Cygnus Open for Business as New Science Starts

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir observes a floating sphere of water
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir observes a floating sphere of water formed by microgravity.

The Cygnus space freighter is open for business at the Unity module where it will stay for the next three months. The Expedition 62 crew has begun unloading over three tons of science, supplies and station hardware delivered Tuesday to replenish the orbital lab.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan opened Cygnus’ hatch a few hours after its capture and installation Tuesday morning. Afterward, the duo entered the vehicle and began unpacking and setting up over a ton of new science new experiments. The critical research is being stowed in station science freezers, activated in research racks and readied for upcoming operations.

Meir removed science freezers containing research samples from Cygnus and installed them in EXPRESS racks aboard the station. She also began reviewing operations for the just-delivered OsteOmics-02 study to prevent bone loss on Earth and in space.

Morgan retrieved a variety of research hardware from Cygnus and began integrating and activating them in station systems. The new Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell culturing facility, was installed and powered up on an EXPRESS rack.

In the afternoon, the NASA Flight Engineers joined Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos to review emergency procedures. The trio went over the steps they would take in the unlikely event of a fire, pressure leak or ammonia leak aboard the station. The veteran cosmonaut spent the majority of Wednesday on the upkeep of Russian lab systems.

During the crew’s lunchtime a series of nine nanosatellites were deployed outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. They will each study different phenomena such as X-rays from distant pulsars, atmospheric and natural events and the effects of space radiation on hardware.

U.S. Cygnus Cargo Craft Launch Scrubbed

Cygnus-13 Scrubbed Launch
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with a Cygnus resupply spacecraft Sunday February 2, 2020 after a scrubbed launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA TV

Northrop Grumman scrubbed tonight’s Antares launch after off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor. Northrop Grumman and NASA have set the next launch attempt to no earlier than Feb. 13 at 4:05 p.m. ET, due to an unfavorable weather forecast over the next two days, and time required to address the ground support issue. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30pm ET. Teams will refresh 24-hour late load cargo the day before. The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft remain healthy. A launch Thursday would result in a capture of Cygnus on Saturday, Feb. 15. For more information on this mission, please visit www.nasa.gov/northropgrumman and NASA’s homepage .

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasts Launch of U.S. Cygnus Cargo Craft

Northrop Grumman Antares CRS-13 Prelaunch
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is seen at sunrise as the Moon sets on Pad-0A, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The latest weather forecast is 100% favorable for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Northrop Grumman’s 13th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver more than 7,500 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station at 5:39 p.m. EST on Feb. 9.

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Christina Koch Completes 328-Day Mission in Space

Astronaut Christina Koch smiles as she gives a "thumbs up" sign
Astronaut Christina Koch smiles as she gives a “thumbs up” sign shortly after being extracted from the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship that brought her home after 328 days in space. Credit: NASA TV

Setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) landed on Earth at 4:12 a.m. EST in Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft at 12:50 a.m.

For Parmitano and Skvortsov, this landing completed a 201-day stay in space, 3,216 orbits of Earth and a journey of 85.2 million miles.

Koch’s first journey into space became a 328-day mission in which she orbited Earth 5,248 times, a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She conducted and supported more than 210 investigations during Expeditions 59, 60, and 61, including as a research subject volunteer to provide scientists the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

One particular research project in which Koch participated is the Vertebral Strength investigation, which better defines the extent of spaceflight-induced bone and muscle degradation of the spine, and the associated risk for broken vertebrae. This timely endeavor is expected to provide insight into the development of future countermeasures, such as preventative medicine or exercise. These results also could provide recommendations for limiting the amount of force astronauts are subjected to during launch.

Koch lived in space with four fellow NASA astronauts and classmates: Anne McClain, Nick Hague, Andrew Morgan, and Jessica Meir as well as four Russian cosmonauts, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, ESA astronaut Parmitano, and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Watch Koch’s most memorable moments from her record-breaking mission at: https://go.nasa.gov/36E40MZ

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Expedition 61 Crew With Christina Koch Landing Soon on NASA TV

NASA astronaut Christina Koch
NASA astronaut Christina Koch works on U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest joint airlock.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency). Their Soyuz MS-13 is expected to make its deorbit burn at 3:18 a.m. EST to set the spacecraft on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m.

Koch’s extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.

