Space Station Update

The Expedition 42 crew members are safe and in good shape inside the Russian segment of the International Space Station following an alarm in the U.S. segment at about 4 a.m. EST.

The crew received an update from spacecraft communicator James Kelly that it’s starting to look like a false indication, either a faulty sensor or computer relay. Flight controllers are continuing to analyze the situation but for now, there is still no direct evidence that ammonia was leaked into the station atmosphere.

› Listen to the update from spacecraft communicator James Kelly here

Space Station Update

The Expedition 42 crew members are safe and in good shape inside the Russian segment of the International Space Station following an alarm in the U.S. segment at about 4 a.m. EST.

Flight controllers in Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston saw an increase in pressure in the station’s water loop for thermal control system B then later saw a cabin pressure increase that could be indicative of an ammonia leak in the worst case scenario. Acting conservatively to protect for the worst case scenario, the crew was directed to isolate themselves in the Russian segment while the teams are evaluating the situation. Non-essential equipment in the U.S. segment of the station was also powered down per the procedures.

In an exchange at 7:02 a.m. with Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, spacecraft communicator James Kelly said flight controllers were analyzing their data but said it is not yet known if the alarm was actually triggered by a leak or whether the situation was caused by a faulty sensor or by a problem in a computer relay box that sends data and commands to various systems on the station.

NASA TV will provide a live update at 7:45 a.m. ET at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Crew Opens Dragon for Business

Samantha Cristoforetti
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti takes a peek inside the just opened Dragon commercial cargo craft. Credit: NASA TV

The hatches to Dragon were opened for business Tuesday morning at 3:23 a.m. EST and the crew began unpacking critical gear that will support 256 science experiments. The SpaceX commercial cargo craft was attached Monday to the Harmony module at 8:54 a.m.

› Read more about the arrival of the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

One experiment that was immediately set up by Flight Engineer Terry Virts was the Micro-5 study. That experiment observes microorganisms as a model for humans so scientists can understand changes in a crew member’s immune system and the risk of infectious disease in space.

› Read more about Micro-5

Dragon Attached to Harmony Module

Dragon Attached to Harmony
The SpaceX Dragon is attached to the Harmony module. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:54 a.m. EST. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened Tuesday, but could occur earlier. The capsule is scheduled to spend four weeks attached to the station.

For an overview of newly delivered science investigations aboard Dragon, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Dragon Arrives, Successfully Captured at Station

Dragon Captured
The Canadarm2 has the SpaceX Dragon in its grips. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling over the Mediterranean Sea, Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA, with the assistance of Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, successfully captured the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm at 5:54 a.m. EST.

NASA TV coverage of operations to berth Dragon to the space station will begin at 7:45 a.m.

NASA and SpaceX Teams Proceeding to Dragon Capture

Dragon Capture
ISS034-E-060846 (3 March 2013) — This is one of a series of photos taken by the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station during the March 3 approach, capture and docking of the SpaceX Dragon. Thus the capsule begins its scheduled three-week-long stay at the orbiting space station.

The International Space Station and Dragon flight control teams are proceeding toward rendezvous and grapple at 6:12 a.m. EST on Monday, Jan. 12.

SpaceX reported all spacecraft systems are ready for the final stages of rendezvous, and space station flight controllers reported the orbiting outpost is ready for the commercial spacecraft’s arrival.

NASA Television coverage of rendezvous and grapple will begin at 4:30 a.m.: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

To learn more about the mission and the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station

To join the online conversation about the SpaceX CRS-5 launch, the International Space Station and Expedition 42 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISScargo, #ISS and #Exp42. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Dragon Readied for Launch, European Ship Prepped for Departure

Space Station Configuration
There will be five spacecraft at the International Space Station when the Dragon commercial craft arrives Jan. 12. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 42 crew is getting ready for a delivery aboard the Dragon commercial cargo craft as well as next month’s departure of Europe’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5).

The weather looks favorable for Saturday’s planned launch of Dragon aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:47 a.m. EST. Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station Monday morning carrying more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, payloads and critical research.

› Read more about Saturday’s launch and television coverage
› Read more about the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts worked on readying the ATV-5 resupply craft for it’s undocking from the Zvezda service module and departure Feb. 27. It will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

Read more about the launch and docking of the ATV-5 last summer.

SpaceX Readies Rocket for Saturday Launch

Samantha Cristoforetti
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti works with the bowling ball sized satellites, known as SPHERES, inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory. Credit: NASA TV

SpaceX engineers swapped out a suspect thrust vector control actuator in the second stage of their Falcon 9 rocket that halted Tuesday’ s launch of its Dragon commercial cargo craft. Dragon’s launch atop the Falcon 9 is now set for Saturday at 4:47 a.m. EST with live NASA Television coverage scheduled to begin at 3:30 a.m.

› Read more about Saturday’s launch and television coverage
› Read more about the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

Thursday’s Expedition 42 science highlights included a pair of advanced remote control experiments inside the International Space Station. One experiment is studying the feasibility of controlling robots on the ground from space with a crew member using an advanced joystick that provides haptic feedback. The other uses bowling ball sized satellites, known as SPHERES, programmed by competing teams of high school students to accomplish tasks relevant to future space missions.

› Read more about the Haptics-1 experiment
› Read more about the SPHERES-Zero-Robotics competition

Another experiment is researching acoustic methods for locating punctures on the outside of the space station caused by human activity or micrometeoroid impacts. Crew members also studied the plasma environment in the station and photographed the ongoing man-made and natural changes to the Earth’s surface.

Crew Off-Duty for Russian Holiday While SpaceX Sets Saturday Launch

Barry Wilmore and Samantha Cristoforetti
Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA and Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency (ESA) pose for the camera on Christmas day aboard the International Space Station. Wilmore is holding a patch traditionally given to astronauts following their first flight on a Soyuz spacecraft.

The six-member Expedition 42 crew had the day off and relaxed Wednesday for the Russian Christmas holiday. Meanwhile, SpaceX engineers in Florida worked to troubleshoot an issue in the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that halted Tuesday’ s launch of its Dragon commercial cargo craft.

Dragon’s launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket is now set for Saturday at 4:47 a.m. EST with live NASA Television coverage scheduled to begin at 3:30 a.m. SpaceX’s fifth cargo mission for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract will arrive at the International Space Station on Monday culminating in the robotic capture of Dragon around 6 a.m. Live NASA TV coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m.

› Read more about the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

Dragon Launch Aborted, Crew Continues Advanced Science

Astronauts Conduct Interview
(From left) Astronauts Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Barry Wilmore conduct an interview with reporters from The Associated Press and KGO-TV, San Francisco.

Expedition 42 will wait a few more days for a delivery from the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft. Its launch aboard the Falcon 9 rocket was aborted Tuesday morning with one minute, 21 seconds left on the countdown clock. SpaceX is evaluating the issue and will determine the next opportunity to launch the company’s fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The next available opportunity to launch to the station would be Friday, Jan. 9.

› Read more about the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

Meanwhile, the six member crew stuck to its task list of science benefiting life on Earth and in space as well as advanced maintenance of the orbital laboratory.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti participated in a study observing the aging of skin and tested an X-ray device that measures bone density in space. Flight Engineer Terry Virts opened the Fluids Integrated Rack to prepare samples for the Advanced Colloids Experiment-Microscopy-3 study. Commander Barry Wilmore conducted plumbing and ventilation fan cleaning tasks.

› Read more about the Skin-B study
› Read more about the ACE-M-3 study
› Read more about the Bone Densitometer Validation

Cosmonaut Elena Serova deployed dosimeters for a radiation detection study and downloaded data collected from an earthquake experiment. Alexander Samokutyaev took photographs and recorded video documenting life on the station before an afternoon of maintenance in the Russian segment. Anton Shkaplerov disinfected the area behind panels in the Zvezda service module.

› Read more about the Matryeshka-R BUBBLE study