SpaceX Cargo Dragon Undocked From Station

Sept. 30, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Sept. 30, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

With NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough monitoring aboard the International Space Station, a SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft undocked from the station’s forward port of the Harmony module at 9:12 a.m. EDT.

Cargo Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance away from the station prior to a deorbit burn later in the day that will begin its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. The spacecraft will make parachute-assisted splashdown around 11 p.m. off the coast of Florida. NASA Television will not broadcast the splashdown live, but will provide updates on the space station blog..

Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, delivering some science back into the hands of the researchers hours after splashdown. This shorter transportation timeframe allows researchers to collect data with minimal loss of microgravity effects.

Dragon launched Aug. 29 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy, arriving at the station the following day. The spacecraft delivered more than 4,800 pounds of research investigations, crew supplies, and vehicle hardware to the orbiting outpost.

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

Spacewalk Preps Intensify During Muscle Studies

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet waves to the camera during a spacewalk to install Roll-Out Solar Arrays on June 25, 2021.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet waves to the camera during a spacewalk to install Roll-Out Solar Arrays on June 25, 2021.

The Expedition 65 crew spent Tuesday on a variety of biology experiments exploring how living in microgravity affects the human muscle system. The residents aboard the International Space Station are also intensifying their preparations for three spacewalks over the coming weeks.

Astronauts Megan McArthur of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) split the day working on the Cardinal Muscle study in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. McArthur started the morning setting up engineered muscle cell samples in the Life Sciences Glovebox for observation. Pesquet took over in the afternoon continuing the sample work to learn how to treat space-caused muscle loss and Earth-bound muscle conditions.

Pesquet and Commandeer Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started their morning research duties on another pair of muscle investigations. For the Anti-Atrophy investigation, Pesquet installed cell samples into Kibo’s Cell Biology Experiment Facility to test biomaterials that may prevent muscle loss in space as well as on Earth. Hoshide, also working inside Kibo, inserted cell samples into a specialized microscope to observe how they adapt to weightlessness for the Cell Gravisensing muscle atrophy study.

Hoshide then spent the rest of Tuesday with NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei getting ready for their first spacewalk together set for next week. They started configuring the U.S. Quest airlock and checking components on their U.S. spacesuits. McArthur joined them afterward and helped the duo suit up for a fit verification. Hoshide and Vande Hei will exit Quest on Aug. 24 to prepare the Port-4 truss structure for future Roll-Out Solar Array installation work.

Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are getting ready for two of their own spacewalks targeted for early September. They began collecting their spacewalk tools located in the station’s Russian segment and photographed them for inspection today. The cosmonaut duo from Roscosmos will exit the Poisk module for both excursions and outfit the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module for science operations.

NASA TV Broadcasts Early Saturday Arrival of Cargo Dragon

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off with the Cargo Dragon resupply ship from the Kennedy Space Center on June 3, 2021. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off with the Cargo Dragon resupply ship from the Kennedy Space Center on June 3, 2021. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

SpaceX Dragon is on track to arrive at the International Space Station tomorrow morning June 5, with an expected capture of the cargo spacecraft around 5 a.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage will begin at 3:30 a.m. Watch live at http://www.nasa.gov/live.

When it arrives to the space station, Dragon will automatically dock to the space-facing side (zenith) of the station’s Harmony module with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur monitoring operations. Dragon lifted off on Thursday, June 3, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cargo spacecraft with more than 7,300 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory. Dragon will join four other spacecraft currently at the space station.

Sunday Splashdown Set for Crew-1 During Light Day on Station

From left, are the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.
From left, are the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.

Four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are making final preparations ahead of their return to Earth this weekend. Some of the Expedition 65 crew members staying behind on the International Space Station are relaxing today while others are focusing on science and lab maintenance.

Mission managers have decided to send Crew Dragon Resilience and its four astronauts back to Earth on Sunday. Resilience will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter during an automated maneuver on Saturday at 8:35 p.m. EDT. It will splashdown about six-and-a-half hours later in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Hatch closure of the Resilience will be on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. with NASA TV beginning its broadcast at 6 p.m. Live continuous coverage of the undocking and splashdown activities starts at 8:15 p.m.

Resilience Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover are finishing packing up personal items and emergency hardware inside Resilience today. They were assisted by Crew-1 Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi who also loaded science freezers filled with research samples inside the Crew Dragon. When the Crew-1 astronauts land they will have spent 168 days in space since launching to the station on Nov. 15 last year.

