy (right) in the Quest Airlock before beginning today’s spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV
Spacewalkers Bob Behnken (left) and Chris Cassidy (right) in the Quest Airlock before beginning today’s spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken have begun the first of two scheduled spacewalks to replace batteries on one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:32 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which may last as long as seven hours.

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

Cassidy and Behnken will be removing existing nickel-hydrogen batteries and replacing them with new lithium-ion batteries that arrived on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The batteries store electricity for one pair of the station’s solar arrays, and the swap will upgrade the station’s power supply capability. The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the microgravity laboratory when the station is not in sunlight as it circles Earth during orbital night.

This is the 228th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #18. Behnken is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #20. It is the seventh spacewalk for both astronauts.

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.