SpaceX and NASA managers are targeting July 16 for the launch of the ninth Dragon commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, U.S. and Russian spaceships are being packed for upcoming departures in June and July from the orbital lab.
The crew also began preparing the vestibule space between BEAM – the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module – and the rest of the station for Thursday’s expansion activities, by pressurizing the area and performing leak checks.
Dragon will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida carrying supplies, science gear and one of two international docking adapters. The adapters will allow future commercial crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX to dock. The first adapter will be attached to the station’s Harmony module in August by a pair of spacewalkers.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus private space freighter is due to be the next spaceship to leave the station when it is released June 14. Expedition 47 will end four days later when Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake undock and return to Earth inside the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.
Back inside the station, a pair of crew members participated in blood pressure and vision checks for the Ocular Health study. Another astronaut conducted ultrasound scans today helping scientists explore the likelihood of clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, occurring on long-term space missions.
The Soyuz rocket that will carry three new crew members to the International Space Station Friday evening stands ready for launch in Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the orbiting trio awaiting reinforcements is busy with medical science and preparations for upcoming cargo missions.
High winds at the Baikonur Cosmodrome delayed the raising of the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft into vertical position a few hours after its roll out Wednesday. Launch is scheduled for 5:26 p.m. EDT/9:26 p.m. UTC Friday. Expedition 47-48 crew members Jeff Williams, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka will arrive at their new home in space less than six hours later.
The three current residents onboard the orbital laboratory, Commander Tim Kopra and Flight Engineers Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko, continued their medical research to help scientists understand how living off the Earth affects the human body. The crew is also getting ready for a pair of cargo deliveries due soon from Orbital ATK and SpaceX.
Kopra and Peake were back at work today on the Ocular Health study scanning their eyes with an ultrasound and checking their blood pressure. Kopra also explored how microbes affect the human immune system in space and practiced the robotic capture of the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft. Peake is helping engineers validate the technology that will control rovers on another planet from a spacecraft. Malenchenko researched how the digestive system adapts to microgravity and packed trash into the 61P resupply ship due to undock at the end of the month.
Orbital ATK will launch its Cygnus space freighter Tuesday at 11 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center on a four-day trip to the space station. Cygnus will deliver almost 7,500 pounds of research gear, spacewalk hardware and crew supplies to the Expedition 47 crew.
The International Space Station raised its orbit again today as three crew members prepare for a March 1 landing while another trio gets ready for a March 18 launch. Meanwhile, advanced research continued inside the orbital laboratory to improve life on Earth and for future space residents.
Today’s orbital reboost places the station at the correct altitude for the March 1 undocking of Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko. Their undocking will leave the Poisk module’s docking port vacant where a trio of Expedition 47 crew members will dock two-and-a-half weeks later inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft.
Another spacecraft is being prepared for departure Friday morning when it will be released from the grips of the 57.7 foot long Canadarm2 robotic arm. The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft is being loaded with trash before NASA astronauts Kelly and Tim Kopra release Cygnus using the robotics controls inside the seven-window cupola. NASA Television will cover the activities live Friday beginning at 7 a.m. EST.
The Expedition 46 crew members participated in immunology research today helping scientists learn to keep astronauts healthy on longer and farther space missions. The crew also continued more vision checks and explored heart health.
Commander Scott Kelly, British astronaut Time Peake and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko each participated in a different experiment looking at the immune system of space residents.
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra also joined Kelly and Kornienko for eye exams for an experiment studying vision impairment reported by some International Space Station astronauts. Kopra and Peake also partnered up for ultrasound scans of their arteries with guidance from doctors on the ground. The ongoing Cardio Ox study looks at an astronaut’s carotid and brachial arteries before, during and after a space mission.
Orbital ATK rolled out its Cygnus resupply ship to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch pad in Florida today. Cygnus will launch atop an Atlas V rocket at 5:55 p.m. EST Thursday. The private U.S. space freighter will deliver new science experiments and crew supplies to the International Space Station crew early Sunday.
Amid Cygnus rendezvous and capture preparations, Commander Scott Kelly with Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui also worked on biomedical science activities today. The trio collected blood and urine samples and participated in a vision test to help doctors understand the effects of living in space on astronauts.
