Fully Staffed Station Crew Kicks off Busy Week Waiting for Dragon

A waning gibbous Moon on the 50th anniversary of NASA landing humans on the lunar surface
A waning gibbous Moon was pictured from the International Space Station on the 50th anniversary of NASA landing humans on the lunar surface for the first time.

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday at 6:24 p.m. EDT for the launch of its 18th contracted Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station. This will be the third flight of this particular reusable Dragon space freighter atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

The Expedition 60 crew is now fully staffed with three new flight engineers, who arrived Saturday aboard the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft, expanding the station inhabitants to six.  Drew Morgan of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos are getting used to their new home in space and working to get the orbiting lab up to full speed.

Morgan will be on Dragon duty Friday morning, monitoring its approach to the station. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch will capture the commercial cargo craft around 7 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Dragon is delivering a variety of research gear supporting human health and the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) for commercial vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX.

Station managers are planning a spacewalk to complete the installation of the IDA-3 on the space-facing side of the Harmony module. Parmitano, Hague and Koch teamed up Monday to service U.S. spacesuits ahead of the upcoming spacewalk.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Skvortsov focused on science and maintenance in the Russian segment of the space station. Ovchinin photographed the condition of the Zvezda service module docking port and checked radiation readings. Skvortsov, now on his third station mission, inventoried gear delivered aboard the new Soyuz crew ship.

Live Now on NASA TV: Launch of New Expedition 60 Crew

The Expedition 60 crew members boarding their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft
The Expedition 60 crew members (from top to bottom) Luca Parmitano, Andrew Morgan and Alexander Skvortsov wave bye before boarding their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 12:28 p.m. EDT (9:28 p.m. in Baikonur), of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.

The three will join NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos. The crew members will continue important research experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

This is the first spaceflight for Morgan, the second for Parmitano, and the third for Skvortsov.

For launch 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.

NASA TV Covers Station Crew Launch Live Saturday on Apollo 50th

The Expedition 60 and Apollo 11 crews
The Expedition 60 crew (left) is launching 50 years to the day Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped foot on the Moon.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, teams are making final preparations for the launch of NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 12:28 p.m. EDT Saturday (9:28 p.m. in Baikonur), 50 years to the day that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon in a giant leap for humanity.

Live launch coverage will begin Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The three will join NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

The Expedition 60 crew will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth. Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will facilitate on the orbiting laboratory in the unique microgravity environment include the growth of moss aboard the station, a platform to attempt successful printing of biological tissues and bio-mining in space.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

Saturday, July 20

3:28:21am      9:00      Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel
6:28:21am      6:00      Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
6:43:21am      5:45      Batteries installed in booster
7:13:21am      5:15      Crew arrives at Site 254
7:28:21am      5:00      Tanking begins
7:58:21am      4:30      Crew suit up
8:23:21am      4:05      Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
8:58:21am      3:30      Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
9:23:21am      3:05      First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
9:28:21am      3:00      Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for launch pad
9:33:21am      2:55      Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
9:53:21am      2:35      Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
10:03:21am      2:25      Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
10:53:21am      1:35      Descent module hardware tested
11:08:21am      1:20      Hatch closed; leak checks begin
11:28:21am      1:00      Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
11:30:00am      :58:21      NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
11:43:21am      :45:00      Pad service structure components lowered
11:44:21am      :44:00      Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
11:45:00am      :43:21      NASA TV: Crew prelaunch activities B-roll played
11:51:21am      :37:00      Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
11:54:21am      :34:00      Emergency escape system armed
12:13:21pm      :15:00      Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
12:18:21pm      :10:00      Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
12:21:21pm      :07:00      Pre-launch operations complete
12:22:21pm      :06:00      Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
12:23:21pm      :05:00      Commander’s controls activated
12:23:53pm      :04:28      ISS flies directly over the Baikonur Cosmodrome
12:24:21pm      :04:00      Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
12:25:21pm      :03:00      Propellant drainback
12:25:38pm      :02:43      Booster propellant tank pressurization
12:26:51pm      :01:30      Ground propellant feed terminated
12:27:21pm      :01:00      Vehicle to internal power
12:27:46pm      :00:35      First umbilical tower separates

