Cygnus Bolted to Station for Three Month Stay

April 22, 2017: International Space Station Configuration
Four spacecraft are parked at the station including the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship, the Progress 66 cargo craft and the Soyuz MS-03 and MS-04 crew vehicles.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 8:39 a.m. EDT. Crew will ingress the spacecraft later today. The spacecraft will spend about three months on station before it is released in July for a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, disposing of several thousand pounds of trash.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 7,600 pounds of research and supplies to support Expedition 51 and 52. Some of the research on board includes:

  • In microgravity, cancer cells grow in 3-D, spheroid structures that closely resemble their form in the human body, enabling better tests for drug the efficacy. The ADCs in Microgravity investigation tests drugs designed as targeted cancer therapies called antibody-drug conjugates, developed by Oncolinx.
  • The Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) investigation originally was operated successfully aboard the station in 2002. Updated software, data acquisition, high definition video and communication interfaces will help advance understanding of the processes involved in semiconductor crystal growth. Investigations such as the CLYC Crystal Growth experiment will be conducted in the SUBSA Furnace and inserts. High-quality crystals are essential to a variety of applications, and a microgravity environment can produce better quality crystals.
  • The Thermal Protection Material Flight Test and Reentry Data Collection (RED-Data2) investigation studies a new type of recording device that rides alongside a spacecraft as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere, recording data about the extreme conditions it encounters. Scientists, so far, have been unable to monitor those conditions on a large scale, and a better understanding could lead to more accurate spacecraft breakup predictions, better spacecraft designs, and materials capable of better resisting the extreme heat and pressure during the return to Earth.

Prior to re-entry in late July, the Cygnus spacecraft will also host the third Spacecraft Fire Experiment, or SAFFIRE, to study how fire burns in microgravity. Data from these experiments will help inform the development of future crew spacecraft.

Learn more about the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission by going to the mission home page at: http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list, please email heo-pao@lists.nasa.gov.


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Hatches Open, Station Crew Expands to Five

Expedition 51 Crew Greeting Ceremony
New Expedition 51 crew members (front row, from left) Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer talk to family members on the ground shortly after arriving and entering the space station. In the back from left are Oleg Novitskiy, Commander Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet. Credit: NASA TV

Two new crew members are aboard the International Space Station. The hatches on the space station and Soyuz MS-04 opened at 11:25 a.m. EDT, marking the arrival to the orbiting laboratory for NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Along with Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), the arriving 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:

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New Expedition 51 Duo Docks to Station

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks
The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft is pictured a few meters away before docking to the Poisk module with Expedition 51 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer aboard. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos have docked to the International Space Station’s Poisk module in their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft at 9:18 a.m. EDT.

NASA TV will resume at 10:45 a.m. for coverage of hatch opening. When hatches between the Soyuz and space station open at approximately 11:05 a.m., the two crew members will join Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA and and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), who have been aboard the complex since November.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

http://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.

 

Expedition 51 Duo Launches on Express Trip to Station

Soyuz MS-04 Launch
The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft launches to the International Space Station carrying Expedition 51 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani/NASA TV

The Soyuz MS-04 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:13 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 20 (1:13 p.m. Baikonur time). At the time of launch, the space station was flying about 250 miles over northeast Kazakhstan near the southern Russian border. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikin of Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.

The pair will travel on a fast-track, six-hour course to the space station and dock to the Poisk module at 9:23 a.m. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 8:30 a.m. Once at the station, they will be welcomed by Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency). Hatches between the Soyuz and space station will open at approximately 11:05 a.m. NASA TV coverage of hatch opening and welcome ceremonies will begin at 10:45 a.m.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

http://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.

New Crew Ready for Launch as Cygnus Races to Station

Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer
Expedition 51 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Jack Fischer give a “thumbs up” as they pose for pictures April 14 in front of their Soyuz booster rocket. Credit: NASA/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin

Two Expedition 51 crew members are in quarantine today at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, getting ready for their liftoff Thursday morning. Meanwhile, new science gear and crew supplies are on orbit right now and headed for the International Space Station this weekend.

Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin is getting ready for his fifth mission to the space station on Thursday. He will ride to space with NASA astronaut and first-time space flier Jack Fischer aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft. The duo will launch at 3:13 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and take a six-hour, ten-minute ride to the Poisk module’s docking port.

Two days after Yurchikhin and Fischer dock and join their Expedition 51 crewmates, the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will arrive to resupply the orbital laboratory. Cygnus will deliver experiments supporting research into cancer-fighting drugs, semiconductor crystal growth and atmospheric reentry conditions.

Station Commander Peggy Whitson along with Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet trained for the rendezvous and grapple of the Cygnus cargo ship Saturday morning. The duo practiced on a computer the robotic maneuvers they will use to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm2.

U.S., Russian Rockets Rollout for Cargo and Crew Deliveries

Cygnus and Soyuz Spacecraft
The Cygnus spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket (left) and the Soyuz MS-04 rocket rolled out to their launch pads today.

Two rockets on opposite sides of the world rolled out to their launch pads today ready to blast off to the International Space Station. An American rocket rolled out to its pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A Russian rocket was carted by train and raised to its vertical position at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft is stacked atop the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance and ready for its Tuesday launch at 11:11 a.m. EDT from Florida. The seventh contracted Commercial Resupply Services mission for Orbital ATK will deliver over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies to the Expedition 51 crew. Cygnus is due to arrive Saturday morning for a robotic capture and installation to the Unity module.

