Watch NASA TV at 8 a.m. EDT for Robotics Move

The Permanent Multipurpose Module
ISS038-E-015272 (12 Dec. 2013) — The Permanent Multipurpose Module and the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft docked to the Rassvet Mini-Research Module 1 are featured in this image photographed during Expedition 38.

The International Space Station’s Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) was detached from a berthing mechanism on the Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 5:50 a.m. EDT by robotics flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston, working in tandem with Canadian Space Agency (CSA) engineers at the robotics support center located at CSA Headquarters in St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada. Used as a supply depot for the orbital laboratory, the 11-ton PMM is being maneuvered to an installation position at the forward port of the Tranquility module through the use of the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. NASA Television will provide coverage of the final steps of the installation and provide a replay of pertinent video from the start of the operation beginning at 8 a.m. EDT.

Once it is in the proper position, Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and Flight Engineer Scott Kelly of NASA will oversee the module’s final attachment to Tranquility. Virts and Kelly will reopen the hatch to the PMM at its new location tomorrow.

This move will clear the Unity port for its use as a second berthing location for U.S. commercial cargo spacecraft; the Earth-facing port on Harmony is currently used as the home port for U.S. cargo craft. The relocation of the PMM is the next step in the reconfiguration of the station that will allow U.S. commercial crew vehicles to dock to new docking ports on the forward and space-facing side of the Harmony module. That will provide a total of four ports for U.S. vehicles arriving at the orbital outpost.

Station Preps for Module Relocation Work

The Permanent Multipurpose Module and a docked Soyuz spacecraft
ISS026-E-031068 (1 March 2011) — The Permanent Multipurpose Module and a docked Soyuz spacecraft were photographed by an Expedition 26 crew member while space shuttle Discovery (STS-133) was docked with the station.

A cargo module is getting ready to be relocated from the Unity module to the Tranquility module Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, the crew also conducted science, health checks and Japanese robotics work.

Commander Terry Virts and One-Year crew member Scott Kelly prepared the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) for its relocation. The duo closed the hatch on the large storage module and configured it for detachment tomorrow morning. Watch NASA TV Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. EDT for live coverage of the PMM relocation and installation that will prepare the International Space Station for future commercial crew vehicles. Also, you can view briefing graphics from a spacewalk to prepare for the PMM work

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked in Japan’s Kibo lab module maneuvering its robotic arm’s Small Fine Arm to install experiment samples on an external platform. She also photographed her work during the robotics activities.

The three cosmonauts, including One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, worked numerous science experiments and maintenance in the Russian segment. The trio observed how a crew member’s metabolism and motion adapt to microgravity, explored how sound waves could help pinpoint micrometeoroid impacts and studied the electromagnetic environment that surrounds space station.

Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific On Time

SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule
ISS043E190604 (05/13/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:42 p.m. EDT, about 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, marking the end of the company’s sixth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft is returning more than 3,100 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 sixth of 15 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the space station through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Dragon Headed for Splashdown as Crew Gets Back to Work

NASA mission controllers
NASA mission controllers monitor the release and departure of the SpaceX Dragon from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

Scott Kelly, NASA’s One-Year crew member, flawlessly released the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the grips of the Canadarm2 at 7:04 a.m. EDT this morning. Mission Control in Houston had earlier commanded the station’s 57.7 foot long robotic arm to remove Dragon from the Harmony module and place it in its release position.

After its release, SpaceX controllers in California took control of the cargo craft guiding it beyond the vicinity of the International Space Station with a trio of departure burns. The commercial space freighter is planned to parachute to a Pacific Ocean splashdown at 12:42 p.m. Engineers will be off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., to retrieve the spacecraft, which is filled with more than 3,100 pounds of science and other cargo.

Back inside the space station it’s business as usual as the six-member Expedition 43 crew worked ongoing microgravity science and maintenance of the world’s most advanced orbital laboratory. Commander Terry Virts, who is due to return home in early June, took a refresher course in Crew Medical Officer training and also participated in a hearing assessment. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti conducted fluid physics work that could benefit commercial products on Earth. The cosmonaut trio, including One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, were in the station’s Russian segment working on their to-do list of advanced science and technical tasks.

SpaceX is now gearing up for its seventh Commercial Resupply Services mission, scheduled for launch June 26. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Dragon spacecraft to orbit, allowing the vehicle to deliver the first of two International Docking Adapters to the space station. This mission, SpaceX CRS-7, will begin the process of readying the orbital lab for future Commercial Crew spacecraft.

Dragon Released for Pacific Splashdown

Dragon is released
Dragon is released and begins its departure while the station is in orbital night. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 7:04 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 12:42 p.m., about 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California.

