New Crew Launches on Two-Day Trip to Station

The Soyuz MS-02 Rocket Launches
The Soyuz MS-02 rocket launches on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz MS-02 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 19 (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time). At the time of launch, the space station was flying 252 statute miles over the south Atlantic, east of Brazil. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.

Over the next two days, the trio will orbit the Earth 34 times before docking to the space station’s Poisk module at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 5:15 a.m.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs-stage.nasawestprime.com/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.


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New Crew Set to Blast Off After Cygnus Cargo Launch

Expedition 49-50 Crew Members
Expedition 49-50 crew members (from left) Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko for a picture after the conclusion of a crew press conference Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

A U.S. cargo craft full of science gear and crew supplies is on its way to the International Space Station after a successful launch. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus resupply ship blasted off Monday night from Virginia on a mission to replenish the space station crew.

On the other side of the world in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz rocket is set to launch three Expedition 49-50 crew members to their new home in space early Wednesday morning. The new crew will arrive Friday morning and dock to the Poisk module after two days of flight tests on the upgraded Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will live in space until late February.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi were back at work Tuesday on life science experiments, helping doctors understand the effects of living in space. Rubins scanned Onishi’s arteries with an ultrasound for the Cardio Ox study that explores heart health. Onishi also participated in another pair of heart studies including Biological Rhythms 48 Hours, and Vascular Echo. Rubins tested the station’s water supply to improve the safety of future space missions.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin worked on his share of Russian space research and is also getting ready to return at the end of the month. He will return home with Rubins and Onishi inside the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft ending a four-month mission.


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Cargo and Crew Missions Ready for Liftoff This Week

The Antares and Soyuz Rockets
(From left) The Antares rocket with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on top rests at its launch pad in Virginia. The Soyuz rocket that will carry three new crew members stands at its launch pad in Kazakhstan.

Launch day has arrived for the Cygnus cargo craft which is scheduled to liftoff aboard the Orbital ATK Antares rocket today at 7:40 p.m. EDT. Two days later, three new crew members will launch aboard a Soyuz rocket for a two-day trip to the International Space Station.

Watch the launch on NASA TV… https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Cygnus will wait for the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft to dock on Friday before it approaches the station Sunday for capture and installation to the Harmony module. Cygnus is delivering about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and research.

Meanwhile, the three orbiting Expedition 49 crew members stayed busy with life science research, lab maintenance and cargo packing.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi took body measurements to determine the impacts microgravity has on body size. Rubins also explored how skin ages quicker in space while Onishi attached electrodes to himself to analyze his heart function. The duo also reviewed Cygnus approach and rendezvous procedures.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin looked at wide variety of Russian research including nutrition and pain thresholds in space. The veteran cosmonaut also began loading cargo for his crew’s return home at the end of October.


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NASA Eyes Storm as Next Crew Counts Down to Launch

Expedition 49-50 Crew Members
Expedition 49-50 crew members conduct a dress rehearsal Oct. 8, 2016, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

NASA and Orbital ATK mission managers are tracking Hurricane Nicole before finalizing a Cygnus cargo craft launch to the International Space Station no earlier than Oct. 16. Officials are securing a spacecraft tracking station in the Bermudas and monitoring the facility threatened by the category three storm.

Two astronauts – Kate Rubins from the United States and Takuya Onishi from Japan – are getting ready for Cygnus’ planned arrival next week. The two Expedition 49 flight engineers checked out video and robotics gear today and discussed cargo operations with ground controllers.

The duo also teamed up for ultrasound scans of their arteries and blood pressure checks. Doctors will use the observations from the Cardio Ox study to understand the cardiovascular risk of living in space. Commander Anatoly Ivanishin explored ionized gases produced by high temperatures, also known as plasmas, potentially helping engineers design future spacecraft

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, a new space station crew is counting down to an Oct. 19 launch aboard the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov will take a two-day trip inside the upgraded Soyuz to their new home in space. The trio are in final mission preparations in Kazakhstan where they will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.


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Crew Waits For Pair of Spaceships Next Week

Expedition 49 Crew Members
(From left) Expedition 49 crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi pose for a portrait inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

A pair of spaceships are on opposite sides of the world gearing up for missions to the International Space Station next week.

Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is getting ready for its sixth Orbital ATK mission aboard a Cygnus resupply ship no earlier than Oct. 16. NASA and Orbital ATK mission mangers are monitoring Hurricane Nicole before finalizing the Cygnus launch date.

Cygnus will be packing about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and research. After its cargo mission is complete, Cygnus will depart away from the station to deploy a set of weather monitoring nanosatellites before conducting an internal combustion experiment.

The Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will host the launch of three Expedition 49-50 crew members inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. The trio is scheduled to launch Oct. 19 on a two-day trip to its new home in space.

Two astronauts living in space right now spent the first part of their day exploring upper body fluid shifts caused by microgravity. These fluid shifts apply pressure to eyes and have been known to affect crew vision. Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi participated in eye exams and ultrasound scans for today’s experiment run.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin checked life support systems today and worked on Russian science experiments. The veteran cosmonaut explored the water composition of a crew member living in space and researched micrometeoroid impacts on the space station.


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