An Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft carrying more than 7,600 pounds of supplies, science and research investigations is set to arrive to the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The uncrewed cargo ship launched at 11:11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 18 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to begin its four-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.
Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s robotic Canadarm2 to capture Cygnus at approximately 6:05 a.m. on Saturday, April 22. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. Installation coverage will resume at 7:30 a.m.
Coverage will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency’s website at: www.nasa.gov/live.
The mission is Orbital ATK’s seventh contracted commercial resupply services (CRS) mission, and its third launch atop an Atlas V rocket from Florida. Future missions under Orbital ATK’s CRS-1 contract with NASA are expected to resume from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Two rockets on opposite sides of the world rolled out to their launch pads today ready to blast off to the International Space Station. An American rocket rolled out to its pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A Russian rocket was carted by train and raised to its vertical position at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is stacked atop the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance and ready for its Tuesday launch at 11:11 a.m. EDT from Florida. The seventh contracted Commercial Resupply Services mission for Orbital ATK will deliver over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies to the Expedition 51 crew. Cygnus is due to arrive Saturday morning for a robotic capture and installation to the Unity module.
Two new Expedition 51 crew members will be seated in the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft when it lifts off from Kazakhstan Thursday at 3:13 a.m. Just six hours and 10 minutes later the duo will dock to the Poisk module to begin a mission expected to last about 4-1/2 months.
Meanwhile, the orbiting trio of Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy are getting ready for the new arrivals and continuing space research. Whitson explored how the brain adapts to microgravity while Pesquet set up hardware to collect body fluid samples for later analysis. Novitskiy focused on systems maintenance in the station’s Russian segment.
The Expedition 50 crew is checking out U.S. spacesuits today and testing tiny internal satellites for research. Three crew members are also packing up for a ride back to Earth on Monday.
Commander Shane Kimbrough worked on a pair of spacesuits today following the completion of two spacewalks last month. He sampled and tested the cooling water that flows through the suits to keep astronauts cool in the extreme environment of outer space.
Kimbrough is winding down his stay in space with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko. The trio this week is packing the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft with science samples, personal items and other cargo for a landing in Kazakhstan after 173 days in space. NASA TV will broadcast the crew departure activities live with landing scheduled for Monday at 7:20 a.m. EDT.
Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 2:33 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted just over seven hours, the two astronauts successfully reconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3. PMA-3 will provide the pressurized interface between the station and the second of two international docking adapters to be delivered to the complex to support the dockings of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft in the future.
The duo were also tasked with installing four thermal protection shields on the Tranquility module of the International Space Station. The shields were required to cover the port where the PMA-3 was removed earlier in the week and robotically installed on the Harmony module. During the spacewalk, one of the shields was inadvertently lost. The loss posed no immediate danger to the astronauts and Kimbrough and Whitson went on to successfully install the remaining shields on the common berthing mechanism port.
A team from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston devised a plan for the astronauts to finish covering the port with the PMA-3 cover Whitson removed earlier in the day. The plan worked, and the cover was successfully installed, providing thermal protection and micrometeoroid and orbital debris cover for the port.
To round out the spacewalk, Kimbrough and Whitson also installed a different shield around the base of the PMA-3 adapter for micrometeoroid protection. The shield was nicknamed a cummerbund as it fits around the adapter similar to a tuxedo’s cummerbund worn around the waist.
Having completed her eighth spacewalk, Whitson now holds the record for the most spacewalks and accumulated time spacewalking by a female astronaut.
Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,243 hours and 42 minutes outside the station during 199 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft waved off its planned rendezvous with the International Space Station at 3:25 a.m. EST. Dragon’s onboard computers triggered the abort after recognizing an incorrect value in navigational data about the location of Dragon relative to the space station. Flight controllers immediately began planning for a second rendezvous attempt on Thursday, Feb. 23.
The spacecraft is in excellent shape with no issues, and the crew aboard the space station is safe. The next rendezvous attempt is targeted for Thursday morning. NASA TV coverage will begin at 4 a.m. with grapple expected around 6 a.m. Installation coverage will begin at 8 a.m. Watch live on NASA TV and online at: http://www.nasa.gov/live.
Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 6:22 a.m. EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours.
Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for the remaining three of six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station’s starboard truss. Kimbrough is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit bearing red stripes. Pesquet is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.
The new channel lithium-ion batteries installed Friday, Jan. 6 during the first spacewalk with Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA are functioning properly and all electrical loads are being routed normally to systems through that power channel.
Earlier this week, the robotic ground controllers used the Canadian-built “Dextre” Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator to move the three new lithium-ion batteries for today’s spacewalk into their slots in the Integrated Electronics Assembly. Engineers also moved one of the old nickel-hydrogen battery onto the HTV External Pallet for disposal and two others to one of Dextre’s arms for temporary stowage.
In all, nine old nickel-hydrogen batteries will be stowed on the external pallet for disposal when the HTV is deorbited to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere later this month. The power channel for the last of the new batteries will be activated during the spacewalk after adapter plates are moved into place on the Integrated Electronics Assembly.
Expedition 50 astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet are ready for their mission’s second spacewalk that starts Friday at 7 a.m. EST. The duo will wrap up power maintenance work to connect new lithium-ion batteries and install adapter plates. Kimbrough and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson started that work last Friday during a six-hour, 32-minute spacewalk.
Both spacewalks complement the ongoing robotics work that started at the end of December. Ground controllers have been remotely-operating the Canadarm2 robotic arm and Dextre robotic hand to remove and stow the old nickel-hydrogen batteries and the install the new batteries.
The three cosmonauts have been staying focused on their set of Russian space research and lab maintenance. Station veterans Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy collected blood samples for a pair human research studies looking at bone loss and stress responses caused by living in space. First-time station resident Sergy Ryzhikov explored chemical reactions caused by jet engine exhaust in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
Six International Space Station crew members are heading in to the Thanksgiving holiday with human research activities and orbital lab maintenance.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is the most experienced crew member in space right now getting ready to spend her third holiday season on orbit. Today, she stowed the tools used for space plumbing work done on Tuesday putting the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, the station’s toilet, back in service after a leak was discovered.
She and her new crewmates, Oleg Novitskiy from Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency, are in their first week aboard the space station. They are getting used to their new home in space and familiarizing themselves with station emergency gear and procedures today. Whitson is beginning her third mission aboard the orbital complex while Novitskiy is starting his second mission. Pesquet is on his first mission and is France’s fourth astronaut to visit the space station.
The rest of the crew members, including Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, are beginning their second month in space.
Today’s science work included collecting breath samples to help doctors understand how living in space affects bone marrow and blood cells. A new device that indirectly measures an astronaut’s intracranial pressure is being checked out today while the crew is also conducting eye exams.
The Soyuz MS-02 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 19 (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time). At the time of launch, the space station was flying 252 statute miles over the south Atlantic, east of Brazil. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.
Over the next two days, the trio will orbit the Earth 34 times before docking to the space station’s Poisk module at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 5:15 a.m.
The Expedition 49 crew is getting ready for the mid-October arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft. The trio is also exploring human research and setting up a student Earth observation experiment.
First-time astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are brushing up on the robotic capture techniques necessary to grapple the Cygnus cargo craft. The Cygnus private space freighter is targeted to launch from Virginia between Oct. 9 and 13 and arrive at the International Space Station about 2-1/2 days later.
The duo will be inside the cupola at the robotics controls monitoring Cygnus’ arrival then capturing it with the 57.7 foot long Canadarm2. Ground controllers will then take over robotic operations and remotely attach Cygnus to the Unity module. Cygnus is delivering crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the station crew members.
Before the pair began training today, Rubins sampled the station’s water for microbes and stowed the Hard to Wet Surfaces research gear. Onishi tested his fine motor skills on a mobile tablet device and logged his diet for the ENERGY experiment.
Commander Anatoly Ivanishin set up the Sally Ride EarthKAM experiment inside a Harmony module window today. The Earth imagery gear allows students to take pictures of Earth from space and share them on the internet.