NASA TV Provides Live Coverage of SpaceX Dragon Departure

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft
ISS043E122200 (04/17/2015) — The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft approaches the International Space Station Apr. 17th, 2015 after launching three days earlier from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida. It carries some 2 tons of science experiments, equipment, and supplies for the Expedition 43 team onboard the station.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 6:45 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 43 robotic arm operator Scott Kelly of NASA for release, scheduled for approximately 7:04 a.m.

The Dragon arrived to the space station April 17 after an April 14 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying over 4,300 pounds of supplies and elements to support about 40 of more than 250 scientific investigations the crew members of Expeditions 43 and 44 will conduct.

Release of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm will begin the Dragon’s return to Earth carrying more than 3,100 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 12:42 p.m., approximately 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California.

SpaceX Dragon Set For Thursday Departure

SpaceX Dragon CRS-6
ISS043E193779 (05/14/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21.

The Expedition 43 crew completed preparations on Wednesday to send SpaceX’s Dragon cargo vehicle back to Earth.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts transferred samples from two of the station’s Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS, or MELFI, freezers for return on Dragon. These included samples from the Cell Shape and Expression, CASIS PCG-3, Nematode Muscles experiments along with human research samples.

After final cargo loading was completed, the crew closed the hatch to Dragon and began preparing it for release tomorrow. Dragon has been grappled by the station’s robotic arm and is set to be released on Thursday, May 21 at 7:04 a.m. EDT.

Full Coverage Times

Crew Gets a Breather Before SpaceX Departure

SpaceX Dragon CRS-6
ISS043E190604 (05/13/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21.

The USOS crewmembers worked a reduced day today as they prepare to sleep shift in preparation for SpaceX-6 departure on Thursday.

The crew performed a checkout of the Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS) UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) that the crew will use to communicate with the Dragon capsule while it is flying free in the vicinity of the station. They also continued loading the final cargo items onto Dragon which will return about 3,100 pounds of experiment samples and other hardware.

One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko took samples for the Fluid Shifts experiment, an investigation into the suspected cause of astronaut vision changes while in microgravity. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also performed eye scans on NASA astronaut Terry Virts for an astronaut vision study known as Ocular Health which tests microgravity-induced visual impairment, as well as changes believed to arise from elevated intracranial pressure, to characterize how living in microgravity can affect the visual, vascular and central nervous systems. The investigation also measures how long it takes for crew members to return to normal after they return to Earth.

Station Orbit Boosted Sunday Night; Eye Science on Monday

Progress 58 Docking
iss042e274677 (02/17/2015) – The Russian Progress 58 cargo craft pictured shortly before docking to the aft end of the Zvezda service module on the International Space Station.

A reboost of the International Space Station using the Russian Progress 58 cargo craft was completed successfully on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CDT. A previous attempt on Friday evening was aborted one second into the burn automatically by the Progress vehicle. Russian flight controllers identified an issue with one of the eight thrusters on the spacecraft that was disabled for Sunday’s backup attempt.

The burn lasted 32 minutes and 3 seconds and began the process of setting up the correct phasing for the early June landing of three members of the Expedition 43 crew while providing the proper trajectory for Thursday’s return of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for its parachute-assisted landing in the Pacific. The reboost raised the station’s altitude by 1.2 statute miles at apogee and 3 miles at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 252.2 x 247.1 statute miles.

The six-member Expedition 43 crew started its work week with medical science. The crew practiced using a tonometer on an eye simulator with help from doctors on the ground. Similarly, One-Year crew member Scott Kelly explored how microgravity shifts fluids to the upper body impacting a crew member’s vision and eye structure.

Station to Raise Orbit before June Expedition 43 Undocking

Astronaut Terry Virts and Scott Kelly
Astronaut Terry Virts and Scott Kelly were inside the Quest airlock Friday morning talking to reporters from The Weather Channel and Time Magazine . Credit: NASA TV

The six-member Expedition 43 crew ends its work week with a wide variety of science exploring life in space benefiting both crews in space and humans on Earth. Meanwhile, one space freighter is preparing to fire its thrusters to lift the station’s orbit as another is being packed and readied for splashdown.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko participated in the Fine Motor Skills experiment which monitors different phases of a crew member’s microgravity adaptation and recovery back on Earth. Commander Terry Virts took samples of air and surface microbes for the Microbial Observatory-1 study which will be analyzed by scientists on the ground.

Samantha Cristoforetti studied the physics of where fluids and gases meet in Japan’s Kibo lab module. Flight Engineer Gennady Padalka worked on video gear and tested magnetometers in the station’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov studied chemical reactions in the Earth’s atmosphere, checked Russian docking systems and photographed windows in the Pirs and Poisk modules.

The ISS Progress 58 resupply ship docked to the Zvezda service module will fire its engines Friday night. The orbital boost will place the International Space Station at the correct altitude for the undocking of Expedition 43 in early June. The SpaceX Dragon loaded with science and gear will be released from the grips of the Canadarm2 May 21 at 7:05 a.m. EDT for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later.