Crew Researches Immunity Response Leading Up to Next Dragon Launch Attempt

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is in position at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, which will boost a Dragon cargo module to the International Space Station on the company’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA. Image Credit: NASA
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is in position at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, which will boost a Dragon cargo module to the International Space Station on the company’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA. Image Credit: NASA
This morning’s SpaceX Dragon launch was scrubbed due to a drone ship power issue. Launch coverage for the next attempt begins at 2:30 a.m. EDT Saturday, May 4, for a 2:48 a.m. launch. Viewers can watch it unfold on NASA Television and the agency’s website. This cargo delivery will replenish the International Space Station with nearly 5,500 pounds of science, supplies and hardware.

Today onboard the space station, in addition to routine maintenance and housekeeping, mice are keeping the astronauts aboard busy with the Rodent Research-12 investigation. While David Saint-Jacques was occupied cleaning habitats and cameras and restocking food, Nick Hague, in addition to Flight Engineers Anne McClain and Christina Koch, spent time calibrating Mass Measurement Devices and establishing baseline readings.

Saint-Jacques and Hague spent some time to reviewing training and procedures for when they command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture the Dragon cargo craft at the International Space Station, which is now scheduled for Monday, May 6, at 7 a.m. following a May 4 launch.

Mice could be key to studying immune response in humans. Spaceflight is known to affect immunity, but there’s little research that has been conducted to see how, in fact, humans would respond to a challenge to the body’s immunity in space. Since a mouse’s immune system parallels that of humans, these animal models enable us to learn and understand how astronaut health can be sustained in microgravity.

Robotics Work Successful, Station Returned to Full Power

Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator
The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM), was used to replace a failed Main Bus Switching Unit and restore full power capability to the station.

This morning, Robotics Ground Controllers in Mission Control Houston successfully completed an operation to remove a failed Main Bus Switching Unit-3 and replace it with a spare. The MBSU in question had failed on April 29 and reduced the station’s power supply by about 25%. There were no immediate concerns for the crew or the station. The crew had installed a series of jumpers in Node 1 following the failure to reroute power to experiments and hardware and ensure limited impact to continued station operations. Since the successful replacement, the MBSU was powered up and checked out successfully with all station systems back to nominal power configuration, including redundant power to the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The completion of the robotics work marks the second time an MBSU was swapped out by means other than a spacewalk. The International Space Station continues to be a critical test bed where NASA is pioneering new methods to explore space, from complex robotic work to refueling spacecraft in flight and developing new robotic systems to assist astronauts on the frontier of space. Technologies like these will be vital as NASA looks to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.

NASA’s commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 3:11 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 3, for the launch of its 17th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Packed with more than 5,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Dragon Cargo Mission Launch No Earlier than May 3

The International Space Station
The International Space Station was pictured by an Expedition 56 crewmember aboard a departing Soyuz crew ship on Oct. 4, 2018.

NASA has requested SpaceX move off from May 1 for the launch of the company’s 17th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.

On April 29, the space station team identified an issue with one of the station’s Main Bus Switching Units that distributes power to two of the eight power channels on the station.  There are no immediate concerns for the crew or the station. Teams are working on a plan to robotically replace the failed unit and restore full power to the station system. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. The earliest possible launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, May 3.

Crew Safely in Orbit After Successful Launch

Expedition 59 Launch
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft is launched with Expedition 59 crewmembers Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA, along with Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, Friday March 15, 2019, Kazakh time (March 14 Eastern time) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hague, Koch, and Ovchinin will spend six-and-a-half months living and working aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz MS-12 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) and has safely reached orbit.  At the time of launch, the station was flying about 250 miles over southern Russia, across the northeast border with Kazakhstan; more than 1,100 statute miles ahead of the Soyuz as it leaves the launch pad.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmoshave begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for more than six months. The new crew members will dock to the Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.

