U.S. Cygnus Resupply Ship Departs Station

In this frame from NASA TV, the U.S. Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is pictured moments after being released from the space station's Canadarm2 robotic arm.
In this frame from NASA TV, the U.S. Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is pictured moments after being released from the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station three months after arriving at the space station to deliver about 7,500 of scientific experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

Within 24 hours of its release, Cygnus will begin its secondary mission, hosting the Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment – IV (Saffire-IV), which provides an environment to safely study fire in microgravity. It also will deploy a series of payloads. Northrop Grumman flight controllers in Dulles, Virginia, will initiate Cygnus’ deorbit to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere Friday, May 29.

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U.S. Cargo Craft Departing Station Live on NASA TV Now

The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured before its release during Expedition 46 on Feb. 19, 2016.
The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured before its release during the Expedition 46 mission on Feb. 19, 2016.

NASA has begun live coverage of departure of Northrop Grumman’s SS Robert H. Lawrence Cygnus spacecraft from the International Space Station.

Cygnus has been detached from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module, and flight controllers on the ground are scheduled to send commands to robotically detach Cygnus from the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 12 p.m. EDT.

Station commander Christopher Cassidy of NASA will monitor Cygnus’ systems as it moves away from the orbiting laboratory.

Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Watch Canadarm2 Release U.S. Cargo Craft on NASA TV

The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments after its release
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured moments after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm on January 31, 2020.

Nearly three months after delivering several tons of scientific experiments and supplies to the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s autonomous Cygnus cargo craft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on Monday, May 11.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s release will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 11:45 a.m. EDT, with release scheduled for 12:08 p.m.

Flight controllers on the ground will send commands to robotically detach Cygnus from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module, maneuver it into place, and release it from the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Station commander Christopher Cassidy of NASA will monitor Cygnus’ systems as it moves away from the orbiting laboratory.

Dubbed the “SS Robert H. Lawrence,” Cygnus arrived at the station Feb. 18 for the company’s 13th cargo mission with about 7,500 pounds of supplies and science experiments ranging from research with cell cultures and bone loss to demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy. Cygnus launched on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

For departure coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Cygnus Ready for Science After Departure, Commander Takes Break

The wispy atmospheric layer of the air glow
The wispy atmospheric layer of the air glow crowns the Earth’s horizon in this nighttime photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited over the South Atlantic Ocean.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship is packed for departure on Monday and will continue more science before its ultimate demise at the end of May. Meanwhile, two Expedition 63 Flight Engineers are maintaining International Space Station operations as the Commander takes a break today.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is relaxing today ahead of this weekend’s activities to ready a U.S. space freighter for its robotic release on Monday at noon EDT. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the cargo ship’s release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm beginning at 11:45 a.m.

The space veteran spent the week loading up the Cygnus space freighter with trash and preparing it for more science. Shortly after its departure, a controlled fire will be lit inside Cygnus for ongoing research into space fire safety. Next, tiny space research satellites, also known as CubeSats,  will be deployed outside the vehicle to improve space communications and GPS mapping technology.

Robotics controllers also attached the popular, but now-defunct HDEV (High Definition Earth Viewing) experiment on the outside of Cygnus for disposal. HDEV reached its end-of-life last year after five years in service providing live views of Earth to over 300 million viewers. The U.S. cargo craft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere at the end of the month for a fiery, but safe disposal above the South Pacific.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner started Friday studying how the heart adapts to a specialized suit that reverses the pooling of blood and water in a crewmember’s head caused by microgravity. They also took turns with an ongoing study that seeks to improve the detection and location of Earth landmarks for photography.

Ivanishin, a veteran of two previous station missions, then updated station inventory with the new cargo recently delivered aboard the Progress 75 cargo ship. Vagner, a first-time space flyer, collected radiation measurements and inspected the Zvezda service module’s windows.

Crew Preps for U.S. and Japanese Cargo Missions

The U.S. Cygnus cargo craft (left) from the United States departs the station on Monday. The H-II Transfer Vehicle (right) from Japan arrives at the station on April 25.
The U.S. Cygnus cargo craft (left) from the United States departs the station on Monday. The H-II Transfer Vehicle (right) from Japan arrives at the station on April 25.

The Expedition 63 crew will monitor the departure of an American resupply ship on Monday and welcome a Japanese cargo craft when it arrives two weeks later. Meanwhile, the three International Space Station residents are configuring the orbital lab for the spaceship activities and continuing microgravity science.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter is nearing the end of its stay attached to the Unity module. Robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from Unity then release the U.S. cargo craft on Monday noon EDT. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy will finalize the installation of the SlingShot small satellite deployer on Cygnus’ hatch on Sunday.

NASA TV will begin its live broadcast of Cygnus’ release and departure at 11:45 a.m. on Monday. Cygnus will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere over the south Pacific for a safe, but fiery destruction at the end of the month.

Japan is targeting May 20 for the launch of its ninth station cargo mission aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) resupply ship. The HTV-9 will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center and a take five-day trip to the orbital lab. It will be captured with the Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module for a two-month stay.

