Dragon Splashes Down — SpaceX CRS-4 Ends

Dragon Departure
This series of images, captured by cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) show the departure from the station of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 3:39 p.m. EDT a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico, marking the end of the company’s fourth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft is returning 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the International Space Station. A boat will take the Dragon spacecraft to a port near Los Angeles, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA within 48 hours. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

The mission was the fourth of 12 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the space station through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

› More information from SpaceX

Station Releases Dragon for Pacific Ocean Splashdown

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 9:57 a.m. EDT. The capsule will begin a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station and begin its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 3:39 p.m., about 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula.

› Watch NASA TV



Watch NASA TV for Live Coverage of SpaceX Dragon Release

8080055673_f597476858_kNASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Dragon was detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module earlier this morning. Mission control will maneuver Dragon into place then turn it over to Expedition 41 robotic arm operators Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA for release, scheduled for approximately 9:57 a.m.


The Dragon arrived to the space station Sept. 23 after a Sept. 21 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying almost 5,000 pounds of supplies and elements to support 255 scientific investigations the crew members of Expeditions 41 and 42 will conduct.

Release of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm will begin the Dragon’s return to Earth carrying more than 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization responsible for managing research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station.

The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 3:39 p.m., approximately 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula.

Expedition 41 Update: Oct. 24, 2014

Station Crew Readies for Busy Visiting Vehicle Traffic

The highway traffic to and from the International Space Station gets busy Saturday and the six crew members of Expedition 41 are working feverishly to manage the traffic flow.

Final packing of the commercial Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) Dragon was completed and the hatch closed ahead of Saturday’s unberthing and departure. Release is planned for 9:56 a.m. EDT and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California is scheduled for about 3:30 p.m.

While the crew completed packing of experiment samples and equipment aboard Dragon for return to Earth, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility off the coast of Virginia, another commercial rocket – Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares with its Cygnus cargo craft – was rolled to the launch pad for final preparations leading to launch at 6:45 p.m. Monday. Plans are for Cygnus arrival at the station Sunday, Nov. 2, with berthing to the same Harmony module docking port that will be vacated by Dragon.

Two Russian cargo vehicles also will be making moves when Progress 56 undocks early Monday at 1:38 a.m., completing more than three months of service at the station. It will undergo several weeks of engineering tests by Russian flight controllers before being deorbited over the Pacific on Wednesday, Nov. 19. That departure frees the Pirs Docking Compartment for arrival of the next Russian cargo vehicle, Progress 57, which is set for launch at 3:09 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, with docking to Pirs six hours later at 9:09 a.m.

Three of the crew members also are beginning preparations to return home after 165 days in space. Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alex Gerst will return home aboard their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 9.

That leaves the other three crew members to transition to Expedition 42, which will be led by Barry Wilmore. He will command the expedition that includes Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova until next March. They’ll enjoy a Thanksgiving delivery of three more crew members – Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts – on Sunday, Nov. 23.

› Read this week’s overview from the lead station increment scientist
› Read more about Cygnus’s upcoming launch
› Read more about the Expedition 41 crew

http://io.jsc.nasa.gov/photos/11328/lores/iss041e071451.jpgFlight Engineer Barry Wilmore unpacks cargo Oct. 11 from the SpaceX CRS-4 Dragon commercial space freighter.

Photo Credit: NASA

Communicating the Benefits of Space, Science and Technology


From the earliest days of civilization, humans have always used art as a way to communicate, commemorate, and challenge. As civilization has evolved so has the sophistication of visual arts. From crude drawings on stone and primitive paper, to the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the magic of moving pictures and television, and now video recording capabilities that are unmatched.

The beauty of art is that it connects with the viewer in a way that the written word can’t. A single motion, a paint stroke, a symbol can embody an event, a generation, even an entire period of history. So as civilization currently sits on the cutting edge of technology development, how can humans use art to communicate this progress?

The Humans In Space Art Video challenge was designed to give college students and early career professionals an opportunity to answer this question. The video challenge invites students to submit a video no longer than 3 minutes that answers the question, how will space, science and technology benefit humanity? Video entries can incorporate all forms of creative communication (e.g. visual, musical, animation and dance). Entries must be submitted online by November 15, 2014.

The video challenge is an outreach effort sponsored by CASIS, NASA’s International Space Station Program and the Humans in Space Art program. The International Space Station (ISS) is one of humankind’s greatest engineering feats and embodies the technological advancement and innovation of human civilization. The ISS inspired this year’s contest theme and the challenge allows contestants to creatively capture their thoughts about how current/future research and technology development will benefit and advance humanity.

Currently, humans are living and working on the ISS. Thousands of hours have been dedicated to space research on the International Space Station with the purpose of gaining necessary insight for future space exploration initiatives as well as providing solutions and insights into Earth-based challenges.

CASIS, the nonprofit organization that manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the ISS, has arranged for the first place winner of the video challenge to receive a monetary award and as a grand prize, the winning video will also take a trip into orbit on the space station!

To learn more about the video challenge, visit: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/humansinspaceart/challenge/


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Expedition 41 Update: Oct. 23, 2014

Spacesuit Checks and Eye Scans for Crew

Cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev are working on their Russian Orlan spacesuits after Wednesday’s three-hour, 38-minute spacewalk. Elena Serova, Russia’s first female cosmonaut to live and work aboard the International Space Station, worked maintenance, checked the station’s air and collected radiation readings.

Astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst took turns Thursday scanning each other’s eyes with an Ultrasound. NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore checked out a hardware and control panel that will be used to communicate with the Cygnus private space freighter after it launches Oct. 27.

› Read more about Cygnus’s upcoming launch
› Read more about the Expedition 41 crew

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst
Alexander Gerst talks to students who participated in the Earth Guardian Education Event at the Columbus Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany