Crew Goes into Thanksgiving with Spacewalk and Dragon Preps

The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia's island state of Tasmania.
The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

Four Expedition 68 astronauts will relax on Thanksgiving day as three cosmonauts continue preparing for a spacewalk on Friday. The International Space Station residents are also expecting a space delivery this weekend bringing new roll-out solar arrays and science experiments.

Three NASA astronauts and one astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spent Wednesday performing numerous research, cargo, and maintenance tasks. The quartet will also be off-duty the next day observing the U.S. holiday before going into a busy weekend.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio turned on the Ultrasound 2 device on Wednesday and scanned the leg, neck, and shoulder veins of JAXA Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata to observe the effects of microgravity on humans. Earlier, Rubio had partnered with fellow NASA astronaut Josh Cassada and inspected spacewalking tethers before participating in a NanoRacks botany experiment. Wakata checked ethernet connections inside the Columbus laboratory module.

Cassada began his day filming a demonstration showing how to measure the mass of everyday objects in weightlessness. Afterward, he unpacked cargo from the Cygnus space freighter that arrived on Nov. 9. NASA Flight Engineer Nicole Mann spent most of Wednesday working on life support maintenance in the Harmony module. She wrapped up her day organizing cargo that will be packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for return to Earth after it arrives in a few days.

The Dragon resupply ship is attached to the top of the Falcon 9 rocket and is standing at the launch pad targeting a liftoff at 2:20 p.m. EST on Saturday from Kennedy Space Center. It will arrive on Sunday for an automated docking at 7:30 a.m. to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. Dragon will deliver a pair of new roll-out solar arrays, new space agriculture and biotechnology studies, and food, fuel, and crew supplies. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its launch coverage at 2 p.m. on Saturday and docking coverage at 6 a.m. on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin are outfitting their Orlan spacesuits and checking them for leaks ahead of a spacewalk scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. on Friday. The duo will spend about seven hours on Friday relocating a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Cosmonaut Anna Kikina readied the European robotic arm and practiced the robotics maneuvers today she will use to help the spacewalkers move the radiator at the end of the 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.

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Crew Unpacking Science Gear, Spacewalk Hardware Shipped in Cygnus

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter is pictured in the grip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm as ground controllers remotely install the cargo craft to the International Space Station's Unity module.
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured in the grip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm as ground controllers remotely install the cargo craft to the space station’s Unity module.

A U.S. cargo craft has been installed on the International Space Station and the Expedition 68 crew members are beginning to unpack several tons of food, fuel, and supplies. Meanwhile, two astronauts and two cosmonauts continue preparing for upcoming spacewalks.

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is open for business after its successful robotic capture and installation to the Unity module’s Earth-facing port on Wednesday morning. NASA Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada were the first to open Cygnus’ hatch and enter the cargo craft several hours after leak and pressure checks with the vehicle. On Thursday, the duo retrieved science freezers containing research samples from inside Cygnus and installed them on EXPRESS racks inside the space station.

Flight Engineers Frank Rubio of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) helped offload new cargo from pallets delivered aboard Cygnus throughout the day on Thursday. Both astronauts are also unpacking research samples for stowage on the station in anticipation of new science experiments planned to take place inside the station’s Destiny, Kibo, and Columbus laboratory modules. Cygnus delivered a wide variety of science gear and research samples to explore biology, botany, and physics to improve knowledge and benefit health on and off the Earth.

Cygnus also delivered hardware soon to be installed on the outside of the space station by two spacewalkers. Cassada and Rubio will take the new gear, or power augmentation modification kits, outside in the vacuum of space on Nov. 15 and attach it to the starboard truss segment where half of the station’s main solar arrays are located. The new mod kits work will enable the installation of new rollout solar arrays during a pair of spacewalks planned for Nov. 28 and Dec. 1, augmenting the orbiting lab’s power generation system.

Two cosmonauts are also preparing for another series of spacewalks this year to assemble and install a radiator and airlock on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. The cosmonauts from Roscosmos, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, checked their Orlan spacesuit life support and communication systems today ahead of the assembly spacewalks planned before the end of the year.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anna Kikina spent Thursday inspecting and testing laptop computers, She also downloaded research data from a micrometeoroid study to a science computer then cleaned smoke detectors inside the Poisk module.

