Crew Stepping Up Upcoming Cargo Mission and Crew Swap Preps

A vivid aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.
A vivid aurora streams over the Earth as the space station orbited above the southern Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica.

The Expedition 66 crew will have a restful weekend before stepping up preparations next week for an intense period of Russian resupply ship and SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle activities. However, the International Space Station residents are wrapping up the work week with a host of maintenance activities.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei worked on robotics activities in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock attached to the end cone of the Tranquility module during the afternoon. McArthur kicked off the work uninstalling the tiny GITAI robotic arm, located in Bishop, that is testing its abilities to perform routine support work saving the crew time. Vande Hei joined her afterward stowing the experimental robotic arm’s components, cleaning up Bishop, then closing its hatch.

Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started his morning flushing the oxygen generation system’s hoses of contaminants. Then the three-time station resident turned his attention in the afternoon toward assisting the two NASA astronauts with the Bishop cleanup work.

Over in the European Columbus laboratory module, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough uninstalled science hardware that tests new radiation measurement techniques to make way for orbital plumbing work. Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) took over the plumbing duties and replaced water valves behind a research rack located in Columbus.

Two cosmonauts are sleeping in today after adjusting their shifts two days ago to monitor the undocking then the redocking of the ISS Progress 78 resupply ship. The automated maneuvers saw the Progress 78 back away from the Poisk module on Wednesday night then redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just after midnight on Friday. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov were on duty checking the Progress’ systems ready to take over and remotely control the spacecraft from the Zvezda service module if necessary.

The next cargo craft to replenish the crew will be the ISS Progress 79 when it launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the middle of next week. It will dock two days later to the aft port of Zvezda where it will stay for about seven months.

A crew swap is scheduled to begin in just over a week. The four astronauts of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are due to blast off aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. from Florida toward the orbiting lab. Commander Raja Chari will lead Pilot Thomas Marshburn with Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer inside Endurance and dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 22 hours later.

Several days after that, four astronauts who have been on the station since April will return to Earth inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour completing the SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Kimbrough will lead McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet back home for a retrieval by NASA and SpaceX personnel off the coast of Florida.

Russian Cargo Craft Redocked to Station

Oct. 21, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.
Oct. 21, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft automatically docked to the International Space Station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 12:21 a.m. EDT Friday after undocking from the station’s Poisk module Wednesday night.

The relocation positions Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station.

A new Russian cargo freighter, Progress 79, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time). Progress 79 launch overage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will begin at 7:45 p.m.

Loaded with almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the station crew, the resupply ship will dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:34 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. Live coverage of docking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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

NASA TV Live for Russian Cargo Craft Redock to Station

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station for a docking to the Poisk module two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station for a docking to the Poisk module two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as an uncrewed Russian cargo spacecraft arrives at the International Space Station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module.

The Progress 78 spacecraft, which undocked from the station Wednesday, Oct. 20, is scheduled to make an automated docking to the new module at 12:23 a.m. Friday.

The relocation will position Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station.

Another Russian cargo freighter, Progress 79, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 (5 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, Baikonur time). Progress 79 launch overage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will begin at 7:45 p.m.

For more than 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. As a global endeavor, 246 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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

Russian Cargo Craft Undocks from Station to Switch Ports

Oct. 20, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia's Soyuz MS-19 crew ship.
Oct. 20, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-19 crew ship.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Poisk module at 7:42 p.m. EDT today and will arrive at the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module for redocking tomorrow.

Progress 78 will back out to a distance of 120 miles from the space station for a period of just over 24 hours to allow for station keeping. The cargo spacecraft will then make an automated docking at 12:23 a.m. Friday, Oct. 22, to the new module.

NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will offer live coverage of the rendezvous and redocking beginning at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21.

The maneuver will position Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellent lines before they are used with the new module’s thrusters for orientation control of the station. Progress 78 arrived at the station in July and will depart in late November.

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.

Station Gears Up for Russian Resupply Ship Relocation

The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station over Earth's horizon.
The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station over Earth’s horizon.

Tuesday aboard the International Space Station was devoted mainly to orbital maintenance tasks with some light science duties on the schedule. The Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for a Russian cargo craft backing away from the station and moving to a new docking port this week.

Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide began two days of work on the Tranquility module’s oxygen generation system (OGS) today. NASA’s McArthur and Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) partnered up and cleaned out contaminants in the OGS throughout the day. They will continue replacing components and reactivating the life support device on Wednesday.

NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough worked aboard the U.S. Destiny laboratory module swapping fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to support ongoing fuel and flame research in microgravity. Mark Vande Hei, also a NASA Flight Engineer, worked in the U.S. Quest airlock checking a variety of spacewalking tools and tethers ahead of an upcoming spacewalk planned for later this year. Station commander Thomas Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency) calibrated carbon dioxide monitors then configured temporary crew quarters in the Columbus laboratory module.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, are getting ready for Wednesday night’s ISS Progress 78 (78P) resupply ship relocation maneuver that begins with it undocking from the Poisk module. The duo practiced on the Zvezda service module’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit for the unlikely event they would have to manually redock the 78P. The Russian cargo craft is due to automatically redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just after midnight Eastern time on Friday. NASA TV begins its live coverage of the redocking at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Progress 77 and Pirs Undocked from Station

Russia's ISS Progress 77 (77P) cargo craft is pictured docked to the Pirs docking compartment on the station's Russian segment.
Russia’s ISS Progress 77 (77P) cargo craft is pictured docked to the Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment.

The unpiloted Russian Progress 77 cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station while attached to the Pirs docking compartment at 6:55 a.m. EDT.

The spacecraft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and harmlessly burn up over the south Pacific. The mission launched and docked to the space station in February delivering more than a ton of cargo to the Expedition 65 crew. Deorbit and re-entry will not be covered on NASA TV.

With the port on the Earth-facing side of the Russian segment station vacated by the departure of Pirs and Progress, Russia’s Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) is scheduled to dock at the station Thursday, July 29. Named Nauka, after the Russian word for “science,” MLM launched on July 21 and will serve as a new science facility, docking port, and spacewalk airlock for future operations.

Simulation and Station Maintenance Preface a Busy Week for the Crew

Expedition 65 Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reviews procedures on a computer tablet for the InSPACE-4 physics study. Credits: NASA
Expedition 65 Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reviews procedures on a computer tablet for the InSPACE-4 physics study. Credits: NASA

As the week kicked off, the Expedition 65 crew members spent much of their Monday fine-tuning procedures in anticipation of Wednesday’s port-relocation activity, which will free up the Harmony’s forward port for the docking of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station. That vehicle is scheduled for launch Friday, July 30, as part of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 mission.

Science also continued aboard the orbiting laboratory, with NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei conducting experiment runs throughout the day for Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids, or InSPACE-4. This investigation studies the assembly of tiny structures from colloids using magnetic fields. Off the Earth and without the constraints of gravity, scientists are able to observe the assembly processes free from confining sample walls and sedimentation and to timescales not possible during simulation.

Vande Hei teamed up with fellow crewmate Shane Kimbrough to perform needed maintenance to the station’s toilet system, removing and replacing a hose for the assembly and completing a motor test and leak check. Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut, along with NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, helped keep station experiments running optimally by removing two deployers from the Japanese Experiment Module Small Satellite Orbital Deployer and a hard drive from the Fluids and Combustion Facility, respectively.

Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy, meanwhile, worked to transfer equipment for disposal to the Progress 77 cargo craft, which is set to undock — along with the Pirs Docking Compartment — from the International Space Station on Friday, July 23. A few hours later, Progress’ engines will fire in a deorbit maneuver to send the cargo craft and Pirs into a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Replacing Pirs, a module that has been part of the orbital outpost for the past 20 years, is the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) named Nauka, the Russian word for “science.” The MLM is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, July 21, on a three-stage Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Most pressing for the team in space was a comprehensive onboard training session and simulation for the upcoming Crew Dragon port relocation, which will set the stage for a historic first — when two different U.S. commercial spacecraft built for crew will be docked to the outpost at the same time.

See all these mission events on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Live coverage of the port relocation begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, July 21, with launch coverage of the MLM at 10:30 a.m. that same day. On Friday, July 23, coverage for the undocking of Progress 77 and Pirs beginning at 8:45 a.m. EDT Friday, July 23.

Russian Cargo Ship Docks to Station After Two-Day Trip

July 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Cargo Dragon spaceships and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 and 78 resupply ships.
July 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Cargo Dragon spaceships and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 and 78 resupply ships.

An uncrewed Russian Progress 78 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Poisk module on the space-facing side of the Russian segment at 8:59 p.m. EDT, two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday, Tuesday June 29 at 7:27 p.m. (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time). The spacecraft were flying over southeast Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile at the time of docking.

Carrying more than 3,600 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 65 crew, the Progress 78 resupply spacecraft will spend almost five months at the station. The cargo craft is scheduled to perform an automated undocking and relocation to the new “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module in late October. Named for the Russian word for “science,” Nauka is planned to launch to the space station in July.

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

Russian Resupply Ship Blasts Off on Two-Day Trip to Station

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station. Credit: NASA TV

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 is safely in orbit headed for the International Space Station following launch at 7:27 p.m. (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned for a two-day rendezvous on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 65 crew members.

After making 34 orbits of Earth on its journey, Progress will dock to the station’s Poisk module on the space-facing side of the Russian segment at 9:03 p.m. Thursday, July 1. Live coverage on NASA TV of rendezvous and docking will begin at 8:15 p.m.

Carrying more than 3,600 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 65 crew, the Progress 78 resupply spacecraft will spend almost five months at the station. The cargo craft is scheduled to perform an automated undocking and relocation to the new “Nauka” Multipurpose Laboratory Module in late October. Named for the Russian word for “science,” Nauka is planned to launch to the space station in mid-July.

Progress 78 will undock from the orbiting laboratory in November for a re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere that results in its safe destruction.

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

Russian Resupply Rocket Launching to Station Today

Russia's ISS Progress 78 resupply ship stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Energia
Russia’s ISS Progress 78 resupply ship stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Energia

NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app now are providing live coverage of the launch of a Russian cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 78 is scheduled to lift off on a Soyuz rocket at 7:27 p.m. EDT (4:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a two-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

For departure 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.