SpaceX Crew Ship Moves to New Station Port

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. Credit: NASA TV

Crew Dragon Resilience with NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have re-docked to the International Space Station, another first for a commercial crew spacecraft.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:08 a.m.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following a short handover, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, plan to return home off the coast of Florida about five days after the Crew-2 arrival to the space station as long as mission priorities and weather cooperate.

NASA TV is Live for SpaceX Crew Ship Relocation

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with its nose cone open, is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s forward international docking adapter.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as four residents of the International Space Station prepare to take a spin around their orbital neighborhood in the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft, relocating it to prepare for the arrival of the next set of commercial crew astronauts and the delivery of new solar arrays this summer.

NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, are scheduled to undock Resilience from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:29 a.m. and dock to the space-facing (zenith) port at 7:15 a.m.

The relocation will free Harmony’s forward port for the docking of Crew Dragon Endeavour, set to carry four crew members to the station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

This will be the first port relocation of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and another first for commercial spaceflight. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off Nov. 15, 2020, and docked to the space station Nov. 16.

Nervous System, Robotics Research as Station Preps for Crew Ship Move

Resilience, the commercial crew ship from SpaceX, is pictured approaching the space station for a docking on Nov. 17, 2020.
Resilience, the commercial crew ship from SpaceX, is pictured approaching the space station for a docking on Nov. 17, 2020.

Nervous system and robotics research were the dominant research theme aboard the International Space Station on Thursday. The seven Expedition 64 crew members also focused on next week’s crew ship move and a variety of orbital maintenance tasks.

This week, an ESA (European Space Agency) investigation has been under way exploring how the human nervous system adapts to different gravity environments. NASA Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover have been strapping themselves into a specialized seat in the Columbus laboratory module and performing a series of dexterous manipulation tasks. Results from ESA’s Grip study may lead to improved spacecraft interfaces and deeper insights into human cognition in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins powered up the Astrobee robotic assistant Thursday afternoon inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. She guided the small, cube-shaped device in various orientations as it photographed and mapped the inside of Kibo while calibrating itself. Astrobee could soon perform routine station tasks freeing up time for astronauts to conduct more space science.

Rubins later scanned the eyes of Glover in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module using non-invasive imaging technology. The eye checks are part of ongoing studies to understand how weightlessness impacts an astronaut’s retina.

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker started her day servicing U.S. spacesuit battery components alongside Glover. Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency worked on Kibo’s KOBAIRO rack, installing a water refill device in the facility that explores crystal growth in semiconductors.

All five astronauts gathered together for a short afternoon session and reviewed Monday’s upcoming relocation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience. Rubins will stay in the station as Hopkins, Glover, Walker and Noguchi take a short ride inside Resilience from the Harmony module’s forward-facing port to its zenith, or space-facing port, on Monday at 6:30 a.m. EDT. The autonomous relocation maneuver will take about 45 minutes with NASA TV beginning its live coverage at 6 a.m.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos collected air and water samples in the station’s Russian segment today for later analysis. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov began gathering items for stowage aboard the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship that will take him, Rubins and Ryzhikov home on April 17.

Crew Dragon Relocation Preps during Botany, Nervous System Research

The seven-member Expedition 64 crew gathers together for a New Year's Day portrait inside the International Space Station's "window to the world," the cupola.
The seven-member Expedition 64 crew is pictured inside the space station’s “window to the world,” the cupola.

Four Expedition 64 astronauts are getting ready to move their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle to another docking port on the International Space Station next week. The orbital residents also continued advanced research into space agriculture and the human nervous system.

Resilience, the docked commercial crew craft from SpaceX, will taxi four astronauts from the Harmony module’s forward-facing port to its zenith, or space-facing port, on Monday at 6:30 a.m. EDT. The autonomous relocation maneuver will take about 45 minutes with NASA TV beginning its live coverage at 6 a.m.

Crew-1 Commander Michael Hopkins is riding along with Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi. The astronauts checked their Crew Dragon flight suits and communications gear during the afternoon. The quartet needs to be on the vehicle in the unlikely event Resilience is unable to redock. This assures there aren’t more crewmembers on the station than seats available on docked crew ships.