Ground Controllers Install Cygnus on Station

Nov. 9, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance and Russia's Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 81 and 82 resupply ships.
Nov. 9, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the Cygnus space freighter, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance and Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 81 and 82 resupply ships.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft installation on the International Space Station is now complete. Cygnus, carrying over 8,200 pounds of cargo and science experiments, launched atop an Antares rocket at 5:32 a.m. EST Monday, Nov. 7 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At 5:20 a.m., NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, along with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada as backup, captured Cygnus using the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Cygnus also is delivering a new mounting bracket that astronauts will attach to the starboard side of the station’s truss assembly during a spacewalk planned for Nov. 15. The mounting bracket will enable the installation of one of the next pair of new solar arrays.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until late January before it departs for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.


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.

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Cygnus Being Installed on Station Live on NASA TV

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter approaches the space station moments before being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm (bottom left). Credit: NASA TV
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter approaches the space station moments before being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm (bottom left). Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television’s live coverage of installation of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is underway. At 5:20 a.m. EST, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Cygnus is carrying 8,200 pounds of supplies, hardware, and science experiments.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the space station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is named the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until January before it departs for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website are providing live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation.


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.

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Astronauts Command Robotic Arm to Capture Cygnus

The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured moments after being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. Credit: NASA TV
The Cygnus cargo craft is pictured moments after being captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. Credit: NASA TV

At 5:20 a.m. EST, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Mission control in Houston will actively command the arm to rotate Cygnus to its installation orientation and then to guide it in for installation on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation beginning at 7:15 a.m.

The Cygnus spacecraft launched Monday on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia at 5:32 a.m. This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a supply of 8,200 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft is named the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space.


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/

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Cygnus Approaching Station Live on NASA TV

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Feb. 21, 2022.
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, with its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Feb. 21, 2022.

NASA television is underway for the capture of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft which launched Monday at 5:32 a.m. EST on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. At about 5:05 a.m., NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will capture Cygnus using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA astronaut Josh Cassada will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 18th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a supply of 8,200 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft is named the S.S. Sally Ride in honor of the late NASA astronaut, physicist, and first American woman to fly in space.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation beginning at 7:15 a.m.


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/

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Cygnus Prepares for Rendezvous with Space Station

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft has successfully deployed one of its two solar arrays and completed four rendezvous burns on its way to the International Space Station. To remain focused on the spacecraft’s arrival at the station, Northrop Grumman and NASA made the determination not to deploy the second solar array after initial attempts to deploy it were unsuccessful. The Cygnus team is gathering information on why the second array did not deploy as planned. Cygnus has sufficient power to rendezvous with the space station Wednesday, Nov. 9. Northrop Grumman is working closely with NASA to monitor and assess the spacecraft ahead of tomorrow’s planned arrival, capture, and installation at the space station. Mission teams also are planning additional inspections of the cargo spacecraft during approach and after capture.

NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and capture will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST followed by installation coverage at 7:15 a.m. At about 5:05 a.m., Expedition 68 NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will capture Cygnus with the station’s robotic arm, with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada acting as backup. After Cygnus capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.


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.

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Cygnus Deploys One of Two Solar Arrays

After launching earlier today, Nov. 7, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft has successfully deployed one of its two solar arrays. Northrop Grumman is gathering data on the second array deployment and is working closely with NASA.

Northrop Grumman has reported to NASA that Cygnus has sufficient power to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Wednesday, Nov. 9, to complete its primary mission, and NASA is assessing this and the configuration required for capture and berthing.


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.

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Station Crew Gears Up for Cargo Mission and Spacewalks

Astronaut Koichi Wakata works on spacesuits, also known as Extra-vehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), located in the space station's Quest airlock.
Astronaut Koichi Wakata works on spacesuits, also known as Extra-vehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), located in the space station’s Quest airlock.

New science experiments to benefit humans on and off the Earth are packed inside a rocket and ready to blast off this weekend from Virginia to the International Space Station. The Expedition 68 crew is preparing for the arrival of the precious space cargo while also gearing up for a series of spacewalks set to begin this month.

