Station Gets Ready to Receive Dragon Cargo Craft Saturday Morning

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft moments before its release
The last SpaceX Dragon cargo craft to visit the space station is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm moments before its release on June 3, 2019.

The SpaceX Dragon space freighter is on its way to the International Space Station following a Thursday launch from Florida. The six-member Expedition 60 crew will be waiting for the commercial cargo craft’s arrival Saturday morning.

Dragon will rendezvous with the station Saturday morning reaching a point about 10 meters from the station. Flight Engineer Nick Hague will then command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple the resupply ship about 10 a.m. EDT. Fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch will back him up inside the cupola as NASA Flight Engineer Drew Morgan monitors Dragon’s approach and rendezvous. NASA TV begins its live capture and installation coverage Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

The three NASA astronauts continued robotics training today and practiced techniques to capture the commercial space freighter. The trio conducted simulation capture runs on a computer today preparing for a variety of Dragon approach and rendezvous scenarios.

Dragon is delivering over 5,000 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies and vehicle hardware. This includes the International Docking Adapter-3 for installation during an upcoming spacewalk on the Harmony module’s space-facing Pressurized Mating Adapter.

The Dragon-capturing trio later joined new crewmates Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov in the afternoon reviewing the spacecraft’s payload configuration. They will be unpacking time-critical research samples for stowage in station science freezers and incubators to analyze microgravity’s effect on biology.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin started Friday briefing his three newest crewmembers, who have been in space six days, on emergency hardware locations and procedures. The veteran cosmonaut then packed obsolete gear and trash inside a Russian resupply ship that is departing on Monday.

Crew Waits for Dragon While Getting Used to Space and Working Science

Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA
Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA works on U.S. spacesuits.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft will attempt another launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket today at 6:01 p.m. EDT. If the weather cooperates for a liftoff from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday at 10 a.m. with over 5,000 pounds of cargo for the Expedition 60 crew.

Less than a week into their mission, astronauts Drew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are exploring how living in space impacts their visual perception and spatial orientation. The duo took turns wearing virtual reality goggles today testing how they evaluate motion and distance while free-floating.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague, who have been in space since March, split their schedule today between science and maintenance work. Koch set up cameras in the Columbus lab module to record Morgan and Parmitano during their experiment work. She then measured airflow throughout the station’s U.S. segment.

Hague started his day on plumbing replacing urine-recycling tanks in the Tranquility module. In the afternoon, he stowed algae samples into a science freezer and serviced a 360-degree camera that records cinematic, virtual reality experiences for audiences on Earth.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov researched cardiac activity in the station’s Russian segment this morning. Afterward, Commander Ovchinin worked on communications gear before moving on to a space physics experiment. Skvortsov continued unloading the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship and updating the station’s inventory system.

All six crewmates started Thursday morning measuring their body mass. A device applies a known force to a crewmember with the resulting acceleration providing an accurate value of their body mass in microgravity. The mass measurement principle is based on Newton’s Second Law of Motion stating that force equals mass times acceleration.

Dragon Targets Launch Today as Science Ramps Up Aboard Busy Station

Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch
Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA monitors a mobility test of the free-flying Astrobee robotic assistant.

Forecasters predict a 30% chance of favorable weather today for the liftoff of a U.S. cargo craft at 6:24 p.m. EDT from Florida. Mission managers are getting ready to launch the SpaceX Dragon loaded with new science experiments and the International Docking Adapter-3.

Dragon is planned to arrive at the orbiting lab Friday at 10 a.m. NASA Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch will be on duty in the cupola to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Dragon.

Meanwhile on the International Space Station, the expanded Expedition 60 crew stepped up their science activities with virtual reality filming, free-flying robotics tests and RNA sequencing.

New crewmember Drew Morgan of NASA filmed himself today with a 360-degree camera inside the Harmony module. Morgan talked into the camera, as have previous station residents, describing his experience adapting to life in microgravity for the first time. Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set up the camera this morning to record the virtual reality experience for audiences on Earth.

Morgan and Parmitano along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov are still getting up to speed with life on the orbiting laboratory. The crewmates have been in space less than a week and are familiarizing themselves with safety procedures and the station’s galley, crew quarters, medicine cabinet and toilet.

NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch split her time today between robotics and RNA sequencing. She set up the Astrobee robotic helper in the morning testing and calibrating its free-flying motion. In the afternoon, Koch inserted RNA samples from a science freezer into the Biomolecule Sequencer to study how the space environment affects biology.

Flight Engineer Nick Hague inspected the U.S. Destiny laboratory’s large viewing window today. He photographed and checked the window used for Earth observation studies for cracks, scratches and contamination.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov focused on configuring the recently arrived Soyuz MS-13 crew ship docked to the Zvezda service module. The veteran station residents also tested an automated rendezvous system ahead of the launch of a new Progress 73 cargo craft planned for July 31.

The High Definition Earth-Viewing (HDEV) experiment on the International Space Station has experienced a loss of data, and ground computers are no longer receiving communications from the payload. A team of engineers is reviewing the available health and status information from HDEV to identify what may have occurred.  Additional updates will be published as they become available.

Astronauts Relaxing Ahead of U.S. Cargo Mission

Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA
Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA harvests Mizuna mustard greens for the VEG-04 botany study that is exploring the viability of growing fresh food in space to support astronauts on long-term missions.

A quartet of Expedition 60 astronauts are relaxing today ahead of planned operations to receive a new space freighter on Friday. Meanwhile, a pair of cosmonauts checked Soyuz spacecraft systems and collected air samples aboard the International Space Station.

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday at 6:24 p.m. EDT for the launch of its Dragon cargo craft to resupply the station. Meteorologists, however, predict a 30% chance of favorable weather for a liftoff at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

An on time launch Wednesday would see Dragon arriving at the station early Friday packed with new science experiments and a new International Docking Adapter-3. NASA Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch will be on duty in the cupola to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Dragon at 7 a.m., while Flight Engineer Drew Morgan monitors the cargo craft’s telemetry as it approaches the orbiting lab.

The station’s newest arrivals including Morgan, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos are getting up to speed with station systems today. They are orienting themselves in microgravity, while conducting science and maintenance operations aboard the lab.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin checked the air quality over in the Russian side of the station. Skvortsov checked the hatch seal and recharged batteries in the new Soyuz MS-13 crew ship docked to the Zvezda service module.

Towards the end of the day, the entire six-member crew gathered for about an hour to review their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency. The four astronauts and two cosmonauts reviewed procedures, safety gear and escape paths for unlikely emergency scenarios such as a fire or a pressure leak aboard the station.

Fully Staffed Station Crew Kicks off Busy Week Waiting for Dragon

A waning gibbous Moon on the 50th anniversary of NASA landing humans on the lunar surface
A waning gibbous Moon was pictured from the International Space Station on the 50th anniversary of NASA landing humans on the lunar surface for the first time.

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday at 6:24 p.m. EDT for the launch of its 18th contracted Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station. This will be the third flight of this particular reusable Dragon space freighter atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

The Expedition 60 crew is now fully staffed with three new flight engineers, who arrived Saturday aboard the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft, expanding the station inhabitants to six.  Drew Morgan of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos are getting used to their new home in space and working to get the orbiting lab up to full speed.

Morgan will be on Dragon duty Friday morning, monitoring its approach to the station. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch will capture the commercial cargo craft around 7 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Dragon is delivering a variety of research gear supporting human health and the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) for commercial vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX.

Station managers are planning a spacewalk to complete the installation of the IDA-3 on the space-facing side of the Harmony module. Parmitano, Hague and Koch teamed up Monday to service U.S. spacesuits ahead of the upcoming spacewalk.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Skvortsov focused on science and maintenance in the Russian segment of the space station. Ovchinin photographed the condition of the Zvezda service module docking port and checked radiation readings. Skvortsov, now on his third station mission, inventoried gear delivered aboard the new Soyuz crew ship.

Hatches Open, Expedition 60 Crew at Full Staff

Expedition 60 Crew Greeting Ceremony
The expanded six-member Expedition 60 crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a crew greeting ceremony with family, friends and mission officials on the ground. In the front row from left, are Flight Engineers Luca Parmitano, Alexander Skvortsov and Andrew Morgan. In the back are Flight Engineer Nick Hague, Commander Alexey Ovchinin and Flight ENgineer Christina Koch.

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos joined Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station when the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 9:04 p.m. EDT.

The arrival restores the station’s crew complement to six. The Expedition 60 crew will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

One of those key technology developments will be the arrival and installation of the second docking port for commercial crew spacecraft – SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner. International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) is set to launch to the station on SpaceX Dragon’s 18th commercial resupply services mission.

Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth. Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will facilitate on the orbiting laboratory in the unique microgravity environment include the growth of moss aboard the station, a platform to attempt successful printing of biological tissues and bio-mining in space.

Parmitano and Skvortsov are scheduled to remain aboard the station with Koch until February 2020, leaving Morgan on station for an extended stay. Hague and Ovchinin are set to return to Earth on Oct. 3.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Soyuz Spaceship Docks, Station Crew Expanding to Six

July 20, 2019: International Space Station Configuration
July 20, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 72 resupply ship and the Soyuz MS-12 and MS-13 crew ships.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station at 6:48 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 250 miles over southern Russian, northeast of the Black Sea.

