Russian Cargo Spaceship Departs Station

Dec. 19. 2015 International Space Station Configuration
The departure of the P60 this morning leaves four spacecraft docked to the orbital laboratory. Credit: NASA

A Russian resupply ship left the International Space Station today after 166 days attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-filled Progress 60 (60P) undocked from Pirs at 2:35 a.m. EST/7:35 a.m. UTC and will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere a few hours later for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean.

Pirs will remain vacant until Wednesday morning when a new delivery spaceship arrives and docks to it filled with science and supplies replenishing the Expedition 46 crew. Russia’s Progress 62 (62P) will take a two-day trip to the space station after launching Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:44 a.m. EST/8:44 a.m. UTC (2:44 p.m. Kazakh time).

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra are expected to conduct a spacewalk a few hours after the launch to reposition the mobile transporter and lock it in place in advance of the 62P’s arrival to the station Wednesday morning. Live NASA Television Monday will resume at 6:30 a.m. in advance of the spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 8:10 a.m.

The departure of the 60P this morning leaves four spacecraft docked to the orbital laboratory. The Soyuz TMA-18M crew spaceship is docked to the Poisk module. The Soyuz TMA-19M is docked to the Rassvet module. A Progress 61 cargo craft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The Cygnus private space freighter from the U.S. company Orbital ATK is berthed to the Unity module.

Expedition 46 Transferring Gear Before Supply Ship Undocks

Progress 60 Resupply Ship
The International Space Station, with the docked Progress 60 resupply ship in the upper left, flies over Typhoon Soudelor in August.

The six-member Expedition 46 crew worked on human research activities and unloaded cargo today. The three newest crew members — Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake — continued familiarizing themselves with International Space Station systems and operations.

Commander Scott Kelly used an ultrasound during the morning to scan Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov’s eyes. Kelly then joined new station residents Kopra and Peake and unloaded cargo from the Cygnus private space freighter. Kelly later installed radiation detectors in the Columbus lab module. Peake filled out a daily questionnaire for the Space Headaches study.

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko was in the Russian segment of the orbital lab getting the Progress 60 resupply ship ready for its undocking early Saturday morning. Malenchenko transferred gear and supplies from the new Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that arrived Tuesday. Malenchenko, who is on his fourth station mission, also photographed the condition of the Soyuz docking cone for inspection on the ground.

New Crew Getting Up to Speed on the Station

Dec. 15, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 15, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

The new Expedition 46 trio aboard the International Space Station is settling in for a six-month mission and getting right to work. They arrived Tuesday morning, had a quick safety briefing and rested up before their first full day aboard the orbital laboratory.

New Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake worked throughout Wednesday familiarizing themselves with station systems and emergency procedures. During the afternoon Kopra began unloading the new Cygnus private cargo ship while Peake worked on NanoRacks gear and life support hardware. Malenchenko began unloading science experiments, including the Biosignal human cell study, and other supplies from the new Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are over nine months into their mission aboard the station. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov has been with the crew since September. Kelly and Volkov paired up for eye exams today as part of the Ocular Health study. Kornienko assisted Malenchenko with the Soyuz cargo transfers. He also explored how vibrations affect the station structure caused by crew activities such as spacewalks, vehicle dockings and exercise.

Soyuz Approaches Station
ISS046e001535 (12/15/2015) — Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko manually docked the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft to the Rassvet module bringing he and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake to the International Space Station. The solar array of the Cygnus cargo craft is seen in the foreground.

Crew Enters Soyuz and Closes Hatch Before Undocking

Soyuz Spacecraft
The Soyuz spacecraft returning the Expedition 45 trio to Earth is in between the new Cygnus cargo craft and the Progress 60 resupply craft. Credit: NASA TV

At 1:32 a.m. EST, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-17M spacecraft. Expedition 45 Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are preparing to undock at 4:49 a.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 4:30 a.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 7:19 a.m. and will lead to a landing at 8:12 a.m. northeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 7 a.m.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using @Space_Station.

Cygnus Attached to Station Ready for Business

Dec. 9, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 9, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:26 a.m. EST. Cygnus will be the first cargo ship to be berthed to the Earth-facing port on the Unity module.

