Ax-3 Nears Departure as Station Crew Picks Up Research

Four Expedition 70 astronauts pose for a fun portrait inside their crew quarters aboard the International Space Station's Harmony module.
Four Expedition 70 astronauts pose for a fun portrait inside their crew quarters aboard the International Space Station’s Harmony module.

Four private astronauts comprising the Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew continue to target Tuesday for their departure from the International Space Station and return to Earth. In the meantime, the seven Expedition 70 crew members are continuing their schedule of advanced microgravity research and orbital lab maintenance.

Ax-3 Commander Michael López-Alegría readied the SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft for its undocking scheduled for no earlier than 9:05 a.m. EST on Tuesday. The veteran astronaut transferred emergency gear from Dragon into the station then stowed completed science experiments and their samples inside science freezers aboard the commercial spacecraft. NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli assisted with the emergency hardware transfers stowing masks, gloves, sensors, and medical kits, back inside the station. Station Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) also helped the Ax-3 crew as they cleaned up inside the station and prepared for the return to Earth.

Mission managers continue to evaluate weather at the potential splashdown sites off the coast of Florida. The hatch closing and undocking will be broadcast live on the NASA+ streaming service, NASA TV, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms, including social media.

The rest of the Ax-3 crew, including Pilot Walter Villadei and Mission Specialists Alper Gezeravcı and Marcus Wandt, also packed Dragon with return cargo such as personal items, computer and electronics gear, and more science experiments. The private crew is spending the rest of the day exercising, videotaping crew activities, and looking at the Earth below from the cupola.

Science continued aboard the orbital outpost on Monday as the Expedition 70 crew explored an array of life science topics including how weightlessness affects immunity and botany. The orbital residents also worked inside a pair of cargo spaceships and maintained critical life support systems.

NASA Flight Engineers Loral O’Hara and Moghbeli took turns unpacking some of the several tons of cargo packed inside the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter. The pair later helped the Ax-3 crew stow science experiments and computer gear inside Dragon. Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) also assisted with the Cygnus cargo work then set up hardware to explore how plant-microbe interactions are affected in microgravity. Mogensen spent his morning processing his blood and saliva samples for an investigation exploring how a crew member’s immunity system changes during a space mission.

Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub partnered together and tested the communications system inside the Progress 85 resupply ship before it departs the station next week. Kononenko then worked on cargo and fluid transfers inside the Progress 85. Chub moved into the Poisk module for computer maintenance. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov worked on hardware supporting a pair of Earth observation studies, inventoried ventilation hardware, and serviced orbital plumbing components.


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

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Orbital Outpost Prepares for Departure of Ax-3 Astronauts

The 11 crew members representing the Expedition 70 and Axiom Space 3 crews gather for a farewell ceremony calling down to mission controllers on Earth. Credit: NASA TV
The 11 crew members representing the Expedition 70 (red shirts) and Axiom Space 3 (dark blue suits) crews gather for a farewell ceremony calling down to mission controllers on Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 70 and Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crews called down to Mission Control on Friday for a farewell ceremony as the four private astronauts target their departure for Saturday morning. The orbital residents aboard the International Space Station worked just half-a-day packing the SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft before going to bed early to get ready for the spacecraft’s undocking.

The Ax-3 private astronauts are in their final day aboard the orbital outpost following two weeks of science and educational activities. The foursome, led by Commander Michael López-Alegría, is currently targeted to undock inside Dragon from the Harmony module’s forward port at 6:05 a.m. EST on Saturday. López-Alegría, along with Pilot Walter Villadei and Mission Specialists Alper Gezeravcı and Marcus Wandt, will then parachute inside Dragon to the splashdown site where support personnel from Axiom Space and SpaceX await their arrival. Mission managers will receive a final weather report before giving the Ax-3 quartet the final go for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Space station Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) helped the Ax-3 crewmates wrap up their mission activities helping reconfigure the orbital lab for standard crew operations. NASA Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara joined in and retrieved station emergency gear from Dragon and stowed science hardware inside the returning spacecraft.

Earlier, O’Hara partnered with astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and transferred research samples from the newly arrived Cygnus cargo craft into science freezers aboard the station. Furukawa later swapped out research hardware that supports botany and biology experiments with a minimum of astronaut intervention inside the Columbus laboratory module.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub packed the Progress 85 resupply ship, docked to the Zvezda service module’s rear port, with trash and discarded items before it ends its cargo mission and undocks later this month. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov spent his shift configuring a variety of experiment hardware. Borisov serviced a camera that observes Earth’s atmosphere in ultraviolet wavelengths, charged hardware that documents crew interactions with mission controllers from around the world, then deactivated medical gear that continuously monitors a crew member’s blood pressure.


