The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reports the Progress 59 cargo craft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:04 p.m. EDT over the central Pacific Ocean.
The spacecraft was not carrying any supplies critical for the United States Operating Segment (USOS) of the station, and the break up and reenty of the Progress posed no threat to the ISS crew. Both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight.
Maintenance and experiment work continued on Thursday for the Expedition 43 crew.
NASA astronauts Terry Virt and Scott Kelly finished the work they’ve been doing on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin. Virts also did some preparatory work on a payload rack for a cellular biology experiment scheduled to launch on the next SpaceX mission.
One-Year crew member Scott Kelly also took time to collect a number of acoustic dosimeters which measure noise levels around the station.
Maintenance and experiment work continued on Wednesday for the Expedition 43 crew.
NASA astronaut Terry Virt spent the second consecutive day replacing components inside one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin. Virts also did some preparatory work on a payload rack for a cellular biology experiment scheduled to launch on the next SpaceX mission.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued the Triplelux-A experiment which aims to gain a better understanding of immune suppression in spaceflight. She also Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov in a checkout of the Sokol launch and entry suits that she, Shkaplerov and Virts will wear when they return to Earth next week.
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly spent the day replacing components inside one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued two experiments that are investigating how the body changes while in microgravity. The Triplelux-A experiment aims to gain a better understanding of immune suppression in spaceflight while the Osteo-4 study which is analyzing the effects of microgravity on the most common cell found in human bones. The results derived from this study could also have implications for patients on Earth in the treatment of bone disorders related to disuse or immobilization, as well as metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis.
Cristoforetti also joined Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov in a Soyuz descent training exercise as they prepare to return to Earth next week along with Virts.
Monday began a new week of science and maintenance work for the Expedition 43 crew.
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly spent the day reviewing procedures and gathering equipment for an upcoming replacement activity with one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti participated in the Skin-B experiment which will improve our understanding of skin aging, which is greatly accelerated in space, while also providing insight into the aging process of other similar bodily tissues. She also took photos for the Moon imagery study.
Robotics controllers in Houston continued operations with the Robotic Refueling Mission-2 (RRM-2) payload. Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, to install the new task boards that will be used for the experiment. The objective of RRM-2 is to develop new technologies, tools and techniques that could eventually give satellite owners resources to diagnose problems on orbit and keep certain spacecraft instruments performing longer in space.
Attempts by Russian ground controllers to regain control of the Progress have been unsuccessful, and they have said they will not be able to regain propulsive control of it. As a result, the Progress currently is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere within the next two weeks. Russian ballistics specialists, working in conjunction with flight controllers in Mission Control Houston and ESA, are continuing to track the vehicle’s path and will provide updates on its anticipated reentry date. The United States Air Force Joint Functional Component Command for Space’s Joint Space Operations Center is also tracking Progress, performing conjunction analysis, and providing warning of any potential collisions in space to ensure spaceflight safety. The break up and reentry of the Progress poses no threat to the ISS crew.
Station astronauts continued preparing for the next round of robotic refueling demonstrations while conducting various biomedical experiments and checkouts.
Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts worked with ground teams to prepare the airlock in the Japanese Experiment Module and extend the slide table carrying the new Robotic Refueling Mission-2 (RRM-2) hardware. Robotics controllers on the ground then used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the new task boards that will be used for the experiment. The objective of RRM-2 is to develop new technologies, tools and techniques that could eventually give satellite owners resources to diagnose problems on orbit and keep certain spacecraft instruments performing longer in space.
Meanwhile, Russian ballistics specialists continue to work calculations to identify the most likely period for Progress 59’s entry back into the Earth’s atmosphere. The unmanned cargo craft experienced an unspecified problem shortly after separating from the third launch stage on April 28, resulting in the vehicle’s docking to the station being called off.
The Expedition 43 crew continued their work on Wednesday with a variety of research and technology demonstration activities.
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts studied the effects of microgravity on living organisms for the Rodent Research experiment. They are looking at mice and how their body systems change in space. The results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.
The crew was also notified in the morning that the planned docking of Progress 59 has been called off. Both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight.
Russian flight controllers are continuing to assess the vehicle and what the plan going forward will be. More information will be provided as available.
UPDATE (4/29 9:50 a.m. EDT): Docking has been called off for the Progress 59 spacecraft. Russian flight controllers are continuing to assess the vehicle and what the plan going forward will be. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
UPDATE (4/28 11:00 p.m. EDT): Russian flight controllers are continuing attempts to communicate with and troubleshoot issues with the Russian Progress 59 cargo spacecraft as it makes additional passes tonight over Russian ground stations.
UPDATE (4/28 9:35 a.m. EDT): Russian flight controllers have continued to try and recover telemetry capability with the ISS Progress 59 cargo craft this morning. The most recent ground pass started at 9:20 a.m. EDT and flight controllers reported no change in the issues with receiving telemetry data from the unmanned craft. The Russian flight control team attempted to command the vehicle over four orbits flying over Russian ground sites with no success. The next series of ground station passes is expected to resume late Tuesday evening. Teams are standing down on the Thursday docking attempt while Russian teams continue to analyze data and develop a troubleshooting plan going forward.
UPDATE (4/28 8:15 a.m. EDT): Russian flight controllers are continuing to troubleshoot issues with the ISS Progress 59 cargo craft. The spacecraft made another pass over Russian ground stations and continued to experience telemetry problems regarding the deployment of navigational antennas and the pressurization of the manifolds in the propulsion system. Flight controllers also confirmed that the vehicle had entered into a slow spin and have issued commands to attempt to control it.
Carrying more than 6,000 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 59 cargo craft launched at 3:09 a.m. EDT (1:09 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
However, Russian flight controllers initially could not confirm the health of the spacecraft’s systems and deployment of Kurs rendezvous and other navigational antennas. They selected the backup rendezvous plan with a targeted arrival Thursday for the cargo ship and its supplies for the space station crew. The Progress spacecraft is in a safe preliminary orbit.
At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 257 miles over northeast Kazakhstan near the Russian border, having flown over the launch site two and a half minutes before lift off.
As Progress passed over Russian ground stations, the Russian flight control team issued commands through the telemetry system onboard the spacecraft in an attempt to receive confirmation that navigation and rendezvous systems had deployed. But, due to sporadic telemetry from Progress 59, inconclusive data, and trouble uplinking commands to the spacecraft, controllers were unable to confirm the status of the systems.
Flight controllers will continue to look at the telemetry system to determine the overall health of the spacecraft’s systems. Instead of a four-orbit, six-hour docking later this morning as originally planned, Progress now will make a two-day, 34-orbit rendezvous with the station. With the two-day rendezvous, the Russian cargo craft is scheduled to arrive at the space station at 5:03 a.m. Thursday. Russian flight controllers are continuing to work to establish a good link with the Progress as it approaches the space station.
Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and his five crew mates continue to conduct a variety of microgravity experiments on board the space station as they await the arrival of Progress 59.
On Tuesday, Apr. 28 at 2:45 a.m. EDT, NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 43 crew aboard the International Space Station.
Launch of ISS Progress 59 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 3:09 a.m. (1:09 p.m. local time in Baikonur).
Following a four-orbit, six-hour trip, Progress 59 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 9:07 a.m. It will remain docked to the station for about six months.
The Expedition 43 crew will monitor key events during Progress 59’s automated rendezvous and docking.
To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 59 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.