Successful Launch of Russian Resupply Ship to Station

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV
Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV

The uncrewed Russian Progress 79 is safely in orbit headed for the International Space Station following launch at 8 p.m. EDT (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned for a two-day rendezvous on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 66 crew members.

After making 33 orbits of Earth on its journey, Progress will dock to the aft port of the station’s Zvezda module at 9:34 p.m. Friday, Oct 29. Live coverage on NASA TV of rendezvous and docking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

Carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 66 crew, the Progress 79 resupply spacecraft will spend about seven months at the station. The space station was flying over the south Atlantic Ocean at the time of the launch.

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

Station Crew Awaits Russian, U.S. Rockets Counting Down to Launch

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour attached rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour attached rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Two rockets on opposite sides of the Earth are at their launch pads today counting down to liftoff to the International Space Station. Back on the orbiting lab, the seven Expedition 66 residents are busy conducting space research, station maintenance, and preparing for the upcoming departure of four crewmates.

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship is standing vertical at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will blast off today at 8 p.m. EDT with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies, destined for the station crew. The ISS Progress 79 will arrive at the station on Friday for an automated docking to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:34 p.m.

At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Falcon 9 rocket with the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance attached rolled out to the launch pad early Wednesday morning and now stands vertical. Endurance will launch four commercial crew astronauts toward the space station on Sunday at 2:21 a.m. SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari will lead Pilot Thomas Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer on a one-day ride to the Harmony module’s forward docking port.

Meanwhile, station Commander Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Megan McArthur began the day collecting their blood samples. They spun the samples in a centrifuge and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. Pesquet and McArthur also partnered up inside the Cygnus space freighter for cargo work before packing up personal gear ahead of their return to Earth inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour next month.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide are also packing up for next month’s departure aboard Endeavour. Kimbrough still had time today for computer maintenance while Hoshide worked on U.S. spacesuit components. Kimbrough will command Endeavour leading McArthur, Pesquet and Hoshide, from undocking to a splashdown off the coast of Florida ending the SpaceX Crew-2 mission that began in April.

Staying behind on the station will be Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov. Today, Vande Hei was back setting up the Fluids Integrated Rack research facility for the new the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment. Dubrov continued his research into effective space exercise methods while Shkaplerov studied the behavior of plasma-dust structures in the Russian segment of the station.

Station Gets Ready for Russian Cargo and SpaceX Crew Missions

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer are pictured before departing Houston, Texas, for Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer are pictured before departing Houston, Texas, for Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is getting ready for a Russian cargo mission and the arrival and departure of two commercial crews over the next several days. Nevertheless, a host of advanced space research is ongoing today aboard the International Space Station keeping the orbital residents busy and focused.

Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply ship stands atop its rocket today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. Loaded with nearly three tons of cargo, the Progress 79 is due to blast off toward the orbiting lab on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT and replenish the station crew two days later. NASA TV on the agency’s website and the NASA app will broadcast both mission events live.

Mission managers gave a “go” on Monday for all teams to proceed toward this weekend’s launch of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission. The four Crew-3 astronauts are in Florida counting down to their launch aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance on Sunday at 2:21 a.m. The commercial crew foursome, Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Thomas Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer, will dock to the Harmony module’s forward port just one day later.

Four space station astronauts spent Monday afternoon getting ready for their return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour in November. Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough joined Pilot Megan McArthur and Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet and practiced their undocking and departure procedures on a computer. The quartet then called down to NASA and SpaceX mission controllers and discussed their upcoming ride through Earth’s atmosphere and splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Science as usual is continuously ongoing aboard the space station. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. Next, he removed a specialized microscope from the Fluids Integrated Rack to start work on the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment. Hoshide, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), serviced samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that enables safe research into high temperature physics in space.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov spent the day in the station’s Russian segment on their complement of space research and lab maintenance. Shkaplerov studied the behavior of plasma-dust structures using neon and argon gases before cleaning Soyuz crew ship fan screens and working on a Russian oxygen generator. Dubrov had a physical fitness test then moved on and checked electrical connections between the Zvezda service module and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Science, Spacewalk Preps Ahead of Cargo and Crew Missions

Russia's ISS Progress 79 resupply rocket rolls out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early in the morning on Oct. 25, 2021. Credit: RSC Energia
Russia’s ISS Progress 79 resupply rocket rolls out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early in the morning on Oct. 25, 2021. Credit: RSC Energia

Life science and spacewalk preparations are just part of the busy schedule aboard the International Space Station today. The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for a Russian cargo mission and a commercial crew swap taking place over the next two weeks.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur joined Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) in the Columbus laboratory module for muscle scans and measurements. The duo started Monday morning taking turns using an ultrasound device scanning each other’s neck, back and leg muscles. They got back together Monday afternoon after exercise sessions and measured each other’s muscle tone, stiffness, and elasticity. The measurements are part of the Myotones study which may improve muscle rehabilitation on Earth and in space.