Auto sequence start

12:27:51pm      :00:30      Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
12:28:06pm      :00:15      Second umbilical tower separates
12:28:09pm      :00:12      Launch command issued

Engine Start Sequence Begins

12:28:11pm      :00:10      Engine turbo pumps at flight speed
12:28:16pm      :00:05      Engines at maximum thrust
12:28:21pm      :00:00      LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-13 TO THE ISS
12:37:06pm       +8:45      3RD STAGE SHUTDOWN; SOYUZ ORBITAL INSERTION

For launch 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.

More Space Biology Work Day Before Crew Launches on Apollo 50th

New Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano
New Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano are outfitted in Sokol launch and entry suits for a fit check inside their Soyuz spacecraft.

Three new Expedition 60 crewmembers are just one day away from launching and joining the space residents aboard the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the orbiting trio worked on space biology hardware today while their crewmates on Earth completed final launch preparations in Kazakhstan.

Two different life science facilities onboard the station are being serviced today to support upcoming research into microgravity’s effect on biological systems. NASA astronaut Nick Hague ensured the Cell Biology Experiment Facility is airtight to contain the high humidity necessary for the Space Moss botany study. NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch set up power to the Life Science Glovebox for the Cell Science-02 healing and tissue regeneration experiment.

The duo handled a variety of other station tasks today, including Hague reconfiguring the Kibo laboratory module‘s robotic arm backup drive system and testing new station lights. Koch loaded new software on a science laptop computer then replaced components in the station’s restroom, the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin had a light duty day in space mostly cleaning station hardware in the Russian segment. In the evening, he joined both astronauts reviewing emergency procedures for the arrival of a new crew on Saturday.

NASA astronaut Drew Morgan is launching Saturday at 12:28 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft on his first space mission. He joins veteran station residents Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov for their historic mission lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will dock to the space station’s Zvezda service module at 6:51 p.m. 50 years to the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the Moon.

Advanced Science Gear Work Ahead of Vehicle Rush Hour at Station

The light of the moon and the starry Milky Way
The Earth’s limb and the atmospheric glow highlight the thin blue atmosphere back lit by the Sun’s rays during a period between night and day. The light of the moon and the starry Milky Way drape the background as the International Space Station orbited 257 miles above the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico.

Three Expedition 60 crewmates aboard the International Space Station spent the day servicing a variety of research hardware. Back on Earth, three different rockets are preparing to replenish the orbiting lab with a new crew and more science and supplies.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague have been working on an array of science gear today supporting numerous advanced microgravity experiments.

Koch installed the HERMES facility researching the dynamics of asteroid and planetary surfaces with no atmospheres. She then checked out the Photobioreactor that explores microalgae as a means to support hybrid life support systems.

Hague was over in the Kibo laboratory module this morning configuring backup software for the Japanese robotic arm that maneuvers external experiments. After lunch, Hague replaced gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to support safe flame and fuel research in space.

The orbiting laboratory is gearing up for a high traffic period at the end of July. Two new Russian spaceships and a U.S. cargo craft will be occupying three different ports bringing the station crew up to full speed.

Saturday will see the launch and arrival of three new Flight Engineers aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship. Astronauts Drew Morgan and Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov will lift off Saturday at 12:28 p.m. EDT from Kazakhstan and dock to the Zvezda service module at 6:50 p.m.

Next, the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is scheduled to launch from Florida at Sunday at 7:35 p.m. Hague and Koch will be at the helm of the robotics workstation in the cupola to capture Dragon on Tuesday at 11 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Finally, Russia’s Progress 73 (73P) space freighter will replace the Progress 72 when it departs the Pirs docking compartment July 29. The 73P is due to blast off July 31 on a short two-orbit trip before automatically docking to Pirs with food, fuel and supplies for the station inhabitants.

