The countdown is progressing smoothly today for the launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on top. There are no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft being worked. The weather for this evening’s launch is predicted to be 97 percent favorable.
Liftoff is scheduled for 6:22 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Cygnus is loaded with about 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food, supplies and hardware for the space station and its crew.
A launch this evening will result in Cygnus catching up to the space station on Sunday, Nov. 2. Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 4:58 a.m. by NASA crew members Reid Wiseman and Barry “Butch” Wilmore. Cygnus will be attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node and will remain in place approximately one month. It is scheduled depart the space station on Dec. 3.
This is Orbital’s third mission to the International Space Station under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
The Expedition 41 crew is working advanced microgravity science while a pair of space freighters await launch. Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus is set for a 6:22 p.m. EDT launch today while Russia’s ISS Progress 57 will begin a six-hour trip to the station at 3:09 a.m. Wednesday.
NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore reviewed operations for the Rodent Research study. German astronaut Alexander Gerst, from the European Space Agency, had a medical exam and worked a variety of science experiments.
The cosmonauts worked on their complement of Russian science and maintenance. Alexander Samokutyaev collected his blood and saliva samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis on the ground. Commander Max Suraev began preparing for his Nov. 9 departure while finishing cleanup work after an Oct. 22 spacewalk. Elena Serova assisted her fellow cosmonauts with science and departure work.
The next launch attempt for Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled for 6:22 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 28 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. There is a 10 minute launch window. NASA TV coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Monday’s launch attempt was scrubbed because of a boat down range in the trajectory Antares would have flown had it lifted off.
The International Space Station saw a pair of space freighters leave while two more resupply ships were moved to their launch site waiting for liftoff this week. Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 fired its engines this afternoon to move the station away from a possible conjunction with some satellite debris.
Meanwhile, the six member Expedition 41 crew is moving right along with station housekeeping and an array of advanced science to improve life on Earth and in space.
Astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst drew their blood samples Monday. Barry Wilmore stowed a pair of U.S. spacesuits. Elena Serova, Russia’s first female cosmonaut aboard the station, sampled surfaces in the Russian segment for microbes and worked on a physics experiment.
Cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev trained on rendezvous gear in advance of Wednesday’s arrival of the ISS Progress 57 resupply ship.
At a Launch Readiness Review Sunday, managers for Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, and NASA gave a “go” to proceed toward the Monday, Oct. 27 launch of the Orbital CRS-3 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Orbital is targeting a 6:45 p.m. EDT launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 5:45 p.m.
There is a 98 percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch.
The Russian Progress 56 cargo spacecraft separated from the International Space Station at 1:38 a.m. EDT Monday. The cargo ship has successfully completed its first engine fire to move away from the space station.
Once it is further away, the cargo ship will undergo three weeks of engineering tests by Russian flight controllers before its scheduled deorbiting Nov. 19 to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The departure of 56P clears the Pirs docking compartment for the arrival of the new Progress 57 resupply spacecraft. It is scheduled to launch at 3:09 a.m. (1:09 p.m. Kazakhstan time) Wednesday, Oct. 29, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of the launch begins at 2:45 a.m. The Progress will carry with it almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies the station and the Expedition 41 crew. Progress 57 will make its four-orbit, six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory and dock at 9:09 a.m.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 9:57 a.m. EDT. The capsule will begin a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station and begin its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 3:39 p.m., about 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Dragon was detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module earlier this morning. Mission control will maneuver Dragon into place then turn it over to Expedition 41 robotic arm operators Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA for release, scheduled for approximately 9:57 a.m.
The Dragon arrived to the space station Sept. 23 after a Sept. 21 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying almost 5,000 pounds of supplies and elements to support 255 scientific investigations the crew members of Expeditions 41 and 42 will conduct.
Release of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm will begin the Dragon’s return to Earth carrying more than 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization responsible for managing research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station.
The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 3:39 p.m., approximately 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula.
Cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev are working on their Russian Orlan spacesuits after Wednesday’s three-hour, 38-minute spacewalk. Elena Serova, Russia’s first female cosmonaut to live and work aboard the International Space Station, worked maintenance, checked the station’s air and collected radiation readings.
Astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst took turns Thursday scanning each other’s eyes with an Ultrasound. NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore checked out a hardware and control panel that will be used to communicate with the Cygnus private space freighter after it launches Oct. 27.