Ground Controllers Install Cygnus on Station

Nov. 9, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance and Russia's Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 81 and 82 resupply ships.
Nov. 9, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance and Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 81 and 82 resupply ships.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft installation on the International Space Station is now complete. Cygnus, carrying over 8,200 pounds of cargo and science experiments, launched atop an Antares rocket at 5:32 a.m. EST Monday, Nov. 7 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At 5:20 a.m., NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, along with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada as backup, captured Cygnus using the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Cygnus also is delivering a new mounting bracket that astronauts will attach to the starboard side of the station’s truss assembly during a spacewalk planned for Nov. 15. The mounting bracket will enable the installation of one of the next pair of new solar arrays.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until late January before it departs for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.


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.

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Cygnus Being Installed on Station Live on NASA TV

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter approaches the space station moments before being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm (bottom left). Credit: NASA TV
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter approaches the space station moments before being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm (bottom left). Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television’s live coverage of installation of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is underway. At 5:20 a.m. EST, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Cygnus is carrying 8,200 pounds of supplies, hardware, and science experiments.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the space station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is named the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until January before it departs for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website are providing live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation.


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.

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Astronauts Command Robotic Arm to Capture Cygnus

The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured moments after being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. Credit: NASA TV
The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured moments after being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. Credit: NASA TV

At 5:20 a.m. EST, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Mission control in Houston will actively command the arm to rotate Cygnus to its installation orientation and then to guide it in for installation on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation beginning at 7:15 a.m.

The Cygnus spacecraft launched Monday on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia at 5:32 a.m. This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a supply of 8,200 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft is named the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space.


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.

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Cygnus Approaching Station Live on NASA TV

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Feb. 21, 2022.
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Feb. 21, 2022.

NASA television is underway for the capture of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft which launched Monday at 5:32 a.m. EST on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. At about 5:05 a.m., NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will capture Cygnus using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA astronaut Josh Cassada will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a supply of 8,200 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft is named the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation beginning at 7:15 a.m.


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.

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Cygnus Prepares for Rendezvous with Space Station

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft has successfully deployed one of its two solar arrays and completed four rendezvous burns on its way to the International Space Station. To remain focused on the spacecraft’s arrival at the station, Northrop Grumman and NASA made the determination not to deploy the second solar array after initial attempts to deploy it were unsuccessful. The Cygnus team is gathering information on why the second array did not deploy as planned. Cygnus has sufficient power to rendezvous with the space station Wednesday, Nov. 9. Northrop Grumman is working closely with NASA to monitor and assess the spacecraft ahead of tomorrow’s planned arrival, capture, and installation at the space station. Mission teams also are planning additional inspections of the cargo spacecraft during approach and after capture.

NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and capture will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST followed by installation coverage at 7:15 a.m. At about 5:05 a.m., Expedition 68 NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will capture Cygnus with the station’s robotic arm, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup. After Cygnus capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.


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.

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Station Crew Gears Up for Cargo Mission and Spacewalks

Astronaut Koichi Wakata works on spacesuits, also known as Extra-vehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), located in the space station's Quest airlock.
Astronaut Koichi Wakata works on spacesuits, also known as Extra-vehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), located in the space station’s Quest airlock.

New science experiments to benefit humans on and off the Earth are packed inside a rocket and ready to blast off this weekend from Virginia to the International Space Station. The Expedition 68 crew is preparing for the arrival of the precious space cargo while also gearing up for a series of spacewalks set to begin this month.

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket stands at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility’s launch pad in Virginia. Attached to the top of the U.S. rocket is the company’s Cygnus space freighter loaded with about four tons of research gear, crew supplies, station hardware. Antares will lift off at 5:50 a.m. EST on Sunday sending Cygnus on a two-day delivery trip to the orbiting lab. NASA TV, on the agency’s website and app, will begin live launch coverage at 5:30 a.m.

Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada spent Friday reviewing procedures and practicing techniques on a computer to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm2 robotic arm when it arrives next week. Cygnus will perform automated approach and rendezvous maneuvers until it reaches a point about 30 feet (10 meters) from the station early Tuesday. Mann will then command the Canadarm2 to extend toward Cygnus and capture it at 5:50 a.m. on Tuesday while Cassada backs her up monitoring the vehicle’s data. Controllers on the ground will then relieve the duo and remotely guide the Canadarm2 with Cygnus in its grips to the Unity module where it will be installed for 11 weeks of cargo activities.

