The Station Crew Welcomed Four New Members

The Expedition 66 crew poses for a photo after SpaceX Crew-3's arrival to station.
The Expedition 66 crew poses for a photo after SpaceX Crew-3’s arrival to station. Credit: NASA TV

Running more than 30 minutes ahead of schedule, the SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts docked to the International Space Station at 6:32 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 11, less than 24 hours after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer opened the hatch of their Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance at 8:25 p.m. and participated in a welcome ceremony with their new Expedition 66 crewmates at 9 p.m.

On board to welcome them were fellow astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. Joining the welcome ceremony from Earth were Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations, NASA and Josef Aschbacher, ESA director-general.

The newest crew to the microgravity laboratory is the agency’s third crew rotation mission with SpaceX and will remain on board until April 2022 as a part of Expedition 66.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Crew Dragon Endurance Docked to the Space Station

Nov. 11, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships.
Nov. 11, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer arrived at the International Space Station at 6:32 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 11. Crew Dragon Endurance docked to the orbital complex while the spacecrafts were flying 260 miles above the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Endurance and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for approximately 8:10 p.m.

Chari, Marshburn, Barron, and Maurer will join the Expedition 66 crew of Mark Vande Hei of NASA and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos for a planned six-month mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

The welcome ceremony is at approximately 8:45 p.m. with time subject to change.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission lifted off at 9:03 p.m. on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the agency’s third crew rotation mission.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Watch SpaceX Crew-3 Arrival Live on NASA TV

The astronauts of SpaceX Crew-3 pose for a portrait in their suits during a training session inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. From left are, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron.
The astronauts of SpaceX Crew-3 pose for a portrait in their suits during a training session inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. From left are, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron. Credit: SpaceX

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission carrying NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer on their way to the International Space Station 

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, began the final phase of its approach to the station at 5:02 p.m. EST Thursday and is scheduled to dock at about 6:32 p.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crew aboard the spacecraft and the space station will monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module. 

The hatch opening now is approximately at 8:10 p.m. and the welcome ceremony is at approximately 8:45 p.m. with times subject to change.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission lifted off at 9:03 p.m. on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the agency’s third crew rotation mission.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following  @space_station  and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the  ISS Facebook  and  ISS Instagram  accounts.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Ahead of Schedule for Docking

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour is pictured during its approach to the International Space Station on April 24, 2021.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour is pictured during its approach to the International Space Station on April 24, 2021.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, flying on Crew Dragon Endurance, currently are ahead of the planned mission timeline. The international crew of four now are expected to dock with the microgravity laboratory at approximately 6:33 p.m. EST, today, Thursday, Nov. 11.

Here’s an updated timeline of mission activities:

All times approximate (EST)

3:31 p.m. – Mattias Maurer Downlink Event for Germany

5:06 p.m. – Approach Initiation Burn

6:33 p.m. – Docking

The hatch opening and welcome ceremony also are expected to move ahead in the timeline.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission lifted off at 9:03 p.m. on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the agency’s third crew rotation mission.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following  @space_station  and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the  ISS Facebook  and  ISS Instagram  accounts.

Station Readies for Crew Departure Amid Science and Cargo Work

The city lights of southern India and the island nation of Sri Lanka, beneath the Earth's airglow, are pictured from the station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean.
The city lights of southern India and the island nation of Sri Lanka, beneath the Earth’s airglow, are pictured from the station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean.

Four International Space Station astronauts continue packing their U.S. spacecraft as they plan for a return to Earth this month. Meanwhile, the Expedition 66 crew continued its ongoing space research and maintenance aboard the orbital lab.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, who are also the commander and pilot of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission respectively, have been loading and readying the Crew Dragon Endeavour for its upcoming undocking and splashdown. The duo may undock for the ride back to Earth as early as Sunday, Nov. 7, with astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) ending a mission that began in April. NASA and SpaceX are continuing to review launch and return opportunities for Crew-3 and Crew-2, respectively.

Kimbrough also spent the day uninstalling incubator components before inspecting portable emergency gear. McArthur photographed a variety of space station tools for a survey. Hoshide replaced air filters as Pesquet organized cables and checked camera sensors.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who is over halfway through his near yearlong mission, opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox on Thursday morning and began setting up a semiconductor crystal experiment. The study takes advantage of microgravity and lessons from previous studies to produce higher-quality semiconductor crystals potentially resulting in smaller, more powerful electronic devices.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos, focused their activities today on the docked ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships. The duo checked docking components on the both cargo craft while also unpacking science gear from the Progress 79 spacecraft.

Astronauts Study Biology and Physics, Work Inside Crew Dragon

A bright aurora crowns Earth's horizon beneath a starry sky as the International Space Station flew into an orbital sunrise.
A bright aurora crowns Earth’s horizon beneath a starry sky as the International Space Station flew into an orbital sunrise.

Human research and combustion science were the main focus of the Expedition 66 crew today. The International Space Station residents are also ensuring a U.S. spaceship and a Russian module stay in tip-top shape.

Two astronauts started their day on Wednesday collecting blood to help scientists understand how living in weightlessness impacts the human body. Commander Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough drew then spun their blood samples in a centrifuge before placing them in a science freezer for later analysis.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei collected his urine sample this morning before stowing it inside another science freezer. Akihiko Hoshide, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), reviewed a variety of tests he will perform upon returning to Earth, including blood draws, a computer robotics simulation, and a fitness exam.

Vande Hei then moved on and replaced experiment controllers inside the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), a research device that enables safe experiments with fuel, flames, and soot in microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur swapped oxygen bottles inside the CIR to ensure ongoing combustion research operations.

Kimbrough of NASA also spent the afternoon charging touchscreen tablets and checking seat components inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. He will lead McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet back to Earth inside Endeavour when NASA and SpaceX finalize a splashdown date off the coast of Florida this month.

In the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov continued checking circuit connections between the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and the Zvezda service module. Veteran cosmonaut and four-time station visitor Anton Shkaplerov serviced communications and electronics gear throughout the day on Wednesday.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Crew Juggles Research and Upkeep as Astronaut Departure Nears

Astronauts (from left) Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough, Akihiko Hoshide and Megan McArthur, pose with chile peppers grown aboard the station.
Astronauts (from left) Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough, Akihiko Hoshide and Megan McArthur, pose with chile peppers grown aboard the station.

Space experiments filled the Expedition 66 crew’s day on Tuesday with a variety of physics research and science hardware maintenance on the schedule. Four astronauts on the International Space Station are also continuing to pack up as they prepare for a return to Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei partnered throughout the day with international crewmates Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet servicing research gear and managing cables. He started the morning supporting Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as he retrieved the multipurpose experiment platform from the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock.

Just after lunch, Vande Hei stowed old hardware uninstalled last week from the Fluids Integrated Rack. Finally, the NASA astronaut who is over midway through his near yearlong mission, wrapped up the day with Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency) organizing and cleaning up cables throughout the station’s U.S. segment.

Hoshide and Pesquet are also getting ready for their return to Earth soon with NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur. The quartet have been packing personal items and other cargo inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour that has been docked since April to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. Kimbrough will be in command and McArthur be Endeavour’s pilot alongside Hoshide and Pesquet when NASA and SpaceX finalize a November date for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

In the meantime, Kimbrough and McArthur have still been busy maintaining orbital lab systems. Kimbrough spent most of Tuesday reconfiguring and replacing hardware inside the Combustion Integrated Rack, while McArthur checked personal carbon dioxide monitors and deployed USB chargers inside the Harmony and Tranquility modules.

The two cosmonauts from Roscosmos, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, spent their day on several space research activities. Dubrov explored ways to ensure safe and sterile lab gear when studying microbiology on the station. Shkaplerov installed EarthKAM imaging hardware in the Harmony module then stowed plasma physics hardware after several runs of the Plasma Crystal-4 experiment last week.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Station Residents Work Science, Get Ready for Crew Swap

The waning gibbous Moon is pictured above the Earth's horizon as the International Space Station orbited 262 miles above eastern China.
The waning gibbous Moon is pictured above the Earth’s horizon as the International Space Station orbited 262 miles above eastern China.

