U.S. Cargo Craft Departing Station Live on NASA TV Now

The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured before its release during Expedition 46 on Feb. 19, 2016.
The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured before its release during the Expedition 46 mission on Feb. 19, 2016.

NASA has begun live coverage of departure of Northrop Grumman’s SS Robert H. Lawrence Cygnus spacecraft from the International Space Station.

Cygnus has been detached from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module, and flight controllers on the ground are scheduled to send commands to robotically detach Cygnus from the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 12 p.m. EDT.

Station commander Christopher Cassidy of NASA will monitor Cygnus’ systems as it moves away from the orbiting laboratory.

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.

Watch Canadarm2 Release U.S. Cargo Craft on NASA TV

The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments after its release
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm on January 31, 2020.

Nearly three months after delivering several tons of scientific experiments and supplies to the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s autonomous Cygnus cargo craft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on Monday, May 11.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s release will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 11:45 a.m. EDT, with release scheduled for 12:08 p.m.

Flight controllers on the ground will send commands to robotically detach Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module, maneuver it into place, and release it from the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Station commander Christopher Cassidy of NASA will monitor Cygnus’ systems as it moves away from the orbiting laboratory.

Dubbed the “SS Robert H. Lawrence,” Cygnus arrived at the station Feb. 18 for the company’s 13th cargo mission with about 7,500 pounds of supplies and science experiments ranging from research with cell cultures and bone loss to demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy. Cygnus launched on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

For departure 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.

Cygnus Ready for Science After Departure, Commander Takes Break

The wispy atmospheric layer of the air glow
The wispy atmospheric layer of the air glow crowns the Earth’s horizon in this nighttime photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited over the South Atlantic Ocean.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship is packed for departure on Monday and will continue more science before its ultimate demise at the end of May. Meanwhile, two Expedition 63 Flight Engineers are maintaining International Space Station operations as the Commander takes a break today.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is relaxing today ahead of this weekend’s activities to ready a U.S. space freighter for its robotic release on Monday at noon EDT. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the cargo ship’s release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm beginning at 11:45 a.m.

The space veteran spent the week loading up the Cygnus space freighter with trash and preparing it for more science. Shortly after its departure, a controlled fire will be lit inside Cygnus for ongoing research into space fire safety. Next, tiny space research satellites, also known as CubeSats,  will be deployed outside the vehicle to improve space communications and GPS mapping technology.

Robotics controllers also attached the popular, but now-defunct HDEV (High Definition Earth Viewing) experiment on the outside of Cygnus for disposal. HDEV reached its end-of-life last year after five years in service providing live views of Earth to over 300 million viewers. The U.S. cargo craft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere at the end of the month for a fiery, but safe disposal above the South Pacific.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner started Friday studying how the heart adapts to a specialized suit that reverses the pooling of blood and water in a crewmember’s head caused by microgravity. They also took turns with an ongoing study that seeks to improve the detection and location of Earth landmarks for photography.

Ivanishin, a veteran of two previous station missions, then updated station inventory with the new cargo recently delivered aboard the Progress 75 cargo ship. Vagner, a first-time space flyer, collected radiation measurements and inspected the Zvezda service module’s windows.

Crew Preps for U.S. and Japanese Cargo Missions

The U.S. Cygnus cargo craft (left) from the United States departs the station on Monday. The H-II Transfer Vehicle (right) from Japan arrives at the station on April 25.
The U.S. Cygnus cargo craft (left) from the United States departs the station on Monday. The H-II Transfer Vehicle (right) from Japan arrives at the station on April 25.

The Expedition 63 crew will monitor the departure of an American resupply ship on Monday and welcome a Japanese cargo craft when it arrives two weeks later. Meanwhile, the three International Space Station residents are configuring the orbital lab for the spaceship activities and continuing microgravity science.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter is nearing the end of its stay attached to the Unity module. Robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from Unity then release the U.S. cargo craft on Monday noon EDT. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy will finalize the installation of the SlingShot small satellite deployer on Cygnus’ hatch on Sunday.

NASA TV will begin its live broadcast of Cygnus’ release and departure at 11:45 a.m. on Monday. Cygnus will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere over the south Pacific for a safe, but fiery destruction at the end of the month.

Japan is targeting May 20 for the launch of its ninth station cargo mission aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) resupply ship. The HTV-9 will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center and a take five-day trip to the orbital lab. It will be captured with the Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module for a two-month stay.

