HTV Launch Moves to Friday, Crew Looks at Life Science and Florence

Hurricane Florence
Cameras outside the International Space Station captured a view of Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour.

JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) launch of its HTV-7 resupply ship to the International Space Station has been rescheduled to Friday. U.S. time. Meanwhile, the Expedition 56 crew members focused on life science and sent down imagery and video of Hurricane Florence on Wednesday.

Mission controllers in Japan have rescheduled the HTV-7’s launch to Friday at 4:59 p.m. EDT (5:59 a.m. Sept. 15 Japan standard time) due to weather in the Pacific. The JAXA cargo craft is now planned to deliver over five tons of food, fuel, crew supplies and new science gear to the station Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7:25 a.m.

In space, four Expedition 56 astronauts teamed up throughout Wednesday to study how living in space affects microbes living inside the gastrointestinal system of rodents. Results will help doctors devise plans and treatments to keep astronauts healthy on long-term missions in outer space.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Florence is headed for the east coast of the United States and forecasted to gain strength before landfall early Friday. As the orbital lab flew 250 miles above the category four storm this morning, the crew took the opportunity to capture photo and video of Florence.

Science and Suit Work as Storms Capture Attention

Hurricane Florence
Astronaut Ricky Arnold captured this view of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 10 as it churned in the Atlantic headed for the U.S. east coast. Credit: @Astro_Ricky

The six Expedition 56 crew members started the workweek today with life science and spacesuit maintenance. Meanwhile, a typhoon and a hurricane captured the attention of mission managers and the crew alike.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold examined mice onboard the International Space Station and them today for the Rodent Research-7 (RR-7) experiment. The duo checked the breathing and mass of the rodents before placing them back in their habitat and restocking their food. RR-7 is observing how microgravity impacts gut microbes and how it may affect astronaut health.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) wrapped up an experiment before finalizing spacesuit work in the U.S. Quest airlock. He stowed science gear in the morning that analyzed the exhaled air of astronauts to detect signs of airway inflammation. In the afternoon, Gerst completed the battery charging of the U.S. spacesuits then began regenerating metal oxide canisters in advance of a pair of spacewalks at the end of the month.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) officials are tracking Typhoon Mangkhut in the Pacific while the station crew sent down imagery of Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic. Mangkhut was moving on a course near a tracking site in Guam which JAXA uses to follow the progress of the Japanese HTV cargo craft after its launch. That launch was postponed from today to a later date. On the other side of the world, the station flew over Hurricane Florence as it neared the U.S. east coast enabling the crew to capture imagery to share with the world.