About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the new residents will be greeted by NASA astronaut Anne McClain, station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The current three-person crew just welcomed the first American commercial crew vehicle as it docked to the station on March 3, amidst a busy schedule of scientific research and operations since arriving in December.

Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV’s media channel and the agency’s website beginning at 8:45 p.m. with the spacecraft docking expected at 9:07 p.m.

Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 10:30 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Watch NASA TV Now to See New Crew Launch at 3:14pm ET

Expedition 59 Preflight
The Soyuz rocket is seen at dawn on launch site 1 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Expedition 59 astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA, along with Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will launch later in the day, U.S. time, on the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.

The three will join NASA astronaut Anne McClain, station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The crew members will continue important research experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Expedition 59 Prepares to Launch to Station

Expedition 59 Preflight
The Soyuz rocket is seen at dawn on launch site 1 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Expedition 59 astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA, along with Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will launch later in the day, U.S. time, on the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, teams are making final preparations for the launch of NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time). Live launch coverage will begin at 2 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The trio’s arrival will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. This launch will also mark the fourth Expedition crew with two female astronauts. The three will join station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The new crew members will dock to the Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.

Hague and Ovchinin are completing a journey that was cut short Oct. 11, when a booster separation problem with their Soyuz rocket’s first stage triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. They landed safely a few minutes later, after reaching the fringes of space, and were reassigned to fly again after McClain, Kononenko and Saint-Jacques launched in early December. This will be Ovchinin’s third flight into space, the second for Hague and the first for Koch. Hague, Koch, and McClain are from NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, half of which were women—the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

Thursday, March 14

EDT              L-Hr/M/Sec    Event

  • 6:14:09am    9:00                 Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel
  • 9:14:09am    6:00                 Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
  • 9:29:09am    5:45                 Batteries installed in booster
  • 9:59:09am    5:15                  Crew arrives at Site 254
  • 10:14:09am   5:00                 Tanking begins
  • 10:44:09am  4:30                 Crew suit up
  • 11:09:09am   4:05                 Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
  • 11:44:09am   3:30                 Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
  • 12:09:09pm  3:05                First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
  • 12:14:09pm   3:00                Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad
  • 12:19:09pm   2:55                Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
  • 12:39:09pm   2:35                Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
  • 12:49:09pm   2:25               Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
  • 1:39:09pm      1:35                Descent module hardware tested
  • 1:54:09pm      1:20                Hatch closed; leak checks begin
  • 2:00:00pm      1:14:09           NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
  • 2:14:09pm      1:00                Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
  • 2:15:00pm        :59:09             NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities B-roll played)
  • 2:29:09pm     :45:00            Pad service structure components lowered
  • 2:30:09pm     :44:00            Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
  • 2:37:09pm     :37:00             Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
  • 2:40:09pm     :34:00            Emergency escape system armed
  • 2:59:09pm     :15:00             Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
  • 3:04:09pm     :10:00             Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
  • 3:07:09pm     :07:00             Pre-launch operations complete
  • 3:08:09pm     :06:00            Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
  • 3:09:09pm     :05:00            Commander’s controls activated
  • 3:09:56pm       :04:13              ISS flies directly over the Baikonur Cosmodrome 
  • 3:10:09pm      :04:00            Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
  • 3:11:09pm       :03:00            Propellant drainback
  • 3:11:26pm       :02:43            Booster propellant tank pressurization
  • 3:12:39pm      :01:30             Ground propellant feed terminated
  • 3:13:09pm       01:00             Vehicle to internal power
  • 3:13:34pm      :00:35             First umbilical tower separates

Auto sequence start

  • 3:13:39pm     :00:30            Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
  • 3:13:54pm     :00:15             Second umbilical tower separates
  • 3:13:57pm     :00:12             Launch command issued

Engine Start Sequence Begins

  • 3:13:59pm      :00:10            Engine turbo pumps at flight speed
  • 3:14:04pm     :00:05            Engines at maximum thrust
  • 3:14:09pm       :00:00            LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-12 TO THE ISS
  • 3:22:54pm     +8:45               Third stage shutdown; Soyuz orbital insertion

