Four spacecraft are parked at the station including the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship, the Progress 66 cargo craft and the Soyuz MS-03 and MS-04 crew vehicles.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 8:39 a.m. EDT. Crew will ingress the spacecraft later today. The spacecraft will spend about three months on station before it is released in July for a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, disposing of several thousand pounds of trash.
The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 7,600 pounds of research and supplies to support Expedition 51 and 52. Some of the research on board includes:
In microgravity, cancer cells grow in 3-D, spheroid structures that closely resemble their form in the human body, enabling better tests for drug the efficacy. The ADCs in Microgravity investigation tests drugs designed as targeted cancer therapies called antibody-drug conjugates, developed by Oncolinx.
The Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) investigation originally was operated successfully aboard the station in 2002. Updated software, data acquisition, high definition video and communication interfaces will help advance understanding of the processes involved in semiconductor crystal growth. Investigations such as the CLYC Crystal Growth experiment will be conducted in the SUBSA Furnace and inserts. High-quality crystals are essential to a variety of applications, and a microgravity environment can produce better quality crystals.
The Thermal Protection Material Flight Test and Reentry Data Collection (RED-Data2) investigation studies a new type of recording device that rides alongside a spacecraft as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere, recording data about the extreme conditions it encounters. Scientists, so far, have been unable to monitor those conditions on a large scale, and a better understanding could lead to more accurate spacecraft breakup predictions, better spacecraft designs, and materials capable of better resisting the extreme heat and pressure during the return to Earth.
Prior to re-entry in late July, the Cygnus spacecraft will also host the third Spacecraft Fire Experiment, or SAFFIRE, to study how fire burns in microgravity. Data from these experiments will help inform the development of future crew spacecraft.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft approaches its 10 meter capture point where the Canadarm2 grapples resupply ship. Credit: NASA TV
Using the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2, Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Commander Peggy Whitson successfully captured Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 6:05 a.m. EDT. The space station crew and robotic ground controllers will position Cygnus for installation to the orbiting laboratory’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module.
NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 7:30 a.m., and installation of the Cygnus spacecraft to the space station is expected to be completed later this morning.
There are three spaceships docked at the International Space Station including two Soyuz crew ships and one Progress cargo ship.
The Expedition 51 crew is waiting for a space delivery mission after welcoming two new crewmates Thursday. Two astronauts are training for a resupply ship’s arrival as two other crew members are getting used to their new home in space.
The Cygnus cargo craft will arrive at the International Space Station early Saturday after a four-day trip to deliver new science experiments and crew supplies. Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet with assistance from Commander Peggy Whitson will maneuver the Canadarm2 to reach out and capture Cygnus after its final approach. Finally, ground controllers will give the crew a break and remotely control the 57.7 foot robotic arm and install Cygnus to the Harmony module.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer is adapting to living in weightlessness for the first time, while his crewmate cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin is beginning his fifth mission in space. The pair joined Expedition 51 Thursday morning just six-hours, 10-minutes after blasting off from Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-04 spaceship. They will stay in space until September before returning back to Earth with record-setting astronaut Whitson.
Expedition 51 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Jack Fischer give a “thumbs up” as they pose for pictures April 14 in front of their Soyuz booster rocket. Credit: NASA/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin
Two Expedition 51 crew members are in quarantine today at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, getting ready for their liftoff Thursday morning. Meanwhile, new science gear and crew supplies are on orbit right now and headed for the International Space Station this weekend.
Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin is getting ready for his fifth mission to the space station on Thursday. He will ride to space with NASA astronaut and first-time space flier Jack Fischer aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft. The duo will launch at 3:13 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and take a six-hour, ten-minute ride to the Poisk module’s docking port.
Two days after Yurchikhin and Fischer dock and join their Expedition 51 crewmates, the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will arrive to resupply the orbital laboratory. Cygnus will deliver experiments supporting research into cancer-fighting drugs, semiconductor crystal growth and atmospheric reentry conditions.
Station Commander Peggy Whitson along with Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet trained for the rendezvous and grapple of the Cygnus cargo ship Saturday morning. The duo practiced on a computer the robotic maneuvers they will use to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm2.
The Cygnus spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket (left) and the Soyuz MS-04 rocket rolled out to their launch pads today.
Two rockets on opposite sides of the world rolled out to their launch pads today ready to blast off to the International Space Station. An American rocket rolled out to its pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A Russian rocket was carted by train and raised to its vertical position at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is stacked atop the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance and ready for its Tuesday launch at 11:11 a.m. EDT from Florida. The seventh contracted Commercial Resupply Services mission for Orbital ATK will deliver over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies to the Expedition 51 crew. Cygnus is due to arrive Saturday morning for a robotic capture and installation to the Unity module.
