The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA’s Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency docked to the International Space Station at 3:39 a.m. EST while both spacecraft were flying about 250 miles over the southern coast of Italy commonly referred to as the “boot.”
Aboard the space station, Expedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and his crewmates, Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.
Watch the hatch opening targeted for 5:35 a.m. and welcome ceremony to follow live on NASA TV beginning at 5 a.m. on the agency’s website.
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA’s Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station’s Rassvet module at 3:43 a.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 19. Coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed at 5 a.m. for coverage of the opening of hatches between the spacecraft and station, expected to occur at approximately 6:35 a.m.
The arrival of Tingle, Shkaplerov and Kanai will restore the station’s crew complement to six. They will joinExpedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and his crewmates, Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA. The crew members will spend more than four months conducting approximately 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:26 a.m. EST.
The 13th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-13) delivered more than 4,800 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station. Among the research materials flying inside Dragon’s pressurized area, one investigation will demonstrate the benefits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment. Designed by the company Made in Space, and sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the investigation will attempt to pull fiber optic wire from ZBLAN, a heavy metal fluoride glass commonly used to make fiber optic glass. Results from this investigation could lead to the production of higher-quality fiber optic products for use in space and on Earth.
Dragon is scheduled to depart the station in January 2018 and return to Earth with more than 3,600 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.
Expedition 54-55 Flight Engineers Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are on their way to the space station after a launch earlier today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:21 a.m. EST Sunday, Dec. 17 (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time). The trio will orbit the Earth for approximately two days before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 3 a.m. Tuesday.
While the International Space Station was traveling overhead between Australia and Papua New Guinea, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba captured the Dragon spacecraft at 5:57 a.m. EST using the space station’s robotic arm. Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation the spacecraft on the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 7:30 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.
Dragon is carrying a Space Debris Sensor (SDS) that will measure the orbital debris environment around the space station for two to three years. Once mounted on the exterior of the station, this one-square-meter sensor will provide near-real-time debris impact detection and recording. Research from this investigation could help lower the risks posed by orbital debris to human life and critical hardware.
Also on board is NASA’s Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor, or TSIS-1, that will measure the Sun’s energy input to Earth. TSIS-1 measurements will be three times more accurate than previous capabilities, enabling scientists to study the Sun’s natural influence on Earth’s ozone, atmospheric circulation, clouds and ecosystems. These observations are essential for a scientific understanding of the effects of solar variability on the Earth system.
Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST to begin their trip home.
Deorbit burn is scheduled for approximately 2:45, with landing in Kazakhstan targeted for 3:37 (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time). NASA TV coverage will resume at 2:15 for deorbit burn and landing coverage.
At the time of undocking, Expedition 54 began aboard the space station under the command of Roscosmos’ Alexander Misurkin. Along with his crewmates Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Sunday, Dec. 17, Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 10:35 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 15th, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX is taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in 2nd stage fuel system. Next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December.
A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Sunday, Dec. 17th.
On Sunday, Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are also scheduled to launch at 2:21 a.m. (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.
NASA Television coverage for launch and arrival activities are as follows:
Friday, Dec. 15
10 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
12 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX
Sunday, Dec. 17
1:15 a.m. – Soyuz MS-07 launch coverage begins
4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture coverage begins
A pair of commercial resupply missions are coming and going this week at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, a new crew has arrived at its launch site to prepare for a Dec. 17 liftoff to the orbital laboratory. All missions to and from the station this month will be televised live on NASA TV.
NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba are brushing up on their robotics skills today ahead of this week’s release of the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship. Ground controllers will remotely command the Canadarm2 on Tuesday to detach Cygnus from the Unity module. While still attached to the Canadarm2, Cygnus will be used for a series of communications tests to assist NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Then on Wednesday, the two astronauts will be in the cupola commanding the Canadarm2 to release Cygnus into Earth orbit at 8:10 a.m. EST.
Just two days later on Friday, the SpaceX Dragon will launch at 1:20 p.m. from the Kennedy Space Center where it will begin a two-day trip to the space station. Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli is cleaning up a pair of modules today to make way for the nearly 4,800 pounds of crew supplies and research gear Dragon is delivering to the station. Dragon is due to arrive Sunday at 6 a.m. when it will be captured by Vande Hei and Acaba once again operating the Canadarm2.
Three Expedition 53 crew members are due to return to Earth Dec. 14 after 139 days in space. Nespoli, Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Soyuz Commander Sergey Ryazanskiy will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz MS-05 spaceship.
The homebound trio will be replaced shortly after that when the Expedition 54-55 crew launches Dec. 17 for a two-day ride to its new home in space. Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will blast off with two first-time astronauts Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to begin a four-month tour on the orbital laboratory. The crew has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and is in final launch preparations.