Category Archives: Expedition 43

Robotic Arm Captures Dragon

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Dragon Captured by Robotic Arm

The SpaceX Dragon space freighter is in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling 257 statute miles over the Pacific Ocean just east of Japan, Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, with the assistance of Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, successfully captured the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm at 6:55 a.m. EDT.

Operations to berth Dragon to the space station begin at approximately 9:40 a.m. NASA TV coverage will resume at 9:15 a.m. at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Watch NASA TV for SpaceX Dragon Arrival

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The SpaceX Dragon

ISS041-E-020918 (23 Sept. 2014) — The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on Sept. 23, 2014 for grapple and berthing.

NASA television coverage for today’s scheduled arrival of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

SpaceX reported all spacecraft systems are ready for the final stages of rendezvous, and space station flight controllers reported the orbiting outpost is ready for the commercial spacecraft’s arrival. The International Space Station and Dragon flight control teams are proceeding toward rendezvous and grapple at 7 a.m. EDT.

The spacecraft is delivering more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations for the Expeditions 43 crew members. To learn more about the mission and the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Join the conversation on social media by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

Crew Gets Ready for New Dragon and New Science

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Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti operates the Canadarm2 from inside the cupola.

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is less than a day away from arriving at the International Space Station. The Expedition 43 crew is getting ready for its arrival and five-week stay at the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Read more about the SpaceX CRS-6 mission.

Commander Terry Virts set up hardware inside Harmony to assist Dragon’s installation after its capture tomorrow. Virts and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also brushed up on robotics skills necessary to capture Dragon with the Canadarm2.

NASA TV will begin rendezvous coverage Friday at 5 a.m. EDT. Dragon is scheduled to be grappled about 7 a.m. by Cristoforetti inside the cupola at the controls of Canadarm2 with Virts assisting.

Though it was a light day, the rest of the crew worked on human research and advanced microgravity experiments. Dragon is also delivering new science gear to support hundreds of experiments aboard the orbital laboratory. Read more about research on the space station.

Dragon Reaches Space, Headed for Friday Station Rendezvous

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon space freighter rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Credit: NASA TV

The Dragon spacecraft has separated from its second stage and achieved its preliminary orbit. Dragon’s solar arrays have deployed and will provide 5 kilowatts of power to the spacecraft as it begins a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the International Space Station.

At 7 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 17, the Dragon spacecraft will catch up to the orbiting laboratory, and Flight Engineer and European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to reach out and capture it as they operate from the station’s cupola.

A post-launch news conference will air on NASA TV at 5:30 p.m. EDT. NASA will issue the following news release shortly:

Research for One-Year Space Station Mission Among NASA Cargo Launched Aboard SpaceX Resupply Flight

Research that will help prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to Mars is among the two tons of cargo now on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:10 p.m. EDT on Tuesday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“Five years ago this week, President Obama toured the same SpaceX launch pad used today to send supplies, research and technology development to the ISS,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Back then, SpaceX hadn’t even made its first orbital flight. Today, it’s making regular flights to the space station and is one of two American companies, along with The Boeing Company, that will return the ability to launch NASA astronauts to the ISS from U.S. soil and land then back in the United States. That’s a lot of progress in the last five years, with even more to come in the next five.”

The mission is the company’s sixth cargo delivery flight to the station through NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon’s cargo will support approximately 40 of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will be performed during Expeditions 43 and 44, including numerous human research investigations for NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s one-year mission in space.

Science payloads will support experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that improves life on Earth and drives progress for future space exploration. Investigations include:

  • A study of potential methods for counteracting cell damage that occurs in a microgravity environment

The Cell Shape and Expression research program will provide for the first time a reliable experimental model able to highlight the relationships between microgravity, cell shape and gene expression, which may also inform pharmacological ways to counteract microgravity-induced cell damages.

  • Research to improve understanding of bone cells, which could lead to treatments for osteoporosis and muscle wasting conditions

Osteo-4 studies the effects of microgravity on the function of osteocytes, which are the most common cells in bone. These cells reside within the mineralized bone and can sense mechanical forces, or the lack of them, but researchers do not know how. Osteo-4 allows scientists to analyze changes in the physical appearance and genetic expression of mouse bone cells in microgravity.

  • Continued studies into astronaut vision changes

Dragon also will deliver hardware to support an ongoing one-year crew study known as Fluid Shifts. More than half of American astronauts experience vision changes and alterations to parts of their eyes during and after long-duration spaceflight. The Fluid Shifts investigation measures how much fluid shifts from the lower body to the upper body, in or out of cells and blood vessels, and determines the impact these shifts have on fluid pressure in the head and changes in vision and eye structures.

  • Tests on a new material that could one day be used as a synthetic muscle for robotics explorers of the future

Robots can perform tasks too repetitive, difficult or dangerous for humans. Robots built with synthetic muscle would have more human-like capabilities, but the material would have to withstand the rigors of space. This investigation tests the radiation resistance of an electroactivepolymer called Synthetic Muscle, developed by RasLabs, which can contract and expand like real muscles.

