Crew Prepping Station for Lettuce Crops

NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured moments after entering the International Space Station after a two-day trip aboard the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft. Commander Anatoly Ivanishin (right) films the arrival of his new crewmates.

The newly-expanded Expedition 49 crew is getting ready to grow lettuce to learn how to grow fresh food in space. Meanwhile, the International Space Station is getting ready for another crew swap.

New station crew member Shane Kimbrough is installing hardware and plant pillows for the Veg-03 plant growth experiment. The study is a validation of the tools and procedures necessary to grow plants to provide fresh food for astronauts.

He and his Soyuz crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko are in their first week aboard the station. They are familiarizing themselves with their new home in space where they will live until February.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are researching how living in space affects breathing for the Airway Monitoring experiment.  The duo were in the U.S. Quest airlock performing measurements to determine how much nitrogen oxide is exhaled and is diffused in the blood.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin is packing the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft that will carry him, Rubins and Onishi back to Earth Saturday night ending their four-month mission. They will be replaced in mid-November when Expedition 50-51 crew members Oleg Novitskiy, Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet arrive inside the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft.


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Cygnus Attached to Station’s Unity Module

Space Station Configuration
Today’s installation of the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship makes four spaceships attached to the International Space Station.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Unity module of the International Space Station at 10:53 a.m. EDT. The Expedition 49 crew will begin unloading approximately 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food and supplies when the hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Unity module of the space station is opened. The spacecraft is scheduled to spend a little more than a month attached to the station.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus was launched on the company’s Antares rocket Monday, Oct 17, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus will remain attached to Unity until a planned departure in November sends the spacecraft toward a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere.

For more information about newly arrived science investigations aboard the Cygnus, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station


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Station Robotic Arm Grapples Cygnus Resupply Ship

The Cygnus Resupply Ship
The Cygnus resupply ship slowly approaches the space station before the Canadarm2 reaches out and grapples it. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 49 Flight Engineers Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Kate Rubins of NASA successfully captured Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm at 7:28 a.m. EDT. NASA TV coverage of operations to install Cygnus to the space station’s Unity module begins at 9 a.m.


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Expedition 49 Welcomes Three New Crew Members

The Six-Member Expedition 49 Crew
The new six-member Expedition 49 crew gathers in the Zvezda service module. The three newest arrivals (front row from left) Andrey Borisenko, Sergey Ryzhikov and Shane Kimbrough talk to family members and mission officials back on Earth. In the back row from left are, Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi. Credit: NASA TV

Three new crew members are aboard the International Space Station. The hatches on the space station and Soyuz MS-02 opened at 8:20 a.m. EDT, marking the arrival to the orbiting laboratory for NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft docked with the station’s Poisk module at 5:52 a.m. At the time of docking, the space station was flying 251 miles over southern Russia.

The trio join Expedition 49 Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who have been aboard the complex since July. The incoming crew will spend a little more than four months together aboard the space station, returning to Earth in late February.

The crew members will contribute to more than 250 research experiments ongoing aboard the space station, in diverse fields such as biology, Earth Science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

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 follow activities on orbit, visit the space station Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/ISS

Follow the crew members and the station on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/nasa_astronauts and http://www.twitter.com/Space_Station

Follow the station on Instagram at: https://instagram.com/iss/


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Soyuz Docks Bringing Three Crew to Station

The Soyuz MS-02 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying three Expedition 49-50 crew members slowly approaches the space station. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos have arrived at the International Space Station. Their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft docked with the station’s Poisk module at 5:52 a.m. EDT. At the time of docking, the space station and Soyuz were flying 251 miles over southern Russia.

When hatches between the Soyuz and space station open at about 8:30 a.m. EDT, the three crew members will join Expedition 49 Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

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 on Twitter.


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Astronauts Relaxing Ahead of Crew and Cargo Arrivals

Night time View of Western Europe
Western Europe is pictured at night by an Expedition 49 crew member.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are having a light day today ahead of the arrival of three new crewmates Friday morning. The duo also is waiting for Sunday morning’s cargo delivery aboard the Cygnus resupply ship.

NASA TV will broadcast the Soyuz MS-02 space ship docking to the International Space Station beginning Friday at 5:15 a.m. EDT. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will dock to the Poisk module, beginning their Expedition 49-50 mission which will last until February.

Two days later on Sunday morning, the Cygnus resupply craft from Orbital ATK will arrive with more than 5,100 pounds of cargo, including gear to support dozens of science investigations. Onishi and Rubins will be stationed in the cupola at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Cygnus following its journey to the complex.


