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 Arrives at Station for Six-Month Mission

Soyuz Approaches Station
The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft approaches the International Space Station with three new Expedition 46-47 crew members. Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko manually docked the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft at 12:33 p.m. EST to the International Space Station’s Rassvet module after an initial automated attempt was aborted. Malenchenko took control of the Soyuz, backed it away from the station to assess the Soyuz’ systems, then re-approached the complex for the manual docking. Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency flanked Malenchenko as he brought the Soyuz to the Rassvet port for the start of a six-month mission.

After leak checks are conducted on both sides of the docking interface, hatches will be opened and Malenchenko, Kopra and Peake will be greeted by Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony live on NASA Television at 2 p.m. EST: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

New Crew in Soyuz Closing in for Station Docking

Soyuz Spacecraft
A Soyuz spacecraft is seen docked to the International Space Station in 2014.

A Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carrying Tim Kopra of NASA, Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos, is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station at 12:24 p.m. EST. NASA Television coverage of the docking is live now at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

NASA TV will resume at 2 p.m. EST to cover hatch opening between the two spacecraft as well as the welcoming ceremony.

The three crew members will join Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, both of Roscosmos, bringing the total to six crew members aboard the space station.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

Crew On Quick Trip to Station After “Flawless” Launch

Expedition 46 Launch
Three Expedition 46 crew members launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-19M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The Soyuz TMA-19M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 6:03 a.m. EST Tuesday (5:03 p.m. in Baikonur). At the time of launch, the space station was flying 252 miles above northeast Kazakhstan. Tim Kopra of NASA, Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.

NASA Television coverage continues: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Below is a schedule of the remainder of the trip today to the orbiting laboratory:

6:48 a.m.      DV-1 rendezvous burn (64 mph / 93 fps)
7:32 a.m.      DV-2 burn (53 mph / 77 fps)
8:31 a.m.      DV-3 burn (27 mph / 40 fps)
9:19 a.m.      DV-4 burn (13 mph / 19 fps)
10:15:55 a.m. Automated Rendezvous & Docking (AR&D) start
10:24 a.m.    AR&D Impulse 1 (19 mph / 28 fps)
10:25 a.m.    US Motion Control Sys handover to Russian segment
10:30 a.m.    Station maneuvers to docking attitude
10:44 a.m.    AR&D Impulse 2 (.2 fps)
10:47 a.m.    Range 124 miles – establish Soyuz VHF-2 voice link
10:48 a.m.    Soyuz Kurs-A (Active) activation
10:50 a.m.    Service Module (Zvezda) Kurs-P (Passive) activation
11:08 a.m.    AR&D Impulse 3 (46 mph / 68 fps)
11:13 a.m.    Range 49.7 miles – Valid Kurs-P range data
11:34 a.m.    Range 9.3 miles (49,212 ft) – Kurs-A & -P short test
11:42 a.m.    Range 4.9 miles (26,247 ft) – Soyuz TV activation
11:45 a.m.    NASA TV: Docking coverage begins
11:45 a.m.    SCAN & RapidScat inhibit–NLT (3.7 miles / 19,685 ft)
11:50 a.m.    AR&D Impulse 4 (16 mph / 23 fps)
11:52 a.m.    AR&D Ballistic Targeting Point
11:55 a.m.    AR&D Impulse 5 (13 mph / 20 fps)
11:58 a.m.    AR&D Impulse 6 (4.5 mph / 6.6 fps)
12:01 p.m.    Fly-around mode start
12:07 p.m.    Station keeping start
12:13 p.m.    Final approach start
12:16 p.m.    Station inertial snap-and-hold window open
12:18 p.m.    Sunset
12:24 p.m.    Docking to MRM1 –“Rassvet”

  • 253 miles up & above Southwestern Russia
  • Station to free drift

12:37 p.m.    Soyuz and Rassvet hooks closed

  • Station maneuvers to LVLH attitude

12:53 p.m.    Sunrise
1:30 p.m.      Russian to US Motion Control System handover
2:00 p.m.     NASA TV: Hatch/welcome coverage
2:25 p.m.      Hatch opening & welcome ceremony

  • Includes VIP & family calls from Baikonur

4:00 p.m.     NASA TV: Docking, hatches & welcome highlights

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. To join the conversation online about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

Crew Aboard Soyuz Rocket Ready for Launch

Expedition 46 Trio
The Expedition 46 trio waves moments before boarding their Soyuz rocket. From top are Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake. Credit: NASA TV

Astronauts Tim Kopra of NASA and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos have boarded the Russian Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that will carry them to the International Space Station (ISS). All is on track for lift off at 6:03 a.m. EST. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 5 a.m. Watch on NASA TV or at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The crew is scheduled to dock to the station at 12:24 p.m. after a six-hour journey. The trio will join Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, both of Roscosmos, bringing the total to six crew members aboard the ISS after operating with only three crew members for four days.

The incoming crew replaces Expedition 45 Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos and Kimiya Yui of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), who all returned to Earth Dec. 11, 2015. While both Kopra and Malenchenko have previously worked aboard the orbiting laboratory, this trip marks the first for Peake.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

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

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

Light Day for Orbiting Crew Ahead of New Crew Launch

Expedition 46 Crew Members
Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency), left, Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), center, and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA pose for a picture at the conclusion of a press conference held at the Cosmonaut Hotel, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The three Expedition 46 crew members on board the International Space Station have a light duty day today before they welcome a new trio to the station on Tuesday. Commander Scott Kelly enjoyed a day off while cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov spent some time on microgravity science and vision checks.

