Station Science Promoting Earth, Space Therapies Ahead of Crew Swap

An aurora above the city lights and a beneath a starry sky
An aurora, above the city lights and a beneath a starry sky, fades into an orbital sunrise as the space station orbited above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America.

Expedition 62 is continuing a host of studies this week exploring how microgravity affects the human body. Researchers use the weightlessness environment of the International Space Station to provide advanced therapies for healthier humans on Earth and in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan wore a specialized suit, testing its ability to pull body fluids towards an astronaut’s feet. The Lower Body Negative Pressure suit is designed to prevent the space-caused upward fluid shifts and pooling in the head that create pressure on the eyes and cranium.

Fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir measured Morgan’s eye pressure with a tonometer Wednesday morning as doctors on the ground monitored in real-time. Commander Oleg Skripochka assisted the pair with the hardware and suit activities while the research operations took place in the Zvezda service module.

The trio split up in the afternoon for more space science and station maintenance tasks. The station residents also continued their daily routine of cardio and resistance exercises aboard the orbiting lab.

After lunchtime, Morgan set up gear that monitors airflow and where particles settle on the station. Meir tended to bone cell samples for insights into Earth ailments such as osteoporosis. Skripochka serviced an oxygen generator and plumbing hardware in the station’s Russian segment.

The space station will also boost its orbit on Thursday as it gears up for a crew swap in April. Expedition 62 is due to return to Earth on April 17 aboard the Soyuz MS-15 crew ship.

The Expedition 63 crew will launch to the station on April 9 inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy will lead Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner during the 195-day station mission.

Finally, the Cygnus space freighter that left the station on Jan. 31 ended its mission Tuesday night. It burned up safely in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean after several weeks of orbital engineering tests. The newest Cygnus is attached to the station’s Harmony module where it will stay until May.

Cygnus Open for Business as New Science Starts

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir observes a floating sphere of water
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir observes a floating sphere of water formed by microgravity.

The Cygnus space freighter is open for business at the Unity module where it will stay for the next three months. The Expedition 62 crew has begun unloading over three tons of science, supplies and station hardware delivered Tuesday to replenish the orbital lab.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan opened Cygnus’ hatch a few hours after its capture and installation Tuesday morning. Afterward, the duo entered the vehicle and began unpacking and setting up over a ton of new science new experiments. The critical research is being stowed in station science freezers, activated in research racks and readied for upcoming operations.

Meir removed science freezers containing research samples from Cygnus and installed them in EXPRESS racks aboard the station. She also began reviewing operations for the just-delivered OsteOmics-02 study to prevent bone loss on Earth and in space.

Morgan retrieved a variety of research hardware from Cygnus and began integrating and activating them in station systems. The new Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell culturing facility, was installed and powered up on an EXPRESS rack.

In the afternoon, the NASA Flight Engineers joined Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos to review emergency procedures. The trio went over the steps they would take in the unlikely event of a fire, pressure leak or ammonia leak aboard the station. The veteran cosmonaut spent the majority of Wednesday on the upkeep of Russian lab systems.

During the crew’s lunchtime a series of nine nanosatellites were deployed outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. They will each study different phenomena such as X-rays from distant pulsars, atmospheric and natural events and the effects of space radiation on hardware.

Cygnus Cargo Craft Attached to Station for Three-Month Stay

Feb. 18, 2020: International Space Station Configuration
Feb. 18, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including the U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft and Russia’s Progress 74 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-15 crew ship.

After its capture this morning at 4:05 a.m. EST, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s

Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 6:16 a.m. At the time of installation, the space station was flying over south of New Zealand.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 7,500 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Here are some of the scientific investigations:

Better Tissue and Cell Culturing in Space

Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell culturing facility, offers investigators a quick-turnaround platform to perform sophisticated microgravity biology experiments. Such experiments are critical for determining how microgravity affects human physiology and identifying ways to mitigate negative effects. The platform can work in multiple configurations, allowing investigators to tailor the facility to their needs.

Mochii

The Mochii investigation provides an initial demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy. Mochii will demonstrate real-time, on-site imaging and measurements of micro- and nanostructures aboard the space station. This capability could accelerate answers to many scientific inquiries and mission decisions and serve the public as a powerful and unique microgravity research platform.

Examining Bone Loss in Microgravity

Crew members experience bone loss in orbit, stemming from the lack of gravity acting on their bones. OsteoOmics investigates the molecular mechanisms that dictate this bone loss by examining osteoblasts, cells in the body that form bone, and osteoclasts, which dissolve bone. A better understanding of these mechanisms could lead to more effective prevention of astronaut bone loss during space missions.

Fighting Bacteria with Phages

Phage Evolution examines the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure on phage and bacterial host interactions, including phage specificity for a bacterial host and host resistance to specific phages. A better understanding of the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on bacteriophages and hosts could result in significant developments for phage technology, ultimately helping protect the health of astronauts on future missions.