In the U.S. Quest airlock, NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei began configuring tools and organizing the module for an upcoming spacewalk. Kimbrough also collected and stowed his blood samples before moving on to light orbital plumbing work. Vande Hei checked carbon dioxide monitors then updated station inventory systems.

Kimbrough is also getting ready for his return to Earth next month with his SpaceX Crew-2 crewmates McArthur, Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He and McArthur have started packing their spacecraft, Crew Dragon Endeavour, that will return the quartet to Earth for a splashdown off the coast of Florida ending their six-and-a-half month space mission.

However, the station will soon host eleven crew members just one day after the SpaceX Crew-3 mission launches from Florida on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. EDT. Flying aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance will be Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Thomas Marshburn, Mission Specialist Kayla Barron, all NASA astronauts, with Mission Specialist Matthias Maurer of ESA.

But first, there will be a cargo mission blasting off toward the station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian ISS Progress 79 resupply ship will launch on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and dock on Friday at 9:34 p.m. to replenish the orbital residents. Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov are training for that mission today practicing for the unlikely event they would have to take remote command of the Progress 79. The pair from Roscosmos trained on the Zvezda service module’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU, that would take control during the Progress 79’s automated approach and rendezvous.

Crew Stepping Up Upcoming Cargo Mission and Crew Swap Preps

A vivid aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.
A vivid aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.

The Expedition 66 crew will have a restful weekend before stepping up preparations next week for an intense period of Russian resupply ship and SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle activities. However, the International Space Station residents are wrapping up the work week with a host of maintenance activities.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei worked on robotics activities in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock attached to the end cone of the Tranquility module during the afternoon. McArthur kicked off the work uninstalling the tiny GITAI robotic arm, located in Bishop, that is testing its abilities to perform routine support work saving the crew time. Vande Hei joined her afterward stowing the experimental robotic arm’s components, cleaning up Bishop, then closing its hatch.

Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started his morning flushing the oxygen generation system’s hoses of contaminants. Then the three-time station resident turned his attention in the afternoon toward assisting the two NASA astronauts with the Bishop cleanup work.

Over in the European Columbus laboratory module, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough uninstalled science hardware that tests new radiation measurement techniques to make way for orbital plumbing work. Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) took over the plumbing duties and replaced water valves behind a research rack located in Columbus.

Two cosmonauts are sleeping in today after adjusting their shifts two days ago to monitor the undocking then the redocking of the ISS Progress 78 resupply ship. The automated maneuvers saw the Progress 78 back away from the Poisk module on Wednesday night then redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just after midnight on Friday. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov were on duty checking the Progress’ systems ready to take over and remotely control the spacecraft from the Zvezda service module if necessary.

The next cargo craft to replenish the crew will be the ISS Progress 79 when it launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the middle of next week. It will dock two days later to the aft port of Zvezda where it will stay for about seven months.

A crew swap is scheduled to begin in just over a week. The four astronauts of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are due to blast off aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. from Florida toward the orbiting lab. Commander Raja Chari will lead Pilot Thomas Marshburn with Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer inside Endurance and dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 22 hours later.

Several days after that, four astronauts who have been on the station since April will return to Earth inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour completing the SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Kimbrough will lead McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet back home for a retrieval by NASA and SpaceX personnel off the coast of Florida.

Russian Cargo Craft Redocked to Station

Oct. 21, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Oct. 21, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft automatically docked to the International Space Station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 12:21 a.m. EDT Friday after undocking from the station’s Poisk module Wednesday night.

The relocation positions Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station.

A new Russian cargo freighter, Progress 79, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time). Progress 79 launch overage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will begin at 7:45 p.m.