The seven Expedition 66 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station focused on a variety of microgravity research today while preparing to split up this month. Back on Earth, four commercial crew astronauts are preparing for their launch to the orbiting lab from Kennedy Space Center.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur have been packing the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. The duo will return to Earth later this month inside Endeavour with Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet. They will complete their mission in space which began in April when they splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Hoshide, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), worked inside the Kibo laboratory module relocating a microbe sensor before checking out the console that controls the Japanese robotic arm. Station Commander Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) put on a virtual reality headset for the Pilote technology demonstration and explored the ergonomics of robotic and spacecraft interfaces. The international duo also spent some time Monday packing personal items inside Endeavour for the ride back home.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who is staying on the station until April for a near yearlong mission, spent most of Monday working on the Fluids Integrated Rack. He set up components inside the physics research device to support operations for the new Fluids Boiling and Condensation Experiment.

The two cosmonauts working in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment spent their day on cargo transfers and science module connections. Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov packed and unpacked cargo today in the ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships. The duo also checked and measured circuit connections between the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and the Zvezda service module.

Down in Florida, three NASA astronauts and one ESA astronaut of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are now targeting their launch to the space station inside the Crew Dragon Endurance for no earlier than Nov. 6. Commander Raja Chari, with Pilot Thomas Marshburn, will lead Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer inside Endurance when it lifts off carrying the foursome to their new home in space where they will stay for six months.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Russian Cargo Ship Docks to Station with Food, Fuel and Supplies

Oct. 29, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships.
Oct. 29, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships.

An uncrewed Russian Progress 79 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Zvezda module at 9:31 p.m. EDT, two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 66 crew, the Progress 79 resupply spacecraft will spend about seven months at the station.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Crew Dragon Nears Launch as Russian Space Cargo Races to Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endurance atop is pictured at its launch pad in Florida during sunset. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endurance atop is pictured at its launch pad in Florida during sunset. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Four commercial crew astronauts await their launch to join the Expedition 66 crew this weekend as a Russian space cargo mission is on its way to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the seven station residents orbiting the Earth today are headlong into a series of life science and physics experiments.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon Endurance attached at top, stands at its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Crew-3 mission, with its four commercial crew astronauts inside Endurance, will blast off on Sunday at 2:21 a.m. EDT for a 22-hour ride to the orbiting lab.

Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari, along with Pilot Thomas Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer, will automatically dock inside Endurance to the Harmony module’s forward docking port on Monday at 12:10 a.m. The quartet will then open the hatches at 1:45 a.m., enter the station, and begin a six-month orbital research mission as Expedition 66 flight engineers.

Back in space, the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship, with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies packed inside, is racing toward the station after launching Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT from Kazakhstan. Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov will be on duty Friday monitoring the Progress 79’s arrival when it automatically docks to the Zvezda service module’s aft port on at 9:34 p.m.

The Roscosmos duo practiced and reviewed procedures on a computer in Zvezda for Friday’s Progress 79 arrival. Dubrov also continued his space exercise research while Shkaplerov was back on plasma-dust structures physics research.

While the station awaits the new cargo and crewmates, the orbital residents continued their intense schedule of advanced microgravity research.

Flight Engineers Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide collected and stowed their blood samples for a pair of human research studies this morning. One long-running study looks at how an astronaut’s body adapts to microgravity before, during and after a space mission. The other observes the cardiovascular health risks of a long-term spaceflight.

Commander Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei worked in the Columbus laboratory module on different science maintenance tasks. Pesquet restocked the Human Research Facility with electrodes, needles, and biological sample kits. Vande Hei reinstalled the Light Ions Detector, an advanced radiation detection device, that provides data into the health risk astronauts are exposed to.