Cygnus Leaves Station as Crew Maintains Research and Operations

Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti share a light moment during an interview with officials on Earth.
Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti share a light moment during an interview with officials on Earth.

The Expedition 67 crew said farewell to a U.S. cargo craft on Tuesday morning and is planning for the arrival of another resupply ship in mid-July. The seven International Space Station residents also split their day with a host of scientific and operational activities.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter completed its four-month cargo mission attached to the Unity module after the Canadarm2 robotic arm released it into Earth orbit at 7:07 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning. The trash-filled commercial cargo craft will descend into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up safely above the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday. Cygnus delivered over 8,300 pounds of science and supplies when it arrived for capture and installation to Unity on Feb. 21, 2022.

The next resupply mission to visit the station is targeted for launch no earlier than July 14. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft will be loaded with numerous new science experiments to investigate phenomena such as space-caused rapid aging, metabolic interactions in soil microbes, and cell-free production of proteins.

The station’s newest U.S. component, the NanoRacks Bishop airlock, was configured on Tuesday by NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines. The duo removed cargo stowed inside the airlock and replaced it with a trash container that will be deployed this weekend outside the airlock to burn up harmlessly in Earth’s atmosphere. Bishop was delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft on Dec. 6, 2020, and installed on the Tranquility module on Dec. 19.

Lindgren and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins also took turns conducting a test simulating robotics maneuvers for the Behavioral Core Measures space psychology study. Watkins then joined Hines as they continued to film station operation videos to train future crew members on the ground.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti swapped samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, an advanced research device that enables high-temperature thermophysics studies. Afterward, she conducted public affairs activities for ESA.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev worked on electrical and computer systems. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev configured nanosatellites for an upcoming deployment and serviced life support hardware. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov filmed his portion of station activities then explored advanced Earth photography techniques.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cygnus Completes Station Mission After Four Months

June 28, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom, and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.
June 28, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.

At 7:07 a.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the nadir port of the International Space Station’s Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying about 260 miles over the Pacific Ocean.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the space station more than three months after arriving at the microgravity laboratory to deliver about 8,300 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo for NASA.

Following a deorbit engine firing on Wednesday, June 29, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus arrived at the space station Feb. 21, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 17th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft after the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers.

On Saturday, June 25, Cygnus completed its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’ gimbaled delta velocity engine was used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cygnus Leaving Station Today After Four-Month Mission

The space station with the Cygnus space freighter (left) attached orbits into a sunset 261 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
The space station with the Cygnus space freighter (left) attached orbits into a sunset 261 miles above the Pacific Ocean.

Live coverage of the departure of Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station is underway on the NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app, with its release from the robotic arm scheduled for 7:05 a.m. EDT.

Flight controllers on the ground sent commands earlier this morning for the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the Unity module’s nadir port, and then maneuver the spacecraft into position for its release. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins will monitor Cygnus’ systems upon its departure from the space station.

Following a deorbit engine firing on Wednesday, June 29, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus arrived at the space station Feb. 21, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 17th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft after the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cygnus Station Departure Delayed One Hour

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured attached to the space station.
The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured attached to the space station.

Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft now is scheduled to depart the International Space Station at 7:05 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, more than four months after delivering 8,300 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory for NASA.

The release of Cygnus is being delayed one hour to better setup Cygnus’ trajectory to be clear of conjunctions and for improved communications capability post-release from the space station.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s departure will begin at 6:45 a.m. EDT on the NASA Television media channel, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

Flight controllers on the ground sent commands earlier this morning for the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the Unity module’s nadir port. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins will monitor Cygnus’ systems upon its departure from the space station.

Following a deorbit engine firing on Wednesday, June 29, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus arrived at the space station Feb. 21, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 17th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft after the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Crew Readies Cygnus for Departure, Studies Botany and Cardiac Research

An aurora streams above a cloudy Earth as the International Space Station orbited 268 miles above the south Pacific.
An aurora streams above a cloudy Earth as the International Space Station orbited 268 miles above the south Pacific.

A U.S. resupply ship is being prepared for its departure from the International Space Station on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew continued its space gardening and human research activities today to promote mission success and improve health on Earth.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins spent Monday wrapping up cargo operations inside the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman. ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti joined the pair disconnecting power and ventilation systems and finally closing the vehicle’s hatch.

Cygnus will be detached from the Unity module overnight by the Canadarm2 robotic arm remotely controlled by engineers on the ground.  The Canadarm2 will maneuver Cygnus away from the station and release the cargo craft at 6:05 a.m. EDT completing a four-month stay at the orbital lab. NASA TV starts its live Cygnus release coverage at 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday on the agency’s app and its website.

