Global Cargo Missions Planned as Critical Research Proceeds

The Soyuz MS-09 crew ship and the Progress 70 resupply ship
Russia’s two docked spacecraft, the Soyuz MS-09 (left) crew ship and the Progress 70 resupply ship, are pictured as the International Space Station orbited nearly 254 miles above northern Kazakhstan.

A Russian cargo ship departed the International Space Station Wednesday night as another resupply mission from Japan is planned in September. The Expedition 56 crew members also observed protein crystals, studied an ancient navigation technique and researched time perception in space.

Two Soyuz crew ships and a Progress resupply ship remain docked at the orbital lab after the Progress 69 (69P) cargo craft undocked from the Zvezda service module Wednesday at 10:16 p.m. EDT. It will orbit Earth until Aug. 29 for engineering tests monitored by Roscosmos mission controllers before deorbiting over the Pacific Ocean.

The next resupply mission is coming from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s “Kounotori” H-II Transfer Vehicle. It is targeted for launch Sept. 10 to deliver science, supplies and batteries for installation during a pair of spacewalks next month. Russia’s next resupply mission, the Progress 71, is targeted for a two-day trip to the station at the end of October.

Commander Drew Feustel continued working on a pair of similar protein crystal experiments today. The BioServe Protein Crystalography-1 and Protein Crystal Growth-13 studies allow astronauts to observe crystal growth in space and analyze the results. This saves researchers time without having to wait for samples to be returned to Earth for analysis.

Alexander Gerst of ESA assisted Serena Auñón-Chancellor from NASA and tested using a sextant in space for celestial navigation during an emergency. The duo worked inside the Cupola today and tested stability, positioning and sighting with the device using a star map.

Gerst then switched his attention to a European Space Agency study exploring how astronauts perceive time in space. Researchers seek to quantify subjective changes in time perception to understand how astronauts navigate, move and hear in space.

Russian Cargo Ship Leaves Station After Six-Month Stay

The Russian Progress 69 resupply ship approaches the aft end of the Zvezda service module
The Russian Progress 69 (69P) resupply ship approaches the aft end of the Zvezda service module where it docked Feb. 15, 2018.

Loaded with trash, the Russian Progress 69 cargo craft undocked from the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 9:16 p.m. CDT, 10:16 p.m. EDT, completing a six-month delivery run to the International Space Station.

The unpiloted Progress will move to a safe distance from the orbital laboratory for a week’s worth of engineering tests by Russian flight controllers before it is commanded to deorbit next Wednesday night. It will then burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

The next Progress cargo ship to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Progress 71, is scheduled in late October.

Russian Ship Taking Out Trash After Day of Biology Studies

Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold and Commander Drew Feustel
(From left) Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold and Commander Drew Feustel, both NASA astronauts, peer out from windows inside the Cupola, also known as the International Space Station’s “window to the world.”

A Russian cargo ship is packed and ready for departure tonight from the International Space Station after a six-month stay. Meanwhile, the Expedition 56 crew members explored a variety of biological phenomena impacted by the weightless environment of space.

Russia’s Progress 69 (69P) cargo craft will undock from the Zvezda service module tonight at 10:16 p.m. EDT packed with trash and discarded hardware. It will orbit Earth for seven more days of engineering tests before finally reentering Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean for a fiery, but safe destruction. The 69P arrived in February delivering over three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 54 crew.

Three astronauts worked three different life science experiments today to understand how living in space affects biology. The results could potentially increase the efficiency of orbital research and improve the lives of humans on Earth and in space.

Commander Drew Feustel, who leads the six-member station crew, looked at protein crystals through a microscope today for the BioServe Protein Crystalography study. The experiment is helping scientists on Earth analyze the samples in space real time, possibly saving critical research time and improving the development of disease-treating drugs.

Educator astronaut Ricky Arnold of NASA took part in another similar protein crystal study today peering through a microscope and photographing research samples. The main objective of the Protein Crystal Growth-13 experiment is to fine-tune the research process in space and help public and private organizations deliver results and benefits sooner.

Exercise is critically important in space so astronauts can stay healthy while living off the Earth for long periods of time. Researchers from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) are observing a new type of t-shirt with a specialized fabric that can help astronauts dispel heat and sweat efficiently during a space workout. Astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) exercised today in the custom t-shirt for the SpaceTex-2 study to report on its comfort and effectiveness.

Station Gears Up for Spacewalk During Advanced Science Work

Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold
Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold inspects U.S. spacesuits and tethers in the Quest airlock ahead of a pair of U.S. spacewalks currently planned for September.

Two Expedition 56 cosmonauts packed a Russian resupply ship today before preparing for Wednesday’s spacewalk. The other four International Space Station crew members worked on a variety of space science experiments and lab maintenance duties.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev are loading a Progress 69 (69P) cargo craft with trash ahead of its departure next week. The 69P delivered over three tons of food, fuel and supplies in February. The spacecraft will undock on Aug. 22 for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean one week later after a series of engineering tests.

The cosmonauts then turned their attention to Wednesday’s spacewalk when they will hand-deploy four tiny satellites, install antennas and cables and collect exposed science experiments. They continued setting up their spacewalking gear inside the Pirs airlock today. They will exit Pirs Wednesday at 11:58 a.m. EDT for about six hours of work outside the station’s Russian segment inside their Orlan spacesuits. NASA TV’s live coverage of the spacewalk begins at 11:15 a.m.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor performed the majority of the science work today onboard the orbital complex. Feustel explored how proteins crystallize and grow in microgravity to help scientists develop safer, more advanced drug therapies on Earth. Auñón-Chancellor started her day with a blood draw before researching radio spectrum usage in space which may benefit satellite communications. Finally, she studied the sedimentation of quartz and clay particles possibly assisting future planetary exploration missions and the petroleum industry on Earth.

Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold spent some time inspecting U.S. spacesuit lights and replacing fan filters before assisting Feustel with the protein crystal growth experiment. Alexander Gerst of ESA checked out U.S. spacesuit batteries then moved on to verifying the functionality of fire extinguishers and breathing masks.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/ 

Cancer, Fertility Research and Cargo Work Fill Crew Schedule

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold
NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold is inside the seven-windowed Cupola that provides views of the Earth below as well as approaching and departing resupply ships.

The Expedition 56 crew members explored a variety of microgravity science today potentially improving the lives of people on Earth and astronauts in space. The orbital residents are also unpacking a new resupply ship and getting ready for the departure of another.

Cancer research is taking place aboard the International Space Station possibly leading to safer, more effective therapies. Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor contributed to that research today by examining endothelial cells through a microscope for the AngieX Cancer Therapy study. AngieX is seeking a better model in space to test a treatment that targets tumor cells and blood vessels.

She also teamed up with Commander Drew Feustel imaging biological samples in a microscope for the Micro-11 fertility study. The experiment is researching whether successful reproduction is possible off the Earth.

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter has been packed full of trash and is due to leave the space station Sunday morning. Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus at 8:35 a.m. EDT as Auñón-Chancellor backs him up.  It will orbit Earth until July 30 for engineering studies before burning up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev were back at work unpacking cargo delivered Monday aboard the new Progress 70 cargo craft. The 70P will stay at the station’s Pirs docking compartment until January.

Crew Unpacking New Cargo, Researching Life Science Before Sunday Ship Departure

Expedition 56-57 crewmates
Expedition 56-57 crewmates (from left) Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA; Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency); and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.

Expedition 56 crew members are transferring cargo in and out of U.S. and Russian cargo ships today. Two astronauts are also planning to release a U.S. resupply ship on Sunday ending its mission at the International Space Station.

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst were back inside the SpaceX Dragon today unloading science gear and station hardware from inside the space freighter. Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos continued unloading the nearly three tons of crew supplies and station hardware delivered Monday aboard the new Progress 70 cargo craft.

The Cygnus resupply ship will complete its stay at the orbital Sunday at 8:35 a.m. EDT after 52 days attached to the Unity module. Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus back into Earth orbit backed up by Auñón-Chancellor of NASA. Cygnus will remain in orbit until July 30 supporting engineering activities before it is deorbited to burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.

Space research aboard the orbital lab is always ongoing as the crew explored a variety of life science today. The space residents explored how microgravity impacts fertility, algae production and the gastrointestinal system. The crew also completed routine eye checks with an ultrasound device Wednesday morning to maintain good vision during spaceflight.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Cargo Ships and Cancer Research Keeps Orbital Lab Humming

The Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) Cygnus resupply ship
The Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) Cygnus resupply ship with its round, brass-colored UltraFlex solar arrays is guided to its port on the Unity module shortly after it was captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm on May 24, 2018.

Russia’s Progress 70 (70P) cargo craft delivered nearly 5,700 pounds of crew supplies and station cargo to the International Space Station on Monday less than four hours after launch. Meanwhile, the U.S. Cygnus resupply ship from Northrop Grumman tested its ability to boost the orbital laboratory’s altitude today.

Monday’s arrival of the Russian resupply craft set a milestone for station operations by arriving with its cargo in just 3 hours and 40 minutes, or only two Earth orbits. The new Progress makes six spacecraft parked at the orbital complex including the Progress 69 resupply ship, the Soyuz MS-08 and MS-09 crew ships and the SpaceX Dragon and Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighters.

The engine on Northrup Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship fired for 50 seconds Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. EDT to reboost the station in a test designed to verify an additional capability to adjust the station’s altitude, if required. The brief engine firing raised the station’s altitude by about 295 feet. Cygnus will depart the station on Sunday after delivering several tons of supplies and science experiments back in May for the six crewmembers on board.

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst continued more life science work today exploring cancer research and fertility. Serena split her time today between testing ways to develop safer, more effective cancer therapies and exploring how living in space impacts fertility. Gerst set up a specialized microscope to look at proteins that could be used for cancer treatment and radiation protection.

Cargo Craft Docks to Station After Short Trip

Cargo Craft Final Approach
The Russian Progress 70 cargo craft approaches the space station’s Pirs docking compartment.

Traveling about 250 miles over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, the unpiloted Russian Progress 70 cargo ship docked at 9:31 p.m. EDT to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station.

For more information about the current crew and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

Lift Off of a Same-Day Cargo Delivery to the Space Station

Russian Cargo Craft Liftoff
The Russian Progress 70 cargo craft lifts off on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a short trip to deliver supplies to the space station.

Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted Russian Progress 70 cargo craft launched at 5:51 p.m. EDT (3:51 a.m. July 10 in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 250 miles over southwest Uzbekistan, south of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Russian cargo craft will make two orbits of Earth before docking to the orbiting laboratory. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will resume on the NASA’s website at 9 p.m.

To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 70 online, follow @space_station on Twitter.

Watch Russian Rocket Blast Off for Same-Day Delivery to Station

A Russian Progress resupply ship blasts off
A Russian Progress resupply ship blasts off in June 2011 on a delivery mission to the space station.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 56 crew aboard the International Space Station beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 9.

Launch of the ISS Progress 70 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 5:51 p.m. (3:51 a.m. July 10 local time). Watch the launch live on NASA TV or the agency’s website.

NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 9 p.m. Following two orbits of Earth, Progress 70 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station after a less-than-four-hour trip for docking at 9:39 p.m. It will remained docked to the station until late January 2019.

The Expedition 56 crew will monitor key events during Progress 70’s approach and docking.

To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 70 on Twitter, follow @space_station.