Supply Ship Launches on Two-Day Trip to Station

Progress 62 Launches
The Progress 62 rocket launches from Kazakhstan on a two-day trip to the International Space Station: Credit: NASA TV

Carrying more than 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 62 cargo craft launched at 3:44 a.m. EST (2:44 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Russian cargo craft will make 34 orbits of Earth during the next two days before docking to the orbiting laboratory at 5:31 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23.

At 8:10 a.m. EST, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA will exit the station’s U.S. Quest airlock to conduct a previously unplanned spacewalk to help move the station’s mobile transporter rail car so it can be latched in place prior to arrival of the Progress spacecraft. NASA TV coverage of the planned three-hour spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m.

Watch live on NASA TV and online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of Progress 62’s arrival to the space station’s Pirs docking compartment beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

To join the online conversation on Twitter, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Rocket Ready to Launch for Final Christmas Delivery

Progress 62 Rocket at Launch Pad
The Progress 62 Rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RSC Energia

Beginning Monday, Dec. 21 at 3:30 a.m. EST, 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 46 crew aboard the International Space Station. Launch of ISS Progress 62 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 3:44 a.m. (2:44 p.m. local time in Baikonur).

Watch the launch live on NASA TV or at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress 62 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 5:31 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The two-day rendezvous was deliberately planned to enable Russian flight controllers to test new software and communications equipment on the vehicle that will be standard for future Progress and piloted Soyuz spacecraft. The Expedition 46 crew will monitor key events during Progress 62’s automated rendezvous and docking.

The Progress will spend more than six months at the station before departing in early July 2016.

To join the online conversation on Twitter, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Station Managers “GO” For Monday Morning Spacewalk

NASA Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra will conduct a spacewalk Monday morning. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station Mission Management Team met Sunday and gave its approval to proceed with a spacewalk Monday out of the Quest airlock by Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA to assist in moving the Mobile Transporter rail car a few inches to a worksite on the station’s truss where it can be latched in place and electrically mated to the complex. The green light for the unplanned spacewalk to take place Monday came three days after the Mobile Transporter stalled just four inches away from its embarkation point at worksite 4 near the center of the station’s truss as it began to move to another worksite to support robotic payload operations with its attached Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (Dextre).

Station managers ordered the spacewalk to latch down the transporter as a cautionary measure in advance of the scheduled docking of the new unpiloted ISS Progress 62 cargo ship on Wednesday that will link up to the Pirs Docking Compartment. The Progress is on track for launch from the Site 31 launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Monday at 2:44 a.m. Central time (2:44 p.m. Baikonur time).

The planned 3 to 3 ½ hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin Monday at 7:10 a.m. Central time. The start time for the spacewalk is variable since Kopra will be conducting a fit check of his U.S. spacesuit in parallel with other spacewalk preparations. NASA TV coverage will begin at 5:30 a.m. Central time.

Kelly, who will be making his third spacewalk, will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) wearing the U.S. spacesuit bearing the red stripes. Kopra, who arrived on the station on Dec. 15, will be making the second spacewalk of his career as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2) wearing the suit with no stripes. It will be the 191st spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance and the seventh spacewalk of the year by station crew members.

Kelly and Kopra will float out of the Quest airlock to the area where the Mobile Transporter has stalled to check out the position of its brake handles and other mechanisms to make sure the rail car can be commanded to move back to worksite 4 by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston. It is suspected that a brake handle on an equipment cart attached to the starboard side of the transporter may have inadvertently engaged, which if correct, should easily be released to allow for the transporter to be moved into place for its latching.

If the primary task of moving the transporter to its worksite is completed quickly, Kelly and Kopra may press on to a few get-ahead tasks that include the routing of cables in advance of International Docking Adapter installment work to support U.S. commercial crew vehicles, and opening a door housing power distribution system relay boxes just above the worksite to facilitate the future robotic replacement of modular components.

Russian Cargo Spaceship Departs Station

Dec. 19. 2015 International Space Station Configuration
The departure of the P60 this morning leaves four spacecraft docked to the orbital laboratory. Credit: NASA

A Russian resupply ship left the International Space Station today after 166 days attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-filled Progress 60 (60P) undocked from Pirs at 2:35 a.m. EST/7:35 a.m. UTC and will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere a few hours later for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean.

Pirs will remain vacant until Wednesday morning when a new delivery spaceship arrives and docks to it filled with science and supplies replenishing the Expedition 46 crew. Russia’s Progress 62 (62P) will take a two-day trip to the space station after launching Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:44 a.m. EST/8:44 a.m. UTC (2:44 p.m. Kazakh time).

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra are expected to conduct a spacewalk a few hours after the launch to reposition the mobile transporter and lock it in place in advance of the 62P’s arrival to the station Wednesday morning. Live NASA Television Monday will resume at 6:30 a.m. in advance of the spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 8:10 a.m.

The departure of the 60P this morning leaves four spacecraft docked to the orbital laboratory. The Soyuz TMA-18M crew spaceship is docked to the Poisk module. The Soyuz TMA-19M is docked to the Rassvet module. A Progress 61 cargo craft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The Cygnus private space freighter from the U.S. company Orbital ATK is berthed to the Unity module.

Unscheduled Spacewalk Likely on Monday

STS-119 Spacewalk March 2009
NASA Astronaut Joe Acaba, in the broken red striped spacesuit, and Astronaut Ricky Arnold, in the white striped suit, work to relocate Crew and Equipment Translation Aid (CETA) near the Mobile Transporter (MT) during an STS-119 spacewalk in March 2009.

The International Space Station’s mission managers are preparing for a likely unplanned spacewalk by Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra no earlier than Monday, Dec. 21.