She shared 10 ways she will need to readjust back to life on Earth, including how her perspective has changed while living in space:

“Earth is alive, and I have witnessed its power and beauty from a special vantage point 250 miles above the surface. From the space station we see no borders, no boundaries – we are all part of one giant organism that breathes and adapts. I have been in awe of this perspective for almost a year now. Back on Earth I anticipate looking up and seeing the space station streak across the sky, wondering how my friends and colleagues are doing up there without me. For almost 20 years humans have continuously lived and worked in space and the mission continues.

“Of note, the Moon looks the same from orbit as it does from Earth. It is a common point of reference for us all and offers a common interest as we strive to return to its surface.”

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Christina Koch Undocks in Soyuz Crew Ship With Expedition 61 Crew

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft backs away from the International Space Station after undocking from the Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three people back to Earth undocked from the  International Space Station at 12:50 a.m. EST.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov are expected to land in their Soyuz MS-13 at 4:12 a.m. EST southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan (3:12 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 3 a.m. for the deorbit burn at 3:18 a.m. and the spacecraft’s parachute-assisted landing.

When the Soyuz spacecraft undocked, Expedition 62 officially began aboard the station with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Morgan as flight engineers and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos as station commander. They will remain on board as a three-person crew until early April, when NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin will launch to the station.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Expedition 61 Crew with Christina Koch Prepares to Undock Live on NASA TV

Expedition 61 crewmembers in their Sokol launch and entry suits
Expedition 61 crewmembers (from left) Christina Koch, Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov are pictured in their Sokol launch and entry suits during mission training in Russia.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website of the undocking at 12:50 a.m. EST and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return record-setting astronauts Christina Koch of NASA, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency), and Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos to Earth in the early hours of Thursday, Feb. 6.

Koch’s first journey into space spanned 328 days since her launch March 14, 2019 is the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, the second-longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut, and places her seventh on the list of American space travelers for total time in space. She conducted six spacewalks, including the first three all-woman spacewalks with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station.

Completing his second mission, Parmitano now has spent 367 days in space, more than any ESA astronaut in history. During his time in space for Expeditions 60 and 61, Parmitano conducted four spacewalks totaling 25 hours and 30 minutes to complete improvements to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in an effort to extend its life and support its mission of looking for evidence of dark matter. Parmitano was commander of Expedition 61.

Skvortsov completes his third mission and a total of 546 days in space, placing him 15th on the all-time spaceflight endurance list.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Expedition 61 Crew Enters Soyuz Crew Ship, Says Farewell Before Homecoming

At 9:34 p.m. EST, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 12:50 a.m.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 12:15 a.m.; their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 4:12 a.m.

The Expedition 61 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development, including improvements to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in an effort to extend its life and support its mission of looking for evidence of dark matter and testing 3D biological printers to print organ-like tissues in microgravity.

Koch shared her most memorable moments, from her arrival to the space station on March 14, 2019, to her first glimpse of her hometown on Earth from space, to her first spacewalk.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV is Live as Expedition 61 Crew Prepares to Depart Station

NASA astronaut Christina Koch works on a U.S. spacesuit
NASA astronaut Christina Koch works on a U.S. spacesuit that Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) wore during a spacewalk on Dec. 2, 2019.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the International Space Station’s Expedition 61 crew as they are preparing for their return to Earth.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are saying their farewells to NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos before their board their Soyuz spacecraft and close the hatches between them and the space station. Hatches are expected to close at about 9:25 p.m. EST for a series of leak checks before the Soyuz undocks and returns to Earth early Thursday morning.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasts Return of Christina Koch and Expedition 61 Crewmates

Luca Parmitano hands over station control to Oleg Skripochka
Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano (front left) handed over control of the station today to Oleg Skripochka (front right). In the back row (from left) are Flight Engineers Christina Koch, Alexander Skvortsov, Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan.

Record-setting astronaut Christina Koch, along with Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing to depart the International Space Station just after midnight for their return to Earth early Thursday morning. Earlier today Expedition 61 Commander Parmitano passed control of the station to Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos.

Tune in to NASA Television and the agency’s website tonight at 9 p.m. EST as Koch, Skvortsov, and Parmitano say farewell and board their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft in preparation for their undocking and return to Earth.

Koch was a crew member for Expeditions 59, 60 and 61, spending 328 days living and working aboard the International Space Station.

During Koch’s 11-month mission, she participated in more than 210 investigations, helping advance NASA’s goals to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars. Koch participated in a number of studies to support those future exploration missions, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight.

Learn more in Koch’s space station science scrapbook and her station science video.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.