NASA Commander Chris Cassidy is setting up HTV-9 communications gear today inside the Kibo laboratory module from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). The Proximity Communication Systems (PROX) sends and receives spacecraft location and speed data during approach and rendezvous operations.

The two cosmonauts continued their set of maintenance and science duties today over in the station’s Russian segment. Anatoly Ivanishin picked up a camera for more photo inspections in the Pirs and Poisk modules. The veteran cosmonaut then serviced power tools and life support gear. Ivan Vagner started his day cleaning vents and filters. In the afternoon, Vagner photographed the effects of Earth catastrophes and studied ways to improve the identification and location while picturing targets on the ground.

Robotics, Cargo Mission and Photography Keep Station Crew Busy

63 Commander Chris Cassidy sets up an Astrobee robotic assistant
63 Commander Chris Cassidy sets up an Astrobee robotic assistant, one of a trio of cube-shaped, free-flying robots, for a test of its mobility and vision system.

NASA’s International Space Station commander configured robotic assistants today while continuing to get ready for next week’s U.S. cargo craft departure. The two Expedition 63 Flight Engineers from Roscosmos explored advanced space photography techniques and inventoried electronics gear.

Three-time space visitor Chris Cassidy is readying a trio of cube-shaped, free-flying robotic assistants for upcoming operations. The NASA astronaut and Navy captain swapped batteries in the advanced devices being tested for their ability to autonomously navigate the station and service small payloads. The program dubbed Astrobee is researching the potential of small robots to perform routine duties and monitor activities freeing up crew time for critical science.

A U.S. space freighter will leave the station Monday after nearly three months attached to the Unity module. Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship will be released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm at noon EDT on Monday completing its cargo mission.

Not only is Cygnus being packed with trash, but Cassidy prepared it for secondary missions to research space fires and deploy a set of CubeSats. Once Cygnus reaches a safe distance from the orbital lab, a small satellite deployer configuring on its hatch will eject a pair of nanosatellites. The shoe box-sized research satellites will research ways to improve space communication techniques and GPS mapping systems.

Over in the Russian segment, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner concentrated on their set of tasks to maintain station operations. Ivanishin, who is on his third station mission, started his day with Vagner studying techniques to accurately detect and locate landmarks to improve Earth observations.

Ivanishin then spent the rest of the day servicing Russian life support gear and communications systems. First-time station resident Vagner inventoried electrical gear and checked network connections throughout the station’s five Russian modules.

Cygnus Readied for Departure, Crew Trains for Medical Emergency

April 25, 2020: International Space Station Configuration.
Four spaceships are attached at the space station including the U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft and Russia’s Progress 74 and 75 resupply ships and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.

A U.S. cargo craft is one week away from completing its mission at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the three-member Expedition 63 crew focused its attention today on emergency training and orbital maintenance.

On Monday May 11, the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman will complete its mission attached to the station’s Unity module. Cygnus will serve a dual purpose after its departure as it takes out the trash and deploys a set of CubeSats for a variety of space research.

Commander Chris Cassidy is setting up a small satellite deployer, called the SlingShot, that will be installed on the hatch of Cygnus before its departure. The tiny satellites will test space communication technologies and advanced GPS mapping techniques.

Cassidy then joined Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner for an emergency drill after lunchtime. The trio practiced CPR techniques necessary in microgravity. The crewmates also reviewed medical hardware, communication and coordination in the event of a medical emergency aboard the orbiting lab.

Ivanishin started Monday morning photographing the interior of the station’s Russian segment to document spaces that could support new research gear and areas that may require repairs. Vagner explored ways to prevent science experiments or degraded station hardware from potentially contaminating the cabin atmosphere.

Cygnus Prepped for Departure During Station Science and Upkeep

The U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship
The U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship is pictured as the International Space Station orbited above the Pacific Ocean.

The International Space Station is looking ahead to its next cargo mission when a U.S. space freighter departs next month. The Expedition 63 crew is also working on variety of space research and Russian spacecraft activities.

The U.S. Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is being readied for its robotic release from the orbiting lab’s Unity module. Commander Chris Cassidy reviewed procedures and set up hardware that will deploy small experimental satellites from the outside of Cygnus after its departure on May 11. Cygnus will removed from Unity and released by the Canadarm2 robotic arm completing its 83-day stay at 12:10 p.m. EDT.

Cassidy also opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack for maintenance replacing components in the research device that enables safe fuel, flame and soot studies in microgravity. Afterward, the three-time station visitor logged his meals for a nutrition study then swapped batteries in an acoustic monitor that measures the sound levels aboard the station.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued unpacking and inventorying the near three tons of food, fuel and supplies delivered late last week aboard the Progress 75 resupply ship. Ivanishin also serviced a variety of Russian life support gear. Vagner checked on lighting systems and photographed the external condition of the Poisk module which hosts docked Russian spacecraft.

Space Health Studies Today as Cargo, Commercial Crew Missions Near

April 16, 2020: International Space Station Configuration
As of April 16, 2020, there are three spaceships are attached at the space station including the U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft and Russia’s Progress 74 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.

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.

 

Station Ramps Up for SpaceX Crew and Global Cargo Missions

The Progress 75 cargo craft stands at its launch pad
The Progress 75 cargo craft stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

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.