Station Crew Prepares for Cargo Ship Undocking

ISS042E101429 (01/05/2014) --- This image, photographed by one of the Expedition 42 crew members aboard the International Space Station, shows the the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft on the left attached to the Rassvet module on the Earth-facing port of the Russian segment of the station that delivered Expedition 42 crewmembers Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Terry Virts of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency on Nov. 24, 2014 , and to the right, the unpiloted ISS Progress 57 cargo craft that is docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment and which arrived at the station a month earlier on Oct. 29, 2014.
ISS042E101429 (01/05/2014) — This image, photographed by one of the Expedition 42 crew members aboard the International Space Station, shows the the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft on the left attached to the Rassvet module on the Earth-facing port of the Russian segment of the station that delivered Expedition 42 crewmembers Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Terry Virts of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency on Nov. 24, 2014 , and to the right, the unpiloted ISS Progress 57 cargo craft that is docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment and which arrived at the station a month earlier on Oct. 29, 2014.

The crew of the International Space Station took a break from research Friday, enjoying some off-duty time as it prepared for the departure of one cargo ship and the arrival of another in short order.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the Progress 57 spacecraft undocking beginning at 2:15 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 25. Undocking from the Pirs Docking Compartment is scheduled for 2:40 a.m.

Watch the undocking live on NASA Television or at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

The unpiloted Progress 57 Russian cargo ship delivered more than two tons of food, fuel and supplies for the space station crew in October 2014 and is now filled with trash. After its departure, the spacecraft will move away from the orbiting laboratory to a safe location where it will remain until commanded to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. The intense heat of reentry will cause the vehicle to burn up over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday morning.

Another Russian cargo ship, Progress 59 is scheduled to launch at 3:09 a.m. Tuesday, April 29, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstanj. The launch, and subsequent docking with the station at 9:06 a.m., will be carried live on NASA TV.

Experiment Work Inside and Outside Station Wednesday

Canadarm2 and Dextre
ISS041-E-049099 (30 Sept. 2014) — The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and Dextre is seen outside the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.

The Expedition 43 lab assistants conducted biomedical science in the International Space Station on Wednesday. Meanwhile, controllers on the ground will remotely maneuver the Canadarm2 outside the station to experiment with the possibility of servicing satellites on orbit for longer missions.

The crew participated in a wide variety of life science studies. The Myco experiment, which analyzes nose, throat and skin samples, examines how microorganisms on the space station can affect a crew member’s allergies and illnesses. Another study, Interactions, explores how crews from different cultures learn to work with each other. More Rodent Research work took place, as the astronauts readied samples for return to Earth and checked out the rodents’ habitat.

Crew members also underwent medical exams, checking vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure. Later there were crew eye checks as doctors on the ground explore how microgravity affects vision.

The Robotics Refueling Mission, a joint study between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, investigates satellite repair and servicing techniques in space. Operators on the ground use the station’s special purpose dexterous manipulator, better known as Dextre, on the end of the Canadarm2, for fine robotics manipulation. Engineers are looking to determine whether it’s possible to refuel satellites and test electrical connections robotically.

Cargo Craft Prepped for Departure as Crew Works New Science

Rainbow Double Aurora
ISS043E108129 (04/11/2015) — “Rainbow double Aurora” greets the astronauts and cosmonauts on board the International Space Station on Apr. 11, 2015.

As Expedition 43 unloads crew supplies from the SpaceX Dragon, another cargo craft is being readied for its undocking. Meanwhile, new research is underway with some of the science gear hauled into space aboard Dragon.

Russia’s ISS Progress 57 space freighter is being packed with trash and discarded gear. It will undock from the Pirs docking compartment early Saturday morning for a fiery descent into the Pacific Ocean.

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.

Dragon Opens for Business with New Science

April 17, 2015 Space Station Configuration
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was berthed to the Harmony module after arriving April 17, 2015.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly opened the hatches and floated into the new SpaceX Dragon space freighter Saturday morning, beginning five weeks of cargo transfers. The sixth Dragon cargo mission for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract delivered a wide variety of crew supplies and science gear to support dozens of new and ongoing microgravity experiments.

The crew unloaded new Rodent Research gear that will allow scientists to study the effects of microgravity on biological mechanisms in mice. Results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

A pair of new POLAR science freezers were unloaded from Dragon. The freezers store science samples at -80° C and allow the transport of those samples back to Earth.

