Human Research, Materials Science and Robotics on Tuesday’s Schedule

The moon is photographed in its waning gibbous phase
The moon is photographed in its waning gibbous phase just above the Earth’s limb as the International Space Station orbited 258 miles above the North Atlantic Ocean just off the Canadian-American coast.

The Expedition 59 crew spent the majority of Tuesday conducting space experiments and setting up research hardware. The International Space Station residents are also continuing to unpack a pair of recently arrived cargo ships while training for the next U.S. cargo mission.

The weightless conditions of microgravity pull fluids towards an astronaut’s head causing a common space phenomenon sometimes called “puffy-face.” Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA spent the morning collecting and stowing his blood, urine and saliva samples for the long-running Fluid Shifts study. The research observes and seeks to reverse the upward flow of fluids causing increased head and eye pressure that concerns flight surgeons.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch set up hardware in the Destiny lab module to begin researching the feasibility of manufacturing fiber optic cable in space. The Space Fibers study takes place inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox and will explore a blend of materials more transparent than silica-based glass.

A new materials exposure experiment is ready for deployment outside Japan’s Kibo lab module. NASA astronaut Anne McClain installed the MISSE-FF gear inside Kibo’s airlock before depressurizing the unit. Robotics controllers will deploy the exposed sample trays outside the airlock. The study will help scientists understand how radiation, the vacuum of space and micrometeoroids affect a variety of materials.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques is training for his role to capture the next SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Hague joined him today for the robotics training and will back him up in the cupola. Dragon is scheduled to launch April 30 from Florida and take a two-day trip to the station where it will be grappled with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and installed to the Harmony module.

Commander Oleg Kononenko helped attach sensors to Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin as the duo researched cardiovascular activity during exercise in space. Kononenko went on to replace smoke detectors as Ovchinin worked on life support maintenance.

Express Delivery from Russia Brings 3.7 Tons of Station Supplies

Russia's Progress 72 resupply ship
Russia’s Progress 72 resupply ship approaches the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment today.

Traveling about 254 miles over central China, the unpiloted Russian Progress 72 cargo ship docked at 10:22 a.m. EDT to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the complex.

In addition to the arrival of Progress today, the crewmembers aboard the space station are scheduled to greet two other cargo resupply missions this month. Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket with Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch from Pad 0A of Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore on April 17, followed the next week by the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft also is scheduled to launch from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space and Races to Station

Russia's Progress 72 resupply ship blasts off on time
Russia’s Progress 72 resupply ship blasts off on time from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. Credit: Roscosmos

Carrying more than three-and-a-half tons of food, fuel and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted Russian Progress 72 cargo spacecraft launched at 7:01 a.m. EDT (4:01 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. Following a 2-orbit rendezvous, the Russian cargo craft will dock to the orbiting laboratory at 10:25 a.m. NASA Television coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 9:45 a.m.

Progress 72 will remain docked at the station for about three months before departing in July for its deorbit in Earth’s atmosphere.

The Progress is the first of three cargo resupply ships delivering supplies to the six crewmembers aboard the space station this month. Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket with its Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch from Pad 0A of Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore on April 17. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida the following week.

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

NASA TV Broadcasts Launch and Docking of Express Delivery to Station

The Progress 72 resupply ship stands at its launch pad
The Progress 72 resupply ship stands at its launch pad on a clear blue day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The service gantries slowly rise toward the rocket so workers can access and check the vehicle. Credit: Roscosmos

NASA Television will broadcast live the launch of a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft carrying more than three-and-a-half tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 59 crew aboard the International Space Station. Watch live on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 6:45 a.m. EDT.

The Progress 72 spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:01 a.m. (4:01 p.m. Baikonur time).

The Progress will orbit Earth twice then rendezvous with the station, where it will dock to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the complex. Live coverage of its arrival and docking will begin at 9:45 a.m., with docking scheduled for 10:25 a.m.

The spacecraft will remain at the orbital outpost until late July.

Live on Thursday NASA TV Broadcasts Express Cargo Mission to Station

The Progress 72 resupply ship stands at its launch pad
The Progress 72 resupply ship stands at its launch pad on a clear blue day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

NASA Television will provide live launch coverage of a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft carrying more than three-and-a-half tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 59 crew aboard the International Space Station. Watch live on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 6:45 a.m. EDT.

The Progress 72 spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:01 a.m. EDT (4:01 p.m. Baikonur time).

The Progress will orbit Earth twice then rendezvous with the station, where it will dock to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the complex. Live coverage of its arrival and docking will begin at 9:45 a.m., with docking scheduled for 10:25 a.m.

The spacecraft will remain at the orbital outpost until late July.

Resupply Rocket at Launch Pad as Astronauts Prep for Third Spacewalk

Russia's Progress 72 resupply rocket
Russia’s Progress 72 resupply rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The Expedition 59 crew is ramping up for new supplies arriving at the International Space Station on Thursday and another spacewalk taking place on Monday. The orbital residents also managed to conduct ongoing microgravity science and life support maintenance today.

Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques are readying their spacesuits and tools for a spacewalk set to begin Monday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. The spacewalking duo will install truss jumpers next week to provide a redundant power source to the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Watch a 3-D animation depicting Monday’s spacewalk activities

Back on Earth, the Progress 72 (72P) resupply ship stands ready to blast off Thursday at 7:01 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Just two orbits later, it will catch up to the station carrying nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies. It is scheduled to dock to the Pirs docking compartment at 10:25 a.m. where it will stay until the end of July. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and docking activities live.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin will monitor the 72P’s approach and rendezvous from inside the Zvezda service module. The duo will be at the controls of the TORU, a backup manual docking system, to guide the 72P to a docking in the unlikely event the 72P’s automatic Kurs docking system fails.

