SpaceX Dragon Mated to Harmony

SpaceX Dragon Mated to Harmony
The SpaceX Dragon is seen shortly after it was mated to the Harmony module. The Cygnus cargo craft with its circular solar arrays and the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft (bottom right) are also seen in this view. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was bolted into place on the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 9:57 a.m. EDT as the station flew 250 miles over southern Algeria.

The spacecraft is delivering about 7,000 pounds of science and research investigations, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, known as BEAM.

Keep up with the conversation about the space station at www.nasa.gov/station or by following social media at @space_station and @ISS_research.

Weather Favors Dragon Launch as Crew Preps New Science

The SpaceX Dragon and Falcon 9 Rocket
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship sits atop the Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Credit: SpaceX

Weather forecasters have predicted a 90% percent chance of favorable conditions for the Friday launch of the SpaceX CRS-8 mission to the International Space Station. Launch of the Dragon resupply ship atop the Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT/8:43 p.m. UTC from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television will cover the launch and rendezvous activities live.

British astronaut Tim Peake is training for the robotic capture of Dragon when it arrives Sunday morning carrying 6,900 pounds/3,130 kilograms of science, crew supplies and hardware. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will back up Peake during the rendezvous and capture activities. After Dragon is captured, ground controllers will take over the Canadarm2 robotic activities and remotely install the commercial space freighter to the Harmony module.

The Expedition 47 crew is still working advanced space science setting up new experiments delivered March 26 on the Orbital ATK private cargo craft. The crew is also preparing for even more science being delivered aboard Dragon. The new experiments will explore muscles and bones, fluids at nano-scales and protein crystals. The research has the potential to help scientists design newer, more advanced drugs to improve health.

Dragon Will Deliver Rodents for Muscle Study

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon, on its CRS-5 mission, was captured January 12, 2015, during Expedition 42.

The SpaceX Dragon CRS-8 mission will deliver 6,900 pounds/3,130 kilograms of science, crew supplies and hardware to the International Space Station. Payloads aboard Dragon will include rodents for a medical study and an expandable module that will be installed after Dragon completes its two-day trip to the station.

Dragon is scheduled for launch Friday at 4:43 p.m. EDT/8:43 p.m. UTC. It is scheduled to be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm Sunday at 7 a.m. and will be installed to the Harmony module about two-and-a-half hours later.

The Expedition 47 crew is getting the Rodent Research hardware ready in the orbital lab so scientists can learn how to offset bone and muscle diseases on Earth. Researchers will be exploring how living in space affects bones and muscles by observing mice soon after Dragon arrives.

The largest payload in Dragon is the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). The BEAM will be attached to the Tranquility module a week after its arrival for a series of habitability tests over two years.

Astronaut Tim Peake continued more muscle research today using specialized exercise gear and attached electrodes to his right leg and ankle. Commander Tim Kopra is collected hardware for a combustion experiment that is studying more efficient ways to burn fuel on Earth and in space. Flight Engineer Jeff Williams is training for the new Meteor imaging experiment delivered aboard the Orbital ATK resupply ship.

Russian Cargo Ship Arrives, SpaceX Dragon Due Next Sunday

International Space Station Configuration
Saturday’s arrival of the Progress 63 spacecraft marks five spacecraft parked at the Interntional Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Progress 63 cargo spacecraft docked successfully to the rear port of the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station at 1:58 p.m. EDT. The Kurs automated docking system enabled a smooth rendezvous as the cargo resupply craft and the International Space Station flew about 250 miles above Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Progress 63 arrived with more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the space station crew, after its launch Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The docking of the Progress 63 vehicle marked the second cargo ship in as many weeks to arrive at the station. Up next is the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply vehicle on April 8 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The Dragon’s arrival at the complex on April 10 will be the third resupply vehicle for the station in three weeks, resulting in some 12 tons of cargo for the station’s residents from Progress, Dragon and the Orbital ATK Cygnus ship, which arrived at the station on March 26.

For more information about the space station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Crew Ready for Pair of Space Shipments from Russia and U.S.

Cygnus Spacecraft Arrives at Station
The Cygnus cargo spacecraft is seen after it arrived at the space station and was captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm March 28.

The Expedition 47 crew will receive a space delivery from Russia this weekend. SpaceX is counting down to the launch of another space shipment on its Dragon space freighter scheduled for April 8 from Florida.

Onboard the International Space Station, the crew checked out U.S. spacesuits and advanced science hardware. The station residents also explored life science and human research to benefit life on Earth and crews in space.

Commander Tim Kopra scrubbed cooling loops in U.S. spacesuits and installed new gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack research facility. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams set up equipment for an experiment that is researching new exercise techniques for living in space. British astronaut Tim Peake swapped hard drives in a laptop computer that is recording data collected for a dark matter detection experiment.

Russia’s newest cargo craft, the Progress 63, is on its way to the station carrying over three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the crew and will dock Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. UTC. The following week, another delivery from the United States will liftoff aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying more science and gear inside the Dragon cargo craft. Both missions will be covered live on NASA TV.

Russia Swaps Cargo Ships This Week

Progress 63 Rocket
Gantry towers surround the Progress 63 rocket at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RSC Energia

A Russian resupply ship left the International Space Station this morning and will be quickly replaced Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, the Expedition 47 crew went about its full schedule of advanced space science and orbital lab maintenance.

The Progress 61 (61P) cargo craft undocked this morning from the Zvezda service module loaded with trash. It is headed for a fiery disposal Friday, April 8th, over the Pacific Ocean. The 61P will be replaced after the Progress 63 (63P) spaceship launches Thursday at 12:23 p.m. EDT/4:23 p.m. UTC. The 63P will dock to the same Zvezda port Saturday at 2 p.m. with more than 3 tons of food, fuel and supplies. Both launch and docking activities will be covered live on NASA Television.

NASA astronauts Tim Kopra and Jeff Williams explored how working in space affects detailed, interactive tasks when using a touch-based computer tablet. Kopra then helped familiarize Williams with station systems and operations. Earlier in the day, British astronaut Tim Peake assisted Williams for ultrasound scans of his arteries for the Cardio Ox experiment.

Veteran station cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Oleg Skripochka continued researching how international crew members interact with each other and ground controllers from around the world. First-time cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin explored plasma features in the Earth’s ionosphere. He also joined Malenchenko for the Biocard heart study.

The next cargo craft after the 63P will be the SpaceX Dragon when it arrives on April 10. This will be the first time since February 2011 six spacecraft are attached to the space station. The Orbital ATK Cygnus is the newest spacecraft installed at the station’s Unity module port after being captured Saturday.

Russian Cargo Craft Departs Before New Supplies Arrive

March 30, 2016: International Space Station Configuration
The March 30, 2016, departure of the Progress 61 cargo craft leaves four spacecraft attached to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The Russian ISS Progress 61 cargo spacecraft undocked from the aft port of the International Space Station’s Zvezda Service Module at 10:15 a.m. EDT, clearing the port for the arrival of a new Russian resupply vehicle this weekend.

The Progress 61 vehicle arrived at the International Space Station on October 1 with three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the station crew, and now loaded with trash, was undocked to move a safe distance away from the station for a series of engineering tests by Russian flight controllers. The craft will be deorbited on April 8 to harmlessly burn up over the Pacific Ocean.

The departure of the Progress 61 vehicle sets the stage for tomorrow’s launch of the new ISS Progress 63 cargo ship from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:23 p.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 12 p.m., and can be see online at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Launch of the Progress 63 vehicle will mark the second cargo ship in as many weeks scheduled to arrive at the station. The Progress is scheduled to dock automatically to Zvezda Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT. Next up after that — the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Dragon vehicle on April 8 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Its arrival at the complex on April 10 as the third resupply vehicle for the station in three weeks will result in some 12 tons of cargo for the station’s residents from Progress, Dragon and the Orbital ATK Cygnus ship that arrived at the station on March 26.

For more information about the space station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Cargo Missions Lined Up for Space Deliveries

Progress 63 Spacecraft
The Progress 63 spacecraft is at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RSC Energia

It will be rush hour at the International Space Station for the next two weeks as a pair of spaceships gets ready to launch new science, hardware and crew supplies to the Expedition 47 crew. As the crew prepares for the new shipments, they are already working on the latest research delivered Saturday on the newest Cygnus space freighter from Orbital ATK.

The Progress 61 resupply ship has been packed and is ready to undock from the Zvezda service module taking out the trash Wednesday morning. It will be replaced Saturday afternoon when the Progress 63 cargo craft arrives at the same Zvezda port. The 63P will launch Thursday at 12:23 p.m. EDT/4:23 p.m. UTC from Kazakhstan and will be covered live on NASA TV.

SpaceX is getting its Falcon 9 rocket ready in Florida for the April 8 launch of the Dragon cargo craft. Dragon will arrive at the station two days later. Once it is captured and installed to the Harmony module, there will be six spacecraft attached to the space station for the first time since February 2011.

The newest spacecraft at the station, Cygnus, arrived Saturday loaded with new science including the Gecko Gripper experiment. The crew began work on the advanced adhesive study today that could enable new touch-to-stick methods and catch and release technologies such as robotic crawlers that walk and work on the outside of spacecraft.

Cygnus Installed to Station’s Unity Module

International Space Station Configuration
the International Space Station’s configuration consists of five spacecraft docked to the orbital laboratory including the new Cygnus cargo ship installed to the Unity module. Credit: NASA

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 10:52 a.m. EDT.

The spacecraft’s arrival will support the crew members’ research off the Earth to benefit the Earth. The Cygnus is delivering more than 7,700 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory to support dozens of approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 47 and 48.

Beginning with this mission, Cygnus is equipped with a NanoRacks External Cygnus Deployer for CubeSats that will provide opportunities for small satellites to be deployed from Cygnus after the vehicle departs from the ISS.

The spacecraft will spend more than a month attached to the space station before separating from the station. After completion of its primary ISS resupply mission, Cygnus depart a safe distance from the station before deploying the satellites, and begin its destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in May 2016, disposing of about 3,000 pounds of trash.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

Robotic Arm Grabs Space Delivery After Three Day Mission

Cygnus Capture
A computer overlay with engineering data provides video of the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvering to capture the Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter. Credit: NASA TV

Using the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra successfully captured Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle at 6:51 a.m. EDT. The space station crew and the robotics officer in mission control in Houston will position Cygnus for installation to the orbiting laboratory’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module.

NASA TV coverage of the installation will begin at 9:15 a.m. Installation of the Cygnus spacecraft to the space station is expected to be completed by 9:25 a.m.

Among the more than 7,700 pounds of supplies aboard Cygnus are numerous science and research investigations and technology demonstrations, including Saffire-I, which will provide a new way to study a large fire on an exploration craft. Such studies have not been possible in the past because the risks for performing such studies on spacecraft with astronauts aboard are too high.

Saffire-1 will remain on the spacecraft once all the other supplies are unloaded, and the vehicle will be attached to the space station for about two months. Once it departs and the spacecraft is a safe distance from the space station, engineers will remotely conduct the first Saffire experiment before the Cygnus’ destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Before detaching from the station, Cygnus will also be filled with about 3,000 pounds of trash, which will be burned up over the Pacific Ocean.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus.