Crew Dragon has completed all four planned departure burns to begin its journey back to Earth with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.
With the spacecraft on its path home, the astronauts will settle in for an eight-hour sleep period. While they’re asleep, a six-minute departure phasing burn at 1:48 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 will set the Dragon Endeavour on the proper orbital path to a planned splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
NASA’s live coverage of the crew’s return home to Earth continues through the night.
Behnken and Hurley will begin their last day in space at 7:40 a.m. tomorrow.
The Crew Dragon will separate from its trunk and jettison it at 1:51 p.m., followed five minutes later at 1:56 p.m. with the start of the deorbit burn to commit the spacecraft to a trajectory to splashdown at 2:48 p.m.
The Expedition 63 crew focused on robotic assistants and biomedicine today while preparing for two crew members to depart this weekend. The International Space Station residents are also cleaning U.S. spacesuits and unloading a Russian cargo craft.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are packing up for their return to Earth this weekend after two months aboard the orbiting lab. The duo is scheduled to enter their SpaceX Crew Dragon on Aug. 1 and undock from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter for a nominal splashdown the next day, they will be retrieved by SpaceX and NASA personnel. NASA TV is covering all the events live including briefings this week highlighting the agency’s first crewed mission aboard a commercial spacecraft.
Hurley still managed to work a pair of different experiments today as he trained to operate the AstroBee free-flying robots and explored light-manipulating materials. Behnken continued his post-spacewalk activities throughout Monday as he cleaned and serviced the spacesuits he and Commander Chris Cassidy wore during last week’s spacewalk.
Cassidy began his workday retrieving and stowing a small satellite deployer inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The station commander next checked out hardware that analyzes how DNA from a variety of organisms adapts to microgravity.
The Expedition 63 crew has started the weekend following a spacewalk and a same-day delivery this week to resupply the International Space Station. Two NASA astronauts are also getting ready to return to Earth after a two-month stay in space.
Commander Chris Cassidy cleaned water loops today inside the U.S. spacesuits he and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken wore during Tuesday’s five-hour and 29-minute spacewalk. The skilled astronaut has chalked up 10 career spacewalks gaining nearly 55 hours of external lab maintenance experience. This was also the tenth spacewalk for Behnken netting him just over 61 hours of service outside the station.
Behnken is now turning his attention to readying the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle that will return he and fellow NASA astronaut Doug Hurley to Earth at the beginning of August. They will undock from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter on Aug. 1. The duo will splashdown on Aug. 2 ending NASA’s first crewed mission aboard a commercial spacecraft.
Behnken and Hurley packed clothing, personal items and other gear today inside the Crew Dragon. The two astronauts also tried on a specialized suit to help their bodies adapt to the conditions of Earth’s gravity upon their return.
Five spaceships are parked at the station after Thursday’s arrival of Russia’s Progress 76 (76P) resupply ship less than three-and-half hours after launch. Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin has begun unpacking some of the nearly three tons of cargo delivered aboard the 76P. Fellow Roscosmos cosmonaut Ivan Vagner assisted with the cargo transfers and updated the station’s inventory management system.
The Expedition 63 crew is turning its attention to Thursday’s express cargo delivery mission following a successful spacewalk on Tuesday.
Russia’s Progress 76 (76P) rocket stands at its launch pad in Kazakhstan packed with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies to replenish the International Space Station. The 76P will blast off at 10:26 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and dock to the station’s Pirs docking compartment at 1:47 p.m. NASA TV is broadcasting the launch starting at 10 a.m. and returns at 1 p.m. to cover the 76P’s approach and rendezvous.
NASA Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken took it easy Wednesday morning after a five-hour and 29-minute spacewalk on Tuesday. The duo then participated in standard health checks before a series of two-hour cycling and jogging workout sessions. The astronauts, who now have 10 spacewalks each, finished the day servicing U.S. spacesuits and cleaning up the Quest airlock.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are ready and will be on duty Thursday afternoon monitoring the arrival of the 76P. However, the duo spent Wednesday on a variety of Russian science and maintenance tasks. Ivanishin checked air flow sensors and cleaned vents and fans. Ivanishin worked on specialized Earth observation gear throughout the day before downloading radiation readings.
Behnken and Cassidy then removed two lifting fixtures at the base of station solar arrays on the near port truss, or backbone, of the station. The “H-fixtures” were used for ground processing of the solar arrays prior to their launch.
They then completed tasks to prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission. After its installation, the airlock will enable be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.
They also routed ethernet cables and removed a lens filter cover from an external camera.
This was the 10th spacewalk for each astronaut, tying them with Michael Lopez-Alegria and Peggy Whitson as the only other U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks. Behnken has now spent a total of 61 hours and 10 minutes spacewalking, which makes him the U.S. astronaut with the third most total time spacewalking, behind Lopez-Alegria and Andrew Feustel, and the fourth most overall. Cassidy now has spent a total of 54 hours and 51 minutes spacewalking and is ninth on the worldwide list for total time spacewalking.