Hines finished his work day servicing oxygen components on a U.S. spacesuit. Watkins and Cristoforetti also partnered together and filmed station operations to train future crews preparing for upcoming missions to the orbiting complex. Watkins later setup camera gear that students on Earth can operate remotely and photograph landmarks on the ground. Finally, Cristoforetti swapped batteries inside the Astrobee robotic free-flyers and worked on NanoRacks Bishop airlock maintenance.

Advanced space research is always ongoing amidst the constant array of visiting vehicles and other mission activities taking place at the orbital lab. Monday’s science experiments mainly focused on growing plants without soil, cardiac research, and Earth observations.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren kicked off another plant growing session for the XROOTS space botany study. He set up seed cartridges and root modules for the experiment to demonstrate using hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow edible plants in microgravity. Growing crops in space can reduce costly cargo missions and help sustain crews as NASA and its international partners plan missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov worked on cardiac research today exploring how the human circulatory system adapts to weightlessness. Matveev later worked on nanosatellites to be deployed on an upcoming Russian spacewalk. Korsakov also conducted ear, nose, and throat research. Commander Oleg Artemyev worked on Russian maintenance activities and later filmed station operations for audiences on Earth.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cygnus Cargo Craft Fires Engine for Limited Station Reboost

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured attached to the space station.
The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman, with its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured attached to the space station.

On Saturday, June 25, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus completed its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’ gimbaled delta velocity engine was used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. The maneuver lasted 5 minutes, 1 second and raised the station’s altitude 1/10 of a mile at apogee and 5/10 of a mile at perigee. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived to the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from space station Tuesday, June 28, where it will burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA TV coverage for the unberthing will begin at 5:45 am EDT on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Crew Studies Aging in Space, Harvests Edible Plants Before Cygnus Reboost

The sun's rays burst above Earth's horizon as the space station orbited 264 miles above Western Australia on the coast of Shark Bay.
The sun’s rays burst above Earth’s horizon as the space station orbited 264 miles above Western Australia on the coast of Shark Bay.

Human research and space botany were the main research activities aboard the International Space Station today helping NASA and its international partners keep astronauts healthy on long-term missions. The seven Expedition 67 crew members also ensured the orbiting lab continues operating in tip-top shape at the end of the workweek.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren continued investigating why microgravity accelerates aging-like symptoms in humans. He processed blood and urine samples then stowed them in a science freezer for the Phospho-Aging study. Living in space affects molecular mechanisms that speed up the loss of bone and muscle mass. Results may inform countermeasures to keep astronauts healthier longer in space and improve the lives of aging citizens on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins began harvesting radishes and mizuna greens growing without soil for the XROOTS space gardening study today. The experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow edible plants so future crews can sustain themselves on longer spaceflight missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines activated the Astrobee robotic free-flyers today to test their ability to autonomously navigate and maneuver inside the Kibo laboratory module using smartphone technology. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti spent her day servicing orbital plumbing components inside the Tranquility module.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev programmed a camera for an Earth observation study while Flight Engineer Denis Matveev transferred air and water from the Progress 81 cargo craft into the station. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov closed out test operations of the European robotic arm then moved on to ventilation system work.

On Saturday, June 25, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft will perform its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’ gimbaled delta velocity engine will be used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’ ninth resupply mission. Cygnus arrived to the orbital outpost in February and is slated to depart from space station Tuesday, June 28, where it will burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA TV coverage for the unberthing will begin at 5:45 am EDT on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

This reboost follows an initial attempted reboost on June 20 which was terminated early as a conservative measure due to system parameters that differed from Cygnus flight operations. Investigation by engineers showed that these parameters were acceptable for the reboost and the limits were adjusted for Saturday’s attempt.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Aging, Heart Studies on Station Ahead of Cygnus Reboost Test

As the Moon sets below Earth's horizon the atmosphere refracts, or bends, its light making it appear flatter in this photograph taken from the space station.
As the Moon sets below Earth’s horizon the atmosphere refracts, or bends, its light making it appear flatter in this photograph taken from the space station.

The seven-member Expedition 67 crew split its time with a variety of human research and lab maintenance tasks on Thursday. A U.S. resupply ship is also gearing up for a test of its ability to reboost the International Space Station this weekend before its departure next week.

