A SpaceX Dragon is on track to arrive at the International Space Station today, Thursday, March 16, with an expected docking of the cargo spacecraft about 7:28 a.m. EDT. Live coverage is underway on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
When it arrives to the space station, Dragon will dock to the station’s Harmony module.
Dragon successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 8:30 p.m. EDT, March 14, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 6,200 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Dragon is on track to deliver cargo to the International Space Station after lifting off on March 14, marking the company’s 27th commercial resupply mission. Meanwhile, the Expedition 68 crew kept busy completing lab work, ultrasounds, and plumbing duties.
NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen spent time moving equipment to the cupola to help monitor Dragon’s docking. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock autonomously at 7:52 a.m. EDT Thursday, March 16, to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg will monitor the automated docking.
Bowen and Hoburg also drew blood samples for the Immunity Assay study. Bowen spun blood tubes in a centrifuge and stowed them in a freezer for later analysis. The results of the study are expected to provide a better understanding of how the immune system changes in space.
NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio and Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) were tasked with removing and replacing a toilet. Alneyadi also repaired damages to paint on a stall wall.
Toward the end of the day, Rubio and Bowen had their eyes scanned using an ultrasound device. Doctors on the ground remotely guide astronauts during the exam, which looks at the health of the retina, cornea, and optic nerve. They also performed ultrasounds of their necks, clavicles, shoulders, and behind the knees.
Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Andrey Fedyaev boarded the damaged Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft docked to the International Space Station and closed the hatch, without latching, for a 3-hour-and-45-minute thermal test to simulate temperature and humidity levels the descent module of a Soyuz could experience during an expedited crew return to Earth. The data from the test could be used by engineers if ever needed to return a damaged Soyuz in the future.
The Soyuz MS-22 will undock from the station March 28 for its uncrewed, parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan. Prokopyev, Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio will return to Earth later this year in the new Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft that arrived at the orbital complex in February.
A SpaceX Dragon launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 8:30 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 6,200 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies to the International Space Station.
About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, opened its nosecone, and began a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.
Dragon is on track to arrive at the International Space Station Thursday, March 16, with an expected docking about 7:52 a.m. EDT. Live coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will begin at 6:15 a.m.
The Expedition 68 crew is adjusting to life aboard the International Space Station after four Crew-5 members safely returned to Earth last Saturday. The remaining crew members kickstarted the week by continuing to carry out a mix of science experiments and operational tasks.
NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen spent the morning collecting and storing blood and saliva samples for the Immunity Assay investigation. The study aims to monitor how the immune system responds to the stresses of human spaceflight with the aid of a functional immunity test. Until recently, the test could only be performed before and after flight. Conducting the test inflight will help provide researchers with a clearer idea about how the immune system changes in space.
NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg spent a portion of the day training on how to use the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) for the Veg-05 space botany study. He later checked leaves and tomatoes inside the unit for signs of microbial growth. Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) also had a chance to harvest plants from the growth chamber.
Among the station’s three cosmonauts, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin tag teamed preparing biological samples for another study focused on the immune system. Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos was tasked with performing an inventory of medical kits and closed the day communicating with students on Earth using a ham radio.
Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio was off duty today. He rounded off his evening with a combination of aerobic and resistive exercises. The newest residents aboard the space station, Bowen, Hoburg, Alneyadi, and Fedyaev, were each afforded an hour to orient themselves to the spaceflight environment as well.
Looking ahead, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is set to liftoff Tuesday evening from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will deliver new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew. Hoburg will monitor Dragon’s automated docking to the Harmony module’s forward port on March 16.
Four Expedition 68 crew members are nearing the end of their stay aboard the International Space Station this weekend. Their replacements are completing their first week aboard the orbital outpost and getting up to speed with life in space.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance with four crewmates is targeted to depart the space station at 2:05 a.m. EST on Saturday and return to Earth less than 24 hours later. NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada will command and pilot Endurance respectively flanked by Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos. The foursome is due to splashdown off the coast of Florida at 9:19 p.m. on Saturday.
The quartet blasted off toward the orbiting lab as the SpaceX Crew-5 mission on Oct. 5, 2022, and docked to the Harmony module’s forward port on Oct. 6. A variety of crew ships and space freighters arrived and departed, numerous spacewalks were conducted, and a multitude of advanced space research took place during Crew-5’s five-month-long stay in space.
The station’s newest crew members are several days into their orbital residency after their arrival on March 3, as the SpaceX Crew-6 mission. The new flight engineers, Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg of NASA, Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos, have already begun a variety of space research and lab maintenance activities.
The four new station residents have started exploring how microgravity affects the human body and picked a small tomato crop growing for a space agriculture study. They also spent Thursday afternoon familiarizing themselves with space station hardware and emergency equipment located throughout the space lab.
Three other space station residents, Commander Sergey Prokopyev, Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos, and NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio, have been living in space since Sept. 21. The trio spent the day stowing biological samples in a science freezer, packing cargo inside the Soyuz MS-22 spaceship, and servicing life support components. They will continue their station mission until later this year and return home inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship.
The four new Expedition 68 crew members are getting used to life in space while four other crewmates are preparing to go home this month. Also, today’s research includes replacing fuel bottles in the Combustion Integrated Rack and collecting samples for the Food Physiology and Host Pathogen experiment.
Flight engineers Frank Rubio of NASA and Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos removed the rack and replaced it with a new high-percentage oxygen bottle. The Combustion Integration Rack is used to perform combustion investigations in microgravity, and results could improve understanding of early fire growth behavior and help determine the best fire suppression techniques, improving crew safety in future space facilities.
Rubio also participated in the Food Physiology experiment. A variety of samples are collected and then placed in cold stowage to document the effect of dietary improvements on human physiology and the ability of those improvements to enhance adaptation to spaceflight.
Samples were also collected for the Host Pathogen experiment. This study identifies the spaceflight-induced changes in the human microbiome that causes a decrease in immune function and an increase in microbial virulence. Blood and saliva samples from crew members are collected before, during, and after spaceflight, to assess the clinical risks of infectious microbes and to develop countermeasures that restore immune function in astronauts.
The new Endeavour crew is continuing to adjust to life in orbit, while the Endurance Crew is preparing for its return to earth by cleaning, completing stowage and inventory tasks, and preparing personal items for return.
NASA and SpaceX continue to evaluate the weather for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission from the International Space Station. Teams conducted a weather briefing overnight and decided to waive off the initial undocking opportunity for early Thursday, March 9, due to high winds at the splashdown sites. Teams currently target undocking for no earlier than Thursday evening, pending weather. The Crew-5 Dragon spacecraft remains healthy docked to the station and is configured for nominal return operations once weather conditions are favorable.
The space station is orbiting slightly higher today after the docked ISS Progress 83 cargo craft fired its engines for five minutes and 17 seconds this afternoon. The new orbital altitude readies the unoccupied Soyuz MS-22 crew ship for its upcoming departure following a coolant leak that was detected in December of last year.
The four Crew-6 members are now Expedition 68 flight engineers embarking on a six-month space research mission. The new station crewmates are Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg of NASA along with Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos. They are familiarizing themselves with station operations, systems, and emergency procedures.
The new quartet is also beginning standard science and maintenance activities. Bowen and Hoburg started a new experiment today conducting ultrasound scans and collecting blood pressure measurements to learn how an astronaut’s eyes, brain, and blood vessels change during a space mission. Alneyadi harvested tomatoes collecting them for both scientific analysis and crew consumption for the Veg-05 space botany study. Fedyaev wore a sensor-packed cap and practiced futuristic piloting techniques on a computer a crew member might use to control spacecraft or robots on planetary missions.
Another four crewmates are due to complete their station mission this month. Astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, and Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and cosmonaut Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, launched into space on Oct. 5 from the Kennedy Space Center and joined the Expedition 68 crew after docking on Oct. 6.
The homebound foursome is handing over their responsibilities to the station’s newest crew members as well as gathering cargo and personal items to take back to Earth inside Endurance. Mann and Wakata are also finalizing science work as they serviced a variety of research samples and replaced experiment hardware today. Mann also joined Cassada and tested and changed out orbital plumbing components. Kikina tested a specialized suit that may help crew members adapt quicker to the return to Earth’s gravity.
Station Commander Sergey Prokopyev has been on the orbiting lab since arriving on Sept. 21 aboard the Soyuz MS-22 crew ship with flight engineers Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos and Frank Rubio of NASA. Prokopyev and Petelin spent Tuesday maintaining various electrical and life support systems. Rubio worked on human research throughout the day swapping samples in science freezers, photographing Bowen and Hoburg during their experiment work, and finally collecting blood specimens for stowage and analysis. The station trio are continuing their stay in space and will return to Earth later this year aboard the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship.
The newly-expanded International Space Station crew of 11 members kicked off a busy work week today conducting a variety of research and visiting vehicle activities. Meanwhile, four Expedition 68 crew members are also getting ready to complete their mission and return to Earth.