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket stands at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility’s launch pad in Virginia. Attached to the top of the U.S. rocket is the company’s Cygnus space freighter loaded with about four tons of research gear, crew supplies, station hardware. Antares will lift off at 5:50 a.m. EST on Sunday sending Cygnus on a two-day delivery trip to the orbiting lab. NASA TV, on the agency’s website and app, will begin live launch coverage at 5:30 a.m.

Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada spent Friday reviewing procedures and practicing techniques on a computer to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm2 robotic arm when it arrives next week. Cygnus will perform automated approach and rendezvous maneuvers until it reaches a point about 30 feet (10 meters) from the station early Tuesday. Mann will then command the Canadarm2 to extend toward Cygnus and capture it at 5:50 a.m. on Tuesday while Cassada backs her up monitoring the vehicle’s data. Controllers on the ground will then relieve the duo and remotely guide the Canadarm2 with Cygnus in its grips to the Unity module where it will be installed for 11 weeks of cargo activities.

Spacewalks are also on the schedule this month for two astronauts and two cosmonauts. Cassada and NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio are preparing for a Nov. 15 spacewalk to ready the orbiting lab for its third and fourth rollout solar arrays. Mission controllers on Monday will talk on NASA TV about that spacewalk and two more excursions to finish the solar array installation work before the end of the year. Rubio and astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cleaned spacesuit cooling loops, checked the functionality of suit components, and organized the Quest airlock where the two spacewalkers will exit the station. Mann and Cassada were also on hand on Friday assisting with the spacesuit work.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin have also been preparing for a different set of spacewalks to install a radiator and airlock on the Nauka science module. The cosmonauts have been getting their Orlan spacesuits ready, gathering spacewalk tools, and cleaning the Poisk module’s airlock ahead of the planned spacewalks. Prokopyev is the veteran of two previous spacewalks from 2018 while Petelin is preparing for his first.

Cosmonaut Anna Kikina started Friday downloading biomedical data to scientists on Earth for analysis. Afterward, she spent the rest of the day servicing the Zvezda service module’s oxygen generator and cleaning vents inside Nauka.


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.

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Crewmates Train for Emergency and Await Cygnus Cargo Mission

NASA astronaut Josh Cassada practices cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during a medical emergency drill aboard the space station.
NASA astronaut Josh Cassada practices cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during a medical emergency drill aboard the space station.

The seven Expedition 68 crew members started Thursday training for an emergency aboard the International Space Station. Afterward, the orbiting septet split up and prepared for next week’s arrival of a U.S. cargo craft, worked on spacesuits, and organized spacewalking tools.

The station’s four astronauts and three cosmonauts began Thursday morning practicing emergency procedures in collaboration with mission controllers on the ground. The commander and six flight engineers from NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Roscosmos reviewed actions they would take in the unlikely event of several contingency scenarios including a depressurization, an ammonia leak, or a fire. They also coordinated communication protocols with each other and ground controllers from around the world.

In the afternoon, two NASA Flight Engineers, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, paired up using a computer to run through a variety of maneuvers necessary to capture Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter when it arrives next week. Cygnus, packed with 8,200 pounds of cargo, is at the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia counting down to its lift off atop the Antares rocket on Sunday at 5:50 a.m. EST. It will rendezvous with the station on Tuesday, where Mann be in the cupola to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus at 5:50 a.m. Cassada will back up Mann as he monitors the spacecraft’s automated approach.

Two astronauts and two cosmonauts have been focusing this week on upcoming spacewalking activities. Cassada and fellow Flight Engineer Frank Rubio spent the better part of Thursday swapping spacesuit components and organizing the Quest airlock for future spacewalks. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin checked parts on their Orlan spacesuits in the Poisk airlock, gathered spacewalking tools, and photographed their work for review by spacewalk specialists on the ground.

Flight Engineers Koichi Wakata of JAXA and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos focused their attention on lab maintenance activities after Thursday morning’s emergency scenario training. Wakata first checked components on the Microgravity Science Glovebox then turned off the Veggie space botany facility after the completion of experiment activities in both research devices. Kikina cleaned hardware inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module then measured her blood pressure and serviced urine samples for analysis.


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.

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