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

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NASA Science Arrives on Cygnus; Private Astronauts Prepare for Return

The Cygnus space freighter, with its two cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm after its capture on Feb. 1, 2024.
The Cygnus space freighter, with its two cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays, is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm after its capture on Feb. 1, 2024.

As part of NASA’s commercial resupply services, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft arrived at the International Space Station today packed with science and supplies for the Expedition 70 crew. The seven orbital outpost residents now turn their attention to the departure of four Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) visitors.

Cygnus was captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm controlled by NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara at 4:59 a.m. EST on Thursday. Shortly afterward, mission controllers on the ground took over control of the Canadarm2 and installed Cygnus to the Unity module’s Earth-facing port at 7:14 a.m.

About three hours later, O’Hara and NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli equalized pressure between Cygnus and the space station then opened Cygnus’ hatch to begin six months of cargo operations. They were followed by Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace  Exploration Agency) who began unpacking new research samples and stowing them inside lab freezers for upcoming science investigations.

Mogensen also helped the four Ax-3 astronauts prepare for their departure from the station aboard the SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft for no earlier than Saturday morning. Mission managers from Axiom Space, SpaceX, and NASA are monitoring weather conditions at the splashdown site off the coast of Florida before making a final undocking decision.

Ax-3 astronauts Michael López-Alegría and Walter Villadei packed completed science experiments in lab freezers and prepared them for stowage aboard their Dragon spacecraft Thursday morning. The duo then joined fellow Ax-3 crewmates Alper Gezeravcı and Marcus Wandt for a conference with mission controllers discussing the cargo that will be returning with them aboard Dragon.

All four private astronauts will join the seven-member Expedition 70 crew at 9:50 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, for a farewell ceremony aboard the space station. The event will be broadcast live on the NASA+ streaming service, NASA TV, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms, including social media.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts worked throughout Thursday on their complement of science and cargo activities in the station’s Roscosmos segment. Flight Engineers Nikolai Chub and Konstantin Borisov carried out an Earth observation experiment to support educational and commercial opportunities on Earth. Afterward, Chub conducted a fluid physics study while Borisov began a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring session. Borisov later installed an ultraviolet camera to capture nighttime imagery of Earth’s atmosphere. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko inventoried cargo in the Prichal docking module then stowed cargo inside the Progress 85 resupply ship docked to the rear of the Zvezda service module.

NASA will share more on Axiom Mission 3’s departure as available following the next weather review. The mission is the third private astronaut mission to the space station enabled by NASA.


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

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Cygnus Installed on Station; Cargo Ops Begin

The Cygnus space freighter is pictured attached to the space station as the Canadarm2 robotic arm prepares to grapple the cargo craft.
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured attached to the space station as the Canadarm2 robotic arm prepares to grapple the cargo craft.

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. At 4:59 a.m., NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli acting as backup, captured Cygnus using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The mission launched at 12:07 p.m. EST Jan. 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until May when it will depart the orbiting laboratory at which point it will harmlessly burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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

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Cygnus Installation Underway Live on NASA TV

The Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV
The Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television’s live coverage of installation of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is underway.

At 4:59 a.m. EST, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli 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 20th commercial resupply mission to the space station for NASA. The spacecraft is named the S.S. Patricia “Patty” Hilliard Robertson in honor of the former NASA astronaut.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until May when it will depart the orbiting laboratory at which point it will harmlessly burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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

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NASA Astronauts Capture Cygnus with Robotic Arm

The Canadarm2 robotic arm, operated by NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara, captures Northrop Grumman's Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV
The Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

At 4:59 a.m., NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Capture of the unpiloted spacecraft was slightly delayed as flight control teams on the ground reconfigured a redundant radio communications system on Cygnus, which links up with the space station’s C2V2 (Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles) system. C2V2 is the primary communications system between the space station and visiting spacecraft.

Mission control in Houston will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to position Cygnus to its installation orientation and then will guide it in for installation on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.

NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation at 6:30 a.m.

The spacecraft is named the S.S. Patricia “Patty” Hilliard Robertson in honor of the former NASA astronaut. The mission launched at 12:07 p.m. EST Jan. 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 20th 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.


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

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Cygnus Orbits Toward Station as Crews Focus on Space Science

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman approaches the space station on Feb, 22, 2021, as both spacecraft were orbiting 262 miles above the Middle East.
The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman approaches the space station on Feb, 22, 2021, as both spacecraft were orbiting 262 miles above the Middle East.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter is orbiting Earth today carrying science and supplies to the International Space Station for delivery on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, the Expedition 70 and Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crews continued working together on Wednesday with a full schedule of biomedical science, physics research, and lab maintenance.

More than 8,200 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware are headed for the orbital lab where NASA Flight Engineers Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli will be on duty awaiting the arrival of Cygnus. O’Hara will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus at 4:20 a.m. EST on Thursday as Moghbeli monitors the spacecraft’s automated approach and rendezvous. After Cygnus is captured, robotics controllers on the ground will take over command of the Canadarm2 and remotely install Cygnus on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.

Several hours later, O’Hara and Moghbeli will open Cygnus’ hatch beginning several months of cargo activities. Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) and Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will then enter and start unloading cargo. The duo will first remove frozen science samples from Cygnus and stow them inside science freezers aboard the station for later analysis.

Meanwhile, the four Expedition 70 astronauts continued ongoing research benefitting humans living on and off the Earth. The quartet also assisted the Ax-3 crewmates as they continued their science-packed agenda in their final week aboard the station.

O’Hara collected tools and set up the Life Science Glovebox for the GMETAL physics investigation that Ax-3 Commander Michael López-Alegría and Mission Specialist Alper Gezeravcı worked on. The Axiom Space duo used the glovebox to study two-phase mixing between solid particles and a gasses under various gravity levels possibly impacting future spacecraft propulsion systems. O’Hara then joined Mogensen at the end of the day for eye exams using standard medical imaging gear found in a doctor’s office on Earth.

Earlier in the day, López-Alegría partnered with Ax-3 Pilot Walter Villadei for blood pressure checks and ultrasound scans observing their blood flow. Ax-3 Mission Specialist Marcus Wandt had a busy day starting with servicing a life support rack in the Tranquility module and training to use the station’s virtual reality hardware and software. Next, he cleaned the Biolab research facility then documented his sleep patterns while wearing a sensor-packed helmet.

Mogensen had a couple of hours blocked off on Wednesday to assist the Ax-3 crew and help the private astronauts continue their familiarization with station systems and life in weightlessness. The two-time ESA astronaut also cleaned the Dragon hatch on the forward port of the Harmony module, tested using virtual reality gear to improve crew mental health, then closed the windows on the cupola.

Moghbeli spent her day photographing and inspecting spacewalk gear and portable safety hardware. Furukawa joined Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov and swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. The pair then split up as Furukawa set up the Mochii microscope for imaging metal samples while Borisov worked on an oxygen generator in the station’s Roscosmos segment.

Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko was back on inspection duty checking structures and photographing windows in the Zvezda and Nauka modules. Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub began his day with a urine sample collection then recorded his food, drink, and medicine intake. Next, he worked on radio communications gear and orbital plumbing hardware throughout the day.


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

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Cygnus Deploys Solar Arrays, Arrives at Station on Thursday

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: SpaceX
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: SpaceX

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft has successfully deployed its two solar arrays after launching earlier today, Jan. 30, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station around 4:20 a.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 1.

NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival beginning at 2:45 a.m.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli will capture Cygnus using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.


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

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Cygnus Lifts Off Atop SpaceX Rocket to Deliver Station Cargo

The Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman launches atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from its launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA TV
The Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman launches atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from its launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA TV

A fresh supply of more than 8,200 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo is on its way to the International Space Station on a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft after launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 12:07 p.m. EST Tuesday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

NASA Television and the agency’s website continue to provide live coverage of the ascent. About 15 minutes after launch, Cygnus will reach its preliminary orbit and is expected to complete its solar arrays deployment about two hours after launch.

Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 4:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 1.

NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival beginning at 2:45 a.m.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli will capture Cygnus using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara 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 20th contracted resupply mission for NASA.


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

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Cygnus Cargo Ship Launching on SpaceX Rocket Live on NASA TV

The Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman sits atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at its launch pad in Florida. Credit: SpaceX
The Cygnus cargo craft from Northrop Grumman sits atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at its launch pad in Florida. Credit: SpaceX

NASA Television coverage is underway for the launch of Northrop Live NASA coverage is underway for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for the agency. The launch of the company’s Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled for 12:07 p.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Loaded with more than 8,200 pounds of supplies, the spacecraft will arrive at the orbiting outpost Thursday, Feb. 1. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli will capture Cygnus using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.

Northrop Grumman named the Cygnus S.S. Patricia “Patty” Hilliard Robertson in honor of the former NASA astronaut.

Live launch coverage will continue on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, X, Facebook, and NASA’s App.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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