Late Wednesday, the Mobile Transporter rail car on the station’s truss was being moved by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston, to a different worksite near the center of the truss for payload operations when it stopped moving. The cause of the stall is being evaluated, but experts believe it may be related to a stuck brake handle, said ISS Mission Integration and Operations Manager Kenny Todd. Flight controllers had planned to move the transporter away from the center of the truss to worksite 2. The cause of the stall that halted its movement just four inches (10 centimeters) away from where it began is still being evaluated. Progress 62 is scheduled to launch at 3:44 a.m. EST Monday, and dock on Wednesday to the Pirs docking compartment at 5:31 a.m. Wednesday.

The ISS Mission Management Team met Friday morning and is targeting Monday for the spacewalk, but will meet again in a readiness review Sunday morning. Managers could elect to press ahead for Monday, or take an extra day and conduct the spacewalk Tuesday.

ISS Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA will conduct the spacewalk. It will be the 191st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the third in Kelly’s career and the second for Kopra. Kelly will be designated Extravehicular Activity crew member 1 (EV1) wearing the suit bearing the red stripes, and Kopra will be Extravehicular Activity crew member 2 (EV2) wearing the suit with no stripes.

A start time for the spacewalk either Monday or Tuesday has not yet been set, but NASA TV coverage will begin 90 minutes prior to the start of the spacewalk.

 

Expedition 46 Transferring Gear Before Supply Ship Undocks

Progress 60 Resupply Ship
The International Space Station, with the docked Progress 60 resupply ship in the upper left, flies over Typhoon Soudelor in August.

The six-member Expedition 46 crew worked on human research activities and unloaded cargo today. The three newest crew members — Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake — continued familiarizing themselves with International Space Station systems and operations.

Commander Scott Kelly used an ultrasound during the morning to scan Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov’s eyes. Kelly then joined new station residents Kopra and Peake and unloaded cargo from the Cygnus private space freighter. Kelly later installed radiation detectors in the Columbus lab module. Peake filled out a daily questionnaire for the Space Headaches study.

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko was in the Russian segment of the orbital lab getting the Progress 60 resupply ship ready for its undocking early Saturday morning. Malenchenko transferred gear and supplies from the new Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that arrived Tuesday. Malenchenko, who is on his fourth station mission, also photographed the condition of the Soyuz docking cone for inspection on the ground.

New Crew Getting Up to Speed on the Station

Dec. 15, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 15, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

The new Expedition 46 trio aboard the International Space Station is settling in for a six-month mission and getting right to work. They arrived Tuesday morning, had a quick safety briefing and rested up before their first full day aboard the orbital laboratory.

New Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake worked throughout Wednesday familiarizing themselves with station systems and emergency procedures. During the afternoon Kopra began unloading the new Cygnus private cargo ship while Peake worked on NanoRacks gear and life support hardware. Malenchenko began unloading science experiments, including the Biosignal human cell study, and other supplies from the new Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are over nine months into their mission aboard the station. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov has been with the crew since September. Kelly and Volkov paired up for eye exams today as part of the Ocular Health study. Kornienko assisted Malenchenko with the Soyuz cargo transfers. He also explored how vibrations affect the station structure caused by crew activities such as spacewalks, vehicle dockings and exercise.

Soyuz Approaches Station
ISS046e001535 (12/15/2015) — Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko manually docked the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft to the Rassvet module bringing he and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake to the International Space Station. The solar array of the Cygnus cargo craft is seen in the foreground.

New Crew Enters Station and Joins Expedition 46

The Six-Member Expedition 46 Crew
The six-member expedition 46 crew gathers for a ceremony in the Zvezda service module as friends and family congratulate the new arrivals. From left are Flight Engineers Tim Kopra, Sergey Volkov, Yuri Malenchenko, Mikhail Kornienko and Tim Peake with Commander Scott Kelly. Credit: NASA TV

Tim Kopra of NASA, Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos joined their Expedition 46 crewmates aboard the orbiting laboratory when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at 2:58 p.m. EST. Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos welcomed the trio aboard their orbiting home.

The crew members will install equipment and conduct experiments to help NASA’s journey to Mars while making discoveries that can benefit all of humanity. Learn more about Expedition 46 crew members and their activities: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/np-2015-12-043-jsc-exp-46-summary.pdf

The incoming trio will spend about six-months aboard the station. Kelly and Kornienko are about nine months into their one-year mission, and are scheduled to return home in March 2016. These trips also enable the Roscomos to rotate a crew member and a Soyuz spacecraft. Each Soyuz remains in orbit about six months.

Follow the space station blog for crew activities at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station, and check out all the ways to connect with NASA at: https://www.nasa.gov/socialmedia.

New Crew Arrives at Station for Six-Month Mission

Soyuz Approaches Station
The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft approaches the International Space Station with three new Expedition 46-47 crew members. Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko manually docked the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft at 12:33 p.m. EST to the International Space Station’s Rassvet module after an initial automated attempt was aborted. Malenchenko took control of the Soyuz, backed it away from the station to assess the Soyuz’ systems, then re-approached the complex for the manual docking. Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency flanked Malenchenko as he brought the Soyuz to the Rassvet port for the start of a six-month mission.

After leak checks are conducted on both sides of the docking interface, hatches will be opened and Malenchenko, Kopra and Peake will be greeted by Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony live on NASA Television at 2 p.m. EST: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

New Crew in Soyuz Closing in for Station Docking

Soyuz Spacecraft
A Soyuz spacecraft is seen docked to the International Space Station in 2014.

A Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carrying Tim Kopra of NASA, Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos, is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station at 12:24 p.m. EST. NASA Television coverage of the docking is live now at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

NASA TV will resume at 2 p.m. EST to cover hatch opening between the two spacecraft as well as the welcoming ceremony.

The three crew members will join Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, both of Roscosmos, bringing the total to six crew members aboard the space station.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.