Loaded with almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the station crew, the resupply ship will dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:34 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. Live coverage of docking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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

NASA TV Live for Russian Cargo Craft Redock to Station

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station for a docking to the Poisk module two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station for a docking to the Poisk module two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as an uncrewed Russian cargo spacecraft arrives at the International Space Station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module.

The Progress 78 spacecraft, which undocked from the station Wednesday, Oct. 20, is scheduled to make an automated docking to the new module at 12:23 a.m. Friday.

The relocation will position Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station.

Another Russian cargo freighter, Progress 79, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time). Progress 79 launch overage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will begin at 7:45 p.m.

For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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

Crew Studies Space Physics and Ergonomics Before Cargo Craft Redocks

Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet installs fluid physics and materials research gear inside the Kibo laboratory module.
Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet installs fluid physics and materials research gear inside the Kibo laboratory module.

Five Expedition 66 crew members spent Thursday studying a variety of space phenomena while working on spacesuits and continuing the upkeep of the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts, in the meantime, will be monitoring the late night redocking of a Russian resupply ship.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, also commander and pilot of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, split their day packing up station gear and personal items inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. They and fellow astronauts Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet are due to return to Earth and splashdown off the coast of Florida in early November aboard Endeavour ending their six-and-a-half month space mission.

Kimbrough also joined NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei for ongoing spacesuit work taking place inside the U.S. Quest airlock during the morning. The duo prepared the U.S. spacesuits for an upcoming spacewalk planned for after the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission. McArthur stowed hardware and checked valves after wrapping up two days of maintenance on the orbiting lab’s oxygen generation system.

Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) worked a pair of crystal physics experiments throughout the day. One study may help improve manufacturing processes, the other may advance drug production and increase biochemistry expertise in space. Two-time ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Pesquet researched space ergonomics to help engineers design future space robot and spacecraft interfaces.

The ISS Progress 78 resupply ship from Roscosmos is trailing the station by over 100 miles after temporarily undocking from the Poisk module on Wednesday evening. Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov will be on duty when it redocks to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just after midnight on Friday. The relocation maneuver will allow the Progress 78 to check the Nauka module’s propellant lines for leaks before the new science module’s thrusters resume orientation control.

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

Russian Cargo Craft Undocks from Station to Switch Ports

Oct. 20, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship.
Oct. 20, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Poisk module at 7:42 p.m. EDT today and will arrive at the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module for redocking tomorrow.

Progress 78 will back out to a distance of 120 miles from the space station for a period of just over 24 hours to allow for station keeping. The cargo spacecraft will then make an automated docking at 12:23 a.m. Friday, Oct. 22, to the new module.

NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will offer live coverage of the rendezvous and redocking beginning at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21.

The maneuver will position Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station. Progress 78 arrived at the station in July and will depart in late November.

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

Crew Works Maintenance, Botany Before Resupply Ship Relocation

An aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.
An aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.

Life support, spacesuits and botany work filled Wednesday’s schedule for the Expedition 66 crew aboard the International Space Station. The orbital residents are also gearing up for a Russian resupply ship backing away from the station tonight and switching docking ports just over a day later.

Astronauts Megan McArthur of NASA and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were back in the Tranquility module today replacing components inside the oxygen generation system (OGS). The duo started the work on Tuesday flushing OGS parts of contaminants. They closed out the work today and reactivated the U.S. life support device.

Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) spent the afternoon in the U.S. Quest airlock working on a U.S. spacesuit. The two-time space station resident verified the resized suit is fully functional ahead of an upcoming spacewalk planned for later this year.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei serviced a pair of science freezers during the morning. Afterward, he cleaned debris around the Advanced Plant Habitat then photographed the condition of the botany research facility. Station Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough of NASA, who is also commander of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, is now packing cargo and turning his attention to early November’s return to Earth of he and his Crew-2 crewmates McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour.

Two Roscosmos cosmonauts are sleeping in today before monitoring tonight’s undocking of a Russian cargo craft from the Poisk module. They will shift their schedule again on Thursday when the ISS Progress 78 resupply ship redocks to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just over a day later.

Roscosmos Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov will be on duty monitoring the Progress 78’s undocking tonight at 7:42 p.m. EDT. However, there will be no live TV coverage of the undocking. NASA TV will be on the air on Thursday at 11:30 p.m. and broadcast its redocking to Nauka set for Friday at 12:23 a.m.