New station residents Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg of NASA, who commanded and piloted the SpaceX Crew-6 mission respectively, reviewed docked Crew Dragon procedures first thing on Monday. The duo, along Crew-6 mission specialist Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos, automatically docked Crew Dragon Endeavour to the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 1:40 a.m. EST on Friday. The quartet will live and work aboard the orbital outpost for six months.
The four newest crew members continue getting up to speed with life on orbit familiarizing themselves with space station operations and systems. The foursome also spent Monday installing new space biology hardware, replacing electronic components, and updating emergency procedures for the expanded crew.
The orbiting crew will soon return to a seven-member status when four station residents finalize their mission that began last year. Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, along with Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, launched to the station as the SpaceX Crew-5 mission on Oct. 5 joining the Expedition 68 crew one day later. All four homebound crew members have begun their handover activities. They will enter the Crew Dragon Endurance, undock from the Harmony module’s forward port, then splash down off the coast of Florida on a soon-to-be-announced date.
The next Dragon mission to the station will be the SpaceX CRS-27 resupply mission scheduled for March 14 at 8:30 p.m. EDT. The Dragon cargo craft will automatically dock about 24 hours later to the Harmony port vacated by the Crew Dragon Endurance when it undocks a few days earlier.
The space station’s other three crewmates, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos, and NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio joined each other and practiced on a computer the procedures for returning to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship. Rubio earlier had removed his seat liner from the Crew Dragon Endurance and installed it inside the MS-23. Prokopyev and Petelin also conducted tests inside the Soyuz MS-22 crew ship that will return to Earth unoccupied in late March.
The orbital outpost maneuvered out of the way of an Earth observation satellite early Monday. The docked ISS Progress 83 resupply ship fired its engines for just over six minutes slightly raising the station’s orbit to avoid the approaching satellite. The new orbital trajectory will not impact the upcoming departure of the Crew-5 mission.
NASA is considering extending the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)-2 contracts to ensure continuous cargo resupply services to the International Space Station. For more information, visit https://www.sam.gov.
Four Expedition 68 astronauts took the afternoon off on Tuesday at the International Space Station while three cosmonauts focused on cargo transfers and lab maintenance. Meanwhile, the SpaceX Crew-6 mission is counting down to its launch at 12:34 a.m. EST on Thursday.
NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio handled the orbital plumbing duties inside the Tranquility module. Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent the day preparing urine samples to be stored in cold stowage for later use in research.
Wakata also assisted Nicole Mann in successfully removing and replacing the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue, or SAFER, battery adapter in preparation for spacewalk activities. The SAFER is essentially a “life jacket” for spacewalks. The self-contained maneuvering unit is worn like a backpack and relies on small jet thrusters to let an astronaut move around in space.
NASA Flight engineers Josh Cassada and Mann are busy preparing with cosmonaut Anna Kikina to return to Earth for the upcoming crew swap. The trio, along with Wakata, are due to return to Earth several days after the SpaceX Crew-6 mission arrives at the end of the week.
The Crew-6 members scheduled for arrival to the space station are mission commander Stephen Bowen and Pilot Warren “Woody” Hoburg, both from NASA, along with UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, who will join as mission specialists. The quartet is targeted to automatically dock to the space-facing port of the Harmony module at 1:17 a.m. on Friday. The four Crew-6 members will conduct advanced space research aboard the orbital outpost for the next six months.
The space station’s four astronauts and three cosmonauts will soon welcome four SpaceX Crew-6 members who are counting down to a launch at 12:34 a.m. EST on Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The quartet was due to lift off on Monday at 1:45 a.m. aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour before launch controllers detected an issue preventing data from confirming a full load of the ignition source for the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage Merlin engines.
Back aboard the orbital outpost, Flight Engineers Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent about an hour readying food and sleeping bags for the visiting crew. Mann also relocated computers to the cupola to prepare for the upcoming rendezvous and docking monitoring operations. Wakata configured research hardware that will house a new space biology investigation being delivered aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Mann began her day with NASA Flight Engineer Josh Cassada performing blood draws, spinning the samples in a centrifuge, then stowing the samples in a science freezer for later analysis. Cassada would later gather cargo to be stowed aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour after its arrival. NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio started his day on orbital plumbing work before finally watering tomato plants growing for the Veg-05 space botany study.
Roscosmos Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent Monday unpacking cargo recently delivered aboard the ISS Progress 83 resupply ship. Petelin then joined Flight Engineer Anna Kikina and tested a specialized suit that offsets the affects of microgravity potentially helping crew members adjust quicker to gravity after returning to Earth.