Lindgren and Yui are returning home Dec. 11 with Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko after 141 days in space. The three Expedition 45 home-bound crew members checked the spacesuits they will wear on the way home for leaks.
A trio of International Space Station residents is getting ready to return to Earth while a new crew in Kazakhstan is preparing to replace them. Meanwhile, a pair of space freighters, the Orbital ATK Cygnus and Russia’s Progress 62 (62P), is being readied for liftoff as another docked cargo craft is being packed before it’s undocking.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will launch Thursday at 5:55 p.m. EST to the station. The 61P is scheduled for a Dec. 21 liftoff. While mission managers are preparing three different spacecraft for launch this month, the Expedition 45 crew is performing research to help scientists benefit life on Earth and crews in space.
The next home-bound astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui checked their vision and blood pressure today for the Ocular Health study. The duo will return home with Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko Dec. 11 officially ending the Expedition 45 mission. Kononenko participated in a pair of blood circulation experiments, Cosmocard and Cardiovector, and prepared the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft for its departure in less than two weeks.
Commander Scott Kelly, who is staying in space until March with Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov and fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, sampled and tested the station’s water quality. Volkov and Kornienko explored veins in the lower body to understand blood flow during a long-term space mission.
The next crew to live on the space station, Expedition 46, is at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site counting down to its Dec. 15 liftoff inside the Soyuz TMA-19M rocket. First-time British astronaut Timothy Peake is joining veteran station crew members Timothy Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko for the six-month mission aboard the orbital laboratory.
The next cargo mission to the International Space Station is set to launch Dec. 3 at 5:55 p.m. EST. The Orbital ATK Cygnus commercial cargo craft will arrive Dec. 6 when it will be grappled with the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Unity module.
Commander Scott Kelly joined Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui and trained for Cygnus arrival. They used computer training software and practiced the rendezvous and grapple techniques they will use while operating the Canadarm2 from inside the cupola.
The crew was back at work Monday conducting more science to benefit life on Earth and astronauts in space. They explored a variety of subjects including human research, botany and physics.
Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko researched veins in the lower extremities of crew members and performed a vision test. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov participated in Crew Medical Officer training and photographed the condition of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft windows.
The Expedition 45 crew is continuing more biomedical and psychological research today. Ground controllers are also remotely operating the Canadarm2 robotic arm for a video scan of Russian solar arrays.
Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui were back at work Wednesday with more Ocular Health science conducting eye scans and cardiac exams. Lindgren also worked on gear that fuels combustion science experiments while Yui talked to his Japanese support team and cleaned inside the Kibo laboratory module.
Commander Scott Kelly collected and stowed a urine sample for the Twins study then participated in research that explores how international space crews operate under stress. Kelly also replaced Trace Contaminant Control System gear inside the Tranquility module.
The International Space Station crew is gearing up for a couple of spacewalks to service and upgrade the orbital laboratory. Meanwhile, the crew is also working long-term life science to improve life on Earth and in future space crews.
The U.S. Quest airlock is getting busy as NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren get their spacesuits and tools ready for a pair of spacewalks set for Oct. 28 and Nov. 26. They are checking their suit electronics and safety systems and also building custom tools.
The first spacewalk is set to last six-hours and 30-minutes after Kelly and Lindgren set their spacesuits to battery power. The duo will exit Quest to place a thermal cover over a dark matter detection experiment, lubricate the 57.7 foot Canadarm2 robotic and route power cables for a future docking port.
The entire crew still continued the work of on-orbit science, the primary purpose of the space station. Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, along with Kelly and Lindgren performed cardiac scans with an ultrasound for the Ocular Health study. Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui set up a mouse habitat inside the Cell Biology Experiment Facility.
The deployment of two Cubesats is on hold after they failed to eject a couple of weeks ago. Also, more spacesuit servicing and biomedical investigations took place today.
The deployer mechanism that ejected 14 of 16 Cubesats is back inside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock. Two of the Cubesats did not deploy due to a secondary latch mechanism that hung up inside a deployer slot.
Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui scrubbed cooling loops inside the spacesuits that NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will wear on two upcoming spacewalks. Lindgren also collected and organized spacewalk tools he and Kelly will use during the Oct. 28 and Nov. 6 spacewalks. The duo will exit the U.S. Quest airlock to service and upgrade hardware outside the International Space Station.