The astronauts also worked throughout Tuesday collecting blood and urine samples, spinning the samples in a centrifuge and storing them in a science freezer for later analysis. The cosmonauts explored space-piloting techniques before moving on to plumbing and atmosphere revitalization tasks.

Cargo Ship Takes out Trash; Crew Works on Cygnus Preps and Science Hardware

Jan. 25, 2019: International Space Station Configuration
Jan. 25, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship and Russia’s Progress 71 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-11 crew ship.

A Russian cargo ship left the International Space Station this morning and was deorbited for a destructive demise over the Pacific Ocean. The Expedition 58 crew now turns its attention to the departure of a U.S. space freighter next month.

The Progress 70 (70P) resupply ship ended its six-and-a-half month stay at the station when it undocked from Pirs docking compartment today at 7:55 a.m. EST. It descended into Earth’s atmosphere less than four hours later loaded with trash and discarded gear and burned up safely over the southern Pacific.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus commercial cargo vessel is next up, scheduled to depart the Unity module in early February. Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques have been reviewing Cygnus departure procedures and carefully packing the spaceship throughout the week.

McClain and Saint-Jacques spent Friday working on a variety of science hardware and life support gear aboard the orbital lab. The duo first set up gear to measure airflow inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Next, they serviced a pair of science freezers nicknamed MELFI and GLACIER that store research samples at ultra-cold temperatures.

NASA’s McClain also replaced hardware in the Actiwatch Spectrum, a wearable device that analyzes an astronaut’s sleep quality, sleep onset, hyperactivity and other daily routines. Saint-Jacques from the Canadian Space Agency activated a new 3D printer known as the Refabricator that uses recycled plastics.

Commander Oleg Kononenko from Roscosmos monitored this morning’s 70P undocking and photographed the departing spacecraft. The station veteran also checked on Russian laptop computers and participated in a study that explores how cosmonauts adapt to complex space tasks.

Russian Cargo Ship Undocks; U.S. Cygnus Leaves in February

Russian ISS Progress 70 cargo craft
Russia’s Progress 70 cargo craft undocks on time today from the Pirs Docking Compartment .

A Russian Progress 70 (70P) cargo craft undocked from the International Space Station today at 7:55 a.m. EST loaded with trash and discarded gear. It will orbit Earth a few more hours before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean for a fiery but safe destruction.

The Progress delivered three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the station crew members on July 9. It was the first two-orbit rendezvous in International Space Station history.

Today’s departure leaves three spaceships attached to the orbital lab including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-11 crew ship. Cygnus is due to complete its mission when it departs from the station’s Unity module on Feb. 8.

Three Humans Will Spend Thanksgiving 260 Miles Above Earth

Expedition 57 crew selfie
Serena Auñón-Chancellor (right) takes a group selfie with her Expedition 57 crew mates (from left) Sergey Prokopyev and Alexander Gerst. The three-person crew was gathered for dinner in the Zvezda Service Module, part of the International Space Station’s Russian segment.

Three humans will spend Thanksgiving orbiting about 260 miles above Earth. Another three individuals are spending the holiday in Kazakhstan preparing to launch to the International Space Station on Dec. 3.

The Expedition 57 trio from the U.S., Russia and Germany will share a traditional Thanksgiving meal together with fresh ingredients delivered over the weekend on a pair of new cargo ships. Commander Alexander Gerst from ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor will take the day off in space. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev will work a normal day of Russian science and maintenance then join his crewmates for the holiday feast.

Gerst called down to European mission controllers today for a weekly tag up then answered a questionnaire about his experiences living in space. Afterward, he continued unpacking inventory from the new Cygnus cargo craft.

Auñón-Chancellor spent most of her day in Japan’s Kibo lab module working on life support gear. Toward the end of the day, she stowed research samples in a science freezer then debriefed ground controllers with Gerst about Cygnus cargo operations.

Prokopyev focused his attention on the Russian side of the orbital lab working on life support gear and unloading the new Progress 71 cargo craft.

Back on Earth, three Expedition 58 crew members from the U.S., Russia and Canada are in final training ahead of their six-and-a-half month mission on the orbital lab. Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will lead the six-hour flight aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft flanked by NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

This will be Kononenko’s fourth mission to the space station and his second as station commander. McClain and Saint-Jacques are both beginning their first missions to space.

Crew Unpacking New U.S., Russian Cargo Ships on Station’s 20th Anniversary

Zarya Module
The International Space Station’s first element, the Zarya module, is pictured in December 1998 as space shuttle Endeavour approached.

The International Space Station turned 20 years old today with the launch of the first element, the Zarya module, occurring on Nov. 20, 1998. The three-person Expedition 57 crew commemorated the beginning of the orbital lab’s construction during a Facebook Live event today and answered questions submitted via social media.

The crew also continues to unpack the newest U.S. and Russian cargo ships to visit the International Space Station today.

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman arrived Monday delivering almost 7,400 pounds of crew supplies and new science experiments. The Progress 71 (71P) resupply from Russia docked Sunday packed with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst opened Cygnus’s hatch a few hours after it was captured and attached to the Unity module. Today they are installing new science freezers, transferring the new cargo and replenishing the orbital laboratory. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev opened the 71P hatch after its automated docking Sunday and began unloading the new gear.

In between all the cargo work today, the three-person crew had time to conduct science and maintain station systems.

Gerst photographed samples for a physics study that is observing how quartz/clay particles interact in microgravity. Results could benefit future planetary studies and the petroleum industry. Auñón-Chancellor measured light levels in the Columbus lab module for a study researching how new station lights impact crew wellness. Prokopyev worked primarily in the station’s Russian segment maintaining life support systems.