Back on the ground in Kazakhstan, a new Soyuz rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome after being rolled out Sunday morning. The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft will liftoff Tuesday at 6:03 a.m. EST/11:03 a.m. UTC (5:03 p.m. Kazakh time) carrying three new crew members on a six-hour trip to the International Space Station.

Veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will command the Soyuz vehicle alongside NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake. The crew will be living and working in space for the next six months on advanced science benefitting life on Earth and future crews in space.

Malenchenko is the most experienced member of this trio with 641 days in space. He is embarking on his fourth space station mission.  He also lived on Russia’s last space station Mir and flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis. This will be Kopra’s second station residency, having spent 58 days in space as an Expedition 20 Flight Engineer. Peake will be Britain’s first astronaut to go to the International Space Station and this will be his first mission.

Cygnus Countdown Continues Amid Weather Concerns

Cygnus at the Lainchpad
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is at the launch pad in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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

Countdown is continuing and progressing smoothly for today’s scheduled launch at 5:33 p.m. EST of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Fueling operations have begun. Today’s 30-minute launch window now has a 40 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The primary concern is that wind speed is trending higher, along with continued cumulus clouds, thick clouds, and ground winds.

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.

NASA television coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. 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. 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 #Cygnus.

Orbital ATK Countdown & Launch Highlights

EST                        Event

3:03 p.m.               T-2 hours and counting

Pressurize Centaur liquid oxygen storage tank to chill down level

Start Atlas liquid oxygen ground chill down

Start Centaur bottle pressurization to flight level

Pressurize Atlas RP-1 tank to step II

3:13 p.m.                Start Centaur liquid oxygen transfer line chill down

3:20 p.m.                Begin Centaur liquid oxygen tanking

3:33 p.m.                Start Atlas liquid oxygen tanking operations

3:38 p.m.                Start Centaur liquid hydrogen transfer line chill down

3:53 p.m.                Initiate Centaur engine chill down

4:08 p.m.                Start flight control final preparations

4:23 p.m.                Start flight open loop Flight Termination System test

4:30 p.m.                NASA Television Coverage Begins

4:47 p.m.                Initiate fuel fill sequence

4:59 p.m.                Begin 30 minute hold at T-4 Minutes

5:03 p.m.                Weather Briefing

5:26 p.m.                Status check to continue countdown

5:29:11 p.m.           T-4 Minutes and counting

5:33:08 p.m.           RD-180 engine ignition

5:33:11 p.m.           Launch

5:33:29 p.m.           Begin pitch/yaw/roll maneuver

5:34:33 p.m.           Mach 1

5:34:44 p.m.           Maximum Dynamic Pressure

5:37:26 p.m.           Atlas booster engine cutoff (BECO)

5:37:32 p.m.           Atlas booster/Centaur separation

5:37:42 p.m.           Centaur first main engine start (MES1)

5:37:50 p.m.           Payload Fairing jettison

5:51:27 p.m.           Centaur first main engine cutoff (MECO1)

5:54:16 p.m.           Cygnus spacecraft separation

~6:33 p.m.              Cygnus solar array deploy

~7:33 p.m.              Post-Launch News Conference on NASA Television

Cygnus Stands Ready for Launch Today

Cygnus at the Lainchpad
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is at the launch pad in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

A new shipment of crew supplies and science experiments is packed inside the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft ready for liftoff today at 5:55 p.m. The Cygnus will launch on top of an Atlas V rocket from a launch pad located at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station Sunday morning where astronaut Kjell Lindgren will capture the supply ship with Canada’s 57.7 foot robotic arm.

The crew is busy in the orbital lab today exploring the effects of space on life and preparing for Cygnus and a mid-December crew swap.

Scientists are observing Commander Scott Kelly and comparing his body to his twin brother ex-astronaut Mark Kelly. The Twins study seeks to understand how a body in space differs from a similar body on Earth. Kelly also joined fellow crew members Lindgren and Kimiya Yui for eye checks.

Yui and Lindgren also worked with cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko preparing for their Dec. 11 return to Earth ending the Expedition 45 mission. Three new station crew members are preparing to launch Dec. 15.

Veteran cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko continued studying how blood flows while living in space. Volkov then researched the vibration levels on the station and their possible impacts on operations. Kornienko was back at work exploring advanced Earth photography techniques.

U.S. Cargo Ship Rolls Out to Pad for Thursday Launch

Cygnus Rolls Out to Launch Pad
The Cygnus cargo craft atop the Atlas V rocket rolls out to the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Orbital ATK rolled out its Cygnus resupply ship to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch pad in Florida today. Cygnus will launch atop an Atlas V rocket at 5:55 p.m. EST Thursday. The private U.S. space freighter will deliver new science experiments and crew supplies to the International Space Station crew early Sunday.

Amid Cygnus rendezvous and capture preparations, Commander Scott Kelly with Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui also worked on biomedical science activities today. The trio collected blood and urine samples and participated in a vision test to help doctors understand the effects of living in space on astronauts.

Cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko continued studying how blood circulates in space. Volkov then moved on to an experiment observing how the vacuum of space and space radiation may influence organisms off Earth. Kornienko explored new Earth photography techniques.

Lindgren and Yui are returning home Dec. 11 with Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko after 141 days in space. The three Expedition 45 home-bound crew members checked the spacesuits they will wear on the way home for leaks.