New Crew Checks Out Rocket During Biology Research on Station

Expedition 60 crewmembers
Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano pose for pictures in front of the first stage engines of their Soyuz rocket. Credit: Andrey Shelepin/GCTC

The International Space Station is set to receive a few more crewmembers on Saturday followed by a new docking port next Tuesday. Meanwhile, the orbiting Expedition 60 residents serviced a multitude of science hardware today while maintaining communication and life support systems.

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft that will launch three new residents to the station on Saturday is being processed at its facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Astronauts Drew Morgan and Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov inspected their spacecraft during a walk-through today. The trio will blast off Saturday at 12:28 p.m. EDT and take a six-and-a-half hour trip to their new home in space.

Another spacecraft, the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship, is being readied for its liftoff Sunday at 7:35 p.m. from Florida. It will arrive at the station Tuesday for its capture at 11 a.m. by NASA Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

After Dragon’s installation to the Unity module, the crew will unload brand new science gear for advanced biology research to improve human health. Robotics controllers will detach the new International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) from the back of Dragon and position it on the space-facing side of the Harmony module in preparation for its installation during a future spacewalk. The IDA-3 is another docking port supporting future commercial crew missions with Boeing and SpaceX crew vehicles.

Koch stowed and relocated a pair of biology and botany facilities today. She powered down several rodent habitats and packed them up for return on the Dragon space freighter. Koch then relocated the Veggie botany facility to the Columbus laboratory module after last week’s lettuce harvest in the Unity module.

Hague and Koch started the day with body measurements for the Myotones muscle study to benefit rehabilitation treatments for astronauts and Earthlings. Hague then set up and inspected a fluorescence microscope that can observe cellular changes in microgravity.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin set up a video camera in the Zvezda service module to record the arrival of his new crewmates on Saturday. He later checked air and temperature sensors and swapped out air filters on the Russian side of the orbital lab.

Crew and Cargo Rockets Poised for Rollout Ahead of Weekend Launches

New Expedition 60 crewmembers
New Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano pose for pictures July 12 at the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Credit: Andrey Shelepin/GCTC

Two rockets will be rolling out to their launch pads this week in Kazakhstan and Florida to blastoff to the International Space Station. The orbiting Expedition 60 trio will be welcoming three new crewmates Saturday and receive more science experiments and crew supplies next Tuesday, July 23.

First-time space flyer Andrew Morgan of NASA is joining veteran station residents Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos for a ride to the station on Saturday. They will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 12:28 p.m. EDT for a six-and-a-half hour trip to their new home in space. Their mission comes 50 years to the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped on the Moon.

The SpaceX Dragon space freighter is launching from Kennedy Space Center at 7:35 p.m. on Sunday for its 18th contracted mission to resupply the orbiting lab. The reusable cargo craft is delivering a variety of research gear supporting future space missions and healthier humans. NASA TV is broadcasting live the launch and arrival of both missions to the station.

Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch continue training today for the robotic capture of Dragon when it arrives early next Tuesday. Hague will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon around 7 a.m. while Koch backs him up. Morgan will monitor telemetry during the spacecraft’s approach and rendezvous.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin spent the day on cleaning and maintenance duties on the Russian side of the space station. The veteran cosmonaut also inventoried medical equipment, medicines and dentistry gear.

New Crew, New Science Experiments Launching Next Weekend

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft is processed launch
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft that will carry three new crewmembers to the International Space Station is processed for its July 20 launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The International Space Station is gearing up for a pair of spaceships launching next weekend to deliver a new crew and more science and supplies. The Expedition 60 crew is also testing a new robotic assistant and learning how long-term weightlessness impacts crew performance.

Three people are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to their historic July 20 launch to the orbiting lab aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship. Astronauts Drew Morgan and Luca Parmitano will flank cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov in the Soyuz spaceship as he commands their six-and-a-half hour ride to their new home in space. The trio’s launch comes 50 years to the day when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped foot on the Moon for the first time.