(Do Not) Light My Fire

The Spacecraft Fire Experiment-IV (Saffire-IV) investigation examines fire development and growth in different materials and environmental conditions, fire detection and monitoring, and post-fire cleanup capabilities. It is part of a series of fire investigations conducted in the Cygnus resupply vehicle after its departure from space station, eliminating exposure of humans or occupied spacecraft to fire danger.

The Cygnus NG CRS-13 spacecraft for this space station resupply mission is named in honor of U.S. Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence, the first African American astronaut selected by any program, specifically chosen for the Air Force’s Manned Orbital Laboratory Program in June 1967. Lawrence died in an F-104 Starfighter aircraft accident at Edwards Air Force Base, California six months later at the age of 32.

This is the second time two Cygnus spacecraft will be in flight at the same time, as the NG-12 vehicle remains in orbit after departing from the station on Jan. 31.

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

Robotic Arm Reaches Out and Captures Cygnus Cargo Craft

The U.S. Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman
The U.S. Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman was about 12 meters away from the station when the Canadarm2 robotic arm captured it.

At 4:05 a.m. EST, NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan grappled Cygnus and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir acted as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.

The station was flying over southeastern Russia when it was captured.

NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 6:00 a.m. Cygnus will remain at the orbiting laboratory for a three-month stay before it disposes of several thousand pounds of trash through its fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

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

U.S. Cygnus Cargo Ship Blasts Off to Station for Tuesday Delivery

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus resupply spacecraft launches on time
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft launches on time atop the Antares rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA TV

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the station with approximately 7,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 15 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At the time of liftoff, the International Space Station was flying 258 statute miles over the western Pacific, northeast of the Northern Mariana Island.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops. Automated command to initiate solar array deploy will begin at 4:40 p.m., about one hour and 19 minutes after launch. Solar array deployment will take about 30 minutes. Confirmation of solar deployment will be shared on the launch blog and social media at @NASA_Wallops and @space_station.

Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory around 4:05 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 2:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus, while NASA’s Jessica Meir monitors telemetry. The spacecraft is scheduled to stay at the space station until May.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 7,500 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Here are some of the scientific investigations:

Better Tissue and Cell Culturing in Space

Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell culturing facility, offers investigators a quick-turnaround platform to perform sophisticated microgravity biology experiments. Such experiments are critical for determining how microgravity affects human physiology and identifying ways to mitigate negative effects. The platform can work in multiple configurations, allowing investigators to tailor the facility to their needs.

Mochii

The Mochii investigation provides an initial demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy. Mochii will demonstrate real-time, on-site imaging and measurements of micro- and nanostructures aboard the space station. This capability could accelerate answers to many scientific inquiries and mission decisions and serve the public as a powerful and unique microgravity research platform.

Examining Bone Loss in Microgravity

Crew members experience bone loss in orbit, stemming from the lack of gravity acting on their bones. OsteoOmics investigates the molecular mechanisms that dictate this bone loss by examining osteoblasts, cells in the body that form bone, and osteoclasts, which dissolve bone. A better understanding of these mechanisms could lead to more effective prevention of astronaut bone loss during space missions.

Fighting Bacteria with Phages

Phage Evolution examines the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure on phage and bacterial host interactions, including phage specificity for a bacterial host and host resistance to specific phages. A better understanding of the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on bacteriophages and hosts could result in significant developments for phage technology, ultimately helping protect the health of astronauts on future missions.

(Do Not) Light My Fire

The Spacecraft Fire Experiment-IV (Saffire-IV) investigation examines fire development and growth in different materials and environmental conditions, fire detection and monitoring, and post-fire cleanup capabilities. It is part of a series of fire investigations conducted in the Cygnus resupply vehicle after its departure from space station, eliminating exposure of humans or occupied spacecraft to fire danger.

Northrop Grumman named the NG CRS-13 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. Major Lawrence was selected in honor of his prominent place in history as the first African American astronaut.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 13th cargo flight to the space station and will support dozens of new and existing investigations.

Follow the Cygnus spacecraft’s arrival to the orbiting laboratory on the space station blog and by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Station Crew Demos Wi-Fi Power, Sets Up For Rodent Research

The three-member Expedition 62 crew
The three-member Expedition 62 crew, sporting their mission patch on t-shirts, will be living aboard the station until April. In the center, is Roscosmos Commander Oleg Skripochka flanked by NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan.

A science demonstration for students and space research to improve life kept the Expedition 62 crew busy on Wednesday. The International Space Station residents also worked on a host of orbital plumbing and housecleaning tasks.

Radio waves generate energy that can be harnessed for a variety of applications including wirelessly powering devices or possibly beaming solar energy down to Earth. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir filmed how a flashlight powered by Wi-Fi gets brighter and darker as it moves closer or farther away from a Wi-Fi device aboard the station. The video will be sent down to students to demonstrate the technology developed by the Naval Research Laboratory.

Biology research also takes place aboard the orbiting lab and the crew will soon continue exploring how microgravity affects rodents. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan worked in Japan’s Kibo lab module setting up the Life Science Glovebox that will house the rodents to be delivered on an upcoming cargo mission. Mice physiology is similar to humans so researchers observe how their bodies react to weightlessness as well as countermeasures to the long-term effects.