The newest crew aboard the orbital lab, the four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts, are relaxing today. Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineers Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough had their schedules cleared on Friday ahead of Saturday night’s Crew-1 undocking.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who rode to space aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship, processed samples for the Food Physiology experiment amidst a mostly slow day for him. Glover finalized his science work early Friday as he collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for later analysis.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, stayed focused on maintenance in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. The duo worked on power connections, ventilation systems and computer hardware throughout Friday.

NASA TV Covers SpaceX Crew-2 Docking to Station Today

From left are the SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide during training in Hawthorne, California. Credit: SpaceX
From left are the SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide during training in Hawthorne, California. Credit: SpaceX

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission carrying NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet on their way to the International Space Station.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, began the final phase of its approach to the station at 3:31 a.m. EDT Saturday and is scheduled to dock at about 5:10 a.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crew aboard the spacecraft and the space station will monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.

When the hatches open about 7:15 a.m. Saturday, April 24, the Crew-2 astronauts will join the Expedition 65 crew of Shannon WalkerMichael Hopkins,  Victor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-1 astronauts Walker, Hopkins, Glover, and Noguchi return a few days later.

Follow along and get more information about the mission at: http://www.nasa.gov/crew-2.  Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

New Crew Launching Early Friday as Science Continues on Station

(From left) A Russian crew ship and a Russian cargo craft are pictured docked to the station as it orbited into a sunrise above the South Pacific.
(From left) A Russian crew ship and a Russian cargo craft are pictured docked to the station as it orbited into a sunrise above the South Pacific.

It is the day before three new Expedition 65 crew members launch and dock to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, three orbital lab residents are preparing to return to Earth while the rest of the crew studies space science and keeps the station in tip-top shape.

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket that will liftoff Friday at 3:42 a.m. EDT with one NASA astronaut and two Roscosmos cosmonauts was blessed on Thursday by a Russian Orthodox priest. The traditional ceremony takes place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad before each Soyuz crew mission.

Two veteran station residents, Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, will take a ride to the station with first time space-flyer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. Novitskiy will lead the short space flight to the station’s Rassvet module where the Soyuz crew ship will dock at 7:07 a.m. The hatches will open about two hours later and the trio will join seven new crewmates for a welcoming ceremony with officials on the ground. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and docking activities beginning at 2:45 a.m.

Little more than a week after the new crew’s arrival, three Expedition 64 residents will end their stay in space and land on Earth inside the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, alongside Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, will undock from the Poisk module officially ending their mission on April 16 at 9:33 p.m. They will parachute to a landing inside their Soyuz crew ship less than three-and-a-half hours later in Kazakhstan.

Science is keeping pace aboard the space station as the crew explored biotechnology and fluid physics today. The astronauts also worked on life support systems and U.S. spacesuit components.

NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins observed protein crystal samples in a microscope for a study exploring the production of advanced medicines in space. Flight Engineer Victor Glover of NASA observed how fluids behave in microgravity to help engineers design optimal fuel tanks for satellites and spaceships.

Hopkins also serviced nitrogen and oxygen transfer gear inside the station’s Atmospheric Control System. Glover assisted NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker as she swapped parts on U.S. spacesuits. Finally, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi installed a materials exposure study in the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock where it will soon be placed into the harsh space environment for observation.

Three Crewmates Complete Short Station Trip in Soyuz Crew Ship

The Soyuz MS-17 crew ship, with three Expedition 64 crew members inside, is pictured after undocking from the Rassvet module beginning its short trip to the Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV
The Soyuz MS-17 crew ship, with three Expedition 64 crew members inside, is pictured after undocking from the Rassvet module beginning its short trip to the Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 64 crew members who arrived to the International Space Station Oct. 14, 2020, have successfully relocated their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft. Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA and Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, undocked from the Earth-facing port of the station’s Rassvet module at 12:38 p.m. EDT, and Ryzhikov successfully piloted the spacecraft and docked again at the space-facing Poisk port at 1:12 p.m.

The relocation opens the Rassvet port for the arrival April 9 of another Soyuz, designated Soyuz MS-18, which will carry NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos’ Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov to join the space station crew after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov will conclude their six-month science mission aboard the station and return to Earth April 17 in the Soyuz MS-17.

