A SpaceX Dragon launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 8:30 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 6,200 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies to the International Space Station.
About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, opened its nosecone, and began a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.
Dragon is on track to arrive at the International Space Station Thursday, March 16, with an expected docking about 7:52 a.m. EDT. Live coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will begin at 6:15 a.m.
The Expedition 68 crew members spent their day carrying out biological research, harvesting vegetables, and prepping for a commercial resupply mission delivering more than 6,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is set to launch at 8:30 p.m. EDT this evening from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft is providing the crew with new science investigations, food, fuel, and supplies. Dragon is slated to dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module Thursday morning.
NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg is scheduled to monitor Dragon’s automated docking. In the meantime, he completed a session using the Robotics On-board Trainer, which teaches astronauts docking and grappling techniques.
NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen continued to work on the Immunity Assay study. The study aims to monitor how the immune system changes in response to the stresses of space by analyzing biological samples taken before, during, and after flight. Bowen was tasked with uninstalling containers and prepping test tubes for the experiment.
NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio plucked tomatoes from the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) for the Veg-05 space botany study. The investigation seeks to determine the best horticultural practices for growing fresh vegetables in space. Rubio and Bowen both capped the evening with a remotely guided eye exam.
Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) had a chance to record a video for an educational series focused on demonstrating scientific concepts in space for students and teachers. He later fit in an exercise session on the treadmill.
The cosmonauts aboard the station gathered to shoot a series of video greetings as well. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Dmitri Petelin, and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscomsos also reviewed a procedure together for checking the temperature and humidity conditions during the undocking and descent of a Soyuz spacecraft.
At 7:54 a.m. the ISS Progress 83 thrusters performed a 2-minute, 35-second burn to provide extra distance from a fragment of Russian Cosmos 1408 satellite debris. NASA and Russian flight controllers worked together to conduct the maneuver. Without the maneuver, which will have no impact on the rendezvous profile for the Dragon cargo craft or downstream vehicle operations, it is estimated that the fragment could have passed within 1/10th of a mile of the station. Crew were notified of the conjunction in advance and were never in danger.
NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines spent portions of the day performing cooling loop scrubs for spacesuits, called Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), which enable astronauts to work outside the station. He then reconfigured the EMU loop scrub hardware for iodination. Loop scrubs and iodinates are required to remove contaminants from the EMU transport loop.
NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren and ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti worked together to remove and store sample carriers for a suite of experiments that test how space affects various materials and components. If these materials can withstand the harsh environment outside the station, they could help improve equipment for future space exploration.
Lindgren and NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins also continued working on cargo operations. The duo took turns packing cargo into Cargo Dragon to prepare for the SpaceX CRS-25 undock on August 18.
The Russian segment of the station largely concentrated on carrying out maintenance tasks. Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos joined Cosmonaut Denis Matveev to route cables and prepare spacesuits. Meanwhile, cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov conducted a health check on video equipment and closed the day performing maintenance work on a ventilation subsystem.
NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren concluded a busy work week by transferring cargo from the SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon spacecraft and completing a fitness test on the exercise cycle. He attached sensors to his chest and pedaled for an hour on the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS) device. Following a heavy cardio session, Lindgren used the Tranquility module’s advanced resistive exercise device (ARED) to perform exercises such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts. He spent the latter part of his day installing the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3015 for return into the launch enclosure of the SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon spacecraft.
NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkinsfocused her day on performing maintenance tasks. Watkins checked out the newly installed In-Flight Refill Units (IRU) on the spacesuits, also known as the Fluid Pumping Unit. She removed and replaced the IRU and dumped water from the tanks inside the spacesuits.
ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti collected air samples to demonstrate analyzing trace atmospheric contaminants using the ANITA-2 (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2) device. Cristoforetti also conducted maintenance checks and transferred supplies from the Dragon spacecraft. As part of her maintenance duties, she worked in the Material Science Laboratory and took necessary steps to remove the processed Low Gradient Furnace (LGA) Sample Cartridge Assembly (SCA) and installed the next SCA that will be processed.
Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and cosmonaut Denis Matveev took turns working out on the VELO ergometer bike. Cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov spent his day inspecting the brakes on the European Robotic Arm manipulator.
The seven-member Expedition-67 crew split their time studying burning in microgravity, space manufacturing, testing an ultrasound device, and more, in addition to conducting some maintenance work aboard the International Space Station.
NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren opened the Cell Biology Experiment Facility to set up the Rodent Research-22 experiment. He also completed a Robotic On-Board Trainer for Research (ROBoT-r) session as part of the Behavioral Core Measures experiment. Later in the day, Lindgren performed the fourth medical technology demonstration of the Butterfly IQ Ultrasound device, focused on testing the effectiveness of a portable ultrasound device used in conjunction with a mobile device in the space environment. Such commercial off-the-shelf technology could provide essential medical capabilities for future deep space exploration missions.
ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti conducted public affairs activities for ESA and moved cargo from the SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon spacecraft. NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines worked on the Genes in Space-9 investigation, Space Fibers-3 space manufacturing study, and transferred supplies from the Dragon spacecraft.
The station’s three cosmonauts focused mainly on maintenance and exercise. Commander Oleg Artemyev spent his morning searching for leaks in the Zvezda service module while cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov checked the brakes on the European Robotic Arm. Cosmonaut Denis Matveev set up an electrocardiogram for a 24-hour survey of his heart health. He rested for 20 minutes before using the Tranquility module’s advanced resistive exercise device (ARED) to perform exercises such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts.
Research beneficial to humans on Earth and future crews in space is happening around the clock aboard the orbiting laboratory. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren used a majority of his day to service samples for the Immunosenescence investigation inside the Life Science Glovebox. Results from this study may one day inform treatments for accelerated aging processes commonly observed in microgravity and contribute to countermeasures for normal aging progression.
NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines inspected the Cold Atom Lab (CAL) Moderate Temperature Loop Jumper to check for leaks. In the CAL, atoms are chilled to temperatures near absolute zero, allowing scientists to observe fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics not possible on the ground.
Four Expedition 67 crew members slept in on Friday following a spacewalk the day before at the International Space Station. The other three orbital residents wrapped up the workweek researching a variety of space phenomena, unpacking a U.S. cargo ship, and maintaining orbital lab systems.
Artemyev and Cristoforetti woke up late on Friday and spent the rest of the day cleaning their Russian Orlan spacesuits and inspecting spacewalk tools and tethers. Cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov also slept in on Friday having monitored the spacewalkers and assisted the duo in and out of their spacesuits the day before. The pair also helped out with the post-spacewalk activities returning the Poisk airlock to its normal configuration and re-opening the hatch to the ISS Progress 80 cargo craft.
The station’s three NASA Flight Engineers including Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Kjell Lindgren, worked a normal shift on Friday and wrapped up their workweek focusing on an array of science and maintenance operations.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission carrying NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer on their way to the International Space Station.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, began the final phase of its approach to the station at 5:02 p.m. EST Thursday and is scheduled to dock at about 6:32 p.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crew aboard the spacecraft and the space station will monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.
The hatch opening now is approximately at 8:10 p.m. and the welcome ceremony is at approximately 8:45 p.m. with times subject to change.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission lifted off at 9:03 p.m. on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the agency’s third crew rotation mission.