NASA is Ready For Tuesday Cygnus Launch

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The Cygnus cargo spacecraft

The Cygnus cargo spacecraft was pictured after it was captured with the Canadarm2 on Oct. 23, 2016.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Orbital ATK’s Launch Readiness Review for the Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus cargo resupply module was held April 15 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch managers from ULA, Orbital ATK and NASA determined all is ready for a targeted launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, April 18. The liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41 is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. EDT and there is a 30-minute launch opportunity available.

NASA TV launch coverage will begin at 10 a.m. EDT on air and streaming at www.nasa.gov/live.

Ten minutes prior to liftoff, NASA TV’s YouTube channel will debut full, 360 coverage of the launch at http://youtube.com/nasatelevision. Learn more about the 360 video coverage at: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/watch-world-s-first-live-360-degree-video-of-rocket-launch-april-18.

Follow progress on Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission for NASA to the space station at www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this list, please email heo-pao@lists.nasa.gov.

Computer Upgrades Ahead of Crew and Cargo Arrivals

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Night Image from the Space Station

This night image from the space station captures sparkling cities and a sliver of daylight framing the northern hemisphere.

The three International Space Station residents upgraded computer hardware and software today. The crew is also heading into the weekend preparing for the arrival of a new crew and a new cargo shipment.

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet replaced outdated routers this morning with new ones providing expanded capabilities in the station’s U.S. segment. Whitson was in the Destiny lab module swapping routers while Pesquet was inside the Harmony module performing the computer maintenance. The router swaps and software updates were done to get ready for the arrival of the next station crew.

Expedition 51 will expand by two crew members when a veteran Roscosmos cosmonaut and a first time NASA space-flier arrive on Thursday. Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft and take a six-hour, four-orbit ride before docking to the Poisk module. The duo will begin a mission expected to last about 4-1/2 months.

Orbital ATK is getting ready to roll out its Cygnus spacecraft loaded with over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies. Cygnus is scheduled to launch Tuesday at 11:11 a.m. and take a four-day delivery trip before being captured by the Canadarm2 and installed to the Unity module.

Station Trio Works High-Flying Science and Maintenance

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oleg Novitskiy and Peggy Whitson

Expedition 51 crewmates Oleg Novitskiy and Peggy Whitson pause for a portrait during a busy day aboard the station.

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy juggled a wide variety of space science and human research Thursday. The Expedition 51 trio also switched roles from orbital scientists to high-flying technicians maintaining the systems of the International Space Station.

Whitson started the day testing her fine motor skills to help researchers understand space adaptation and potentially design future touch-based devices for astronauts. The commander then spent the afternoon on space plumbing and worked on the Water Recovery System that converts urine and sweat into clean drinking water.

Pesquet began his morning observing what happens to materials heated to extreme temperatures. The Electrostatic Levitation Furnace can reveal combustion properties and synthesize materials that are very difficult to produce on Earth. In the afternoon, he studied the different phases of metallic alloys in the Material Science Research Rack.

Novitskiy, who is on his second station mission, worked throughout the day on troubleshooting a computer issue in the Zarya cargo module. Towards the end of the day, he charged computer batteries inside the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft and flushed water tanks into the Progress 66 cargo craft.

Expedition 51 Ramps Up for New Crew and Cargo

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Expedition 51 Crew Members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer

Expedition 51 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer pose in front of the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft they will launch in April 20. Credit: NASA/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin

The three Expedition 51 crew members aboard the International Space Station are waiting for a new cargo shipment and a new crew to arrive next week. The orbiting trio are also performing human research and working on U.S. spacesuits.

A pair of spaceships are due next week at the space station. The Orbital ATK Cygnus will launch April 18 on a four-day trip to deliver over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies. On April 20, a pair of new Expedition 51 crew members will blast off in the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft on a six-hour ride to the station’s Poisk module.

Commander Peggy Whitson is continuing to explore how new lights installed in the station are affecting crew health and wellness. She is documenting her sleep patterns and participating in cognition and visual tests for the Lighting Effects study.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet started his day conducting a Fine Motor Skills test. The study is helping scientists understand how astronauts adapt to touch-based technologies that could influence the development of mobile devices and spacecraft piloting interfaces.

Pesquet turned his attention to spacesuit maintenance Wednesday afternoon. He dumped cooling water and purged gas buildup from the water tanks inside the suits. The work is being done ahead of a planned May 12 spacewalk to replace an avionics box to control science experiments installed outside the station.

Kimbrough Returns to Houston, Whitson Continues Stay in Space

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Astronaut Shane Kimbrough Arrives in Houston

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough (left) is greeted by Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa after his arrival in Houston just 24 hours after completing his 173-day mission in space.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is back in Houston just 24 hours after landing in Kazakhstan completing a 173-day mission in space. He arrived home aboard a NASA aircraft Tuesday morning while his two Expedition 50 crewmates, cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, have returned to Moscow.

Three crew members are staying behind on the International Space Station beginning the Expedition 51 mission. They are waiting for a new pair of residents to arrive in less than two weeks. Commander Peggy Whitson is orbiting Earth and leading the station crew of Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

All three crew members are busy aboard the orbital laboratory today maintaining its systems and performing critical space research. Whitson explored how new lights on the station are affecting crew performance and reconfigured science hardware with help from Pesquet. Novitskiy worked on Russian life support systems and studied ways to improve piloting spacecraft on long-term missions.