Meanwhile, the station crew kept up its space botany work today testing hydroponics as a way to maintain and grow crops in microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins kicked off her day with the Plant Water Management study as Hopkins took over the activities after lunch time.

Hopkins and Glover were also back in the Columbus laboratory module exploring how weightlessness affects their grip force and up/down movements. The experiment requires the astronauts to strap themselves in a specialized seat and perform a series of dexterous manipulation exercises. Observations could improve the design of spacecraft interfaces and offer deeper insights into the human nervous system in different gravity environments.

Walker was on Crew Medical Officer duties during the morning scanning Glover’s neck, shoulder and leg veins with the Ultrasound-2 device. She then spent the afternoon setting up alternate sleep accommodations ahead of the Expedition 65 crew arrival on April 9 when 10 people will be on the station for just over a week.

Station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov spent the day collecting water samples from Russian life support systems and checking smoke detectors. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov cleaned ventilation systems and transferred water from the docked Progress 77 resupply ship.

Science Gear Work and Spacesuit Cleaning Follow Harvest

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Shannon Walker collects leaf samples from plants growing inside the European Columbus laboratory.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Shannon Walker collects leaf samples from plants growing inside the European Columbus laboratory.

The Expedition 64 crew turned its attention to science hardware today following Tuesday’s harvest aboard the International Space Station. The orbital residents also cleaned up following two spacewalks to upgrade communications and power systems.

NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins prepared the NanoRacks Bishop airlock on Wednesday for its upcoming pressurization. The experienced astronaut then finished the day inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship recharging computer tablets and updating orbital software.

The day before, Hopkins picked a variety of edible plants growing in the station’s Columbus laboratory module including pak choi, wasabi mustard, kale, and red romaine. He snacked on the leaves with his crewmates for a taste test and stowed samples for later analysis as part of the Veg-3 botany study. Space agriculture is key to the success and sustainability of future human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover split their day servicing hardware for a long-running suite of experiments known as ACME, or Advanced Combustion in Microgravity Experiments. The duo replaced a variety of components inside the device that hosts the fuel efficiency, pollution and fire safety investigations.

Glover started the day with fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker tearing down old video equipment that he and Hopkins uninstalled from Columbus during Monday’s spacewalk. Walker then joined JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi for post-spacewalk maintenance on the U.S. spacesuits Hopkins and Glover wore on Monday.

In the Russian segment of the station, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked on Zarya module upkeep and science photography tasks. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov assisted Ryzhikov with the science photography then moved on to communications and life support work.

Crew Relaxing Ahead of Cargo Dragon Departure and Spacewalks

The International Space Station flies into an orbital sunrise 264 miles above the North Pacific off the coast of Russia.
The space station flies into an orbital sunrise 264 miles above the North Pacific.

The Expedition 64 crew had a light duty day Thursday following a busy holiday season filled with space research and U.S. cargo ship departure preparations. Soon the astronauts will be ramping up for a set of International Space Station maintenance and upgrades spacewalks planned for January and February.

Final science experiments are wrapping up this week waiting to be packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft and returned to Earth no earlier than Monday for analysis. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins stowed microbial cultures in science freezers today that will soon be loaded inside the Cargo Dragon. The samples will be analyzed by scientists on the ground to understand the microbial risk to a spacecraft’s environment.

The Dragon is due to undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter on Monday at 9:25 a.m. EST live on NASA TV. Rubins will be on duty Monday monitoring Dragon’s undocking as it departs the station carrying several tons of hardware and completed space studies. NASA and SpaceX engineers will be on hand to retrieve the Dragon after its splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

A pair of spacewalks is targeted for the end of January for upgrades on the outside of the orbiting lab. U.S. astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover will be ramping up their preparations for the two spacewalks over the next several days. The duo will be outfitting science hardware on Europe’s Columbus laboratory module during the first spacewalk and will upgrade high definition video and camera gear on the second.

Two more spacewalks are planned in February for electrical work and to set up experimental hardware for a technology demonstration.

