Commander Chris Cassidy kicked off the U.S. financial markets Tuesday morning ringing the NASDAQ opening bell alongside Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The NASA trio will broaden space science activities, both private and public, on the orbiting lab to benefit humans on and off the Earth.
Meanwhile, Cassidy is helping Hurley and Behnken get up to speed with station operations and systems. Hurley and Behnken today familiarized themselves with the station’s workout facilities including the advanced resistive exercise device (ARED). The ARED simulates free-weight exercises and works all the major muscle groups. The duo also reviewed personal protective equipment and helped unpack Japan’s HTV-9 cargo craft.
The two visitors each previously visited the station twice during the space shuttle era. Hurley rode shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis in 2009 and 2011. Behnken flew on Endeavour twice in 2008 and 2010.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are getting up to speed with space station systems and operations on their first full day as Expedition 63 crewmates. The duo is also unpacking the Crew Dragon vehicle today and integrating its systems with the space station.
The duo joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy, who has been on orbit since April 9, for a news conference today and talked about the historical nature of the first crewed Dragon mission. Hurley and Behnken, who each flew on two space shuttle missions, also described the differences between the Dragon crew ship and the now-retired shuttles.
Cassidy primarily spent Monday on ongoing lab maintenance activities. The veteran astronaut, who also flew on two previous shuttle missions, serviced research hardware and plumbing gear throughout Monday.
The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and Dragon Endeavour at 1:02 p.m. EDT, allowing Hurley and Behnken to enter their new home in space as members of Expedition 63. The five crew members will hold a welcome ceremony next, after which the continuous coverage of the mission that began prior to launch will conclude.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will hold a news conference at 3:15 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to discuss the successful docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Johnson Center Director Mark Geyer, International Space Station Program Deputy Manager Kenneth Todd, NASA Commercial Crew Program Deputy Manager Steve Stich, and NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren also will participate in the live media briefing broadcast on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
It is the second arrival and autonomous docking to the International Space Station for a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the first time any commercially built spacecraft has delivered astronauts to the orbiting laboratory.
Known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations and pave the way for its certification for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
For operational missions, Crew Dragon will be able to launch as many as four crew members and carry more than 220 pounds of cargo, enabling the expansion of the inhabitants of the space station, increasing the time dedicated to research in the unique microgravity environment, and returning more science back to Earth.
The Crew Dragon arrived at the station’s Harmony port, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying about 262 miles above the northern border of China and Mongolia. Following soft capture, 12 hooks were closed to complete a hard capture at 10:27 a.m. Teams now will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for approximately 12:45 p.m.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission.
Behnken and Hurley made history Saturday as they became the first Americans to launch on an American rocket from American soil to the space station in nearly a decade. Their successful docking completed many of the test objectives of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, and the rest will be completed as the spacecraft operates as part of the space station, then at the conclusion of its mission undocks and descends for a parachute landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hurley and Behnkhen received their wake-up call at 4:45 a.m. EDT with the song “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath. This morning they shared a tour inside the spacecraft, which they named Dragon Endeavour. Next they will conduct a near field manual piloting test to demonstrate their ability to control the spacecraft should an issue with the spacecraft’s automated flight arise.
The spacecraft will begin its close approach to the station at about 8:27 a.m. and is scheduled to dock at 10:29 a.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crews onboard the spacecraft and the space station will diligently monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.
As SpaceX’s final flight test, the Demo-2 mission will validate all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon spacecraft, spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch vehicle, launch pad LC-39A, and operations capabilities before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.
Behnken and Hurley will work with SpaceX mission control to verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system, and by maneuvering the thrusters, among other things.
The Expedition 63 crew is getting ready for the launch and arrival this week of two NASA astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade. This follows Monday morning’s arrival of a Japanese cargo craft that delivered over four tons of food, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.
NASA and SpaceX managers completed their readiness reviews and have given the “go” for the launch of Commercial Crew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The duo will liftoff atop the Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center in Florida toward the station.
They will dock on Thursday at 11:39 a.m. to the Harmony module’s International Docking Adapter on the space station’s forward section. Two-and-a-half hours later the hatches will open, Behnken and Hurley will enter the station and the Expedition 63 crew will expand to five members to bring space research up to full speed aboard the orbiting lab.
The Crew Dragon will be docked adjacent to the newly-arrived H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) from Japan. The HTV-9 was installed to the Harmony module’s Earth-facing port a couple of hours after it was captured Monday at 8:13 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy began unloading the HTV-9 with help from Roscosmos Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner shortly after its arrival on Memorial Day.