Two new Expedition 51 crew members will be seated in the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft when it lifts off from Kazakhstan Thursday at 3:13 a.m. Just six hours and 10 minutes later the duo will dock to the Poisk module to begin a mission expected to last about 4-1/2 months.

Meanwhile, the orbiting trio of Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy are getting ready for the new arrivals and continuing space research. Whitson explored how the brain adapts to microgravity while Pesquet set up hardware to collect body fluid samples for later analysis. Novitskiy focused on systems maintenance in the station’s Russian segment.

NASA is Ready For Tuesday Cygnus Launch

The Cygnus cargo spacecraft
The Cygnus cargo spacecraft was pictured after it was captured with the Canadarm2 on Oct. 23, 2016.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Orbital ATK’s Launch Readiness Review for the Atlas V rocket with the Cygnus cargo resupply module was held April 15 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch managers from ULA, Orbital ATK and NASA determined all is ready for a targeted launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, April 18. The liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41 is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. EDT and there is a 30-minute launch opportunity available.

NASA TV launch coverage will begin at 10 a.m. EDT on air and streaming at www.nasa.gov/live.

Ten minutes prior to liftoff, NASA TV’s YouTube channel will debut full, 360 coverage of the launch at http://youtube.com/nasatelevision. Learn more about the 360 video coverage at: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/watch-world-s-first-live-360-degree-video-of-rocket-launch-april-18.

Follow progress on Orbital ATK’s seventh commercial resupply services mission for NASA to the space station at www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this list, please email heo-pao@lists.nasa.gov.

Computer Upgrades Ahead of Crew and Cargo Arrivals

Night Image from the Space Station
This night image from the space station captures sparkling cities and a sliver of daylight framing the northern hemisphere.

The three International Space Station residents upgraded computer hardware and software today. The crew is also heading into the weekend preparing for the arrival of a new crew and a new cargo shipment.

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet replaced outdated routers this morning with new ones providing expanded capabilities in the station’s U.S. segment. Whitson was in the Destiny lab module swapping routers while Pesquet was inside the Harmony module performing the computer maintenance. The router swaps and software updates were done to get ready for the arrival of the next station crew.

Expedition 51 will expand by two crew members when a veteran Roscosmos cosmonaut and a first time NASA space-flier arrive on Thursday. Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft and take a six-hour, four-orbit ride before docking to the Poisk module. The duo will begin a mission expected to last about 4-1/2 months.

Orbital ATK is getting ready to roll out its Cygnus spacecraft loaded with over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies. Cygnus is scheduled to launch Tuesday at 11:11 a.m. and take a four-day delivery trip before being captured by the Canadarm2 and installed to the Unity module.

Station Trio Works High-Flying Science and Maintenance

oleg Novitskiy and Peggy Whitson
Expedition 51 crewmates Oleg Novitskiy and Peggy Whitson pause for a portrait during a busy day aboard the station.

Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy juggled a wide variety of space science and human research Thursday. The Expedition 51 trio also switched roles from orbital scientists to high-flying technicians maintaining the systems of the International Space Station.

Whitson started the day testing her fine motor skills to help researchers understand space adaptation and potentially design future touch-based devices for astronauts. The commander then spent the afternoon on space plumbing and worked on the Water Recovery System that converts urine and sweat into clean drinking water.

Pesquet began his morning observing what happens to materials heated to extreme temperatures. The Electrostatic Levitation Furnace can reveal combustion properties and synthesize materials that are very difficult to produce on Earth. In the afternoon, he studied the different phases of metallic alloys in the Material Science Research Rack.

Novitskiy, who is on his second station mission, worked throughout the day on troubleshooting a computer issue in the Zarya cargo module. Towards the end of the day, he charged computer batteries inside the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft and flushed water tanks into the Progress 66 cargo craft.

Expedition 51 Ramps Up for New Crew and Cargo

Expedition 51 Crew Members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer
Expedition 51 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer pose in front of the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft they will launch in April 20. Credit: NASA/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin

The three Expedition 51 crew members aboard the International Space Station are waiting for a new cargo shipment and a new crew to arrive next week. The orbiting trio are also performing human research and working on U.S. spacesuits.

A pair of spaceships are due next week at the space station. The Orbital ATK Cygnus will launch April 18 on a four-day trip to deliver over 7,600 pounds science gear and crew supplies. On April 20, a pair of new Expedition 51 crew members will blast off in the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft on a six-hour ride to the station’s Poisk module.

Commander Peggy Whitson is continuing to explore how new lights installed in the station are affecting crew health and wellness. She is documenting her sleep patterns and participating in cognition and visual tests for the Lighting Effects study.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet started his day conducting a Fine Motor Skills test. The study is helping scientists understand how astronauts adapt to touch-based technologies that could influence the development of mobile devices and spacecraft piloting interfaces.

Pesquet turned his attention to spacesuit maintenance Wednesday afternoon. He dumped cooling water and purged gas buildup from the water tanks inside the suits. The work is being done ahead of a planned May 12 spacewalk to replace an avionics box to control science experiments installed outside the station.