Two new Expedition 51 crewmates, veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronaut and first-time space flyer Jack Fischer, will join their orbiting crewmates April 10. The duo will blast off from Kazakhstan and take a six-hour, four-orbit ride to their new home in space aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft.

Expedition 50 Crew Members Back on Earth

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Soyuz MS-02 Spacecraft Lands

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying three Expedition 50 crew members is pictured they very moment it landed in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA is among three crew members from the International Space Station (ISS) who returned to Earth Monday, after 173 days in space, landing in Kazakhstan at approximately 7:20 a.m. EDT (5:20 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Also returning were Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The three touched down southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Kimbrough now has spent 189 days in space on two flights. Borisenko now has 337 days in space on two flights. Ryzhikov logged 173 days in space on his first flight.

Expedition 51 continues operating the station, with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in command. Along with her crewmates Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of two new crew members. NASA’s Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch Thursday, April 20 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Get the latest news, images and features from the station on Instagram and Twitter: http://instagram.com/iss and http://www.twitter.com/Space_Station.   

Soyuz Undocks To Carry Trio Back to Earth

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Soyuz MS-02 Undocks

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft undocks on time and backs away from the International Space Station’s Poisk module. Credit: NASA TV

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos undocked from the International Space Station at 3:57 a.m. EDT to begin their journey home.

Ryzhikov, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. Borisenko is seated in the left seat of the Soyuz descent module and Kimbrough is in the right seat.

The crew is scheduled to land at 7:21 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

As the Soyuz MS-02 undocked, Expedition 51 officially began under the command of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. She and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), will operate the station until the arrival of two new crew members later this month.

NASA TV will air live coverage of the Soyuz MS-02 deorbit burn and landing beginning at 6 a.m. Watch live on NASA’s website.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Expedition 50 Trio Says Farewell, Closes Soyuz Hatches

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Expedition 50 Trio

The Expedition 50 crew members are pictured in front of their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft during pre-launch preparations on Sept. 9, 2016.

At 12:45 a.m. EDT, hatches were closed between the International Space Station and the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. Expedition 50 crew members Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos are preparing to undock at 3:57 a.m. NASA Television will provide coverage beginning at 3:30 a.m.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 6:28 a.m. and will lead to a landing at 7:21 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 6 a.m. Watch live on NASA’s website.

The return of Expedition 50 wraps up 173 days in space for the crew since their launch last October.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

 

Astronauts Swap Command Before Monday Homecoming

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Expedition 50 Change of Command Ceremony

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough (far left) handed over station command Sunday morning to Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson (far right). In between (from left) are Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who are returning to Earth Monday with Kimbrough, and Flight Engineers Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy, who are staying in space with Whitson. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, and his crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, are scheduled to return to Earth on Monday, April 10 at 7:21 a.m. EDT (5:21 p.m. Kazakhstan time). The trio will land in their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Hatch closure is scheduled for 12:40 a.m. tomorrow. NASA Television coverage will begin at 12:15 a.m.

Together, the Expedition 50 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science during their 171-day stay aboard the orbiting laboratory. In all, the departing trio will have spent 173 days in space since their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Oct. 19 last year.

Earlier today, Kimbrough handed over the command of station to NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. When the spacecraft undocks from station tomorrow, Expedition 51 will formally begin.

NASA Television coverage of Soyuz activities April 10 are listed below. Watch live on NASA’s website.

Timeline and NASA TV Coverage

Time (EDT)   Event

12:15 a.m.     NASA TV Coverage of Exp. 50 Farewell and Hatch Closure Begins
12:40 a.m.     Soyuz MS-02/Space Station Hatch Closure
3:30 a.m.       NASA TV Coverage of Soyuz Undocking Begins
3:56 a.m.       Soyuz Undock Command Sent
3:57 a.m.       Soyuz Undocking from International Space Station
4 a.m.            Separation Burn 1
4:01 a.m.       Separation Burn 2
6 a.m.            NASA TV Coverage of Deorbit Burn and Landing
6:28 a.m.       Soyuz Deorbit Burn (4 minutes, 38 seconds duration)
6:55 a.m.       Soyuz Module Separation (altitude ~87 miles)
6:58 a.m.       Soyuz Atmospheric Entry (altitude ~62 miles)
7:06 a.m.       Command to Open Chutes (altitude 6.7 miles)
7:21 a.m.       Exp. 50 Soyuz MS-02 Landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this list, please email heo-pao@lists.nasa.gov.

Crew Packing Soyuz for Monday Landing

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Earth and Stars Viewed from Station

This long exposure photograph shows the Earth, its atmospheric glow and stars from the International Space Station.

Two NASA astronauts and a European Space Agency astronaut headed into the weekend with a light day Friday. Meanwhile, the three cosmonauts from Roscosmos packed a Soyuz spacecraft for departure and worked on maintenance and science.

Commander Shane Kimbrough, who is returning to Earth early Monday, took it easy Friday aboard the International Space Station. He and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet mainly performed light duty tasks and continued their daily exercise to stay healthy in space.

Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who are returning home Monday with Kimbrough, continued packing the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft that will parachute the trio to a landing in Kazakhstan after a 173 days in space.

Ryzhikov, who is on his first mission, will command the Soyuz during its undocking and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Borisenko and Kimbrough are both wrapping up their second visit to space.

Whitson will become station commander for the second time in her career Sunday less than 24 hours before her crewmates undock from the Poisk module. She stays behind with fellow Expedition 50-51 crew members Pesquet and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy.

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