Dragon Chasing Station with Science, Docking Adapter

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon space freighter was pictured April 10, 2016, approaching the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Dragon is chasing the International Space Station and the Expedition 48 crew is getting ready for its approach and capture Wednesday morning. This follows Monday evening’s rendezvous and docking of the Progress 64 resupply ship from Roscosmos.

Dragon is delivering several science experiments including a DNA sequencing study and the Heart Cells investigation. The private space freighter is also carrying one of two International Docking Adapters. The adapters will enable future crewed vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX to dock to the space station.

The research, hardware and other supplies stowed inside Dragon total nearly 5,000 pounds. Dragon will be robotically attached to the Harmony module after astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins capture it with the 57.7 foot long Canadarm2. This will be the second cargo mission to arrive at the station in less than two days.

The Progress arrival Monday night brought more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 48 crew. Progress automatically docked to the Pirs docking compartment after launching Saturday evening from Kazakhstan.

Williams, Rubins and Flight Engineer Takuya Onishi prepared for the Dragon’s arrival on Tuesday and participated in a variety of research and maintenance activities. The three cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka, Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin slept in Tuesday after a long day Monday preparing for the Progress delivery.

Landing Delayed, Life Science and Dragon Packing for Expedition 43

Samantha Cristoforetti
ISS043E160082 (05/03/2015) — ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti enjoys her first drink from the new ISSpresso machine. The espresso device allows crews to make tea, coffee, broth, or other hot beverages they might enjoy.

The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is scheduled for early June. NASA and its international partners set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) findings on the loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact date has not yet been established and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Full Release

The six-member Expedition 43 crew worked Tuesday on a wide variety of tasks. The International Space Station residents explored life sciences, trained for a robotics experiment, conducted maintenance and prepared for next week’s departure of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Astronaut Scott Kelly worked on an experiment which observes how a crew member’s fine motor skills adapt over a six-month and a year-long mission in space. He then moved on to training for the Robotics Refueling Mission.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked on the Rodent Research experiment during the afternoon. Commander Terry Virts worked on cargo transfers to the Dragon space freighter which is getting ready for its May 21 departure and splashdown.

The three cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko, worked in the Russian segment. The trio cleaned dust filters, changed out a smoke detector and downloaded results from a microbial air sampling.

Progress 59 Update

ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) --- The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station's Pirs Docking Compartment at 4:43 p.m. (EDT) on July 25, 2013. The Progress 50 deorbited over the Pacific Ocean a few hours later for a fiery destruction. An ISS Progress 52 is set to replace the 50P when it launches at 4:45 p.m. on July 27 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) — The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reports the Progress 59 cargo craft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:04 p.m. EDT over the central Pacific Ocean.

The spacecraft was not carrying any supplies critical for the United States Operating Segment (USOS) of the station, and the break up and reenty of the Progress posed no threat to the ISS crew.   Both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight.

Roscosmos statement: http://www.federalspace.ru/21474/

For further information on Progress, please contact Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency at +7 (495) 631-92-46 or press@roscosmos.ru

Progress 59 Update Apr. 30, 2015

Progress 50P undocking
ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) — The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship seen shortly after undocking. Progress is an unmanned cargo craft used to resupply the International Space Station.

Attempts by Russian ground controllers to regain control of the Progress have been unsuccessful, and they have said they will not be able to regain propulsive control of it. As a result, the Progress currently is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere within the next two weeks. Russian ballistics specialists, working in conjunction with flight controllers in Mission Control Houston and ESA, are continuing to track the vehicle’s path and will provide updates on its anticipated reentry date. The United States Air Force Joint Functional Component Command for Space’s Joint Space Operations Center is also tracking Progress, performing conjunction analysis, and providing warning of any potential collisions in space to ensure spaceflight safety. The break up and reentry of the Progress poses no threat to the ISS crew.

Robotic Refueling and More Today on Station

Canadarm2 and Dextre
ISS041-E-049091 (30 Sept. 2014) — The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM)

Station astronauts continued preparing for the next round of robotic refueling demonstrations while conducting various biomedical experiments and checkouts.

Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts worked with ground teams to prepare the airlock in the Japanese Experiment Module and extend the slide table carrying the new Robotic Refueling Mission-2 (RRM-2) hardware. Robotics controllers on the ground then used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the new task boards that will be used for the experiment. The objective of RRM-2 is to develop new technologies, tools and techniques that could eventually give satellite owners resources to diagnose problems on orbit and keep certain spacecraft instruments performing longer in space.

The crew is also engaging in the Cardio Ox experiment, the Space Aging study and the Body Measures experiment. More Rodent Research work took place, as the astronauts readied samples for return to Earth and checked out the rodents’ habitat.

Meanwhile, Russian ballistics specialists continue to work calculations to identify the most likely period for Progress 59’s entry back into the Earth’s atmosphere. The unmanned cargo craft experienced an unspecified problem shortly after separating from the third launch stage on April 28, resulting in the vehicle’s docking to the station being called off.

Science Continues on the International Space Station

One-Year crew speaks to reporters
One-Year crew members Scott Kelly (left) and Mikhail Kornienko (right) took a few minutes out of their day to speak to media. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 43 crew continued their work on Wednesday with a variety of research and technology demonstration activities.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts studied the effects of microgravity on living organisms for the Rodent Research experiment. They are looking at mice and how their body systems change in space. The results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

Meanwhile, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued operations with the Triplelux-A experiment and adjusted imaging equipment on the Electromagnetic Levitation study.

The crew was also notified in the morning that the planned docking of Progress 59 has been called off. Both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight.

Russian flight controllers are continuing to assess the vehicle and what the plan going forward will be. More information will be provided as available.