Spacewalks are also on the schedule this month for two astronauts and two cosmonauts. Cassada and NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio are preparing for a Nov. 15 spacewalk to ready the orbiting lab for its third and fourth rollout solar arrays. Mission controllers on Monday will talk on NASA TV about that spacewalk and two more excursions to finish the solar array installation work before the end of the year. Rubio and astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cleaned spacesuit cooling loops, checked the functionality of suit components, and organized the Quest airlock where the two spacewalkers will exit the station. Mann and Cassada were also on hand on Friday assisting with the spacesuit work.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin have also been preparing for a different set of spacewalks to install a radiator and airlock on the Nauka science module. The cosmonauts have been getting their Orlan spacesuits ready, gathering spacewalk tools, and cleaning the Poisk module’s airlock ahead of the planned spacewalks. Prokopyev is the veteran of two previous spacewalks from 2018 while Petelin is preparing for his first.

Cosmonaut Anna Kikina started Friday downloading biomedical data to scientists on Earth for analysis. Afterward, she spent the rest of the day servicing the Zvezda service module’s oxygen generator and cleaning vents inside Nauka.


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.

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Crewmates Train for Emergency and Await Cygnus Cargo Mission

NASA astronaut Josh Cassada practices cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during a medical emergency drill aboard the space station.
NASA astronaut Josh Cassada practices cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during a medical emergency drill aboard the space station.

The seven Expedition 68 crew members started Thursday training for an emergency aboard the International Space Station. Afterward, the orbiting septet split up and prepared for next week’s arrival of a U.S. cargo craft, worked on spacesuits, and organized spacewalking tools.

The station’s four astronauts and three cosmonauts began Thursday morning practicing emergency procedures in collaboration with mission controllers on the ground. The commander and six flight engineers from NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Roscosmos reviewed actions they would take in the unlikely event of several contingency scenarios including a depressurization, an ammonia leak, or a fire. They also coordinated communication protocols with each other and ground controllers from around the world.

In the afternoon, two NASA Flight Engineers, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, paired up using a computer to run through a variety of maneuvers necessary to capture Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter when it arrives next week. Cygnus, packed with 8,200 pounds of cargo, is at the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia counting down to its lift off atop the Antares rocket on Sunday at 5:50 a.m. EST. It will rendezvous with the station on Tuesday, where Mann be in the cupola to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus at 5:50 a.m. Cassada will back up Mann as he monitors the spacecraft’s automated approach.

Two astronauts and two cosmonauts have been focusing this week on upcoming spacewalking activities. Cassada and fellow Flight Engineer Frank Rubio spent the better part of Thursday swapping spacesuit components and organizing the Quest airlock for future spacewalks. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin checked parts on their Orlan spacesuits in the Poisk airlock, gathered spacewalking tools, and photographed their work for review by spacewalk specialists on the ground.

Flight Engineers Koichi Wakata of JAXA and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos focused their attention on lab maintenance activities after Thursday morning’s emergency scenario training. Wakata first checked components on the Microgravity Science Glovebox then turned off the Veggie space botany facility after the completion of experiment activities in both research devices. Kikina cleaned hardware inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module then measured her blood pressure and serviced urine samples for analysis.


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.

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U.S. Cargo Rocket at Launch Pad as Crew Works Science, Exercise Gear

Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus space freighter rolls out to the launchpad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Brian Bonsteel
Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus space freighter rolls out to the launchpad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Brian Bonsteel

The Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus space freighter has rolled out to the launchpad in Virginia counting down to its launch toward the International Space Station. While the Expedition 68 crew members await the new cargo mission, they studied blood flow to the brain, inspected space exercise gear, and prepared for future spacewalks.

Northrop Grumman’s next cargo mission is due to launch to the orbiting lab from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Sunday at 5:50 a.m. EST. The company’s Cygnus resupply ship, atop its Antares rocket booster, is loaded with about 8,200 pounds of crew supplies and station hardware, including new microgravity experiments benefitting humans on and off the Earth.

NASA Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada will be at the robotics controls ready to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm2 robotic arm when it arrives at 5:50 a.m. on Tuesday. Both astronauts have been preparing for the Cygnus mission reviewing and practicing robotic capture maneuvers on a computer. Mann will command the Canadarm2 to capture Cygnus, while Cassada backs her up monitoring its approach and rendezvous.

Mann started her day attaching sensors to herself and researching how the brain regulates blood flow in weightlessness. Observations may help crew members adjust quicker when returning to Earth’s gravity and provide insights into blood pressure conditions. Afterward, Mann joined Cassada and inspected the station’s COLBERT treadmill located in the Tranquility module which enables astronauts to maintain musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health in space.

Astronauts Frank Rubio of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) partnered together on Wednesday servicing spacesuits in the Quest airlock. The duo cleaned the suits’ cooling loops, performed leak checks, and examined a variety of suit components. Rubio later rearranged the Unity module to make space for the arriving Cygnus cargo, while Wakata cleaned up the XROOTS space botany facility following this week’s tomato and pea harvest.

