Science Stepping Up on Station for Earth and Space Benefits

The newly-expanded Expedition 63 crew
The newly-expanded Expedition 63 crew with NASA astronauts (front row, from left) Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. In the center, in the back row, is NASA Commander Chris Cassidy flanked by Roscosmos Flight Engineers (from left) Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

The three NASA astronauts and two Roscosmos cosmonauts that comprise the Expedition 63 crew are keeping the International Space Station humming with space research.

Less than a week into their stay on the orbiting lab, Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are still orienting themselves with station systems and operations. Meanwhile, the duo is beginning to step up their advanced science activities to benefit people on and off Earth.

Hurley is getting up to speed with a pair of space physics experiments today. He started research today on space bubbles and microfluids to improve oxygen and medicine delivery systems. He then photographed hardware being set up to research how tiny particles behave in fluids. Results could improve the development of advanced materials and 3D printing techniques.

Behnken is studying how to remove and re-install a plant habitat so he can access and replace life support gear on Thursday. He also tested the SpaceX Crew Dragon’s wi-fi system that connects the spacecraft’s portable computer tablets.

Both astronauts also joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy on Wednesday afternoon reviewing station safety procedures and equipment. Cassidy spent the morning setting up science gear that Hurley would later use to begin his space bubbles research.

In the Russian segment of the station, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner split their time between Earth observations, radiation checks and module inspections. The duo also videotaped messages and station activities for audiences on the ground.

Crew Opens U.S. Market; Advanced Space Science Continues

NASA astronauts pictured on the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square
NASA astronauts (from left) Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy are pictured on the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square located in New York City.

The three NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station rang the NASDAQ opening bell this morning then joined the rest of the Expedition 63 crew for ongoing lab operations.

Commander Chris Cassidy kicked off the U.S. financial markets Tuesday morning ringing the NASDAQ opening bell alongside Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The NASA trio will broaden space science activities, both private and public, on the orbiting lab to benefit humans on and off the Earth.

Meanwhile, Cassidy is helping Hurley and Behnken get up to speed with station operations and systems. Hurley and Behnken today familiarized themselves with the station’s workout facilities including the advanced resistive exercise device (ARED). The ARED simulates free-weight exercises and works all the major muscle groups. The duo also reviewed personal protective equipment and helped unpack Japan’s HTV-9 cargo craft.

The two visitors each previously visited the station twice during the space shuttle era. Hurley rode shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis in 2009 and 2011. Behnken flew on Endeavour twice in 2008 and 2010.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued their Russian research and maintenance tasks today. Ivanishin photographed how man-made and natural causes are affecting the Earth. Vagner explored how space travelers may pilot future spacecraft on planetary missions.

SpaceX Crew Astronauts Get Used to Space Station

NASA astronauts and Expedition 63 crew members (from left) Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy.
NASA astronauts and Expedition 63 crew members (from left) Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy.

The International Space Station has two new NASA astronauts after the SpaceX Crew Dragon arrived on Sunday. The newly-expanded Expedition 63 crew will now be ramping up microgravity research in the coming days and weeks.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are getting up to speed with space station systems and operations on their first full day as Expedition 63 crewmates. The duo is also unpacking the Crew Dragon vehicle today and integrating its systems with the space station.

The duo joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy, who has been on orbit since April 9, for a news conference today and talked about the historical nature of the first crewed Dragon mission. Hurley and Behnken, who each flew on two space shuttle missions, also described the differences between the Dragon crew ship and the now-retired shuttles.

Cassidy primarily spent Monday on ongoing lab maintenance activities. The veteran astronaut, who also flew on two previous shuttle missions, serviced research hardware and plumbing gear throughout Monday.

The two Roscosmos cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, focused on science and routine operations in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab. They joined their NASA crewmates in the morning to review Crew Dragon emergency procedures. Afterward, the duo explored advanced Earth photography techniques and ways to improve space exercise.

Crew Dragon Docks to Space Station

The SpaceX Crew Dragon
The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 30 meters away from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour have arrived at the International Space Station.

The Crew Dragon arrived at the station’s Harmony port, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying about 262 miles above the northern border of China and Mongolia. Following soft capture, 12 hooks were closed to complete a hard capture at 10:27 a.m. Teams now will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for approximately 12:45 p.m.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission.

Behnken and Hurley made history Saturday as they became the first Americans to launch on an American rocket from American soil to the space station in nearly a decade. Their successful docking completed many of the test objectives of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, and the rest will be completed as the spacecraft operates as part of the space station, then at the conclusion of its mission undocks and descends for a parachute landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 63 Commander and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are preparing to welcome Behnken and Hurley aboard the station.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch Commercial Crew Astronauts Dock to Station

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken call down to mission controllers for a report on their second flight day abnoard the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on their way to the International Space Station.

Hurley and Behnkhen received their wake-up call at 4:45 a.m. EDT with the song “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath. This morning they shared a tour inside the spacecraft, which they named Dragon Endeavour. Next they will conduct a near field manual piloting test to demonstrate their ability to control the spacecraft should an issue with the spacecraft’s automated flight arise.

The spacecraft will begin its close approach to the station at about 8:27 a.m. and is scheduled to dock at 10:29 a.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crews onboard the spacecraft and the space station will diligently monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.

As SpaceX’s final flight test, the Demo-2 mission will validate all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon spacecraft, spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch vehicle, launch pad LC-39A, and operations capabilities before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.