The spacecraft also will deliver hardware needed for the installation of two International Docking Adapters scheduled for delivery on future SpaceX missions. Once installed, these adapters will enable commercial crew spacecraft to dock to the space station.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will use the space station’s robotic arm to grapple Dragon to the station at 7 a.m. Friday, April 17. Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA will assist.

After about five weeks, Dragon will depart the space station for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California. The capsule will return more than 3,000 pounds of science, hardware, crew supplies and spacewalk tools.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. It has been continuously occupied since November 2000 and, since then, has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The ISS remains the springboard to NASA’s next giant leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information about International Space Station science and research, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station

For more information about the SpaceX resupply mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Lifts Off to Station

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket shoots toward orbit after on on time launch at 4:10 p.m. EDT (8:10 p.m. GMT). Credit NASA TV

The Falcon 9 lifted off at 4:10 p.m. EDT and is climbing toward its preliminary orbit en route to the International Space Station. At the time of launch, the International Space Station was traveling at an altitude of 257 miles over the Great Australian Bight, south of Western Australia.

The spacecraft’s two tons of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations includes critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.

Launch coverage continues on NASA TV at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Join the online conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

SpaceX Countdown is Progressing Smoothly

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SpaceX Dragon

ISS034-E-060222 (3 March 2013) — This is one of a series of photos taken by the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station during the March 3 approach, capture and docking of the SpaceX Dragon. Thus the capsule begins its scheduled three-week-long stay at the orbiting space station.

NASA television coverage for today’s scheduled launch of the sixth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Countdown is progressing smoothly toward a scheduled lift off at 4:10:41 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The weather forecast remains at 60% “go” with concerns for anvil and cumulous clouds.

The Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon spacecraft carrying about two tons of supplies and materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.

For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

To join the online conversation about the SpaceX CRS-6 launch, the International Space Station and Expedition 43 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

SpaceX Preps for Second Launch Opportunity

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NASA astronaut Terry Virts

ISS043E091837 (04/07/2015) — NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Commander of Expedition 43 aboard the International Space Station, dons eye protection from the sun while working in Cupola, the station’s 360 degree viewing platform. The Cupola contains the primary control station for the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, which the crew use to capture visiting spacecraft like SpaceX’s Dragon and Orbital ATK’s Cygnus. The specialized windows also provide one of the best vantage points on station for Earth study and photography.

SpaceX will attempt another launch today at 4:10 p.m. EDT after a weather violation within 10 nautical miles of the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, forced mission controllers to scrub Monday’s launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon space freighter to the International Space Station. Live coverage on NASA TV begins at 3 p.m.

The six Expedition 43 crew members aboard the orbital laboratory worked on a wide variety of microgravity science Tuesday. The crew also worked science maintenance ensuring the upkeep of the advanced gear and technology that supports hundreds of experiments in space.

The crew with assistance from payload controllers on the ground explored subjects including how life in space can affect an organism’s physiology, how a crew member adapts to the closed environment of a spacecraft and the changes in cardiac function during a long-term mission.

SpaceX Launch Scrubbed Due to Weather Violation

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SpaceX Dragon

The Falcon 9 rocket with the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft rests on the launch pad after its launch was scrubbed due to a weather violation. Credit: NASA TV

Because of weather conditions that violated the rules for launching, SpaceX has postponed its planned launch of its Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft. It is SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

The next launch opportunity is Tuesday, April 14, at 4:10:40 p.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage will begin at 3 p.m. at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The spacecraft is loaded with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations, including critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44. For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

To join the online conversation about the SpaceX CRS-6 launch, the International Space Station and Expedition 43 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

SpaceX Terminal Countdown has Begun

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SpaceX Dragon

SpaceX Dragon atop the Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad in Florida.

The Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft on top, is loaded with its complement of flight propellants and ready for lift off. Terminal countdown has begun with no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft. Forecasters are closing monitoring a storm cell near the launch site. Weather currently is “go” for launch.

Live NASA TV coverage of the launch is underway at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

An on-time liftoff at 4:33 p.m. EDT means the Dragon spacecraft will catch up to the station Wednesday, April 15. Flight Engineer and European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to reach out and capture the Dragon spacecraft as they operate from the station’s cupola.

The Dragon will be attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node to deliver more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations, including critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.

Join the online conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

Watch NASA TV Now for SpaceX Dragon Launch

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SpaceX  Dragon

ISS039-E-013475 (20 April 2014) — This is one of an extensive series of still photos documenting the arrival and ultimate capture and berthing of the SpaceX Dragon at the International Space Station, as photographed by the Expedition 39 crew members onboard the orbital outpost. The spacecraft was captured by the space station and successfully berthed, following the April 20 arrival.

Countdown is progressing smoothly for today’s scheduled launch of the sixth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The rocket is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying about two tons of supplies and science investigations in the cargo Dragon spacecraft. There is a 60 percent chance for favorable weather at the liftoff time, which has changed by one second to 4:33:16 p.m. EDT.

NASA television coverage has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

The cargo includes critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44. For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

To join the online conversation about the SpaceX CRS-6 launch, the International Space Station and Expedition 43 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

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