Station Trio Works New Science Delivered Aboard Dragon

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm moments after it was captured early Monday.

The three-member Expedition 52 crew is settling down with science and cargo transfers this week after a trio of space ships arrived and departed at the International Space Station. NASA also introduced 12 new astronaut candidates Wednesday who could fly farther into space on newer spacecraft than any astronaut before them.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson looked after a student experiment today that is exploring how molds and bacteria adapt to microgravity. Afterward, she measured the lighting in the Destiny and Kibo lab modules to help engineers understand how light affects the habitability of spacecraft.

Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA installed and activated new science hardware delivered aboard the latest SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Fischer also joined Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin to prepare the station for the departure and arrival of a pair of Russian cargo ships next week. The Progress 66 resupply ship will depart June 13 followed three days later with a new space delivery aboard the Progress 67 cargo craft. Both spaceships are uncrewed.

On Wednesday, NASA celebrated the introduction of 12 new astronaut candidates. The 2017 class will officially report for duty in August and begin training for potential missions aboard NASA spacecraft as well as SpaceX and Boeing commercial spaceships.


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Dragon Attached to Station for Cargo Transfers

Dragon Installed to Harmony Module
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is installed to the Harmony module. The Progress 66 cargo craft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment and the Soyuz MS-04 crew vehicle is docked to the Poisk module.

A little over two hours after it was captured by Expedition 52 Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, the unpiloted SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was attached to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module of the International Space Station. Ground controllers at Mission Control, Houston reported that Dragon was bolted into place at 12:07 p.m. EDT as the station flew 258 statute miles over central Kazakhstan.

Earlier, the Dragon was grappled by Fischer and Whitson using the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 9:52 a.m. EDT at the completion of a flawless two-day journey for the resupply vehicle following its launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on Saturday.

The station crew expects to open Dragon’s hatch later today to begin transferring time-critical scientific experiments. Dragon will remain attached to the complex until July 2, when it will be detached from Harmony and robotically released for its deorbit back into the Earth’s atmosphere and a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.


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Dragon Captured After Two-Day Flight to Station

SpaceX Dragon Capture
The SpaceX Dragon is seen seconds away from its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling about 250 miles over the south Atlantic ocean east of the coast of Argentina, Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA captured Dragon a few minutes ahead of schedule at 9:52 a.m. EDT.

Following its capture, the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship will be maneuvered by ground controllers operating the International Space Station’s robotic arm for installation onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. For updates on installation and more information about the SpaceX CRS-11 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Dragon on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and use #Dragon.


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Cygnus Departs Station Day Before Dragon Arrives

Cygnus Departure
The Cygnus cargo craft, with its prominent Ultra Flex solar arrays, is pictured moments after being released from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Candadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 9:10 a.m. EDT while the space station was flying above the south Atlantic Ocean. Earlier, ground controllers detached Cygnus from the station and maneuvered it into place for its departure.

The spacecraft spent 44 days at the station after delivering approximately 7,600 pounds of supplies and science experiments to the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 51 and 52 crew members for Orbital ATK’s seventh NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission.

Dubbed the “SS John Glenn” after the iconic Mercury and shuttle astronaut and U.S. Senator from Ohio, Cygnus will remain in orbit for a week in support of the SAFFIRE experiment and the deployment of four small Nanoracks satellites before Orbital ATK flight controllers send commands June 11 to deorbit the spacecraft for its reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up over the Pacific Ocean. NASA TV will not provide a live broadcast of the Saffire experiment or the Cygnus deorbit burn and reentry, but imagery from Saffire will be posted on NASA.gov as it becomes available.

As Cygnus departs, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched yesterday will close in on the station for its capture by Fischer and Whitson Monday, June 5. Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, they will grapple the SpaceX cargo spacecraft at 10 a.m. NASA TV coverage will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Get more information about the International Space Station at: http://www.nasa.gov/station


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Dragon Launches to Station, Cygnus Departs Sunday

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Saturday, June 3, 2017. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 5:07 p.m. EDT, and Dragon has begun its journey to the International Space Station with an arrival scheduled for June 5. Dragon separated from Falcon 9 about 10 minutes after launch, and solar arrays successfully deployed shortly after separation from the second stage. A post-launch news conference is scheduled to begin on NASA TV at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Before Dragon arrives at the space station, the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft will depart the station Sunday, June 4. Expedition 52 Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus at 9:10 a.m. NASA TV coverage of the spacecraft’s departure will begin at 8:30 a.m.

For more information on the SpaceX CRS-11 mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacex. For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.


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Expedition 51 Crew Back on Earth After 196 Days

Soyuz MS-03 Landing
The Expedition 51 crew descends to a parachuted landing inside the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft. Credit: European Space Agency

After spending 196 days in space, Expedition 51 crew members Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) landed their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft in Kazakhstan at approximately 10:10 a.m. EDT. Russian recovery teams are helping the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

The duo arrived at the International Space Station on Nov.19, 2016, along with NASA’s Peggy Whitson, who will remain on the space station and return home with NASA’s Jack Fischer and Roscosmos’ Fyodor Yurchikhin. That landing is targeted for September.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 52 began aboard the station under Yurchikhin’s command. Along with Whitson and Fischer of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members. Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of ESA are scheduled to launch July 28 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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Expedition 51 Duo Undocks and Heads to Earth

Soyuz MS-03 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft (foreground) is seen docked to the Rassvet module at the International Space Station.

After spending 194 days aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 51 crew members Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) undocked from the station at 6:47 a.m. EDT to begin their voyage home. The undocking marked the official start of Expedition 52 aboard the space station.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 8:45 a.m.

The duo is set to land in Kazakhstan at 10:10 a.m. (8:20 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Together, the Expedition 51 crew members pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory. Their return will wrap up 196 days in space, since their launch on Nov. 17, 2016.


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Dragon Launch Slips to Saturday, Cygnus Departs Sunday

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon at Launch Pad
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon cargo craft stands at its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon cargo craft was scrubbed today because of lightning in the vicinity of the launch pad. The next launch opportunity for SpaceX is on Saturday, June 3 at 4:07pm Central time, 5:07pm Eastern time. NASA TV coverage will begin at 3:30pm CT, 4:30pm ET.

This clears the way for the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft to be unberthed from the nadir port of Unity on Sunday, June 4. NASA TV coverage on Sunday of Cygnus’ departure will begin at 0730 CT. Release of Cygnus is scheduled at 0810 CT. Cygnus will remain in orbit for a week in support of scientific experiments and will deorbit on Sunday, June 11.

A launch of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft Saturday will result in its arrival at the ISS on Monday, June 5 for a capture at 0900 CT. NASA TV coverage will begin at 0730 CT. There will be no installation coverage.


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Station Changes Command Before Friday Crew Return

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (front row, center) hands over station command to cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin (front row, right). To Whitson’s right is astronaut Jack Fischer. Behind the trio are (from left) Expedition 51 crew members Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy who return to Earth on Friday. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin in a traditional Change of Command ceremony, which began at 11:50 a.m. EDT. Expedition 52 will officially begin under Yurchikhin’s command when the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 51 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) undocks from the space station early Friday morning.

Their return will wrap up 196 days in space, since their launch on Nov. 17, 2016.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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