Russian Cargo Ship Blasts Off on Express Delivery

Russia's Progress 76 cargo rocket blasts off on time from Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos
Russia’s Progress 76 cargo rocket blasts off on time from Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The uncrewed Russian Progress 76 carrying about three tons of supplies to the International Space Station launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:26 a.m. (7:26 p.m. Baikonur time).

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned and will circle the planet two times on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 63 crew members.

Live coverage on NASA TV will resume at 1 p.m. for the Progress spacecraft’s rendezvous and docking. The spacecraft is expected to automatically link up to the Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 1:47 p.m.

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.

NASA TV Broadcasts Russian Rocket Launch to Station

Russia's Progress 76 cargo craft stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan packed with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Credit: Roscosmos
Russia’s Progress 76 cargo craft stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan packed with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Credit: Roscosmos

NASA Television is providing live coverage of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft delivering almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 76 is scheduled to launch on a Soyuz rocket at 10:26 a.m. (7:26 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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.

Crew Awaits Cargo, Works Science and Departure Following Spacewalk

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy conducts a spacewalk
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy conducts a spacewalk to set up the Tranquility module for the future installation of a NanoRacks airlock.

The Expedition 63 crew is turning its attention to Thursday’s express cargo delivery mission following a successful spacewalk on Tuesday.

Russia’s Progress 76 (76P) rocket stands at its launch pad in Kazakhstan packed with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies to replenish the International Space Station. The 76P will blast off at 10:26 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and dock to the station’s Pirs docking compartment at 1:47 p.m. NASA TV is broadcasting the launch starting at 10 a.m. and returns at 1 p.m. to cover the 76P’s approach and rendezvous.

NASA Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken took it easy Wednesday morning after a five-hour and 29-minute spacewalk on Tuesday. The duo then participated in standard health checks before a series of two-hour cycling and jogging workout sessions. The astronauts, who now have 10 spacewalks each, finished the day servicing U.S. spacesuits and cleaning up the Quest airlock.

Cassidy also managed to juggle a pair of science experiments as he stowed student-controlled Earth observation gear then collected samples for a food physiology study. Behnken joined his fellow SpaceX Crew Dragon crewmate Doug Hurley and began packing for their return to Earth and splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 2.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are ready and will be on duty Thursday afternoon monitoring the arrival of the 76P. However, the duo spent Wednesday on a variety of Russian science and maintenance tasks. Ivanishin checked air flow sensors and cleaned vents and fans. Ivanishin worked on specialized Earth observation gear throughout the day before downloading radiation readings.

Behnken and Cassidy Conclude Ten Spacewalks Each

NASA spacewalkers (from left) Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy
NASA spacewalkers (from left) Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy set up the outside of the Tranquility module for the future installation of the NanoRacks airlock.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy concluded their spacewalk at 12:41 p.m. EDT, after five hours and 29 minutes. The two NASA astronauts completed a number of tasks designed to upgrade International Space Station systems.

They began by installing a protective storage unit that includes two Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) units the Canadian Space Agency’s Dextre robot can use to detect leaks of ammonia, which is used to operate the station’s cooling system.

Behnken and Cassidy then removed two lifting fixtures at the base of station solar arrays on the near port truss, or backbone, of the station. The “H-fixtures” were used for ground processing of the solar arrays prior to their launch.

They then completed tasks to prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission. After its installation, the airlock will enable be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.

They also routed ethernet cables and removed a lens filter cover from an external camera.

This was the 10th spacewalk for each astronaut, tying them with Michael Lopez-Alegria and Peggy Whitson as the only other U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks. Behnken has now spent a total of 61 hours and 10 minutes spacewalking, which makes him the U.S. astronaut with the third most total time spacewalking, behind Lopez-Alegria and Andrew Feustel, and the fourth most overall. Cassidy now has spent a total of 54 hours and 51 minutes spacewalking and is ninth on the worldwide list for total time spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 231 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 60 days, 12 hours, and 3 minutes working outside the station.

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.

Astronauts Behnken and Cassidy Start Spacewalk

A NASA astronaut Bob Behnken's"space-selfie"
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken’s spacesuit gloves and camera are reflected in his helmet’s visor in this “space-selfie” taken during a spacewalk on June 26, 2020.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy have begun the final planned spacewalk during their mission at the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:12 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last between six and seven hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Behnken is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #20. Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #18.

The spacewalkers will be working on several tasks to upgrade systems and prepare for future station upgrades. Behnken and Cassidy will remove handling aids from two locations at the base of station solar arrays, prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock, route ethernet cables, and remove a lens filter cover from an external camera.

This is the 231st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. It is the 10th spacewalk for both astronauts.

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.

Spacewalk Coverage Live Now on NASA TV

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy is pictured in his U.S. spacesuit halfway inside the crew lock portion of the Quest airlock during a spacewalk on July 1, 2020.
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy is pictured in his U.S. spacesuit halfway inside the crew lock portion of the Quest airlock during a spacewalk on July 1, 2020.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy is now underway and available on the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 63 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT and last as long as seven hours.

The crew is in the airlock and have donned their suits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities.

Behnken and Cassidy will perform a number of tasks designed to upgrade station systems. Their first task will be to install a protective unit to store tools for use by the Canadian Space Agency’s Dextre robot. The storage unit also includes two Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) units that Dextre can use to detect leaks of ammonia, which is used to operate the station’s cooling system.

