Japanese Rocket Blasts Off to Resupply Station

Japan's HTV-7 Resupply Ship Blasts Off
Japan’s H-IIB rocket with the HTV-7 resupply ship on top blasts off at 1:52 p.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 22 (2:52 a.m. Sept. 23 Japan standard time) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s H-IIB rocket launched at 1:52 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 22 (2:52 a.m. Sept. 23 Japan standard time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. At the time of launch, the space station was 254 miles over the southwest Pacific, west of Chile.

A little more than 15 minutes after launch, the unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) cargo spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket and began its four-and-a-half rendezvous with the International Space Station.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, the HTV-7 will approach the station from below and slowly inch its way toward the orbiting laboratory. Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture the spacecraft as it approaches. Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) will monitor HTV-7 systems during its approach. Robotic ground controllers will then install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will remain for several weeks.

NASA TV coverage of the Sept. 27 rendezvous and grapple will begin at 6:30 a.m. ET. Capture is scheduled for approximately 8:00 a.m. After a break, NASA TV coverage will resume at 10:30 a.m. for spacecraft installation to the space station’s Harmony module.

In addition to new hardware to upgrade the station’s electrical power system, the HTV-7 is carrying a new sample holder for the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (JAXA-ELF), a protein crystal growth experiment at low temperatures (JAXA LT PCG), an investigation that looks at the effect of microgravity on bone marrow (MARROW), a Life Sciences Glovebox, and additional EXPRESS Racks.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Japanese Cargo Mission Set For Launch Today

Japan's HTV-5 resupply ship
Japan’s HTV-5 resupply ship is seen during a night pass with the Nile river lit up on the Earth below in September of 2015 during Expedition 45.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is scheduled to launch a cargo spacecraft from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan today at 1:52 p.m. EDT (2:52 a.m. Sept. 23 Japan standard time).

Live coverage of the launch will begin at 1:30 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) is loaded with more than five tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiments for the crew aboard the International Space Station. The spacecraft also is carrying a half dozen new lithium-ion batteries to continue upgrades to the station’s power system.

The launch vehicle will send the HTV-7 into orbit on a four-day rendezvous for an arrival at the orbiting laboratory on Thursday, Sept. 27.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Launch Slips One Day as Station Boosts Orbit and Life Science Continues

Japan's HTV-3 resupply ship launches aboard an H-IIB rocket
Japan’s HTV-3 resupply ship launches aboard an H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on July 20, 2012, during Expedition 32. Credit: JAXA

The launch of a Japanese resupply ship to the International Space Station was postponed till Saturday. Meanwhile, the Expedition 56 crew moved on with critical space research and orbital lab maintenance.

Inclement weather at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan led managers at JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) to postpone the launch of its HTV-7 resupply ship by one day. The HTV-7 is now due to launch atop the H-IIB rocket Saturday at 1:52 p.m. EDT loaded with over five tons of cargo, including new science experiments and science hardware. Its arrival at the station is now planned for Thursday at 7:54 a.m.

The station’s Zvezda service module fired its engines today slightly boosting the space lab’s orbit. The reboost enables a crew swap taking place next month when Expedition 57 begins. Three Expedition 56 crew members will depart on Oct. 4 and return to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft. A new pair of Expedition 57 crew members will arrive aboard the Soyuz MS-10 crew ship to replace them Oct. 11

Astronauts Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor conducted a variety of biomedical research today sponsored by scientists from around the world. The duo partnered up for ultrasound scans inside Europe’s Columbus lab module as doctors on the ground monitored in real-time. Arnold also worked throughout the day processing blood and urine samples inside the Human Research Facility’s centrifuge.

The biological sample work is supporting a pair of ongoing experiments observing the physiological changes to humans in space. The Repository study analyzes blood and urine samples collected from astronauts before, during and after a space mission. The Biochemical Profile study also researches these samples for markers of astronaut health.

Commander Drew Feustel and Fight Engineer Alexander Gerst worked throughout the orbital lab on housekeeping tasks. Fuestel was in the Unity module installing computer network gear on an EXPRESS rack that can support multiple science experiments. Gerst relocated smoke detectors in the Tranquility module then moved on to computer maintenance in the Destiny lab module.

Japan Postpones Rocket Launch to Saturday

Japan's H-IIB rocket is pictured at the launch pad
Japan’s H-IIB rocket is pictured at the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center before it launched the HTV-6 cargo craft on Dec. 9, 2016. Credit: JAXA

As a result of inclement weather, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has postponed the launch of a cargo spacecraft from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan one day to approximately 1:52 p.m. EDT Saturday, Sept. 22 (2:52 a.m. Sept. 23 Japan standard time). Live coverage of the launch will begin at 1:30 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) is loaded with more than five tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiments for the crew aboard the International Space Station.