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Cargo and Crew Ships Racing Toward Station

Three Crew Members Launch Aboard a Soyuz Rocket
The Soyuz MS-02 rocket launches with Expedition 49 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Two spaceships are racing to the International Space Station this weekend. One is delivering about 2,400 kilograms of crew supplies and science gear and another is carrying three new crew members.

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome early Wednesday and will dock to the International Space Station Friday morning. Expedition 49-50 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov will enter the Poisk module to begin their mission and live and work in space until February.

Though the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship launched first Monday night from Virginia, it is taking a slower approach to the station and will arrive Sunday. Mission managers decided to let the Cygnus take its time on orbit and let the new crew members arrive first. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will command the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 to capture Cygnus while NASA astronaut Kate Rubins backs him up. Ground controllers will then remotely control the robotic arm to install Cygnus to the Unity module for a month-long stay.

The next big mission event will be the departure of Rubins, Onishi and cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin. The Expedition 49 crew members have been in space since July and will return to Earth Oct. 29. Ivanishin is packing the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft with cargo and preparing the vehicle for its undocking and landing in Kazakhstan.


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Now on NASA TV Live Launch Coverage of New Crew

The Soyuz MS-02 Spacecraft
The gantry arms are raised around the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft after it was raised into a vertical position on the launch pad, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The next three crew members bound for the International Space Station are on schedule to launch this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Live launch coverage will begin at 3:15 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will launch at 4:05 a.m. EDT (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time). The trio will spend a little more than four months together aboard the space station, returning to Earth in late February.

The crew will lift off in a Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft and over two days will orbit the Earth 34 times before docking to the space station’s Poisk module at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 5:15 a.m.

The original launch date of Sept. 23 was postponed due to a technical issue with the Soyuz spacecraft, which Roscosmos repaired.

Check out the NASA TV schedule online for information on how to watch live and replays.

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/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.


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New Crew Set to Blast Off After Cygnus Cargo Launch

Expedition 49-50 Crew Members
Expedition 49-50 crew members (from left) Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko for a picture after the conclusion of a crew press conference Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

A U.S. cargo craft full of science gear and crew supplies is on its way to the International Space Station after a successful launch. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus resupply ship blasted off Monday night from Virginia on a mission to replenish the space station crew.

On the other side of the world in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz rocket is set to launch three Expedition 49-50 crew members to their new home in space early Wednesday morning. The new crew will arrive Friday morning and dock to the Poisk module after two days of flight tests on the upgraded Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will live in space until late February.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi were back at work Tuesday on life science experiments, helping doctors understand the effects of living in space. Rubins scanned Onishi’s arteries with an ultrasound for the Cardio Ox study that explores heart health. Onishi also participated in another pair of heart studies including Biological Rhythms 48 Hours, and Vascular Echo. Rubins tested the station’s water supply to improve the safety of future space missions.

Commander Anatoly Ivanishin worked on his share of Russian space research and is also getting ready to return at the end of the month. He will return home with Rubins and Onishi inside the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft ending a four-month mission.


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Solar Arrays Deployed, Cygnus Heads to Station

Cygnus Spacecraft and Solar Arrays
The Cygnus spacecraft and its solar arrays are displayed in this computer representation. Credit: NASA TV

The Cygnus spacecraft’s solar arrays have deployed.

The cargo ship will rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday, Oct. 23. It will be grappled at approximately 7:05 a.m. by Expedition 49 Flight Engineers Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Kate Rubins of NASA. After Cygnus’ capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Unity module. It is scheduled depart the space station on Nov. 18.

Science investigations aboard Cygnus on their way to the space station also include commercial and academic payloads in myriad disciplines, including:

  • Saffire II, the second in a series of experiments to ignite and study a large-scale fire inside an empty Cygnus resupply vehicle after it leaves the space station and before it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere to improving understanding of fire growth in microgravity and safeguarding future space missions.
  • Cool flames, an investigation into a phenomenon where some types of fuels initially burn very hot and then appear to go out — but actually continue to burn at a much lower temperature with no visible flames.
  • Controlled Dynamics locker- equipment that can minimize fluctuations and disturbances in the microgravity environment that can occur onboard a moving spacecraft that can enable a new class of research experiments.

NanoRacks Black Box- a platform that can provide advanced science capabilities and is specially designed for near-launch payload turnover of autonomous payloads including use of robotics, new automated MixStix and NanoLab-style research.