NASA and its international partners continuously explore how living in space affects the human body. Numerous experiments investigate how space station crew members adapt to weightlessness during their months-long missions. Scientists on Earth gain insights into how the human physiology changes and inform ways to sustain crew health over the course of a long-term space mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren explored how living in space speeds up aging-like symptoms in humans today. He collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for the Phospho-Aging study that seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the rapid loss of bone and muscle mass that takes place in microgravity. Results may inform countermeasures to keep astronauts healthier longer in space and improve the lives of aging citizens on Earth.

Astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Jessica Watkins of NASA worked throughout Thursday on station upkeep activities. Cristoforetti replaced centrifuge components inside the BioLab, a research facility that studies the effects of space and radiation on single celled and multi-cellular organisms. Watkins rearranged computer hardware and installed new science computer software in the Destiny laboratory module.

NASA astronaut Bob Hines, along with Lindgren, trained on a computer to remain proficient in SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle operations. Hines also joined Watkins continuing to film and narrate station operations for downlinking to train astronauts scheduled on future missions.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov attached sensors to themselves today monitoring their cardiac activity. Artemyev then activated Earth observation gear while Korsakov unpacked Russian cargo and worked on hatch sealing mechanisms. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev configured radiation detectors and measured the radiation environment aboard the orbiting lab.

NASA and Northrop Grumman have given the go for Cygnus to try another reboost attempt on Saturday that would lead to Cygnus potentially departing the station on Tuesday, June 28. The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Space Gardening, Digestion, and Robotics Top Crew Schedule

Expedition 67 crew members pose with fresh fruit delivered aboard the Progress 81 cargo craft on June 3, 2022.
Expedition 67 crew members pose with fresh fruit delivered aboard the Progress 81 cargo craft on June 3, 2022.

Space gardening and the human digestive system were at the top of the science schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The seven Expedition 67 residents also worked throughout the day filming their activities, inspecting station hardware, and testing a new robotic arm.

Space agriculture is a way to sustain healthy astronauts on future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond without relying on packed cargo missions traveling farther in space. The XROOTS experiment on the orbiting lab is exploring growing radishes and mizuna greens using hydroponic and aeroponic techniques. NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines nourished those plants today and checked seed cartridges and wicks to ensure they germinate and grow.

Hines also inspected and photographed the condition of windows in the Destiny laboratory and the Kibo laboratory modules. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren continued testing a headset that enables 3-D high definition holograms in real-time for immersive and innovative communication and research techniques. He also swapped hard drives on a station laptop computer.

Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti joined each other today inspecting and cleaning hatch components on the U.S. modules. Watkins also audited, inspected, and stowed hardware in the Tranquility module and the Quest airlock. Cristoforetti checked smoke detectors in the Columbus laboratory module and tested a specialized garment that can monitor an astronaut’s health wirelessly.

All four astronauts have also been filming their activities this week to prepare future crews training for upcoming station missions. The quartet have been recording, narrating, and downlinking videos documenting the operation of exercise equipment, network communications gear, and cargo stowage aboard the space station.

The lack of gravity affects the human body in a multitude of ways. Scientists observe station crew members during long-term missions to understand and counteract the undesired effects of weightlessness. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev once again scanned their digestive system using an ultrasound device after breakfast. Researchers are exploring how organs and vessels in the gastrointestinal tract adapt to spaceflight.

Robotics testing is still ongoing this week in the station’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov continued checking out and filming the European robotic arm, the station’s third and newest robotic manipulator, and its ability to maneuver on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

NASA and Northrop Grumman are continuing to work on a plan for Cygnus to try another reboost attempt as early as Saturday, June 25, that would lead to Cygnus potentially departing the station next Tuesday, June 28. The plan is being discussed with the International Space Station partners this week and a forward plan is expected as early as Thursday.

The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cygnus Reboost Aborted, Next Steps Being Planned

International Space Station Configuration: Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.
International Space Station Configuration: Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.

On Monday at 10:20 a.m. Central time, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG CRS-17 engine was scheduled to fire for 5 minutes, 1 second to test the cargo craft’s ability to reboost the International Space Station in the future. The engine firing was aborted after five seconds. Cygnus’ Mission Director at Dulles, Virginia reported that the cause for the abort is understood and under review.

Late this afternoon in their evening planning conference with flight controllers in Houston, the crew was informed that NASA and Northrop Grumman are working on a plan for Cygnus to try another reboost attempt as early as Saturday, June 25  that would lead to Cygnus potentially departing the station next Tuesday, June 28. The plan will be discussed with the International Space Station partners later this week.

The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA.

Editor’s Note: A portion of this blog was updated on June 20, 2022 at 4:22 p.m. EDT to reflect a second reboost attempt and Cygnus’ potential departure from station.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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