NASA Commander Chris Cassidy is setting up HTV-9 communications gear today inside the Kibo laboratory module from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). The Proximity Communication Systems (PROX) sends and receives spacecraft location and speed data during approach and rendezvous operations.

The two cosmonauts continued their set of maintenance and science duties today over in the station’s Russian segment. Anatoly Ivanishin picked up a camera for more photo inspections in the Pirs and Poisk modules. The veteran cosmonaut then serviced power tools and life support gear. Ivan Vagner started his day cleaning vents and filters. In the afternoon, Vagner photographed the effects of Earth catastrophes and studied ways to improve the identification and location while picturing targets on the ground.

Robotics, Cargo Mission and Photography Keep Station Crew Busy

63 Commander Chris Cassidy sets up an Astrobee robotic assistant
63 Commander Chris Cassidy sets up an Astrobee robotic assistant, one of a trio of cube-shaped, free-flying robots, for a test of its mobility and vision system.

NASA’s International Space Station commander configured robotic assistants today while continuing to get ready for next week’s U.S. cargo craft departure. The two Expedition 63 Flight Engineers from Roscosmos explored advanced space photography techniques and inventoried electronics gear.

Three-time space visitor Chris Cassidy is readying a trio of cube-shaped, free-flying robotic assistants for upcoming operations. The NASA astronaut and Navy captain swapped batteries in the advanced devices being tested for their ability to autonomously navigate the station and service small payloads. The program dubbed Astrobee is researching the potential of small robots to perform routine duties and monitor activities freeing up crew time for critical science.

A U.S. space freighter will leave the station Monday after nearly three months attached to the Unity module. Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship will be released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm at noon EDT on Monday completing its cargo mission.

Not only is Cygnus being packed with trash, but Cassidy prepared it for secondary missions to research space fires and deploy a set of CubeSats. Once Cygnus reaches a safe distance from the orbital lab, a small satellite deployer configuring on its hatch will eject a pair of nanosatellites. The shoe box-sized research satellites will research ways to improve space communication techniques and GPS mapping systems.

Over in the Russian segment, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner concentrated on their set of tasks to maintain station operations. Ivanishin, who is on his third station mission, started his day with Vagner studying techniques to accurately detect and locate landmarks to improve Earth observations.

Ivanishin then spent the rest of the day servicing Russian life support gear and communications systems. First-time station resident Vagner inventoried electrical gear and checked network connections throughout the station’s five Russian modules.

Station Trio Works Spacesuits, Science as SpaceX Readies Crew Launch

The three-member Expedition 63 crew aboard the International Space Station
The three-member Expedition 63 crew aboard the International Space Station with (from left) NASA astronaut and Commander Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

Spacesuits, photo inspections and pilot studies kept the Expedition 63 crew busy aboard the International Space Station today. Meanwhile, the Commercial Crew Program is getting ready to launch its first crewed mission.

Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA spent most of Tuesday inside the Quest airlock where spacewalks in U.S. spacesuits are staged. The veteran space visitor serviced the spacesuits today replacing components and cleaning cooling loops. NASA is planning a series of spacewalks later this year to upgrade power and science systems on the orbiting lab.

Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, a veteran of two previous station missions, spent his morning photographing the interior condition of the Zarya and Pirs modules. Russian mission controllers will inspect the photos to determine areas necessary for repair as well locations for the installation of future science experiments.

First-time space station resident Ivan Vagner began his day exploring ways crews might pilot spacecraft and robotic rovers on future planetary missions. In the afternoon, the Roscosmos cosmonaut moved on and serviced a variety of communications and life support gear.

Back on Earth, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is being processed at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first crew since 2011 to launch aboard an American spacecraft.

The duo will be inside the Crew Dragon atop the Falcon 9 rocket when it lifts off May 27 for a 19-hour trip to the space station. The experienced NASA astronauts will join the Expedition 63 crew for several weeks to ramp up science activities aboard the orbiting lab.

Cygnus Readied for Departure, Crew Trains for Medical Emergency

April 25, 2020: International Space Station Configuration.
Four spaceships are attached at the space station including the U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft and Russia’s Progress 74 and 75 resupply ships and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.

A U.S. cargo craft is one week away from completing its mission at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the three-member Expedition 63 crew focused its attention today on emergency training and orbital maintenance.

On Monday May 11, the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman will complete its mission attached to the station’s Unity module. Cygnus will serve a dual purpose after its departure as it takes out the trash and deploys a set of CubeSats for a variety of space research.

Commander Chris Cassidy is setting up a small satellite deployer, called the SlingShot, that will be installed on the hatch of Cygnus before its departure. The tiny satellites will test space communication technologies and advanced GPS mapping techniques.

Cassidy then joined Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner for an emergency drill after lunchtime. The trio practiced CPR techniques necessary in microgravity. The crewmates also reviewed medical hardware, communication and coordination in the event of a medical emergency aboard the orbiting lab.

Ivanishin started Monday morning photographing the interior of the station’s Russian segment to document spaces that could support new research gear and areas that may require repairs. Vagner explored ways to prevent science experiments or degraded station hardware from potentially contaminating the cabin atmosphere.

Expedition 63 Explores Free-Flying Robots and Heart Research

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy works on the Fluids Integrated Rack
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy works on the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR) replacing components in the research device that studies the behavior of fluids in microgravity.

Free-flying robots and heart research filled the science schedule aboard the International Space Station today. The Expedition 63 crew also managed cargo activities in a pair of resupply ships and cleaned biology research gear.

Astrobee is a robotics investigation that explores the ability of a trio of cube-shaped, free-flying robots to assist crews aboard the station. Commander Chris Cassidy set up one of the autonomous robotic assistants in the afternoon for a test of its mobility and vision system. Astrobee could perform routine lab chores giving astronauts more time to conduct critical space research.

Cassidy also finalized the cleaning of a mouse habitat that housed rodents monitored for changes to their genetic expression due to microgravity. The mice have since returned to Earth aboard the last SpaceX Dragon cargo mission on April 7.

Living and working in space impacts the human body and scientists are exploring measures to ensure astronauts adapt successfully to weightlessness. How heart performance changes in space is fundamental to keeping crews healthy during long-term missions.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued a long-running Russian heart study today that utilizes the Lower Body Negative Pressure Suit. The investigation examines how the heart behaves as the specialized spacesuit prevents blood from pooling in a crewmember’s head reducing head and eye pressure.

The Russian duo then spent the afternoon transferring cargo to and from the Progress 74 and 75 space freighters. Ivanishin packed trash and old gear in the 74P which is due to complete its mission in July. Vagner unloaded new gear and supplies from the 75P which just arrived on April 25.

Spacesuit Work and Heart Research Fill Crew Day

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy works in the Combustion Integrated Rack
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy works in the Combustion Integrated Rack, a research device that enables safe fuel, flame and soot studies in microgravity.

The three-member Expedition 63 crew aboard the International Space Station focused its attention on spacesuits and cardiac research today. The orbital residents also serviced science hardware and life support gear.

Commander Chris Cassidy worked on a pair of U.S. spacesuits in the Quest airlock today cleaning cooling loops, replacing components and checking for leaks. NASA is planning a series of spacewalks later this year to upgrade power and science systems on the orbiting lab.

Cassidy, who last served in 2013 as an Expedition 36 flight engineer, also cleaned the Veggie PONDS botany research hardware after growing lettuce and mizuna greens in the Columbus lab module. Next, he swapped batteries in the Astrobee robotic assistant then set up audio software for a hearing assessment.

Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner worked in the morning on a long-running study to understand how the human heart adapts to microgravity. The duo then split up for Earth observation studies and life support maintenance.

Cygnus Prepped for Departure During Station Science and Upkeep

The U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship
The U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship is pictured as the International Space Station orbited above the Pacific Ocean.

The International Space Station is looking ahead to its next cargo mission when a U.S. space freighter departs next month. The Expedition 63 crew is also working on variety of space research and Russian spacecraft activities.

The U.S. Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is being readied for its robotic release from the orbiting lab’s Unity module. Commander Chris Cassidy reviewed procedures and set up hardware that will deploy small experimental satellites from the outside of Cygnus after its departure on May 11. Cygnus will removed from Unity and released by the Canadarm2 robotic arm completing its 83-day stay at 12:10 p.m. EDT.

Cassidy also opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack for maintenance replacing components in the research device that enables safe fuel, flame and soot studies in microgravity. Afterward, the three-time station visitor logged his meals for a nutrition study then swapped batteries in an acoustic monitor that measures the sound levels aboard the station.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued unpacking and inventorying the near three tons of food, fuel and supplies delivered late last week aboard the Progress 75 resupply ship. Ivanishin also serviced a variety of Russian life support gear. Vagner checked on lighting systems and photographed the external condition of the Poisk module which hosts docked Russian spacecraft.