The astronaut duo then will work on removing two lifting fixtures at the base of station solar arrays on the near port truss, or backbone, of the station. The “H-fixtures” were used for ground processing of the solar arrays prior to their launch.

They then will move on to work to prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission.

Finally, they are scheduled to route ethernet cables and remove a lens filter cover from an external camera.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Allison Bolinger with support from Sandy Moore as the lead spacewalk officer and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk as the point of communications between the spacewalkers and Earth, a position known as the capsule communicator, or CAPCOM.

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.

NASA TV Broadcasts Spacewalk on Tuesday

Astronauts (from left) Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken are pictured during previous spacewalks on earlier missions at the space station.
Astronauts (from left) Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken are pictured during previous spacewalks on earlier missions at the space station.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy and are scheduled to depart the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Tuesday for a spacewalk to will conduct a series of tasks in preparation for future upgrades to the station.

The duo will set their spacesuits to battery power about 7:35 a.m. EDT tomorrow, signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA will begin its live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 6 a.m.

During their spacewalk, the two astronauts will remove handling aids from two locations at the base of station solar arrays, run cables, remove a lens filter cover from an external camera, and prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission.

This will be the 231st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the tenth for each of the spacewalkers. Behnken will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 and wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Cassidy will be extravehicular crew member 2, wearing a suit with no stripes.

Cassidy arrived at the space station in April, taking command of Expedition 63. Behnken, who is serving as a flight engineer for the expedition, arrived at the station in May with fellow Commercial Crew astronaut Douglas Hurley on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 test flight.

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.

Station Ready for Spacewalk and Cargo Mission This Week

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy works during a six-hour spacewalk.
NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy works during a spacewalk on July 16 to install lithium-ion batteries on the station’s truss structure. A tiny waning crescent Moon is pictured in the background

The Expedition 63 crew is preparing for another spacewalk at the International Space Station on Tuesday and will welcome a Russian space delivery on Thursday. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also announced the upcoming return to Earth of two SpaceX Crew Dragon crew members.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy are set to venture once again into the vacuum of space on Tuesday at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT. The veteran spacewalking duo will service the orbiting lab’s starboard truss structure following last week’s lithium-ion battery installations. The spacewalkers also will outfit the Tranquility module to get ready for a new commercial airlock from NanoRacks. A SpaceX Dragon space freighter will deliver the specialized airlock later this year that will enable public and private research on the outside of the space station.

Flight Engineer Doug Hurley joined his NASA crewmates today for a review of Tuesday’s spacewalk procedures. He also helped Cassidy and Behnken organize tools and tethers before calling down to mission controllers to discuss their spacewalk readiness.

Behnken and Hurley will soon turn their attention toward returning to Earth at the beginning of August. They will wrap up their two-month station mission on Aug. 1 and undock their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. They are due to splash down off the Gulf coast of Florida on Aug. 2 less than 19 hours after leaving the station.

Russia is getting ready to launch its Progress 76 (76P) resupply ship on Thursday at 10:26 a.m. to replenish the five orbital residents. The 76P will blast off from Kazakhstan with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies and dock less than three-and-a-half hours later to the station’s Pirs docking compartment.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner trained Monday morning in the Zvezda service module for the spacecraft’s arrival. The pair practiced computer commands to remotely maneuver the 76P in the unlikely event the resupply ship lost its automated rendezvous capabilities.

NASA Announces Crew Dragon Splashdown Date

NASA astronauts (from left) Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, are pictured inside the orbiting lab shortly after arriving aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on May 31.
NASA astronauts (from left) Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, are pictured inside the orbiting lab shortly after arriving aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on May 31.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine today announced August 2 as the target splashdown date for DM-2 crew members Behnken and Hurley, with additional details on the return of this historic mission to come.

Spacewalk Preps and 45 Years of U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation Today

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy works during a six-hour spacewalk
Astronaut Chris Cassidy works during a spacewalk on July 16 to install lithium-ion batteries on the station. The orbiting lab was flying into an orbital sunrise at the time this photograph was taken.

It was 45 years ago today when American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts shook hands for the first time in Earth orbit. The Apollo crew ship commanded by NASA astronaut Tom Stafford docked to the Soyuz crew ship led by Alexei Leonov on July 17, 1975, signifying the beginning of international cooperation in space.

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner commemorated the event today with a call from U.S. and Russian dignitaries. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project would lay the groundwork for the Shuttle-Mir project and the International Space Station program.

Watch the event on YouTube

Cassidy later joined his NASA crewmates Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to prepare for Tuesday’s spacewalk to wrap up battery swaps on the orbiting lab. Behnken and Cassidy will install the last lithium-ion battery on the station’s truss structure completing the 3.5 year-long power upgrade job. This follows Thursday’s six-hour spacewalk when the duo installed three lithium-ion batteries.

Before they go back inside the Quest airlock next week, the veteran spacewalkers will have one more job. The duo will get the Tranquility module ready for a new airlock built by NASA commercial partner NanoRacks. The airlock will enable public and private research on the outside of the station after its delivery on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

Meanwhile, critical space science to benefit humans on and off the Earth continues aboard the station. Ivanishin explored how microgravity impacts blood circulation and pain sensitivity. Vagner collected radiation measurements then studied how crews may pilot spaceships and robots on future space missions.