Blood pressure checks and vision testing were on the schedule Monday as part of the Ocular Health study which observes the effects of long-term spaceflight on crew members. A trio of cosmonauts looked at cardiac activity in space and studied the radiation emitted from Russian spacecraft propulsion systems.

Dragon Arrives Friday, Unpacking Begins Saturday

The SpaceX Dragon arrives
Astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this picture of the SpaceX Dragon supply ship approaching the International Space Station. Credit: @AstroTerry

The Expedition 43 crew’s delivery arrived Friday aboard the SpaceX Dragon space freighter. Dragon was captured at 6:55 a.m. EDT after a two-day trip and a slow methodical approach. Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti guided the Canadarm2 and grappled the Dragon as it floated just 10 meters away from the International Space Station.

The crew will open the hatches to Dragon, which is berthed to the Harmony module, Saturday morning and begin 5 weeks of cargo transfer activities. Aside from crew supplies, Dragon brought new science gear including items for the Rodent Research-2 experiment and the station’s first espresso machine, the ISSpresso, which will provide espresso, tea, consommé and other hot beverages.

A Russian resupply ship is targeted to launch and dock to the space station in less than two weeks. The ISS Progress 59 will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome April 28 at 3:09 p.m. and dock to the Poisk module less than six hours later.

Dragon Attached to Station’s Harmony Module

Dragon Attached to Harmony
Ground controllers maneuvered the SpaceX Dragon using the Canadarm2 and attached it to the Harmony module. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 9:29 a.m. EDT while the two spacecraft were traveling above the coast of Sierra Leone. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened Saturday.

The spacecraft is loaded with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations, including critical materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44. The capsule is scheduled to spend five weeks attached to the station.

For an overview of newly delivered science investigations aboard Dragon, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/spacex_six/

NASA TV Covering Dragon Installation

SpaceX Dragon Installation
The SpaceX Dragon is being installed by robotics controllers on the ground. Credit: NASA TV

Following its capture, the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is being maneuvered by ground controllers operating the International Space Station’s robotic arm for installation onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

Operations are progressing ahead of schedule, so NASA Television coverage will resume at 8:45 a.m. EDT at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency is at the robotic work station in the orbiting complex’s cupola. Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA is assisting her.

Join the conversation on social media by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

Robotic Arm Captures Dragon

Dragon Captured by Robotic Arm
The SpaceX Dragon space freighter is in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling 257 statute miles over the Pacific Ocean just east of Japan, Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, with the assistance of Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, successfully captured the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm at 6:55 a.m. EDT.

Operations to berth Dragon to the space station begin at approximately 9:40 a.m. NASA TV coverage will resume at 9:15 a.m. at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Watch NASA TV for SpaceX Dragon Arrival

The SpaceX Dragon
ISS041-E-020918 (23 Sept. 2014) — The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on Sept. 23, 2014 for grapple and berthing.

NASA television coverage for today’s scheduled arrival of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

SpaceX reported all spacecraft systems are ready for the final stages of rendezvous, and space station flight controllers reported the orbiting outpost is ready for the commercial spacecraft’s arrival. The International Space Station and Dragon flight control teams are proceeding toward rendezvous and grapple at 7 a.m. EDT.

The spacecraft is delivering more than 4,300 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and technology demonstrations for the Expeditions 43 crew members. To learn more about the mission and the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Join the conversation on social media by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

Crew Gets Ready for New Dragon and New Science

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti operates the Canadarm2 from inside the cupola.

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is less than a day away from arriving at the International Space Station. The Expedition 43 crew is getting ready for its arrival and five-week stay at the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Read more about the SpaceX CRS-6 mission.

Commander Terry Virts set up hardware inside Harmony to assist Dragon’s installation after its capture tomorrow. Virts and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also brushed up on robotics skills necessary to capture Dragon with the Canadarm2.

NASA TV will begin rendezvous coverage Friday at 5 a.m. EDT. Dragon is scheduled to be grappled about 7 a.m. by Cristoforetti inside the cupola at the controls of Canadarm2 with Virts assisting.

Though it was a light day, the rest of the crew worked on human research and advanced microgravity experiments. Dragon is also delivering new science gear to support hundreds of experiments aboard the orbital laboratory. Read more about research on the space station.