Two new Expedition 51 crew members will be seated in the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft when it lifts off from Kazakhstan Thursday at 3:13 a.m. Just six hours and 10 minutes later the duo will dock to the Poisk module to begin a mission expected to last about 4-1/2 months.
Meanwhile, the orbiting trio of Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy are getting ready for the new arrivals and continuing space research. Whitson explored how the brain adapts to microgravity while Pesquet set up hardware to collect body fluid samples for later analysis. Novitskiy focused on systems maintenance in the station’s Russian segment.
The Cygnus cargo spacecraft was pictured after it was captured with the Canadarm2 on Oct. 23, 2016.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Orbital ATK’s Launch Readiness Review for the Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus cargo resupply module was held April 15 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch managers from ULA, Orbital ATK and NASA determined all is ready for a targeted launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, April 18. The liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41 is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. EDT and there is a 30-minute launch opportunity available.
NASA TV launch coverage will begin at 10 a.m. EDT on air and streaming at www.nasa.gov/live.
Stars, the aurora and the International Space Station’s solar arrays are seen in this picture taken Jan. 18, 2017.
The Expedition 50 crew is gearing up for three different spaceships in two months to resupply the International Space Station. The crew also worked today on a variety of research hardware and practiced an emergency drill.
Two U.S. companies are getting their rockets ready to deliver food, fuel, supplies and new science gear to the crew. SpaceX is first in line with a plan to launch their Dragon spacecraft atop its Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than Feb. 18. Next, Orbital ATK is targeting March 19 to launch their Cygnus spacecraft on its seventh resupply mission to the station. Both spaceships will be captured by the Canadarm2 robotic. The Dragon will be installed to the Harmony module and the Cygnus will be attached to the Unity module.
Russia is preparing its Progress 66 (66P) cargo craft for a Feb. 22 launch from Kazakhstan. The 66P will take a two-day trip to the orbital laboratory before automatically docking to the Pirs Docking Compartment.
Onboard the station, Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet spent the day in Japan’s Kibo lab module working on science gear maintenance. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson installed a leak locator in Kibo’s airlock that will be used to locate the source of an ammonia leak outside the Japanese lab.
Commander Shane Kimbrough and his Soyuz crewmates cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov got together in the afternoon an emergency descent drill. The trio practiced the procedures necessary to evacuate the station quickly in the unlikely event of an emergency and return to Earth inside their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is moved to its launch pad prior to its launch on the Orbital ATK CRS-6 mission in 2016. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky
NASA, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are now targeting launch of Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on March 19 during a 30-minute window that opens at approximately 10:56 p.m. EDT. This date takes into account space station operations, payload processing, and range availability. Orbital ATK has contracted with ULA for an Atlas V rocket for the mission, which will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA has opened media accreditation for the launch. All media accreditation requests should be submitted online.
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo craft was captured Oct. 23, 2016, using the Canadarm2 robotic arm on the International Space Station.
Orbital ATK has completed a significant mission milestone for NASA’s next International Space Station cargo mission.
The Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) of the Cygnus spacecraft has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for processing and assembly before launch. The OA-7 mission is targeted to launch on Thursday, March 16 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Orbital ATK will launch Cygnus atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket for delivery of essential crew supplies, equipment and scientific experiments to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The 30 minute launch window opens at 12:29am EDT.
OA-7 will mark Orbital ATK’s seventh cargo delivery mission for NASA under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) -1 contract.
The newly-docked Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft is next to one of the Cygnus’ round Ultraflex solar arrays in the left foreground. The Cygnus cargo craft departed the station two days after the Soyuz arrived.
Three new crew members are in their first week aboard the International Space Station. They joined the Expedition 50 crew Saturday bringing the occupancy of the orbital lab to six humans.
The two U.S. astronauts, three cosmonauts and one French astronaut are getting ready for Thanksgiving in space. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is beginning her third station mission and will spend the traditional U.S. holiday orbiting above the Earth for the third time.
Meanwhile, new crew members Whitson, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and first time space-flyer Thomas Pesquet and are familiarizing themselves with their home on orbit where they will live for the next six months. Whitson was last onboard the station during Expedition 16 in 2008 before Japan’s Kibo lab module had been delivered and the final solar arrays had been installed.
Whitson spent several hours repairing the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) today, one of two functional toilets aboard the station. She replaced several components after a leak was detected in the WHC on Monday.