NASA also will provide live coverage of the arrival and installation of HTV-7 at the space station Thursday, Sept. 27 beginning at 6:30 a.m. ET. Capture is scheduled for around 8 a.m. After a break, NASA TV coverage will resume at 10:30 a.m. for spacecraft installation to the space station’s Harmony module.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Physics, Human Research on Lab as Japan Announces Launch Date

NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor
NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor poses with a U.S. spacesuit inside the U.S. Quest Airlock. The spacesuit helmet’s visor is coated with a thin layer of gold that filters out the sun’s harmful rays during spacewalks.

Physics science and human research continues unabated aboard the International Space Station as NASA and its partners seek to understand the impacts of living in space. Meanwhile, Japan announced a new launch date for its HTV-7 cargo mission to resupply the Expedition 56 crew.

Astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) has been exploring for several weeks now whether a custom designed t-shirt can provide comfort and thermal efficiency during a space workout. He has also been testing a wearable device that measures cardio-pulmonary activity during exercise.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor worked on separate science gear today that enables research into flames, fuels and high temperatures in space. Arnold spent most of Wednesday replacing experiment hardware inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. Auñón-Chancellor removed samples from inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace to observe changes in their thermo-physical properties.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) announced early today that it will attempt to launch its HTV-7 resupply ship, also known as the Kounotori, Friday at 2:15 p.m. EDT to the station. The Kounotori is due to arrive at the station Tuesday loaded with over five tons of cargo, including new science experiments and science hardware.

Commander Drew Feustel and will be in the cupola Tuesday, with Auñón-Chancellor as his backup, to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture the Kounotori at 8:05 a.m. The duo has been training for the Kounotori’s arrival for several weeks practicing on a computer rendezvous procedures and robotics maneuvers. NASA TV will broadcast the Kounotori launch and capture activities live.

Exercise and DNA Studies as Crew Checks Spacesuits

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel of NASA
Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel of NASA works inside the seven-windowed Cupola as the International Space Station was about to fly over the coast of Chile in South America.

The Expedition 56 crew members started the work week exploring a variety of life science and ensuring the upkeep of advanced space research gear. U.S. spacesuits were also being looked at today ahead of a series of planned spacewalks.

All space station crew members exercise daily to maintain their health while living in space. Today, Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold strapped himself into an exercise bike and wore sensors to measure aerobic capacity, or how much physical exertion an astronaut can sustain in space. This helps doctors understand the fitness requirements necessary to successfully conduct spacewalks or respond to emergencies in the weightless environment of space.

Arnold then switched roles from subject to scientist as he extracted DNA from microbe samples swabbed from inside the International Space Station. The DNA undergoes further sample preparation and is sequenced using the Biomolecule Sequencer and Genes in Space hardware onboard the station. The research is helping scientists understand how life adapts to microgravity providing insights to improve crew health.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor, both from NASA, worked on a variety of science gear Monday. Auñón-Chancellor restocked the Human Research Facility-2 with medical supplies and Feustel reconfigured a rack in the Kibo laboratory module for the new Life Sciences Glovebox.

The duo then joined astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) for spacesuit checks during the afternoon. The three astronauts verified the functionality of the suit jetpacks, ensured the correct sizing of the suits and cleaned the Quest airlock where U.S. spacewalks are staged. These suits will be used on a series of future spacewalks to upgrade batteries on the space station’s truss structure.

Station Preps For Japan Resupply Ship as Next Crew Readies for Mission

Astronauts Drew Feustel and Serena Auñón-Chancellor
Astronauts Drew Feustel and Serena Auñón-Chancellor train on a computer in the U.S. Destiny laboratory practicing rendezvous procedures and robotics maneuvers ahead of the arrival of Japan’s HTV-7 resupply ship.

Japan is poised to launch its HTV-7 resupply ship, nicknamed the Kounotori, loaded with over five tons of cargo to the International Space Station on Friday, U.S. time. Back on Earth, a new crew is preparing for its launch from Kazakhstan next month to the orbital lab.

JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) H-IIB rocket is set to blast off from the Tanegashima Space Center Friday at 4:59 p.m. EDT and send the Kounotori cargo craft on a four-day ride to the station. Commander Drew Feustel and will be in the Cupola Tuesday, with Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor as his backup, to command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture the Kounotori at 7:30 a.m. The duo trained Thursday morning on a computer and practiced rendezvous procedures and robotics maneuvers.

More rodent research continued today as four astronauts teamed up to study how microgravity affects the gastroinstestinal systems of mice. In particular, scientists want to know how gut microbes react to the space environment and the impact it may have on astronaut health. Results will help doctors devise plans and treatments to keep astronauts healthy on long-term missions in outer space.

Two new Expedition 57 crew members are getting ready for their mission at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow. Alexey Ovchinin from Roscosmos and Nick Hague from NASA are in Russia for qualification exams ahead of their launch and six-hour ride aboard the Soyuz MS-10 crew ship to the station on Oct. 11.


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

HTV Launch Moves to Friday, Crew Looks at Life Science and Florence

Hurricane Florence
Cameras outside the International Space Station captured a view of Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour.

JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) launch of its HTV-7 resupply ship to the International Space Station has been rescheduled to Friday. U.S. time. Meanwhile, the Expedition 56 crew members focused on life science and sent down imagery and video of Hurricane Florence on Wednesday.

Mission controllers in Japan have rescheduled the HTV-7’s launch to Friday at 4:59 p.m. EDT (5:59 a.m. Sept. 15 Japan standard time) due to weather in the Pacific. The JAXA cargo craft is now planned to deliver over five tons of food, fuel, crew supplies and new science gear to the station Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7:25 a.m.

In space, four Expedition 56 astronauts teamed up throughout Wednesday to study how living in space affects microbes living inside the gastrointestinal system of rodents. Results will help doctors devise plans and treatments to keep astronauts healthy on long-term missions in outer space.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Florence is headed for the east coast of the United States and forecasted to gain strength before landfall early Friday. As the orbital lab flew 250 miles above the category four storm this morning, the crew took the opportunity to capture photo and video of Florence.

New HTV Launch Date Adjusts Spacewalk Dates as Science Continues

NASA astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Drew Feustel
NASA astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Drew Feustel work a pair of different experiments aboard the International Space Station.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has rescheduled the launch of its HTV-7 resupply ship to the International Space Station to Thursday, U.S. time. As a result of the new launch and arrival dates for the HTV-7, the target dates for a pair of maintenance spacewalks have been adjusted as well.

More than five tons of food, fuel, crew supplies and new science gear is due to launch Thursday at 5:21 p.m. EDT from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The HTV-7 with the space cargo will take a 3-1/2 day ride to the orbital laboratory where it will be captured Monday with the Canadarm2 robotic arm around 6:50 a.m. It will then be installed on the station’s Harmony module around three hours later. NASA TV will broadcast all the activities live.

The HTV-7 is also delivering six new lithium-ion batteries to the station which will be the focus of the upcoming spacewalk activity. Robotics controllers will remove the new batteries from the HTV-7 and install them on the Port 4 truss structure. Then astronauts Alexander Gerst and Drew Feustel will begin the final battery hookup work on the first of two spacewalks on Sept. 23. Gerst will go outside a second time with spacewalker Ricky Arnold on Sept. 29 to complete the battery hookups.

Gerst, Feustel and Arnold spent a couple of hours today reviewing their upcoming spacewalk procedures and discussing their concerns with specialists on the ground. Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor cleaned the trio’s spacesuits’ cooling loops and refilled the suits’ water tanks.

The entire Expedition 56 crew did manage to conduct a variety of science experiments exploring biology and physics in microgravity. The astronauts researched how mice adapt to space and swabbed their own bodies to collect microbe samples for analysis.  The crew also studied liquid atomization and the composition of meteorites entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Science and Suit Work as Storms Capture Attention

Hurricane Florence
Astronaut Ricky Arnold captured this view of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 10 as it churned in the Atlantic headed for the U.S. east coast. Credit: @Astro_Ricky

The six Expedition 56 crew members started the workweek today with life science and spacesuit maintenance. Meanwhile, a typhoon and a hurricane captured the attention of mission managers and the crew alike.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold examined mice onboard the International Space Station and them today for the Rodent Research-7 (RR-7) experiment. The duo checked the breathing and mass of the rodents before placing them back in their habitat and restocking their food. RR-7 is observing how microgravity impacts gut microbes and how it may affect astronaut health.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) wrapped up an experiment before finalizing spacesuit work in the U.S. Quest airlock. He stowed science gear in the morning that analyzed the exhaled air of astronauts to detect signs of airway inflammation. In the afternoon, Gerst completed the battery charging of the U.S. spacesuits then began regenerating metal oxide canisters in advance of a pair of spacewalks at the end of the month.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) officials are tracking Typhoon Mangkhut in the Pacific while the station crew sent down imagery of Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic. Mangkhut was moving on a course near a tracking site in Guam which JAXA uses to follow the progress of the Japanese HTV cargo craft after its launch. That launch was postponed from today to a later date. On the other side of the world, the station flew over Hurricane Florence as it neared the U.S. east coast enabling the crew to capture imagery to share with the world.