Meir and Morgan also split their on life support maintenance and space plumbing. Meir set up acoustic monitors to measure station sound levels before checking on safety masks and charging spacesuit batteries. Morgan printed out housecleaning to-do lists then worked on the U.S. bathroom, also known as the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos serviced Russian Orlan spacesuit water loops and checked for leaks. After checking on water tanks in the Progress 74 cargo craft, he set up exercise research gear then photographed the after effects of catastrophes on Earth.

The Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman is counting down to a launch from Virginia on Friday at 3:43 p.m. EST. The U.S. space freighter, loaded with 7,300 pounds of science, supplies and hardware, will arrive Sunday for a robotic capture with the Canadarm2 at 4 a.m. NASA TV will cover all the launch, capture and installation activities live.

U.S. Cargo Mission Targets Friday Launch as Crew Maintains Lab

The Cygnus cargo craft departs the station on Jan. 31, 2020
The most recent Cygnus cargo craft to visit the station is seen moments before its departure and release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm on Jan. 31, 2020.

The next U.S. cargo mission is now targeting Friday for its launch to replenish the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the Expedition 62 crew is continuing the upkeep of orbital lab systems.

Mission managers are waiting for the weather to clear up at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia so they can launch the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman. Cygnus is now targeted to lift off Friday at 3:43 p.m. EST atop an Antares rocket.

Cygnus will arrive at the space station on Sunday packed with new science experiments, crew supplies and station hardware. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will be in the cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus at 5:11 a.m. Robotics controllers will then take over and remotely command the Canadarm2 to install Cygnus to the Unity module where it will stay for three months.

NASA TV will cover all the launch, capture and installation activities live. View the NASA TV schedule here.

Morgan started his day replacing components inside an oxygen generator in the Tranquility module. Afterward, he serviced the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device that enables astronauts to maintain muscle strength during long-term space missions.

Jessica Meir of NASA worked throughout the day in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module. She was shifting cargo to access an area behind the Human Research Facility-2 rack. Once there, she installed cables that link to the Bartomoleo external payload facility on the outside of Columbus.

Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos began Tuesday transferring water from a docked Progress 74 cargo craft to a station tank. Skripochka, who is on his third station flight, then spent the afternoon cleaning cooling loops on a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits.

Crew Studies DNA and Space Flames Before Cargo Ship Launch

Expedition 62 crew portrait with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. Image Credit: NASA
Expedition 62 crew portrait with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. Image Credit: NASA

The three-member Expedition 62 crew is getting ready for a resupply mission scheduled to launch to the International Space Station no earlier than Thursday, Feb. 13, at 4:06 p.m. EST due to an unfavorable weather forecast in the next few days and the time required to address a ground support issue. The crewmates from the United States and Russia also ran advanced space science experiments while maintaining orbital lab systems.

NASA Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir split their time today between robotics training and microgravity research. The two U.S. astronauts used a computer to practice the techniques they will use to capture the Cygnus space freighter Saturday, Feb. 15.

Morgan will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and grapple Cygnus. Meir will back him up and monitor the Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous. Ground controllers will take over the Canadarm2 after Cygnus’ capture and remotely install the cargo craft to the Unity module.

Morgan started his day sequencing DNA for the Genes in Space-6 experiment. The experiment places microbial samples inside the hand-held Biomolecule Sequencer to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based DNA sequencing. Results could boost astrobiology research on not just the space station, but also future spacecraft and planetary bodies.

Meir also spent a portion of Monday researching how flames spread in space. She burned a variety of fabric and acrylic samples inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the Confined Combustion study. The research will inform the design and development of fire safety products and procedures for humans on Earth and in space.

Commander Oleg Skripochka spent his day in the Russian segment of the station. The veteran cosmonaut primarily serviced life-support gear before checking components on the Progress 74 cargo craft and updating an inventory database.

U.S. Cygnus Cargo Craft Launch Scrubbed

Cygnus-13 Scrubbed Launch
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with a Cygnus resupply spacecraft Sunday February 2, 2020 after a scrubbed launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA TV

Northrop Grumman scrubbed tonight’s Antares launch after off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor. Northrop Grumman and NASA have set the next launch attempt to no earlier than Feb. 13 at 4:05 p.m. ET, due to an unfavorable weather forecast over the next two days, and time required to address the ground support issue. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30pm ET. Teams will refresh 24-hour late load cargo the day before. The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft remain healthy. A launch Thursday would result in a capture of Cygnus on Saturday, Feb. 15. For more information on this mission, please visit www.nasa.gov/northropgrumman and NASA’s homepage .

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasts Launch of U.S. Cygnus Cargo Craft

Northrop Grumman Antares CRS-13 Prelaunch
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is seen at sunrise as the Moon sets on Pad-0A, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The latest weather forecast is 100% favorable for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Northrop Grumman’s 13th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver more than 7,500 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station at 5:39 p.m. EST on Feb. 9.

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.