Aboard the space station, NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

Watch the hatch opening targeted for 8:50 p.m. and welcome ceremony to follow live on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 8 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Live Now on NASA TV: Launch of New Expedition 60 Crew

The Expedition 60 crew members boarding their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft
The Expedition 60 crew members (from top to bottom) Luca Parmitano, Andrew Morgan and Alexander Skvortsov wave bye before boarding their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 12:28 p.m. EDT (9:28 p.m. in Baikonur), of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.

The three will join NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos. The crew members will continue important research experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

This is the first spaceflight for Morgan, the second for Parmitano, and the third for Skvortsov.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV Covers Station Crew Launch Live Saturday on Apollo 50th

The Expedition 60 and Apollo 11 crews
The Expedition 60 crew (left) is launching 50 years to the day Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped foot on the Moon.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, teams are making final preparations for the launch of NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 12:28 p.m. EDT Saturday (9:28 p.m. in Baikonur), 50 years to the day that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon in a giant leap for humanity.

Live launch coverage will begin Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The three will join NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

The Expedition 60 crew will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth. Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will facilitate on the orbiting laboratory in the unique microgravity environment include the growth of moss aboard the station, a platform to attempt successful printing of biological tissues and bio-mining in space.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

Saturday, July 20

3:28:21am      9:00      Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel
6:28:21am      6:00      Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
6:43:21am      5:45      Batteries installed in booster
7:13:21am      5:15      Crew arrives at Site 254
7:28:21am      5:00      Tanking begins
7:58:21am      4:30      Crew suit up
8:23:21am      4:05      Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
8:58:21am      3:30      Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
9:23:21am      3:05      First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
9:28:21am      3:00      Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for launch pad
9:33:21am      2:55      Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
9:53:21am      2:35      Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
10:03:21am      2:25      Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
10:53:21am      1:35      Descent module hardware tested
11:08:21am      1:20      Hatch closed; leak checks begin
11:28:21am      1:00      Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
11:30:00am      :58:21      NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
11:43:21am      :45:00      Pad service structure components lowered
11:44:21am      :44:00      Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
11:45:00am      :43:21      NASA TV: Crew prelaunch activities B-roll played
11:51:21am      :37:00      Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
11:54:21am      :34:00      Emergency escape system armed
12:13:21pm      :15:00      Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
12:18:21pm      :10:00      Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
12:21:21pm      :07:00      Pre-launch operations complete
12:22:21pm      :06:00      Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
12:23:21pm      :05:00      Commander’s controls activated
12:23:53pm      :04:28      ISS flies directly over the Baikonur Cosmodrome
12:24:21pm      :04:00      Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
12:25:21pm      :03:00      Propellant drainback
12:25:38pm      :02:43      Booster propellant tank pressurization
12:26:51pm      :01:30      Ground propellant feed terminated
12:27:21pm      :01:00      Vehicle to internal power
12:27:46pm      :00:35      First umbilical tower separates

Auto sequence start

12:27:51pm      :00:30      Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
12:28:06pm      :00:15      Second umbilical tower separates
12:28:09pm      :00:12      Launch command issued

Engine Start Sequence Begins

12:28:11pm      :00:10      Engine turbo pumps at flight speed
12:28:16pm      :00:05      Engines at maximum thrust
12:28:21pm      :00:00      LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-13 TO THE ISS
12:37:06pm       +8:45      3RD STAGE SHUTDOWN; SOYUZ ORBITAL INSERTION

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

More Space Biology Work Day Before Crew Launches on Apollo 50th

New Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano
New Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano are outfitted in Sokol launch and entry suits for a fit check inside their Soyuz spacecraft.

Three new Expedition 60 crewmembers are just one day away from launching and joining the space residents aboard the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the orbiting trio worked on space biology hardware today while their crewmates on Earth completed final launch preparations in Kazakhstan.

Two different life science facilities onboard the station are being serviced today to support upcoming research into microgravity’s effect on biological systems. NASA astronaut Nick Hague ensured the Cell Biology Experiment Facility is airtight to contain the high humidity necessary for the Space Moss botany study. NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch set up power to the Life Science Glovebox for the Cell Science-02 healing and tissue regeneration experiment.

The duo handled a variety of other station tasks today, including Hague reconfiguring the Kibo laboratory module‘s robotic arm backup drive system and testing new station lights. Koch loaded new software on a science laptop computer then replaced components in the station’s restroom, the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin had a light duty day in space mostly cleaning station hardware in the Russian segment. In the evening, he joined both astronauts reviewing emergency procedures for the arrival of a new crew on Saturday.

NASA astronaut Drew Morgan is launching Saturday at 12:28 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft on his first space mission. He joins veteran station residents Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov for their historic mission lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will dock to the space station’s Zvezda service module at 6:51 p.m. 50 years to the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the Moon.