NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts are counting down to the first of three assembly spacewalks set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. EST. The duo checked out their rescue jet packs they would use in the unlikely event they became untethered from the International Space Station. The spacewalks will prepare the station for new commercial crew vehicle docking ports.
The latest supply ship to dock to the orbital lab, Progress 58, had its hatches opened Wednesday morning, following its Tuesday arrival. The Expedition 42 crew members will now begin unloading several tons of food and supplies that will replenish the station residents for the next few months.
Meanwhile, the six-member crew continued the International Partners’ mission of conducting advanced microgravity science. Ultrasound eye scans and blood pressure checks were conducted with remote guidance from doctors on the ground today. The crew also studied cell cultures grown on orbit and explored techniques to improve Earth observation photography.
Traveling about 257 miles above the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico, the unpiloted Progress 58 Russian cargo ship docked at 11:57 a.m. EST to the rear port of the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station. The craft is delivering three tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members aboard the orbital laboratory. Progress 58 is scheduled to remain docked to the space station until August.
Meanwhile, astronauts in the U.S. segment of the station are reviewing procedures for a trio of spacewalks. The first is set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. Spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts will exit the orbital lab to set the stage for a pair of new commercial crew vehicle docking ports to be installed later this year.
Outside the station on Sunday, robotics controllers on the ground maneuvered the Canadarm2 with the Dextre attached to remove and replace a faulty Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM). The RPCM provides backup commanding capability to the port Thermal Radiator Rotating Joint.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the docking of ISS Progress 58 to the rear port of the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module beginning at 11:30 a.m. EST. Docking is planned for 11:58 a.m.
The cargo craft launched at 6:00 a.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying about three tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members on the space station.
The ISS Progress 58 cargo craft launched at 6:00 a.m. EST (5:00 p.m. Baikonur local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Less than 10 minutes later, the capsule reached its preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned.
At the time of launch, the space station was traveling over southern Russia near the Mongolian border.
The Progress space freighter is scheduled to rendezvous with the space station at 11:58 a.m. NASA TV coverage will begin at 11:30 a.m. at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on the International Space Station beginning at 5:45 a.m. EST. Launch of ISS Progress 58 cargo spacecraft is planned for 6:00 a.m. (5:00 p.m. Baikonur local time).
The new Progress is carrying more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the station including 1,940 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 3,333 pounds of spare parts and experiment hardware.
Progress 58 will make its four-orbit, six-hour trip to the space station and dock at about 11:58 a.m.
Marking an end to the 7-year era of European space freighter supply to the International Space Station, ESA’s (European Space Agency) “Georges Lemaitre” cargo vehicle entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burned up over the Pacific Ocean around 12:12 p.m. Central time Sunday following a pair of engine firings that first lowered the ATV-5’s orbit, then enabled it to drop out of orbit for its fiery entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The end to the ATV came one day after it undocked from the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module. After losing telemetry from the vehicle, ATV flight controllers at the ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France offered their thanks to the Flight Directors at Mission Control, Houston and the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, Russia for the years of support during the ATV program, and offered best wishes for the future years of ISS operations.
Although the entry smoke trail could not been seen on ISS external cameras, Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA radioed down that he could see the plasma trail as ATV descended into the atmosphere and documented its demise with still and video cameras.
Meanwhile, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian ISS Progress 58 cargo craft rolled to its launch pad in frozen fog and temperatures hovering around 18 degrees for its launch Tuesday morning to the station to deliver more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Launch is scheduled at 5 a.m. Central time, with docking to the aft port of Zvezda planned at 10:58 a.m. Central time.
ESA’s (European Space Agency) fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) undocked from the International Space Station’s aft port of the Zvezda service module at 8:42 a.m. EST.
ATV-5 will move to a safe distance from the space station for its deorbit and destructive entry in the Earth’s atmosphere Sunday.
This is the last in a series of European resupply spacecraft that began servicing the space station in the spring of 2008. In all, the ATVs delivered approximately 34 tons of supplies to the complex while docked to the station of 776 days. ESA is applying its technology and knowledge from the cargo ship to develop the service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
As the second resupply ship this week prepares to leave the International Space Station another spacecraft is being readied for its launch. Meanwhile, the six-member Expedition 42 crew was working a variety of maintenance and science tasks Thursday.
Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 (ATV-5) is being packed with its final load of trash and discarded gear. The ATV-5 will undock from the Zvezda service module’s aft-end port Saturday at 8:40 a.m. EST. It will descend into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean for a fiery demise Sunday afternoon.
A new resupply ship, the ISS Progress 58, is being loaded with final gear to be delivered Feb. 17 to Expedition 42 when it launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Roscosmos space freighter will orbit the Earth just four times, or about six hours, after launch before docking to the port vacated by ATV-5.
The station crew also focused on spacewalk preparations and microgravity science, the primary mission of the orbital laboratory, to benefit life on Earth as well as future space crews. Ground doctors assisted Commander Barry Wilmore and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti during eye exams. Cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova studied bioelectric cardiac activity as well as methods to locate punctures caused by micro-meteoroids on the station’s surface.
The Expedition 42 crew worked on numerous science investigations Wednesday after releasing the SpaceX Dragon for its splashdown Tuesday. The six orbital lab assistants studied such things as exercise loads in space, plant growth and changes to vision during long duration space missions.
The Force Shoes study will help researchers design better training programs and exercise devices for astronauts to improve their musculoskeletal health. The Plant Rotation experiment observes the direction of plant growth in microgravity in anticipation of future crews growing their own food. The Ocular Health experiment is looking at the changes to crew member’s visual, vascular and central nervous system and how long before they return to normal after returning to Earth
Meanwhile, another spacecraft is preparing to end its stay at the International Space Station. Europe’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 is being prepared for its undocking from the Zvezda service module Saturday morning. It will reenter Earth’s atmosphere on Sunday afternoon and burn up over the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at about 7:44 p.m. EST 259 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, marking the end of the company’s fifth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft is returning about 3,700 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the International Space Station. A SpaceX vessel will take the Dragon spacecraft to Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.
The mission was the fifth of 12 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the space station through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.