The spacecraft’s arrival will support the crew members’ research off the Earth to benefit the Earth. The Cygnus is delivering more than 7,000 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 45 and 46. Science payloads aboard Cygnus will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Cygnus also will deliver replacement cargo items including a set of Microsoft HoloLens devices for use in NASA’s Sidekick project, a safety jet pack astronauts wear during spacewalks known as SAFER, and high pressure nitrogen and oxygen tanks to plug into the station’s air supply network.

The spacecraft will spend more than a month attached to the space station before its destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in January 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

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren Captures Cygnus Spacecraft

Cygnus Captured
This rendering from a real-time computer animation shows the Cygnus spacecraft at the time of its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

Using the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren successfully captured Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle at 6:19 a.m. EST. 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 8:00 a.m. Installation of the Cygnus spacecraft to the space station will occur at about 9:45 a.m.

Among the more than 7,000 pounds of supplies aboard Cygnus are numerous science and research investigations and technology demonstrations, including a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; several other educational and technology demonstration CubeSats; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

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

Crew Gets Ready for Cygnus Arrival Today

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren takes images of the Earth on Dec. 1, 2015 from the Cupola. Lindgren will operate the Canadarm2 from inside the Cupola to capture Cygnus.

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren is making final preparations for the arrival of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle. NASA Television is providing live coverage, which also can be seen online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Lindgren will command the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to reach out and capture the Cygnus. Capture is scheduled for approximately 6:10 a.m. EST. The Cygnus launched aboard an Atlas V rocket at 4:44 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Since then, the spacecraft has performed a series of engine burns to fine-tune its course for arrival at the station.

The unpiloted cargo craft, named S.S. Deke Slayton II, in honor of the late NASA astronaut, Donald “Deke” K. Slayton, is loaded with more than 7,000 pounds of research and supplies, including water, spare parts and experiment hardware, for the six-person International Space Station crew.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via @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

Cygnus Safely in Orbit and Headed to Space Station

Cygnus Ascent into Space
Commander Scott Kelly saw the Cygnus spacecraft heading to space Sunday after its launch from Florida at 4:44 p.m. EST/9:44 p.m. UTC. He photographed the spacecraft rising above the Earth’s horizon from the International Space Station and posted it to Twitter. Credit: @StationCDRKelly

At 6:04 p.m. EST, the twin UltraFlex solar arrays of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft completed deployment. All of Cygnus’ systems are reported in excellent shape.

The spacecraft is set to arrive at the International Space Station on Wednesday, Dec. 9. NASA crew members Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly will use the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus at about 6:10 a.m. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and grapple of Cygnus will begin at 4:45 a.m.

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and #Cygnus.

Cygnus Launches on Delivery Mission to Space Station

The Atlas V Rocket Launches
The Atlas V Rocket launches from Florida carrying the Cygnus spacecraft in to orbit. Credit: NASA TV

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft lifted off at 4:44 p.m. EST on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket en route to the International Space Station. At the time of launch, the International Space Station was traveling over the Atlantic Ocean, north of Bermuda.

The cargo includes dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46.

Favorable Weather for Cygnus Liftoff Today at 70% Chance

Atlas V Rocket with Cygnus Spacecraft
The Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus spacecraft on top is seen at the launch pad. Credit: ULA

For the latest Orbital ATK mission information visit the NASA Orbital blog here… https://blogs.nasa.gov/orbital

Countdown is continuing for today’s scheduled launch of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The Cygnus spacecraft is set to lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and science investigations. The chance for favorable weather at the 4:44 p.m. EST liftoff is 70 percent.

Winds at the launch site have dropped dramatically in recent hours, but are predicted to increase slightly through the launch window.

NASA television coverage has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Significant countdown milestones are below.

The cargo includes dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. Science payloads will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Cygnus also will deliver replacement cargo items including a set of Microsoft HoloLens devices for use in NASA’s Sidekick project, a safety jet pack astronauts wear during spacewalks known as SAFER, and high pressure nitrogen and oxygen tanks to plug into the station’s air supply network.

For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk.

To join the online conversation about the Orbital ATK CRS-4 launch and the International Space Station on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus.