Astronaut Jessica Meir and Christina Koch Capture Cygnus with Station’s Robotic Arm

The Canadarm2 moves toward the Cygnus resupply ship
The Canadarm2 operated by astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch moves toward the Cygnus resupply ship for its capture. Credit: NASA TV

At 4:10 a.m. EST, Expedition 61 NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA used the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 to grapple the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft as NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan monitored Cygnus systems during its approach. Next, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install Cygnus, dubbed the S.S. Alan Bean, on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.

The station was flying over Madagascar when it was captured.

NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 6:30 a.m., and installation of the Cygnus spacecraft to the space station is expected to be completed later this morning. Cygnus will remain at the orbiting laboratory for a two-month stay.

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

NASA TV Broadcasts Cygnus Arrival at Station on Monday

The Cygnus space freighter
The Cygnus space freighter is maneuvered by the Canadarm2 robotic arm shortly after its arrival and capture on Nov. 19, 2018.

A Northrop Grumman cargo ship carrying about 8,200 pounds of science and research investigations, supplies, and hardware is set to arrive to the International Space Station early Monday morning.

The uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft launched at 9:59 a.m. EDT Saturday, Nov. 2 on an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

When Cygnus, dubbed the S.S. Alan Bean, arrives to the space station on Monday, Nov. 4, Expedition 61 astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus, and NASA’s Andrew Morgan will monitor telemetry. After Cygnus’ capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Unity module for a two-month stay.

Live coverage will begin on NASA TV at 2:45 a.m. and return to the air at 6:30 a.m. for installation coverage. Watch at www.nasa.gov/live

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

Solar Arrays Deployed, Cygnus Powered Up for Space Delivery

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with the Cygnus resupply spacecraft
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with the Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, November 2, 2019, in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The solar arrays have successfully deployed on Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft that is on its way to deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, and hardware to the International Space Station. This is the company’s 12th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA.

This mission, designated NG-12, will be in orbit at the same time as its predecessor, the NG-11 Cygnus spacecraft, which launched in April on an extended duration flight. The NG-12 Cygnus spacecraft will remain at the space station until January before it disposes of several thousand pounds of trash through its fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. The ability to fly two vehicles at once further demonstrates the robustness of Cygnus to support the goals of NASA’s ambitious missions.

Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival to the orbiting laboratory will begin Monday, Nov. 4 at 2:45 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Expedition 61 astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus at around 4:10 a.m., while NASA’s Andrew Morgan monitors telemetry. The spacecraft is scheduled to stay at the space station until January.

Meanwhile, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) flight controllers at Tsukuba, Japan are preparing to deorbit the HTV-8 cargo vehicle tonight, with the final deorbit maneuver expected around 8:33pm Central time, 9:33pm Eastern time. HTV-8 will enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up harmlessly over the south Pacific.

Follow the Cygnus spacecraft’s arrival to the orbiting laboratory on the space station blog and by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

U.S. Cygnus Cargo Ship Reaches Orbit for Monday Delivery

The Antares rocket lifts off on time
The Antares rocket lifts off on time from Virginia carrying the Cygnus cargo craft to orbit. Credit: NASA TV

On the anniversary of the arrival of the first crew members to live aboard the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the station with nearly 8,200 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 9:59 a.m. EDT Saturday, Nov. 2 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. At the time of lift off, the International Space Station was traveling over the south Atlantic southwest of Cape Town, South Africa, at an altitude of 257 statute miles.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops. Automated command to initiate solar array deploy will begin about 2 hours and 53 minutes after launch (about 12:53 p.m.). Solar array deployment will take about 30 minutes. Confirmation of solar deployment will be shared on the launch blog and social media at @NASA_Wallops and  @space_station.

Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory around 4:10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 2:45 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Expedition 61 astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus, while NASA’s Andrew Morgan monitors telemetry. The spacecraft is scheduled to stay at the space station until January.

The Cygnus spacecraft for this space station resupply mission is named in honor of NASA astronaut Alan Bean. The late Apollo 12 astronaut flew to the Moon on Apollo 12 and became the fourth human to walk on the lunar surface. This is Northrop Grumman’s 12th cargo flight to the space station, and the first under its Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract with NASA, will support dozens of new and existing investigations.

Follow the Cygnus spacecraft’s arrival to the orbiting laboratory on the space station blog and by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as theISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasts U.S. Cygnus Cargo Mission to Station

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with the Cygnus cargo craft inside
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with the Cygnus cargo craft inside stands at its at launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA coverage of the scheduled launch at 9:59 a.m. EDT of Northrop Grumman’s 12th mission to resupply the  International Space Station is underway on NASA TV and the agency’s website. The company’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft will lift off on an Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is loaded with around 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, and hardware for the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft, dubbed the SS Alan Bean, is named after the late Apollo and Skylab astronaut who died on May 26, 2018, at the age of 86. This Cygnus will launch 50 years to the month after Bean, Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon flew to the Moon on NASA’s Apollo 12 mission, during which Bean became the fourth human to walk on the lunar surface. Bean was the lunar module pilot aboard Intrepid with mission commander Conrad when they landed on Moon at the Ocean of Storms on Nov. 19, 1969.

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Japan Cargo Ship Departs, U.S. Resupply Rocket Preps for Launch

Japan's HTV-8 resupply ship before release from the Canadarm2
Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm as the International Space Station flies into an orbital sunrise.

A U.S. cargo craft is poised to resupply the International Space Station just days after a Japanese space freighter departed the orbiting lab Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Expedition 61 crew today continued an array of microgravity research and spacewalk preparations.

Flight Engineer Christina Koch with back-up support from NASA astronaut Jessica Meir used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Japan’s HTV-8 cargo spacecraft at 1:21 p.m. EDT today. The cargo craft spent five weeks attached to the orbiting lab following a Sept. 24 launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.

HTV-8 delivered some five tons of supplies and experiments to the orbital complex as well as new lithium-ion batteries. The batteries were installed in the electronics system of the far port truss of the complex replacing older nickel-hydrogen batteries and upgrading the station’s power supply.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship sits atop an Antares rocket loaded with 8,200 pounds of science experiments and station hardware. Liftoff will take place on Saturday at 9:59 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Meir and Koch will be in the cupola Monday morning awaiting the arrival of Cygnus. Meir will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Cygnus at 4:10 a.m. EST. Koch will back up Meir as astronaut Andrew Morgan of NASA monitors Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous.

Morgan and Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) are also getting up to speed with repair techniques for an external cosmic particle detector.  The duo is reviewing procedures to replace the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system during a series of spacewalks tentatively planned for this month. The AMS measures the charge, velocity and mass of cosmic rays in its search for evidence of dark matter and anti-matter.

Morgan also watered plants and set up biology hardware that will house rodents shipped aboard Cygnus. Parmitano monitored the free-flying Astrobee robotic assistant testing its autonomous ability to perform tasks inside the space station’s Kibo laboratory module.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka focused on Russian spacecraft work and science in their segment of the space station. The duo charged Soyuz crew ship batteries and packed a Progress cargo craft. Skvortsov then studied how pain adjusts to microgravity while Skripochka moved on to plumbing tasks.

Crop Harvest on Station After Robotics, Human Research Today

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir waters plant pillows where Mizuna mustard greens are raised as part of the Veg-04B experiment.

The Expedition 61 crew harvested a space-grown crop today aboard the International Space Station. The orbital lab residents also tested robotics systems before exploring blood pressure and time perception in microgravity.

Space agriculture aboard the orbiting laboratory has been ongoing for several years to learn how to provide fresh food to space crews. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan continued that research by cutting Mizuna leaves today for a taste test and stowing the leftovers in a science freezer for scientific analysis.

Morgan also took turns with Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) wearing virtual reality goggles and clicking a trackball for a time perception study. The investigation observes subjective time changes astronauts experience during space missions and back on Earth after missions.

The Astrobee free-flying robotic assistant had a test-run today as Parmitano calibrated the autonomous device’s systems. The ESA astronaut checked Astrobee’s abilities to navigate, dock and visually monitor activities inside the space station’s Kibo laboratory module.

The Cygnus resupply ship will launch Saturday at 9:59 a.m. EDT atop the Antares rocket from Virginia. Meir and NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch are practicing robotic techniques to capture Cygnus when it arrives two days later. Meir, with Koch backing her up in the cupola, will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture Cygnus Monday at 4:10 a.m. EST.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka spent Wednesday morning exploring how blood pressure responds to the lack of gravity. The duo split up in the afternoon as Skvortsov checked Russian communication and spacecraft systems. Skripochka worked on life support systems and explored how orbiting Earth affects the station’s magnetic field.

Spacesuits, Human Research, Robotics Training Ahead of Cargo Missions

Astronaut Jessica Meir works on the Combustion Integrated Rack
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir works to swap out a failed computer hard drive that supports experiments inside the Combustion Integrated Rack aboard the International Space Station’s U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

The six-member Expedition 61 crew juggled spacesuit maintenance and human research activities aboard the International Space Station today. The orbital residents are also getting ready to send off and receive resupply ships.

Two U.S. spacesuits are being serviced ahead of a series of spacewalks planned to repair a cosmic particle detector, also known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan are tentatively scheduled to venture outside the station in November and upgrade the AMS thermal control system.

Parmitano also tested a device that measures an astronaut’s mass using Newton’s Second Law of Motion. The device applies a known force to an attached astronaut and the resulting acceleration is used to accurately calculate an astronaut’s mass.

NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch shared maintenance duties on a human organ printer, the BioFabrication Facility. Scientists are testing the 3D biological printing facility for its ability to print more cohesive organ structures in microgravity than on Earth.

Koch and Meir will also be on Canadarm2 robotics duty on Friday and Monday to support a pair of cargo missions. Koch, with Meir backing her up, will command the robotic release of Japan’s HTV-8 resupply ship Friday at 1:20 p.m. EDT. The HTV-8 is wrapping up a 34-day mission attached to the Harmony module.

They will switch roles on Monday when Meir takes charge of the Canadarm2 robotic arm and captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft at 4:10 a.m. EST. Koch will back her up in the cupola while Morgan monitors the Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous. Cygnus will launch Saturday at 9:59 a.m. atop the Antares rocket from Virginia.

U.S. Cygnus Space Freighter Departs Station

Cygnus Departs the Station
The U.S. Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman was released from the station’s robotic arm today at 12:15 p.m. EDT.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station three months after arriving at the space station to deliver 7,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments to the orbiting laboratory.

The Cygnus spacecraft will now remain in orbit until mid-December and coincide with a second Cygnus spacecraft scheduled for launch to the space station in October. This will be the first extended duration flight to demonstrate spacecraft’s capability to fly two Cygnus vehicles simultaneously and support hosted payloads for longer periods of time.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

US Cargo Ship Preps to Depart as Crew Studies Bioprinting and Time Perception

Astronauts Luca Parmitano, Andrew Morgan and Nick Hague
Expedition 60 Flight Engineers (clockwise from top) Luca Parmitano, Andrew Morgan and Nick Hague work on life support maintenance inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

A U.S. resupply ship is packed and ready to depart the International Space Station on Tuesday. The Expedition 60 crew is also testing the viability of printing organ-like tissue and exploring the impact of microgravity on time perception today.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch finished loading and closed the hatches to the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman today. Hague will lead the robotics activities and command its release from the Canadarm2 on Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. EDT. NASA TV begins its live broadcast of Cygnus’ departure at noon after 109 days at the station.

The crew outfitted Cygnus with the SlingShot Deployer that will eject a series of nanosatellites once the spacecraft reaches a safe distance and a higher altitude from the station. Cygnus will continue orbiting Earth for a few more months of systems tests before it reenters the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean for a fiery demise.

3-D bioprinting has proven a challenge for scientists on Earth seeking to replicate complex cellular structures. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan is researching today whether the weightless environment of space may support the fabrication of human organs in space. He set up the station’s new BioFabrication Facility to begin test-printing tissues today. An incubator houses the tissue samples to promote cohesive cellular growth over several weeks.

Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency started Monday collecting his blood samples and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. Next, he wore virtual reality goggles for an experiment testing his ability to judge the duration of time. Results are collected before, during and after a spaceflight to understand how time perception is affected in space. The impacts could potentially affect space navigation and other mission-oriented tasks.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin tested Russian smoke detectors, conducted a fit check of the Soyuz MS-12 crew ship seats and worked on space biology gear. Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov checked out video gear then studied how microgravity affects pain sensation.