Crew Immersed in Space Science as Cargo Dragon Nears Launch

The upgraded version of SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is seen before it rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The upgraded version of SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is seen before it rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Expedition 64 is getting ready for over 6,400 pounds of cargo due to arrive this weekend aboard the next-generation SpaceX Dragon space freighter. All seven International Space Station residents also were immersed in microgravity research throughout Thursday.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo spacecraft has rolled out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is counting down to a Saturday lift off at 11:39 a.m. EST. Weather permitting, Dragon would automatically dock just under 24 hours later to the Harmony module’s space-facing port adjacent to the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.

The Cargo Dragon’s main payload is the NanoRacks Bishop airlock that will be robotically attached to the Tranquility module. Bishop will increase the capacity for external space research at the space station benefitting public and private organizations.

The orbiting lab was humming today with a host of advanced space science looking at a variety of microgravity phenomena to enhance life for humans on and off the Earth.

Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack that enables safe investigations of flames and fuels on the station. Eye exams were on the slate this afternoon for astronauts Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi who also serviced botany and cell biology research gear.

NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker serviced samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory before setting up the Fiber Optic Production study inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Her crewmate, Flight Engineer Victor Glover collected and stowed biological samples for the Food Physiology study exploring how diet affects the immune system in space.

Finally, station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos wrapped up a 24-hour session that monitored his heart activity. The two-time station resident also explored ways to improve the workspace inside the station.

New Crew Sleeps as Cosmonauts Prep for Wednesday Spacewalk

The four Commercial Crew astronauts (front row from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are welcomed aboard the station. In the back row from left are, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
The four Commercial Crew astronauts (front row from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are welcomed aboard the station. In the back row from left are, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

The Expedition 64 crew expanded to seven members overnight after four Commercial Crew astronauts docked the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. Now two cosmonauts are gearing up for a spacewalk set to start Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. EST.

The newest station crew members are asleep today following a 27-hour-and-half trip from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the Harmony module’s forward-facing port. Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover, alongside Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, docked on Monday at 11:01 p.m. The hatches were opened two hours later, and the quartet entered the station to begin a six-month research mission.

All seven crewmembers gathered in the Harmony module for a welcoming ceremony and congratulations from NASA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) mission officials. Afterward, safety briefings were given to the new quartet showing potential lab hazards, emergency equipment locations and escape routes.

This is the first long-duration crew comprised of seven members in space station history. The station has hosted up to 13 visitors before but only for a few days at a time during crew swap operations.

Today, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins helped Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov get ready for their first spacewalk. The Russian duo will spend about five-and-a-half hours servicing external station hardware and science experiments. Their prime task will be to prepare the station’s Russian segment for the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module due to arrive in 2021.

NASA TV coverage of the spacewalk will begin Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. This will be the first spacewalk for the duo and the first spacewalk staged from the Poisk module. The Pirs docking compartment is being decommissioned to make room for the Nauka module.

Hatches Open, Crew Dragon Astronauts Join Expedition 64

The expanded seven-member Expedition 64 crew with Flight Engineers Kate Rubins, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
The expanded seven-member Expedition 64 crew with (from left) Flight Engineers Kate Rubins, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon have arrived at the International Space Station. Crew-1 joins Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.

The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and the pressurized mating adapter at 1:02 a.m. EST then opened the hatch to Crew Dragon.

NASA TV will continue to provide live coverage through the welcoming ceremony with NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Kathy Lueders joining to greet the crew from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa joining from the Tsukuba Space Center in Japan. The welcome ceremony is targeted to begin about 1:40 a.m.

About 2 a.m., NASA will host a news conference following the welcome ceremony with the following participants:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, NASA Headquarters
  • Johnson Center Director Mark Geyer
  • Ven Feng, deputy manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
  • Joel Montalbano, program manager, International Space Station

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Docks to Station, Hatches Open Soon

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Commercial Crew astronauts is pictured approaching the International Space Station for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Commercial Crew astronauts is pictured approaching the International Space Station for a docking.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived at the International Space Station Monday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the complex a 11:01 p.m. EST over Idaho.

Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Resilience and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 1:10 a.m.

Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.