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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More research gear continues to be unloaded from inside and outside of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft today. Back on Earth, another resupply ship is poised to blast off Monday on a quick delivery mission to the International Space Station.
Overnight, mission controllers commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract a new Earth-observing experiment from the rear of the Dragon space freighter. The new ECOSTRESS gear was then remotely installed on the outside of the Kibo laboratory module. ECOSTRESS will provide thermal infrared measurements of Earth’s surface helping scientists assess water and vegetation changes on agriculture.
Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst processed and stowed their blood samples today for the Myotones muscle study. Observations may help doctors develop strategies to keep astronauts healthy in space and improve conditions for patients on Earth with mobility or aging issues.
The Progress 70 resupply ship from Roscosmos is being processed for launch Monday at 5:51 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Russian mission controllers are planning a short 3 hour and 48 minute delivery trip, or just two orbits, to the station’s Pirs docking compartment. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and automated docking live beginning Monday at 5:30 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.
The International Space Station deployed a satellite this morning to demonstrate the potential of removing space junk. Back inside the orbital lab, the Expedition 56 crew explored space physics, studied human research and conducted an emergency drill.
A new satellite was deployed into space today from outside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. Officially named the NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite, it will explore using a 3D camera to map the location and speed of space debris. It will also deploy a net to capture a nanosatellite that will simulate space junk.
Arnold later joined fellow Soyuz MS-08 crewmates Drew Feustel of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos for an emergency drill. The trio practiced evacuating the station in their Soyuz crew ship in the unlikely event of an emergency.
U.S. and Russian cargo ships are due to launch to the space station this summer. Another cargo craft is due to end its stay at the orbital lab next month. SpaceX is counting down to a June 29 launch of its Dragon cargo ship. Roscosmos will launch its Progress 70 cargo craft on July 9. Finally, the Cygnus space freighter attached to the Unity module is due to end its stay July 15.
The International Space Station will be orbiting a little higher this weekend to prepare for the departure of three Expedition 55 crew members and the arrival of a new Russian cargo craft. The docked Russian Progress 69 resupply ship will fire its engines Saturday at 6:07 p.m. EDT for two minutes and 52 seconds slightly boosting the orbital lab’s altitude.
This orbital reboost sets up the proper phasing trajectory for the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft when it undocks June 3. The Soyuz will carry Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineers Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai back to Earth after six-and-a-half month mission in space. The reboost will also enable a two-orbit launch to docking opportunity for Russia’s next resupply ship the Progress 70 in July.
Overnight and early Friday morning robotics controllers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency supported the deployment of small satellites from outside the Kibo laboratory module. The Japanese robotic arm attached to Kibo ejected several small satellites to support a series of technology demonstrations.
Two spacewalkers and a pair of Flight Engineers continued more computer training and procedure reviews today ahead of next week’s spacewalk. NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel will go outside in their U.S. spacesuits Wednesday for about 6.5 hours to swap out thermal control gear that cools external station systems. Tingle and Kanai will assist the duo in and out of the Quest airlock and help choreograph the spacewalk tasks.
A Russian cargo craft departed the International Space Station this morning after completing a six-month stay at the Pirs docking compartment. Meanwhile, the Expedition 55 crew is less than a day away from beginning the fourth spacewalk this the year for orbital lab maintenance.
Russia’s Progress 68 (68P) resupply ship flawlessly undocked from Pirs this morning at 9:50 a.m. EDT. It will orbit Earth for a month where Russian ground controllers will conduct a series of engineering tests on the 68P. The cargo ship will then reenter the atmosphere April 25 loaded with trash and discarded items for a fiery but safe demise over the Pacific Ocean.
While a pair of astronauts are finalizing spacewalk preparations today, the six Expedition 55 crew members spent an hour today reviewing emergency roles and responsibilities. The four astronauts and two cosmonauts practiced communication procedures with each other and mission controllers on the ground. The crew also checked the location of safety gear and followed escape routes to their Soyuz vehicles in the unlikely event a crisis would require evacuating the station.
Finally, spacewalkers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel have their tools and suits ready for Thursday’s excursion to install antennas and replace a camera assembly outside the space station. The duo wrapped up final reviews today with Flight Engineers Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai who will assist the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits. The spacewalk is expected to start at 8:10 a.m. tomorrow with NASA TV beginning its live coverage at 6:30 a.m.