Cargo Mission Launches Carrying Food, Fuel and Supplies to Station

The Russian Progress 68 cargo craft lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted Russian Progress 68 cargo spacecraft launched at 4:46 a.m. EDT (2:46 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 250 miles over the south Atlantic Ocean north of the Falkland Islands .

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Expedition 53 crew will monitor key events during Progress 68’s approach and docking.

Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress will arrive at the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station for docking on Monday, Oct. 16, at 7:09 a.m. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin on NASA’s website at 6:15 a.m

To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 68 online, follow @space_station on Twitter.

Station Cargo Mission and Spacewalk Rescheduled

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei is pictured attached to the outside of the space station during a spacewalk on Oct. 10, 2017.

Roscosmos has rescheduled the launch of the Russian Progress 68 cargo spacecraft for Saturday, Oct. 14 at 4:46 am EDT (2:46 p.m. local time in Baikonur). The spacecraft is carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 53 crew aboard the International Space Station.

Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 4:15 a.m. Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress will arrive at the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station for docking on Monday, Oct. 16, at 7:09 a.m., with NASA TV coverage beginning at 6:15 a.m.

In addition, NASA has rescheduled the Expedition 53 crew’s third and final spacewalk in the current series to next Friday, Oct. 20. Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Joe Acaba will begin the spacewalk at approximately 8:05 a.m., and NASA TV coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m.

The tasks for the crew members to conduct have been adjusted. Bresnik and Acaba will replace a fuse on Dextre’s enhanced orbital replacement unit temporary platform; install an enhanced HD camera on the Starboard 1 lower outboard truss; remove thermal insulation on two spare units to prepare those components for future robotic replacement work, if required; and replace a light on the Canadarm2’s new latching end effector installed during the first spacewalk Oct. 5. The final lubrication of the new end effector and the replacement of a camera system on the Destiny Lab will be deferred for a future spacewalk.

To join the conversation about the space station activities online, follow @space_station on Twitter.

 

Launch of Russian Cargo Mission Scrubbed

Progress 68 Rocket
The Progress 68 resupply rocket stands at it launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

Launch of the Russian Progress 68 cargo craft has been scrubbed for today. The next launch attempt will be no earlier than Saturday Oct. 14 at 4:46 am EDT (2:46 p.m. local time in Baikonur). Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress 68 would arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station for docking on Monday, Oct. 16. Roscosmos technicians in Baikonur are analyzing the cause of the scrubbed launch.

To join the conversation about the space station and Progress 68 online, follow @space_station on Twitter.

Spacewalk Review Ahead of Thursday’s Cargo Delivery

Progress 68 Rocket
The Russian Progress 68 resupply rocket stands at it launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

Two astronauts checked in with ground engineers today after completing the second of three spacewalks yesterday that are planned for this month. Meanwhile, a Russian cargo ship stands at its launch pad ready to blast off Thursday morning on a short delivery trip to the International Space Station.

Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei called down to Mission Control today to discuss the elements of Tuesday’s successful spacewalk. During the excursion, they began the lubrication process on the Canadarm2’s newly-installed latching end effector and swapped out a degraded video camera. Today, the spacewalkers are servicing their spacesuits’ water system and recharging the batteries.

Bresnik will conduct another spacewalk Oct. 18 with NASA astronaut Joe Acaba to finalize the servicing on the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The duo will also perform some electrical maintenance work and replace another degraded video camera. NASA TV will broadcast the third and final spacewalk on Oct. 18 beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Three tons of food, fuel and supplies are loaded inside a Russian resupply ship (ISS Progress 68) ready to lift off to the orbital complex Thursday at 5:32 a.m. The 68P will take just two orbits around Earth and dock to the station less than three-and-a-half hours later. This will be the shortest delivery mission for a Progress mission which usually takes a near six-hour trip, and in the past has taken up to two days to assist in the resupply of the complex.

Astronauts Back Inside Station After Second Spacewalk

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei wraps up lubrication work on the latching end effector of the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA completed a 6 hour, 26 minute spacewalk at 2:22 p.m. EDT. The two astronauts lubricated components of the new latching end effector they installed in the previous spacewalk on the Canadarm2 robotic arm and replaced a faulty camera system.

They also completed a variety of additional tasks, including replacing a smudged lens cover and removing two handrails from outside the tranquility module in preparation for a future wireless antenna installation.

This was the second of three spacewalks planned for October. Bresnik will also lead the next spacewalk Oct. 18 joined by Flight Engineer Joe Acaba to continue the lubrication of the new end effector and to replace another camera system on the Destiny Lab.

Today’s spacewalk was the fourth for Bresnik’s career and the second for Vande Hei. The Oct. 18 spacewalk will mark the third of Acaba’s career.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Two Astronauts Begin Second Spacewalk of Mission

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik (bottom center) is dwarfed by a set of basketball court-sized solar arrays and the Earth in the background during a spacewalk on Oct. 5, 2017.

Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:56 a.m., EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about 6.5 hours. Live coverage is available on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA will lubricate components of the new latching end effector they installed on the Canadarm2 robotic arm in their first excursion Oct. 5. They will also replace a faulty camera system in the 204th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance in station history. This is the fourth spacewalk of Bresnik’s career and the second for Vande Hei.

A third spacewalk to continue the lubrication of the new end effector and to replace another camera system on the Destiny Lab is planned for Bresnik and Flight Engineer Joe Acaba of NASA Oct. 18.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates on the station and crew activities. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Spacewalkers Going Outside Second Time in Less Than a Week

Spacewalkers Mark Vande Hei and Randy Bresnik
Spacewalkers Mark Vande Hei and Randy Bresnik are pictured Oct. 5, 2017, working outside the International Space Station.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA will head outside the International Space Station at approximately 8 a.m. EDT Tuesday to begin a 6.5-hour spacewalk. Live coverage will be available on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 6:30 a.m.

During Tuesday’s spacewalk, Bresnik and Vande Hei will lubricate the Canadarm2 Latching End Effectors (LEE) that the spacewalkers replaced Oct. 5. Canadarm2 has two identical Latching End Effectors used to grapple visiting cargo vehicles and payloads, provide data and telemetry to the rest of the Canadian-built Mobile Base System and the unique capability to “walk” from one location on the station’s truss to another. The Canadarm2 grappling mechanism that was replaced last week experienced a stall of its motorized latches last month.

This will be the 204th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, and the second of three spacewalks planned for October.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates on the station and crew activities. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Eye Checks and Cargo Ops Ahead of Thursday Spacewalk

Astronaut Joe Acaba
Astronaut Joe Acaba calculates his mass inside the Columbus laboratory module using the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD). The device generates a known force against a crew member mounted on an extension arm with the resulting acceleration used to calculate the subject’s mass.

Three Expedition 53 astronauts conducted eye exams Tuesday morning two days ahead of a spacewalk. The crew is also preparing for a pair of upcoming commercial cargo missions.

Commander Randy Bresnik, who is leading all three spacewalks this month, joined his fellow spacewalkers for a periodic eye exam. Bresnik and Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba scanned their eyes using an ultrasound device with guidance from doctors on the ground monitoring the crew’s health.

Paolo Nespoli, from the European Space Agency, did some rearranging inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module today. He is preparing Kibo for new science gear arriving on a pair of private space freighters in November. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus resupply ship is due to launch mid-November and the SpaceX Dragon is planned to launch at the end of November.


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

Station Crew Gearing Up for Three October Spacewalks

Astronauts Richard Arnold and Joseph Acaba
Astronauts Richard Arnold (bottom) and Joseph Acaba are pictured during a spacewalk in March of 2009. The duo were visiting the space station as STS-119 mission specialists aboard space shuttle Discovery.

Two astronauts are getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin Thursday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. This will be the first of three spacewalks taking place this month for maintenance at the International Space Station.

NASA TV is broadcasting a live briefing at 2 p.m. today describing what will take place during the three spacewalks planned for Oct. 5, 10 and 18. NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei will go outside for the first two spacewalks. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba will join Bresnik for the third and final spacewalk.

The first spacewalk will focus on the removal and replacement of one of the Canadarm2’s latching end effectors (LEE). The second and third spacewalks will concentrate on the lubrication of the LEE and the installation of a pair of external cameras. You can watch all three spacewalks live on NASA TV beginning at 6:30 a.m. here… https://www.nasa.gov/live

Ground controllers are remotely maneuvering the Canadarm2 to the correct worksite today to allow the spacewalkers access to its LEE. The three astronauts are also installing rechargeable batteries on their spacesuits and reviewing their tasks with specialists in Mission Control.


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

 

NASA Discusses Spacewalks on Monday

Astronaut Randy Bresnik
Astronaut Randy Bresnik works outside the space station’s Columbus laboratory module during a spacewalk in November 2009. Bresnik last visited the station aboard space shuttle Atlantis during the STS-129 mission.

International Space Station managers and spacewalk experts will talk next week about a series of three spacewalks taking place in October. NASA TV will broadcast a briefing Monday at 2 p.m. EDT to describe the spacewalk activities planned for Oct.5, 10 and 18.

Commander Randy Bresnik will lead all three spacewalks partnering with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei on the first two and Joe Acaba on the third. The three NASA astronauts are heading into the weekend checking their resizable U.S. spacesuits to ensure a good fit next week.

Bresnik last conducted a pair of spacewalks in November 2009 when he visited the station as a mission specialist for STS-129. Acaba also conducted two previous spacewalks that took place in March 2009 during STS-119. Vande Hei will be participating in his first two spacewalks.

The spacewalkers will first replace a latching end effector (LEE) on the tip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Next, the replacement LEE will be lubricated and a pair of external station cameras will be replaced.


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