Behnken and Hurley will work with SpaceX mission control to verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system, and by maneuvering the thrusters, among other things.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Expedition 63 Waits for Weekend Arrival of SpaceX Crew

The sun's rays glisten above the Atlantic Ocean
The sun’s rays glisten in this photograph from an external high definition camera as the International Space Station orbited over the Atlantic Ocean southwest of South Africa.

The Expedition 63 crew will wait a few more days to gain two new crewmembers after weather scrubbed the initial launch attempt of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Meanwhile, the orbiting trio aboard the International Space Station continued focusing on lab operations.

Rain and lightning around Kennedy Space Center kept Commercial Crew members Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on the ground Wednesday. The Florida weather violated launch rules and SpaceX scrubbed the liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket with the two NASA astronauts atop sitting inside the Crew Dragon vehicle.

NASA has rescheduled the Crew Dragon launch for Saturday at 3:22 p.m. EDT with a backup launch date on Sunday at 3 p.m. If Hurley and Behnken launch Saturday, they would dock Sunday at 10:29 a.m. to the Harmony module’s International Docking Adapter.

Back on orbit, NASA Commander Chris Cassidy was setting up Japanese network communications gear and science hardware during the morning. Afterward, the veteran astronaut spent the rest of Thursday exploring how planetary bodies might affect the density and dynamics of different materials.

The Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner started the day transferring cargo to and from the Soyuz crew ship and the two Progress space freighters. The duo then turned its attention to videotaping and photographing their station activities for an Earth audience.

Expedition 63 Awaits SpaceX Crew, Unpacks Japanese Cargo

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad in Florida during a brief static fire test on Friday, May 22, 2020.

The Expedition 63 crew is getting ready for the launch and arrival this week of two NASA astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade. This follows Monday morning’s arrival of a Japanese cargo craft that delivered over four tons of food, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX managers completed their readiness reviews and have given the “go” for the launch of Commercial Crew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The duo will liftoff atop the Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center in Florida toward the station.

They will dock on Thursday at 11:39 a.m. to the Harmony module’s International Docking Adapter on the space station’s forward section. Two-and-a-half hours later the hatches will open, Behnken and Hurley will enter the station and the Expedition 63 crew will expand to five members to bring space research up to full speed aboard the orbiting lab.

The Crew Dragon will be docked adjacent to the newly-arrived H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) from Japan. The HTV-9 was installed to the Harmony module’s Earth-facing port a couple of hours after it was captured Monday at 8:13 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy began unloading the HTV-9 with help from Roscosmos Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner shortly after its arrival on Memorial Day.

The final mission of Japan’s expendable resupply ship will stay at the station until late July. Japan’s next version of resupply ships (HTV-X) will be returnable and reusable providing more cargo capabilities.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin swapped out more fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to maintain research operations inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. The refrigerator-sized research rack enables fuel, flame and soot research in microgravity.

Japan’s Resupply Ship Installed on Station’s Harmony Module

May 25, 2020: International Space Station Configuration
May 25, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the HTV-9 resupply ship from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Russia’s Progress 74 and 75 resupply ships and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.

The unpiloted Japanese cargo spacecraft was installed this morning at 10:46 a.m. EDT to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module, where it will remain for two months. Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA, with assistance from Russian Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos, operated the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola and grappled the 12-ton spacecraft.

Among the four tons of cargo aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) unpiloted H-II Transport Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) were investigations testing a new livestreaming educational tool, microscope and telescope. Learn more about the science experiments and technology heading to station here.

For almost 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, 239 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,800 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries.

For arrival 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.

Canadian Robotic Arm Captures Japanese Space Freighter

Japan's HTV-9 resupply ship is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm
Japan’s HTV-9 resupply ship is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm after it was captured at 8:13 a.m. EDT on May 25, 2020.

After a five-day journey, the H-II Transport Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) was captured by Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to grapple the 12-ton spacecraft.

Coverage of HTV-9’s final installation will begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT when flight controllers in mission control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will take over robotic arm operations and berth HTV-9 to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module, where it will remain for two months.

For arrival 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.

Expedition 63 Awaits Japanese Cargo and American Crew

Japan's HTV-8 cargo craft and the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle
Japan’s HTV-8 cargo craft (left) is pictured gripped by the Canadarm2 robotic arm on November of 2019. The SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle is pictured at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Three Expedition 63 crewmates are orbiting Earth getting ready to welcome a Japanese cargo ship and the first crew to launch from America in almost a decade.

NASA Commander Chris Cassidy will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Japan’s ninth space freighter to visit the station on Memorial Day at 8:15 a.m. EDT. The H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) is delivering over four tons of crew supplies, space experiments and new lithium-ion batteries to upgrade station power systems. NASA TV’s live coverage begins Monday at 6:45 a.m.

Cassidy spent Friday readying the Harmony module for the HTV-9’s installation while also working on plumbing tasks. He’ll spend Saturday and Sunday relaxing aboard the International Space Station before turning his attention to the Japanese and American spaceships.

In Florida, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program are in final preparations for their launch aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. They will dock the next day at 11:39 a.m. to the station’s International Docking Adapter on the Harmony module’s forward port.

Cassidy with Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will welcome the Commercial Crew astronauts aboard the station when the hatches open about two-and-a-half hours later. Behnken and Hurley will join the Expedition 63 crew as Flight Engineers and ramp up space science aboard the orbiting lab.

Back onboard the space station, cosmonauts Ivanishin and Vagner spent Friday servicing a variety of Russian communications and life support hardware. The duo also continued inventorying station maintenance and repair equipment.