The Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft on top, is loaded with its complement of flight propellants and ready for lift off. Terminal countdown has begun with no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft. Forecasters are closing monitoring a storm cell near the launch site. Weather currently is “go” for launch.
An on-time liftoff at 4:33 p.m. EDT means the Dragon spacecraft will catch up to the station Wednesday, April 15. Flight Engineer and European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts will use the station’s 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm to reach out and capture the Dragon spacecraft as they operate from the station’s cupola.
The Dragon will be attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node to deliver more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations, including critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.
Join the online conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.
Countdown is progressing smoothly for today’s scheduled launch of the sixth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The rocket is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying about two tons of supplies and science investigations in the cargo Dragon spacecraft. There is a 60 percent chance for favorable weather at the liftoff time, which has changed by one second to 4:33:16 p.m. EDT.
The cargo includes critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44. For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex
To join the online conversation about the SpaceX CRS-6 launch, the International Space Station and Expedition 43 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.
SpaceX is ready to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space freighter today at 4:33 p.m. EDT loaded with more than two tons of science gear and crew supplies. Orbiting overhead in the International Space Station the six Expedition 43 crew members observed Cosmonautics Day.
NASA TV will cover the launch of the sixth SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services mission (SpaceX CRS-6) live beginning at 3:30 p.m. today. The Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the space station Wednesday morning for a five week stay delivering gear to support dozens of life science, human research and physics experiments.
The crew relaxed Monday morning as they commemorated the first space flight of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin back in April 12, 1961. The three astronauts and three cosmonauts went back to work in the afternoon on a wide variety of advanced microgravity science and routine maintenance activities.
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly joined Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti for a Dragon cargo conference in the afternoon. Cristoforetti will be in the cupola Wednesday morning controlling the Canadarm2 when she captures Dragon around 7 a.m. Virts and Kelly will be assisting her and monitoring Dragon’s arrival.
More life science work took place Thursday aboard the International Space Station as scientists study the effects of living in space during a long term space mission. Back on Earth, SpaceX is counting down to a Monday launch of its Dragon space freighter.
More eye checks took place Thursday as the crew in the U.S. segment of the orbital lab participated in a series of week-long Ocular Health activities. The crew also conducted artery scans using an Ultrasound for the Cardio Ox inflammatory stress study. The space station residents are also getting ready for the Rodent Research experiment setting up gear inside the Destiny lab module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox.
The station cosmonauts participated in their array of Russian science and maintenance on their side of the orbital laboratory. The veteran cosmonaut trio explored the micro-vibrations the station experiences and tested new photography techniques for Earth observation studies.
Mission managers are finalizing preparations for the April 13 launch of the sixth SpaceX Dragon Commercial Resupply Services mission to the space station. SpaceX will perform a hot-fire test this weekend of its Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket for a two day trip to the station where it will be captured by the Canadarm2 and installed on the Harmony module.
The six-member Expedition 43 crew spent Wednesday conducting more medical science and later training for a simulated emergency practicing their response skills.
Astronauts Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti participated in another round of eye checks for the ongoing Ocular Health study. One-Year crew member Scott Kelly scanned his legs using an Ultrasound for the Sprint high intensity, low-volume exercise study.
Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov continued studying ways to detect pressure leaks inside the station for the Bar experiment. Four-time space station resident Gennady Padalka researched the formation of coulomb crystals and liquids from macroparticles trapped in a magnetic field. Kelly’s fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko worked maintenance throughout the International Space Station’s Russian segment.
Monday, April 13, is launch day for SpaceX’s sixth operational cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Launch is slated for 4:33 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Visit the SpaceX blog for the latest updates.
Advanced microgravity science is moving full speed ahead now that the International Space Station is fully staffed with the six-member Expedition 43 crew. New science gear is also headed to the station as SpaceX readies its Dragon cargo craft for their sixth Commercial Resupply Services mission (SpaceX CRS-6).
Commander Terry Virts studied how blood pressure is impacted before, during and after a spaceflight for the BP Reg experiment. One-Year crew member Scott Kelly collected his perspiration samples after an exercise session for the Microbiome study then prepared for upcoming Ultrasound and blood pressure work. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti began her day with Aniso Tubule botany work then moved on to gathering tools for the Rodent Research study.
Kelly’s fellow One-Year crew member, Mikhail Kornienko, mixed cell cultures in a bioreactor before downloading data collected for identification of the dynamic forces on the space station. Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov ended his 24 hour blood pressure monitoring session then studied ways to detect pressure leaks inside the station for the Bar experiment.
Cristoforetti later joined Virts for a grapple training session as they prepare to capture the Dragon space freighter with the Canadarm2 when it arrives next week. Dragon will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket April 13 delivering new science experiments such as OASIS and ISSpresso.
Commander Terry Virts and One-Year crew member Scott Kelly, both NASA astronauts, partnered together Monday for spacesuit maintenance in the Quest airlock. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also worked throughout the U.S. segment on a variety of botany science and life research benefitting humans on Earth and crews in space.
A trio of cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov, Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, worked on an array of ongoing science and maintenance in the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory. They worked on the Kurs automated rendezvous system which can guide and dock a Russian spacecraft from inside the space station if necessary. The crew also sampled the Zvezda service module’s air and analyzed it for quality.
Back on Earth, SpaceX is readying its Falcon rocket and Dragon commercial space freighter for an April 13 launch from Florida to the International Space Station. Dragon will fly for two days before its capture and berthing to the Harmony module where it will stay until May 20. This will be the sixth SpaceX mission (SpaceX CRS-6) for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
A wide variety of research exploring how life adapts to long-term exposure to microgravity took place on the International Space Station Friday. The crew members also worked on cargo transfers to and from a pair of docked vehicles.
More crew Ocular Health eye checks were on the schedule as scientists study the fluid shifts caused by microgravity and how they affect a crew member’s vision. New software was loaded on computers for the Rodent Research study, a life sciences experiment that was delivered on a SpaceX mission in January.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who collected a saliva sample for stowage in a science freezer, and his twin brother on the ground Mark Kelly are the subjects of the Twins study. That investigation compares the two brothers, one in space and one on the ground, and explores how the different environments affect the twins with identical genes.
On the Russian side of the orbital lab, the crew unloaded gear from the recently docked Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft. The ISS Progress 57 space freighter, docked to the Pirs docking compartment, is also being packed with trash ahead of its departure and fiery disposal April 25.
Medical science and training took a significant portion of the Expedition 43 crew’s schedule Thursday. The newest three crew members are getting used to their new home on orbit. Finally, the International Space Station boosted its orbit.
Several crew members participated in eye checks for the Ocular Health study as scientists study how microgravity affects vision during long duration missions. The newest trio to join Expedition 43 trained to prepare for a medical emergency while also familiarizing themselves with station systems.
A docked ISS Progress 58 space freighter fired its engines boosting the space station’s orbit by eight-tenths of a mile. The reboost readies the station to receive the new ISS Progress 59 supply ship when it launches and docks April 28.
SpaceX is targeting Monday, April 13 to launch the next commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is targeted for approximately 4:33 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m.
A Monday launch will result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station Wednesday, April 15. Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 7:14 a.m. Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA will support Cristoforetti as they operate from the station’s cupola. NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 5 a.m. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 9:15 a.m.
If the launch does not occur on Monday, the next launch opportunity would be at approximately 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 14.
This is the sixth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission and the seventh trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the station. Dragon is filled with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 43 and 44. After about five weeks at the space station, Dragon will return to Earth filled with cargo including crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, and space station hardware.