Favorable Weather for Cygnus Liftoff Today at 70% Chance

Atlas V Rocket with Cygnus Spacecraft
The Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus spacecraft on top is seen at the launch pad. Credit: ULA

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Countdown is continuing for today’s scheduled launch of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The Cygnus spacecraft is set to lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science investigations. The chance for favorable weather at the 4:44 p.m. EST liftoff is 70 percent.

Winds at the launch site have dropped dramatically in recent hours, but are predicted to increase slightly through the launch window.

NASA television coverage has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Significant countdown milestones are below.

The cargo includes dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. Science payloads will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Cygnus also will deliver replacement cargo items including a set of Microsoft HoloLens devices for use in NASA’s Sidekick project, a safety jet pack astronauts wear during spacewalks known as SAFER, and high pressure nitrogen and oxygen tanks to plug into the station’s air supply network.

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

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus.

Launch Managers Push Third Cygnus Launch Attempt to Sunday

Atlas V Rocket and Cygnus Spacecraft
The Atlas V Rocket with the Cygnus spacecraft on top stands at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: United Launch Alliance

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Launch managers deferred a Saturday launch opportunity due to high wind conditions expected to violate launch rules during the window. The new launch time is Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4:44 p.m. EST for the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The forecast for Sunday improves to 40 percent chance of favorable weather.

The Cygnus spacecraft will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage Sunday will begin at 3:45 p.m.

Cygnus is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science and research investigations. Science payloads aboard Cygnus will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

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

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Set for Third Launch Attempt on Saturday

Cygnus Spacecraft Rests at Launch Pad
The Cygnus spacecraft rests at the launch pad in Florida after wind gusts exceeded permissible levels for today’s scheduled liftoff. Credit: NASA TV

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Launch managers have set Saturday, Dec. 5 at 5:10 p.m. EST for the next launch attempt of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4 p.m. Earlier this evening, the 30-minute launch window tomorrow had a 30 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

The Cygnus is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science and research investigations that are important to advancing NASA’s exploration goals on the journey to Mars, demonstrating technologies that drive innovation, and providing benefits to Earth.

A launch on Saturday would result in Cygnus arriving at the station on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for a grapple at 6:10 a.m.

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

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Launch Scrubbed Till Friday

Cygnus Launch Attempt Scrubbed Due to Weather

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Because of thick clouds with freezing temperatures and precipitation that violated the weather rules for launching, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance have postponed the planned launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft. It is Orbital ATK’s fourth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

The next 30-minute launch window opens Friday, Dec. 4, at 5:33:11 p.m. EST. The chance of favorable weather for the next launch is 30 percent. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. and can be seen online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

A launch Friday would result in a rendezvous at the station and grapple and berthing of Cygnus on Monday, Dec. 7.

Cygnus is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science and research investigations. Science payloads aboard Cygnus will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

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

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Stands Ready for Launch Today

Cygnus at the Lainchpad
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is at the launch pad in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

A new shipment of crew supplies and science experiments is packed inside the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft ready for liftoff today at 5:55 p.m. The Cygnus will launch on top of an Atlas V rocket from a launch pad located at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station Sunday morning where astronaut Kjell Lindgren will capture the supply ship with Canada’s 57.7 foot robotic arm.

The crew is busy in the orbital lab today exploring the effects of space on life and preparing for Cygnus and a mid-December crew swap.

Scientists are observing Commander Scott Kelly and comparing his body to his twin brother ex-astronaut Mark Kelly. The Twins study seeks to understand how a body in space differs from a similar body on Earth. Kelly also joined fellow crew members Lindgren and Kimiya Yui for eye checks.

Yui and Lindgren also worked with cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko preparing for their Dec. 11 return to Earth ending the Expedition 45 mission. Three new station crew members are preparing to launch Dec. 15.

Veteran cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko continued studying how blood flows while living in space. Volkov then researched the vibration levels on the station and their possible impacts on operations. Kornienko was back at work exploring advanced Earth photography techniques.

U.S. Cargo Ship Rolls Out to Pad for Thursday Launch

Cygnus Rolls Out to Launch Pad
The Cygnus cargo craft atop the Atlas V rocket rolls out to the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Orbital ATK rolled out its Cygnus resupply ship to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch pad in Florida today. Cygnus will launch atop an Atlas V rocket at 5:55 p.m. EST Thursday. The private U.S. space freighter will deliver new science experiments and crew supplies to the International Space Station crew early Sunday.

Amid Cygnus rendezvous and capture preparations, Commander Scott Kelly with Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui also worked on biomedical science activities today. The trio collected blood and urine samples and participated in a vision test to help doctors understand the effects of living in space on astronauts.

Cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko continued studying how blood circulates in space. Volkov then moved on to an experiment observing how the vacuum of space and space radiation may influence organisms off Earth. Kornienko explored new Earth photography techniques.

Lindgren and Yui are returning home Dec. 11 with Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko after 141 days in space. The three Expedition 45 home-bound crew members checked the spacesuits they will wear on the way home for leaks.

Station Ramping Up for New Crew and New Supplies

The Sun's light
The Sun’s light is reflected off a body of water as the space station orbit’s Earth.

A trio of International Space Station residents is getting ready to return to Earth while a new crew in Kazakhstan is preparing to replace them. Meanwhile, a pair of space freighters, the Orbital ATK Cygnus and Russia’s Progress 62 (62P), is being readied for liftoff as another docked cargo craft is being packed before it’s undocking.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will launch Thursday at 5:55 p.m. EST to the station. The 61P is scheduled for a Dec. 21 liftoff. While mission managers are preparing three different spacecraft for launch this month, the Expedition 45 crew is performing research to help scientists benefit life on Earth and crews in space.

The next home-bound astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui checked their vision and blood pressure today for the Ocular Health study. The duo will return home with Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko Dec. 11 officially ending the Expedition 45 mission. Kononenko participated in a pair of blood circulation experiments, Cosmocard and Cardiovector, and prepared the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft for its departure in less than two weeks.

Commander Scott Kelly, who is staying in space until March with Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov and fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, sampled and tested the station’s water quality. Volkov and Kornienko explored veins in the lower body to understand blood flow during a long-term space mission.

The next crew to live on the space station, Expedition 46, is at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site counting down to its Dec. 15 liftoff inside the Soyuz TMA-19M rocket. First-time British astronaut Timothy Peake is joining veteran station crew members Timothy Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko for the six-month mission aboard the orbital laboratory.

Station Gearing Up for Science Delivery and Crew Swap

Expedition 46-47 Crew Members
At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, the Expedition 46-47 crew poses for pictures following a news conference Nov. 23. (From left) European Space Agency astronaut Timothy Peake, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra.Credit: NASA/Seth Marcantel

The International Space Station residents are gearing up to host the Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter when it arrives Dec. 6. On the ground, a new trio of Expedition 46-47 crew members headed to their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before their mid-December mission.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren trained for the rendezvous and robotic capture of Cygnus after its Dec. 3 launch from the Kennedy Space Center. The Cygnus will deliver supplies for the crew and new science experiments Dec. 6 when it is captured and berthed to the Unity module.

Three new station crew members are in the final stage of their mission training before beginning a six-month mission to the orbital laboratory. First-time British astronaut Timothy Peake will join veteran station residents Yuri Malenchenko and Timothy Kopra inside the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft for a six-hour ride to the space station set for Dec. 15.

Meanwhile, advanced space science continued today as the crew explored radiation, blood circulation and microbes living on crew members. Scientists hope to use the results from the many experiments on the station to benefit people on Earth and future crews.

Finally, the crew is packing the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft before its undocking Dec. 11. The Soyuz will bring home Expedition 45-46 crew members Lindgren, Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui.

Station Crew Getting Ready for Heavy Traffic Before Christmas

International Current Space Station Configuration
The current space station configuration has two Soyuz crew spacecraft and two Progress resupply ships docked at the orbital laboratory. View the station overview page.

Crews and cargo shipments will be coming and going at the International Space Station during a busy December in space. Two resupply ships will arrive, one cargo craft will leave and an Expedition 45 trio will head home before an Expedition 46 trio replaces it.

Commander Scott Kelly teamed up with Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren for more robotics training before the Dec. 3 launch and Dec. 6 arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft. When Cygnus arrives it will be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and berthed to the Unity module.

Meanwhile, Lindgren along with Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko are preparing for their Dec. 11 landing. On the ground in Russia, their Expedition 46 replacements Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineers Timothy Kopra and Timothy Peake are counting down to their Dec. 15 launch. A docked Progress 61 resupply ship will fire its engines Wednesday raising the station’s orbit to accommodate the mid-December crew swap.

The Cygnus cargo craft is in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center being processed before its early December launch atop an Atlas V rocket. Russia’s Progress 60 (60P) cargo craft will undock from the Pirs docking compartment Dec. 19. A new Progress 62 resupply ship will replace the 60P when it arrives at Pirs Dec. 23.

Astronauts Prepare for Dec. 6 Commercial Cargo Shipment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAhAP4MPT5I[/embedyt]

The next cargo mission to the International Space Station is set to launch Dec. 3 at 5:55 p.m. EST.  The Orbital ATK Cygnus commercial cargo craft will arrive Dec. 6 when it will be grappled with the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Unity module.

Commander Scott Kelly joined Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui and trained for Cygnus arrival. They used computer training software and practiced the rendezvous and grapple techniques they will use while operating the Canadarm2 from inside the cupola.

The crew was back at work Monday conducting more science to benefit life on Earth and astronauts in space. They explored a variety of subjects including human research, botany and physics.

Kelly looked at working with touch-based technologies, explored liquid crystals and tended plants. His One-Year crewmate Mikhail Kornienko downlinked earthquake data captured on the orbital lab and stowed trash inside a Russian resupply ship.

Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko researched veins in the lower extremities of crew members and performed a vision test. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov participated in Crew Medical Officer training and photographed the condition of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft windows.

Yui researched intracranial pressure caused by microgravity potentially affecting an astronaut’s vision. He also began a 24-hour data take while attached to an electrocardiogram. Lindgren studied new exercise techniques using gear that measures respiratory and cardiovascular functions.