Two cosmonauts are reviewing procedures for upcoming spacewalks before the end of the year. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent a few hours today training to exit the station in their Orlan spacesuits and continue outfitting and readying the European robotic arm for future payload operations. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anna Kikina spent her day on life support and electronics maintenance while practicing advanced Earth photography techniques.


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.

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Blood Work, Robotics Training, and Lab Upkeep Fill Station Crew’s Day

Astronaut Josh Cassada is pictured inside the cupola, the space station's "window to the world," 264 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
Astronaut Josh Cassada is pictured inside the cupola, the space station’s “window to the world,” 264 miles above the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday’s main activities for the Expedition 68 crew included examining how the blood system is affected in weightlessness and working on a trio of different robotics activities. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station also inspected a new toilet system and continued unpacking a new cargo craft.

The human body must adjust to living and working long-term in microgravity for a spaceflight mission to be successful. Astronauts exercise for about two hours every day and participate in a variety of tests their physiological adaptation, and to prepare their bodies for the return to Earth. Biomedical examinations are conducted before, during, and after a spaceflight, to learn how the human body changes on and off the Earth and to provide countermeasures against the adverse effects of living in orbit.

Tuesday’s human research looked at the cardiovascular system. NASA Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada started their day drawing their blood samples, spinning the blood tubes in a centrifuge, and stowing them in a science freezer for future analysis. Afterward, Cassada attached sensors to himself for the Cerebral Autoregulation study measuring how the brain manages its own blood supply in space. Results may help crew members adjust quicker to gravity after returning to Earth and provide insights into blood pressure conditions.

Meanwhile, Tuesday was also a busy robotics day. The crew members practiced capturing a cargo craft, reviewed how to control free-flying assistants, and trained to operate a new robotic arm. Mann and Cassada studied on a computer the techniques required to capture the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter, due to launch and arrive at the station next week, using the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Mann earlier turned on the Astrobee free-flyers in the Kibo laboratory module and learned how to maneuver the basketball-sized robotic assistants. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anna Kikina continued getting up to speed with using the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka science module for upcoming cargo operations.

Astronauts Frank Rubio of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) focused on lab maintenance cleaning science gear and preparing a new toilet for operations during Tuesday. Rubio opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox, which hosts numerous science experiments from physics to biology, and cleaned its fans. filters, and components. Wakata worked on advanced orbital plumbing inside the Tranquility module checking the performance of a new toilet and its components and sensors.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin were back inside the ISS Progress 82 cargo craft continuing to unpack some of the nearly 3,000 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies, less than a week after its arrival. The two cosmonauts also split their time working their contingent of space research, as well as, life support and electronic systems maintenance.


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.

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Crew Trains for Next Cargo Mission, Picks Tomatoes, and Fixes New Toilet

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is pictured inside the cupola, the space station's "window to the world," as the orbiting lab flew above southeastern England.
NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is pictured inside the cupola, the space station’s “window to the world,” as the orbiting lab flew above southeastern England.

The Expedition 68 crew kicked off the work week preparing for a U.S. cargo mission delivering new science experiments and unpacking a recently arrived resupply ship. The International Space Station residents also picked a tomato crop today while working on a new toilet.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter is targeting a launch to the space station at 5:50 a.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 6. It will arrive for a robotic capture at 5:50 a.m. on Nov. 8, carrying about 8,200 pounds of research gear, crew supplies, and station hardware. Some of the experiments arriving inside Cygnus will explore 3D bioprinting of human tissue, the impact of microgravity on ovaries, and growing repeated generations of space crops.

NASA Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada trained on a computer today to monitor Cygnus’ automated approach and rendezvous and practice its robotic capture. The duo will be inside the seven-window cupola when the science-packed vehicle nears a point about 30 feet (10 meters) from the station’s Unity module. Mann will then command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus as Cassada backs her up. Controllers on the ground will then take over and remotely maneuver Cygnus and install it on Unity where it will stay for 11 weeks of cargo activities.

It was harvest day aboard the orbiting lab as astronaut Koichi Wakata picked a small crop of tomato plants grown inside the Columbus laboratory module. The tomatoes were grown without soil using hydroponic and aeroponic nourishing techniques for the XROOTS botany study. The experiment is demonstrating space agricultural methods to sustain crews on long term space flights farther away from Earth where resupply missions become impossible.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio worked in the Tranquility module servicing a new toilet system, part of the station’s Waste and Hygiene Compartment. The advanced microgravity plumbing work required Rubio to swap and inspect several components and sensors prior to returning the space toilet to operations. Meanwhile, the older toilet inside Tranquility is still in operation.

The ISS Progress 82 resupply ship is still being unpacked after its docking to the Poisk module on Oct. 27. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin offloaded a variety of lab hardware, crew clothing, and medical kits on Monday for organizing and stowing throughout the station. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina worked on video and computer maintenance then photographed plume monitoring sensors attached to the Poisk module.


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.

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