This was the 19th overall Soyuz port relocation and the first since August 2019.

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

Russian Progress Cargo Craft Docks to Station

Feb. 17, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Russia's Progress 75 and 77 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship.
Feb. 17, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Russia’s Progress 75 and 77 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship.

An uncrewed Russian Progress 77 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 1:27 a.m. EST, two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11:45 p.m. EST (9:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time). The spacecraft were flying over Argentina at the time of docking.

The spacecraft is carrying a little more than one ton of nitrogen, water and propellant to the station and the Expedition 64 crew members who are living and working in space to advance scientific knowledge, demonstrate new technologies, and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth.

Progress 77 is scheduled to remain docked to the space station’s Russian segment until later this year. Instead of undocking from Pirs, this time Progress will stay connected and detach Pirs from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Russian segment, where it has spent nearly 20 years in service as both a docking port and spacewalk airlock.

Progress then will fire its engines to initiate a destructive entry into Earth’s atmosphere for both the spacecraft and docking compartment. Pirs’ departure from the space station is scheduled to take place just days after the launch of the “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module on a Proton rocket from Baikonur. The multifunctional docking port and research facility will automatically dock to the port vacated by Pirs.

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

Safety Training, Spacewalk Preps and Eye Checks Keep Crew Busy

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is pictured during a spacewalk in December of 2013 when he was a flight engineer during Expedition 38.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is pictured during a spacewalk in December of 2013 when he was a flight engineer during Expedition 38.

Emergency training took precedence aboard the International Space Station today with the Expedition 64 crew reviewing safety procedures and equipment. The orbital residents also had eye checks while gearing up for a busy period of spacewalks.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins joined her two crewmates from Roscosmos, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, at midday and practiced emergency escape procedures. The trio trained on a computer for the unlikely event they would have to evacuate the station and quickly undock inside their Soyuz MS-17 crew ship.

During the morning, NASA Flight Engineer Victor Glover inspected fire extinguishers and a variety of personal protective equipment including breathing gear components. The first-time space flyer then spent the rest of Tuesday afternoon servicing life support components inside U.S. spacesuits.

Glover is getting ready for a pair of spacewalks he and Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins of NASA will be conducting on Jan. 27 and Feb. 1. The duo will be setting up European science and communications hardware on the first spacewalk and configuring battery gear and high definition cameras on the second. NASA TV will preview the upcoming spacewalks on Friday beginning at 3 p.m. EST.

Two more spacewalks are planned for February with Rubins and Glover slated for the third spacewalk of 2021 to install new solar arrays. For the fourth spacewalk, Rubins will pair up with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi for more upgrade work on the orbital lab.

Finally at the end of the day, Rubins joined fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker for eye checks. The veteran station residents used optical coherence tomography with Walker leading the effort to image Rubins’ retinas to understand microgravity’s impact on eyes and vision.

Cargo Dragon Undocks from Station and Heads for Splashdown

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle begins its separation from the station after undocking from the Harmony module's international docking adapter. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle begins its separation from the station after undocking from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. Credit: NASA TV

With NASA astronaut Victor Glover monitoring aboard the International Space Station, an upgraded SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft undocked from the International Docking Adapter on the station’s space-facing port of the Harmony module at 9:05 a.m. EST.

It is the first undocking of a U.S. commercial cargo craft from the complex. Previous cargo Dragon spacecraft were attached and removed from the space station using the station’s robotic Canadarm2.

Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance from the space station during the next 36 hours. On Wednesday, Jan. 13, Dragon will conduct a deorbit burn at 7:37 p.m. to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth’s atmosphere. Dragon is expected to splash down west of Tampa off the Florida coast about 8:27 p.m. The splashdown will not be broadcast.

The upgraded cargo Dragon capsule used for this mission contains double the powered locker availability of previous capsules, allowing for a significant increase in the research that can be carried back to Earth.

Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, delivering some science back into the hands of the researchers as soon as four to nine hours after splashdown. This shorter transportation timeframe allows researchers to collect data with minimal loss of microgravity effects. Previous cargo Dragon spacecraft returned to the Pacific Ocean, with quick-return science cargo processed at SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas, and delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Dragon launched Dec. 6 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arriving at the station just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a U.S. commercial cargo resupply spacecraft. The spacecraft delivered more than 6,400 pounds of hardware, research investigations and crew supplies.

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