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Expedition 58 Crew Congratulates NASA and SpaceX after Crew Dragon Departure

Crew Dragon spacecraft on it's way back to Earth
Crew Dragon spacecraft on it’s way back to Earth after undocking from the International Space Station at 2:32 am EST on March 8, 2019

On behalf of the Expedition 58 crew, NASA Astronaut Anne McClain takes time to congratulate the NASA and SpaceX teams immediately following the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s undocking from the International Space Station at 2:32 a.m. EST Friday, March 8.

Astronauts Assembling Gear for Installation During Upcoming Spacewalk

Astronaut Ricky Arnold
Astronaut Ricky Arnold completes the scrubbing of water cooling loops inside a pair of U.S. spacesuits after the completion of spacewalk on March 29, 2018.

The Expedition 55 crew members are getting their U.S. spacesuits and equipment ready for a spacewalk in two weeks. The Dragon cargo craft from SpaceX is nearly loaded with NASA science and gear ahead of its Saturday return to Earth.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are assembling hardware today that will be installed on the International Space Station when they conduct a spacewalk on May 16. The duo were assisted throughout the day by fellow NASA astronaut Scott Tingle scrubbing U.S. spacesuit water cooling loops and testing water samples for conductivity.

The veteran spacewalkers were mating repaired components from an external television camera group (ETVCG) that will be attached to the starboard side of the Destiny laboratory module. Their primary spacewalking task however, will be the swap out of thermal control gear that circulates ammonia to keep station systems cool.

Final packing is taking place inside the Dragon space freighter today as Tingle loads critical time-sensitive research samples inside the Earth-bound resupply ship. Robotics controllers will detach Dragon from the Harmony module Friday before releasing it Saturday at 9:24 a.m. from the grips of the Canadarm2. NASA TV will begin its live broadcast of the departure at 9 a.m. but will not televise its 3 p.m. splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Three New Expedition 55 Crew Members Dock to the Station

Soyuz MS-08 Spacecraft Approaches Station
Space station cameras sight the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft just meters away from docking to the Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft docked to Poisk module of the International Space Station at 3:40 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying over Serbia.

Following their two-day trip, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station. Their arrival restores the station’s crew complement to six as they wait to join Scott Tingle of NASA, Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The hatches between the two spacecraft will open following standard pressurization and leak checks. Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.

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

Crew Ready for Launch as Station Preps for Spacewalk and Dragon Mission

Expedition 55-56 crew members
Expedition 55-56 crew members (from left) Ricky Arnold, Oleg Artemyev and Drew Feustel are seen in quarantine, behind glass, during a press conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

A Soyuz rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ready to blast off Wednesday with three Expedition 55-56 crew members to the International Space Station. In the following two weeks the expanded Expedition 55 crew will conduct a spacewalk and welcome a new SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Today, NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev held a press conference while in quarantine at the Cosmonaut Hotel talking to journalists behind a glass partition. The trio will blast off inside the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft Wednesday at 1:44 p.m. EDT for a two-day ride to the station. The experienced space travelers will dock to the orbital laboratory’s Poisk module Friday at 3:41 p.m. NASA TV will begin its live launch coverage at 12:45 p.m.

Feustel and Arnold will then get busy preparing for a March 29 spacewalk while familiarizing themselves with space station operations. Both astronauts are experienced spacewalkers and will work to install wireless antennas on the Tranquility module and replace cameras on the Port-1 truss structure. The spacewalk will be broadcast live on NASA TV and is expected to start at 8:10 a.m. and last about six and a half hours.

SpaceX is ramping up for a launch no earlier than April 2 of its Dragon commercial cargo craft to resupply the Expedition 55 crew with new science gear and crew supplies. The crew onboard the station has been configuring the orbital lab to enable the new research such as the Wound Healing and Metabolic Tracking experiments.