The final mission of Japan’s expendable resupply ship will stay at the station until late July. Japan’s next version of resupply ships (HTV-X) will be returnable and reusable providing more cargo capabilities.
The International Space Station will welcome a pair of different spaceships next week. Japan’s space freighter will arrive first on Monday followed by the first crewed mission from SpaceX on Thursday.
The H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) is in space racing toward the orbiting lab following its launch from Japan on Wednesday. The HTV-9, nicknamed Kounotori, or “white stork”, will arrive at the station Monday packed with over four tons of crew supplies, space experiments and new lithium-ion batteries to upgrade station power systems.
Commander Chris Cassidy will be on deck Monday in the cupola to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture the Kounotori at 8:15 a.m. EDT. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner will back up Cassidy and monitor the approach and rendezvous of the HTV-9. The duo has been training for a couple of weeks on a computer to get ready for Kounotori’s arrival. NASA TV’s live coverage of the robotic capture and installation will begin at 6:45 a.m. Monday.
The Expedition 63 crew is also preparing to welcome two NASA astronauts next week after they dock to the station inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. The first Commercial Crew with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken arrived in Florida Wednesday and is in final preparations for launch on May 27 at 4:33 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center. They will dock the following day at 11:39 a.m. to the Harmony module’s forward-facing International Docking Adapter.
Cassidy has been familiarizing himself this week with the Crew Dragon’s automated rendezvous and docking procedures. He set up a command and control device that will relay communications and telemetry back and forth with the Crew Dragon as it nears the space station next week.
Veteran Russian Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin has been keeping up with his lab maintenance tasks while his crewmates get ready for the Kounotori’s arrival. The three-time station resident serviced computers and life support gear and updated station inventory systems today.
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.
The three-member Expedition 63 crew focused on biomedical research today helping scientists understand how living in space affects the human body. Meanwhile, a resupply ship is nearing its launch to the International Space Station ahead of global cargo and Commercial Crew missions planned for May.
NASA Commander Chris Cassidy began Thursday with a health exam that included temperature and blood pressure checks as well as pulse and respiratory rate measurements. In the afternoon, the three-time space visitor moved to physics research and explored techniques future astronauts may use to develop advanced building materials in space.
Human research is also an important part of the Russian science agenda aboard the orbiting lab. The two cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, collected and stowed their blood, saliva and hair samples today for a pair of biology studies. The two experiments are looking at how spaceflight impacts a crewmember’s immune system and metabolism.
Russia is also readying its Progress 75 (75P) resupply ship for liftoff on Friday from Kazakhstan at 9:51 p.m. EDT. The 75P is at the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome packed with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies. The 75th Progress cargo craft to visit the station will take a three-and-a-half hour delivery trip to the aft docking port of the Zvezda service module.
May’s mission schedule will see a U.S. cargo craft depart the station on the 11th and a Japanese resupply ship launch on the 20th for a robotic capture and installation on the 25th. The first mission on a U.S. crew vehicle since 2011 is set for launch on May 27. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley will lift off from Florida aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle and join the Expedition 63 crew one day later.
A Russian space freighter has rolled out to its launch pad ready to resupply the International Space Station this weekend. Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew is ramping up its preparations for the first Commercial Crew mission and more cargo activities planned for May.
Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA is looking forward to welcoming a pair of fellow NASA astronauts aboard the station at the end of May. Commercial Crew astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley are preparing for their launch aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship scheduled for May 27 at 4:23 p.m. The first crew to launch from U.S. soil since 2011 will dock one day later to the station and join Expedition 63 for a months-long mission.
The crew aboard the orbiting lab is also due to receive its first space delivery on Saturday at 1:12 a.m. EDT. Russia’s Progress 75 (75P) cargo craft will carry several tons of crew supplies and station hardware and automatically dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module. The 75P will lift off on Friday at 9:51 p.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the short three-and-a-half hour flight to the station.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are training for Saturday morning’s automated arrival of the 75P. The duo practiced remotely-controlled emergency rendezvous and docking techniques in the unlikely event the 75P wouldn’t be able to approach and dock to the station on its own.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft is being readied to end its stay attached to the station’s Unity module on May 11. Cassidy and Ivanishin packed trash and discarded gear inside Cygnus today for a fiery disposal in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) is targeting May 20 for the launch of its ninth cargo mission to the station. JAXA’s HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) cargo craft, nicknamed Kounotori, would take a five-day trip before being captured and installed to the station with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.