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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, began the final phase of its approach to the station at 9:22 p.m. Monday and is scheduled to dock at 11 p.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crew onboard 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.
When the hatches open about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Crew-1 astronauts will join Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, and station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, who arrived to the station Oct. 14.
Four Commercial Crew astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon are awake following their first sleep period in space. The quartet from the U.S. and Japan are now focusing on docking to the International Space Station at 11 p.m. EST today.
The SpaceX crew will first give a video tour of the inside of the Crew Dragon today live on NASA TV beginning at 4:48 p.m. Following that mission controllers will give the first “go-no go” for the station approach maneuver at 9:05 p.m.
Today’s wakeup call for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission was Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” and came at 12:10 p.m. All four crewmates slept for eight hours in their Crew Dragon seats while SpaceX mission controllers in Hawthorne, California, monitored vehicle systems.
The three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut are now getting ready to dock to the international docking adapter on the Harmony module’s forward port. Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover, alongside Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, will be at the controls as the Crew Dragon completes a fully automated rendezvous and docking sequence tonight.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins is asleep onboard the station and will wake up tonight at 9:05 p.m. Afterward, she’ll begin working joint operations with the approaching Crew Dragon vehicle and ready the orbiting lab for four new crewmates.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are en route to the International Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), into orbit to begin a six-month science mission aboard the space station.
After reaching orbit, mission teams and the crew prepared for their continued journey to the space station. Teams on the ground moved the spacecraft, named Resilience, into the proper configuration for the trip, and the crew removed their SpaceX spacesuits and prepared the cabin as they wind down their first day in space.
SpaceX engineers completed troubleshooting on heater controls associated with Crew Dragon’s propellant system, and updated the crew. Flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, determined the control limits were set too tightly and resolved the issue by resetting the limits and rebooting the heaters. They have verified that the heaters are working properly.
Resilience will dock autonomously to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module about 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16. NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing ongoing live coverage through docking, hatch opening, and the ceremony to welcome the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Four Commercial Crew astronauts from the United States and Japan are in Florida in quarantine and getting ready for their launch to the space station. Their Dragon crew ship is standing vertical at Launch Complex 39A counting down to a Nov. 14 lift off.
Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi will blast off on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. EST. Eight hours and 30 minutes later the quartet will dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter. They are scheduled for a five-and-a-half-month research mission aboard the station.
Back in space, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins spent Tuesday morning setting up a specialized microscope that uses fluorescence to study biological processes in microgravity. During the afternoon, she installed wireless instrumentation gear in the Zvezda service module and handed over radiation detectors to cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov checked out communications systems and biomedical sensors inside a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits this morning with assistance from Kud-Sverchkov. The cosmonaut duo then spent the rest of the day servicing life support hardware and re-pressurizing the station’s atmosphere with air from the Progress 76 resupply ship.
Space physics and biomedical research kicked off the work week as the Expedition 64 crew continued its spacewalk preparations. Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew astronauts are in Florida counting down to their launch to the International Space Station.
NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins started Monday morning checking out samples exposed to extreme temperatures inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The advanced research facility provides insights into the thermophysical properties and the synthesis of new materials.
Rubins then serviced components on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device that helps astronauts maintain muscle strength and mass in microgravity. The two-time station resident wrapped up her science work today collecting and stowing saliva samples for the Standard Measures study. The human research experiment collects biological data from astronauts before, during and after missions to understand how humans adapt to living in space.
A spacewalk is scheduled for Nov. 18 for maintenance and science tasks outside the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and conducted leak checks and valve tests inside their Orlan spacesuits today. The duo then partnered up with Rubins to review tasks and procedures planned for the six-hour spacewalk.
The next crew to visit the space station arrived at the Kennedy Space Center from Houston on Sunday getting ready for a launch on Nov. 14 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon. The quartet from the United States and Japan is planned to dock about eight-and-a-half hours later the following day to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter.