Crew Unloads Dragon as Russian Cargo Ships Depart, Prep for Launch

Russia's Progress 73 cargo craft stands at its launch pad
Russia’s Progress 73 cargo craft stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a Wednesday liftoff.

A new U.S. space freighter is open for business today after delivering its payload to the International Space Station on Saturday. Meanwhile, a Russian resupply rocket is processing for another space delivery mission on Wednesday that will take less than three and a half hours after launch.

NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague opened Dragon’s hatch early Sunday beginning a month of cargo operations. His fellow crewmates Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are unloading critical research samples and stowing them inside the station’s science freezers and incubators for analysis.

The new experiments will be exploring microgravity’s effect on a variety of biological and physical processes benefitting humans on Earth and in space. The crew will be researching 3-D bio-printing, silica manufacturing, botany and tissue regeneration and a host of other space phenomena.

Robotics controllers will remove the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3), a new commercial crew ship docking port, from Dragon’s unpressurized trunk in mid-August. A pair of spacewalkers will install the IDA-3 on the Harmony module’s space-facing Pressurized Mating Adapter a few days later.

Russia’s Pirs Docking Compartment port opened up today at 6:44 a.m. EDT when the Progress 72 (72P) cargo craft undocked completing a four-month stay at the orbiting lab. It will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery, but safe disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

The new Progress 73 cargo ship will replace 72P after it launches Wednesday at 8:10 a.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will dock to Pirs that same morning at 11:35 a.m. after just two Earth orbits packed with more food, fuel and supplies for the crew.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov are training today on the tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit (TORU) for Wednesday’s arrival of the 73P. The duo will be in the Zvezda service module at the controls of the TORU monitoring the 73P’s approach ready to take over manual docking operations in the unlikely event of an emergency.

US, Russian Spaceships Depart Amid Physics and Biology on Station

June 4, 2019: International Space Station Configuration
Four spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 72 resupply ship and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships.

A pair of U.S. and Russian resupply ships have departed the International Space Station this week. Russia’s Progress 71 (71P) cargo craft undocked this morning and the SpaceX Dragon returned to Earth Monday.

The 71P, packed with trash and unused hardware, undocked from the aft end of the Zvezda service module today at 3:40 a.m. EDT. It reentered Earth’s atmosphere and safely burned up over a remote portion of the Pacific Ocean. This completes a mission that began when the 71P launched Nov. 16 and delivered almost three tons of cargo two days later to the Expedition 57 crew.

Amidst all the cargo transfers and spaceship departures, the Expedition 59 crew found time for continuing space research. Monday saw astronauts David Saint-Jacques and Christina Koch explore the possibility of fueling satellites in space and separating gases and fluids in advanced life support systems. Flight Engineer Anne McClain cleaned an incubator after the completion of an experiment that observed altered gene expressions occurring in space.

Today, the crew is conducting a variety of biomedical research and space botany.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague examined the eyes of cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin today using optical coherence tomography hardware. Saint-Jacques had his leg artery remotely scanned by a doctor on the ground studying cardiovascular health in space.

Koch set up botany hardware today in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module for ongoing research into growing a continuous supply of fresh food in space. McClain continued incubator closeout activities in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

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.