The following day on July 21, SpaceX will launch its Dragon space freighter from Florida on a day-and-a-half flight to the space station. Dragon is delivering supplies and a variety of new research gear to explore space-mining techniques, neurodegenerative disease treatments, space botany and microbial evolution.

NASA Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch are training to capture Dragon with the Canadarm2 robotic arm when it arrives Tuesday, July 23. Hague will command Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon when the resupply ship reaches a point about 10 meters from the station. Koch will back up Hague and monitor Dragon’s approach and rendezvous from inside the cupola.

Koch set up the Astrobee free-flying robotic helper Friday afternoon and monitored its flight test in the Kibo laboratory module. Engineers are testing and calibrating the cube-shaped Astrobee’s mobility for its potential to perform routine lab monitoring and station tasks.

Hague started the day helping scientists understand how microgravity affects blood flow to the brain for the Cerebral Autoregulation biomedical study. After completing that study, he closed out the Two-Phase Flow heat transfer experiment that may advance the design of cooling systems for Earth and space applications.

Station Commander Alexey Ovchinin is helping his home space agency, Roscosmos, train future cosmonauts today. He performed tasks to help scientists understand how microgravity affects a crewmember’s ability to pilot a spacecraft or remotely control a robotic vehicle on a planetary surface.

Crew Sequences DNA, Researches Blood Pressure and Tests Time Perception Today

The Volga River flows into the Caspian Sea
The International Space Station was orbiting above the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 256 miles when this photograph was taken of the Volga River.

The International Space Station is a unique orbiting laboratory that helps NASA and its partners explore what happens to humans living off the Earth. The Expedition 60 crew is contributing to the microgravity research everyday learning what it takes to live and work successfully in space.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague began Thursday morning investigating how space radiation-damaged DNA repairs itself. The Genes in Space-6 study sequences DNA samples inside the Biomolecule Sequencer and observes the mutation and molecular repair mechanisms.

Koch then measured her blood pressure to help doctors understand and treat lightheadedness symptoms some astronauts have experienced upon returning to Earth. During the afternoon, she swapped fuel bottles that support flame, fuel and soot experiments taking place inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Hague set up a virtual reality camera inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module to record a cinematic, immersive experience of his science activities in the afternoon. He recorded himself exploring the hypothesis that astronauts working in space perceive time differently affecting mission performance.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin spent all day ensuring the upkeep of the Russian segment of the space station. The veteran cosmonaut swapped out life support system components and tested communications and electronics gear.

Crew Configures Hardware to Monitor Brain and Radiation Exposure in Space

Earth's luminous atmospheric glow back-dropped by the tranquil Milky Way
The International Space Station was orbiting 258 miles above the Bay of Bengal during an orbital nighttime when this photograph was taken of Earth’s luminous atmospheric glow back-dropped by the tranquil Milky Way.

The Expedition 60 crew configured a variety of science hardware today monitoring the brain and radiation exposure. The orbital residents also had a steady day of safety gear checks and lab maintenance on the International Space Station.

Astronauts experience blood flow changes caused by living in microgravity that may cause lightheadedness or fainting upon return to Earth. The Cerebral Autoregulation investigation is measuring the waveforms of these blood flows to understand blood pressure regulation in space. Flight Engineer Nick Hague set up the experiment hardware this morning that may help doctors treat and prevent these symptoms.

Hague next assembled hardware for a high definition camera that will be installed outside the station on an upcoming spacewalk. He and NASA astronaut Christina Koch also installed communication cables and conducted voice checks to support the arrival of future commercial crew vehicles.

Radiation exposure is another concern for crewmembers working in space for months or years at a time. Koch handed a set of dosimeters, or radiation detectors, to Commander Alexey Ovchinin during the afternoon for installation on the Russian side of the orbiting lab. Several studies are monitoring neutron radiation and the variation in the radiation environment as the station orbits Earth.

Koch started her morning inspecting breathing masks and fire extinguishers. She checked the emergency equipment for correct pressure measurements and any signs of physical damage on hoses and bottles. Ovchinin continued the replacement of more Russian life support system components during his morning.