Space station crew members have conducted 231 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 60 days, 12 hours, and 3 minutes working outside the station.
Behnken is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #20. Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #18.
The spacewalkers will be working on several tasks to upgrade systems and prepare for future station upgrades. Behnken and Cassidy will remove handling aids from two locations at the base of station solar arrays, prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock, route ethernet cables, and remove a lens filter cover from an external camera.
This is the 231st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. It is the 10th spacewalk for both astronauts.
The crew members of Expedition 63 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT and last as long as seven hours.
The crew is in the airlock and have donned their suits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities.
Behnken and Cassidy will perform a number of tasks designed to upgrade station systems. Their first task will be to install a protective unit to store tools for use by the Canadian Space Agency’s Dextre robot. The storage unit also includes two Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) units that Dextre can use to detect leaks of ammonia, which is used to operate the station’s cooling system.
The astronaut duo then will work on removing two lifting fixtures at the base of station solar arrays on the near port truss, or backbone, of the station. The “H-fixtures” were used for ground processing of the solar arrays prior to their launch.
They then will move on to work to prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission.
Finally, they are scheduled to route ethernet cables and remove a lens filter cover from an external camera.
Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Allison Bolinger with support from Sandy Moore as the lead spacewalk officer and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk as the point of communications between the spacewalkers and Earth, a position known as the capsule communicator, or CAPCOM.
The duo will set their spacesuits to battery power about 7:35 a.m. EDT tomorrow, signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA will begin its live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 6 a.m.
During their spacewalk, the two astronauts will remove handling aids from two locations at the base of station solar arrays, run cables, remove a lens filter cover from an external camera, and prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission.
This will be the 231st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the tenth for each of the spacewalkers. Behnken will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 and wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Cassidy will be extravehicular crew member 2, wearing a suit with no stripes.
Cassidy arrived at the space station in April, taking command of Expedition 63. Behnken, who is serving as a flight engineer for the expedition, arrived at the station in May with fellow Commercial Crew astronaut Douglas Hurley on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 test flight.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy are set to venture once again into the vacuum of space on Tuesday at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT. The veteran spacewalking duo will service the orbiting lab’s starboard truss structure following last week’s lithium-ion battery installations. The spacewalkers also will outfit the Tranquility module to get ready for a new commercial airlock from NanoRacks. A SpaceX Dragon space freighter will deliver the specialized airlock later this year that will enable public and private research on the outside of the space station.
Flight Engineer Doug Hurley joined his NASA crewmates today for a review of Tuesday’s spacewalk procedures. He also helped Cassidy and Behnken organize tools and tethers before calling down to mission controllers to discuss their spacewalk readiness.
Behnken and Hurley will soon turn their attention toward returning to Earth at the beginning of August. They will wrap up their two-month station mission on Aug. 1 and undock their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. They are due to splash down off the Gulf coast of Florida on Aug. 2 less than 19 hours after leaving the station.
Russia is getting ready to launch its Progress 76 (76P) resupply ship on Thursday at 10:26 a.m. to replenish the five orbital residents. The 76P will blast off from Kazakhstan with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies and dock less than three-and-a-half hours later to the station’s Pirs docking compartment.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner trained Monday morning in the Zvezda service module for the spacecraft’s arrival. The pair practiced computer commands to remotely maneuver the 76P in the unlikely event the resupply ship lost its automated rendezvous capabilities.
It was 45 years ago today when American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts shook hands for the first time in Earth orbit. The Apollo crew ship commanded by NASA astronaut Tom Stafford docked to the Soyuz crew ship led by Alexei Leonov on July 17, 1975, signifying the beginning of international cooperation in space.
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner commemorated the event today with a call from U.S. and Russian dignitaries. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project would lay the groundwork for the Shuttle-Mir project and the International Space Station program.
Cassidy later joined his NASA crewmates Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to prepare for Tuesday’s spacewalk to wrap up battery swaps on the orbiting lab. Behnken and Cassidy will install the last lithium-ion battery on the station’s truss structure completing the 3.5 year-long power upgrade job. This follows Thursday’s six-hour spacewalk when the duo installed three lithium-ion batteries.
Before they go back inside the Quest airlock next week, the veteran spacewalkers will have one more job. The duo will get the Tranquility module ready for a new airlock built by NASA commercial partner NanoRacks. The airlock will enable public and private research on the outside of the station after its delivery on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.
Meanwhile, critical space science to benefit humans on and off the Earth continues aboard the station. Ivanishin explored how microgravity impacts blood circulation and pain sensitivity. Vagner collected radiation measurements then studied how crews may pilot spaceships and robots on future space missions.