NASA, SpaceX Target New Launch Date for Commercial Cargo Mission

The pressurized capsule of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship with its nose cone open is pictured as the vehicle departs the International Space Station on Jan. 23, 2022.
The pressurized capsule of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship with its nose cone open is pictured as the vehicle departs the International Space Station on Jan. 23, 2022.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than Thursday, July 14, for launch of the CRS-25 commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The new target launch date supports ongoing Dragon spacecraft inspections as well as repair and replacement of any components that could have degraded by exposure to mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) vapor found during testing in early June. In order to allow a more detailed off-vehicle inspection of the parachutes, the SpaceX team made the decision to replace the main parachutes on this spacecraft.

The new date also allows for launch of the uncrewed cargo mission for the earliest possible rendezvous opportunity with the International Space Station following the upcoming high-beta angle period when the sun angle with space station’s orbital plane causes problems with thermal and power generation at the microgravity laboratory in the planned docking attitude for visiting spacecraft.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Cygnus Leaves Station as Crew Maintains Research and Operations

Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti share a light moment during an interview with officials on Earth.
Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti share a light moment during an interview with officials on Earth.

The Expedition 67 crew said farewell to a U.S. cargo craft on Tuesday morning and is planning for the arrival of another resupply ship in mid-July. The seven International Space Station residents also split their day with a host of scientific and operational activities.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter completed its four-month cargo mission attached to the Unity module after the Canadarm2 robotic arm released it into Earth orbit at 7:07 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning. The trash-filled commercial cargo craft will descend into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up safely above the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday. Cygnus delivered over 8,300 pounds of science and supplies when it arrived for capture and installation to Unity on Feb. 21, 2022.

The next resupply mission to visit the station is targeted for launch no earlier than July 14. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft will be loaded with numerous new science experiments to investigate phenomena such as space-caused rapid aging, metabolic interactions in soil microbes, and cell-free production of proteins.

The station’s newest U.S. component, the NanoRacks Bishop airlock, was configured on Tuesday by NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines. The duo removed cargo stowed inside the airlock and replaced it with a trash container that will be deployed this weekend outside the airlock to burn up harmlessly in Earth’s atmosphere. Bishop was delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft on Dec. 6, 2020, and installed on the Tranquility module on Dec. 19.

Lindgren and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins also took turns conducting a test simulating robotics maneuvers for the Behavioral Core Measures space psychology study. Watkins then joined Hines as they continued to film station operation videos to train future crew members on the ground.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti swapped samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, an advanced research device that enables high-temperature thermophysics studies. Afterward, she conducted public affairs activities for ESA.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev worked on electrical and computer systems. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev configured nanosatellites for an upcoming deployment and serviced life support hardware. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov filmed his portion of station activities then explored advanced Earth photography techniques.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Crew Observes Quiet Monday, Prepares for Upcoming Cargo Operations

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is pictured inside the seven-windowed cupola while orbiting 264 miles above Kazakhstan.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is pictured inside the seven-windowed cupola while orbiting 264 miles above Kazakhstan.

All seven Expedition 67 crew members are enjoying a quiet Monday on station as the four astronauts and three cosmonauts relaxed for a three-day weekend. However, science is always ongoing on the International Space Station as researchers continuously explore how to stay healthy and work effectively in microgravity.

The septet will get back to a full work day on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week maintaining space station systems and conducting an array of advanced space research, including robotics and botany. However, NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines did spend an hour-and-a-half on Monday tending to mizuna greens and radishes growing for the XROOTS space gardening study. Commander Oleg Artemyev from Roscosmos retrieved a set of nanosatellites from the Progress 81 resupply ship for assembly and future deployment.

Cargo craft operations will soon be keeping the crew busy as it plans for the departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter slated to leave the station’s Unity module next week. Cygnus will be completing a four-month stay at the orbital lab when the Canadarm2 robotic arm releases the resupply ship from Unity for a fiery, but safe atmospheric reentry above the Pacific Ocean.

NASA and SpaceX officials met today to discuss the initial findings from additional inspections and testing of the Dragon spacecraft after teams measured elevated vapor readings of mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) in an isolated region of the Dragon propulsion system. After offloading propellant from that region, SpaceX was able to narrow down the source of the issue to a Draco thruster valve inlet joint. Teams will now remove the specific hardware to replace it ahead of flight. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than July 11 for launch of the CRS-25 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

NASA TV will broadcast the Cygnus and Dragon mission events live on the agency’s app and its website after official dates and times are announced.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Crew Checks Station Sound Levels, Tests Radiation Protection Vest

The waxing crescent Moon is pictured above Earth's atmosphere illuminated by an orbital sunset as the International Space Station flew 258 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.
The waxing crescent Moon is pictured above Earth’s atmosphere illuminated by an orbital sunset as the International Space Station flew 258 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.

A variety of research operations were on the schedule for the Expedition 67 crew today including hearing checks, radiation protection, and space botany. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts also focused on cargo operations and International Space Station maintenance throughout the day.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than June 28 for the launch of the cargo Dragon spacecraft flight, designated CRS-25, to the International Space Station, pending variables, including availability on the Eastern Range and space station scheduling. The joint teams stood down from a launch attempt this week after elevated vapor readings were measured during propellant loading of the Dragon.

Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Kjell Lindgren of NASA took turns monitoring the noise levels they are exposed to while working on the orbiting lab. Cristoforetti attached the Acoustic Diagnostics device to herself in the morning capturing and recording sound level data. She then handed over the audio hardware to Lindgren in the afternoon so he could begin his acoustic monitoring session.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins tried on the AstroRad radiation protection vest Tuesday morning. The specialized vest is being tested for its ability to protect against solar particle events while providing comfort during normal station activities.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines was back on gardening duty as he replaced seed cartridges and tended to radishes and mizuna greens growing for the XROOTS space botany study. Hines and Watkins then partnered together in the afternoon for packing activities inside the Cygnus space freighter ahead of its departure planned for late June.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov continued their exercise research today learning how to maximize the effectiveness of a workout in microgravity. The duo then split up and serviced a variety of communications and life support gear. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev started his day with an Earth photography session then moved on to cargo transfer tasks inside the Progress 80 resupply ship docked to the Poisk module.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Dragon Mission on Hold as Astronauts Conduct Eye Exams, Spacesuit Work

A portion of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle is pictured as the space station orbited above northern France in September of 2021.
A portion of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle is pictured as the space station orbited above northern France in September of 2021.

NASA and SpaceX are standing down from this week’s Falcon 9 launch of the CRS-25 cargo mission to the International Space Station. Officials from NASA and SpaceX met today to discuss an issue identified over the weekend and the best path forward.

During propellant loading of the Dragon spacecraft, elevated vapor readings of mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) were measured in an isolated region of the Draco thruster propulsion system. The propellant and oxidizer have been offloaded from that region to support further inspections and testing. Once the exact source of the elevated readings is identified and cause is determined, the joint NASA and SpaceX teams will determine and announce a new target launch date.

In the meantime, Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) are getting up to speed with the Dragon cargo craft’s rendezvous and docking procedures. The duo trained on a computer on Monday to prepare for their roles when they monitor Dragon’s automated arrival and docking.

Eye exams were on the schedule with NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren taking charge as Crew Medical Officer today. He operated medical imaging gear, using standard optical coherence tomography techniques, and scanned the eyes and retinas of Cristoforetti and NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines.

Before beginning his eye exam, Hines cleaned up and stowed obsolete combustion research hardware to make room for newer science gear being delivered on upcoming resupply missions. The first time space-flyer also worked on light orbital plumbing duties and recirculated fluids to support plants growing for the XROOTS space botany study.

Lindgren started his day in the Quest airlock servicing U.S spacesuits. He collected water samples from the suit cooling loops and cleaned their water lines before installing new components. Watkins completed the spacesuit work in the afternoon following her Dragon rendezvous training.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov took turns exploring ways to maximize and monitor the effectiveness of physical exercise in space. Artemyev also updated cargo inventory systems as Korsakov unpacked supplies from inside the new Progress 81 resupply ship.  Flight Engineer Denis Matveev installed Earth observation gear before photographing the inside of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module4 for inspection purposes.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Crew Relaxes Day Before Three Tons of Station Cargo Arrives

The ISS Progress 79 resupply ship is pictured after undocking from the Zvezda service module and departing the vicinity the International Space Station.
The ISS Progress 79 resupply ship is pictured after undocking from the Zvezda service module and departing the vicinity the International Space Station.

The Expedition 67 crew is taking a well-deserved day off following a busy few weeks of commercial crew and private astronaut missions. Meanwhile, the next cargo craft to resupply the International Space Station stands ready to launch from Kazakhstan on Friday morning.

The seven orbital residents are relaxing today following an intense period that saw three different SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicles come and go, as well as the arrival and departure of Boeing’s Starliner crew ship. Axiom Mission 1 arrived first at the station on April 9, aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour for a two-week stay. Following that, Crew-4 docked to the station inside the Dragon Freedom on April 27. On May 5, Crew-3 ended its six-month mission after undocking aboard the Dragon Endurance. Finally, the station crew welcomed NASA’s and Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 for a five-day mission when it docked on May 20.

Three tons of food, fuel, and supplies are packed inside the Progress 81 cargo craft destined to replenish the station residents on Friday. The Progress is counting down to a liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:32 a.m. on Friday. After just two orbits, the space freighter will approach the Zvezda service module’s rear port for an automated docking at 9:03 a.m. The  Progress 79 cargo craft undocked from Zvezda early Wednesday ending its 214-day stay.

Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev will be on duty Friday morning monitoring the space freighter’s arrival. The duo from Roscosmos has been reviewing approach and rendezvous procedures as well as practicing manual docking techniques with Zvezda’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU. NASA TV begins its live Progress 81 launch coverage at 5:15 a.m. on NASA’s app and website.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Station Preps for Progress and Dragon Cargo Missions

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon (top) and Crew Dragon vehicles are pictured on Sept. 12, 2021, docked to the station's Harmony module.
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon (top) and Crew Dragon vehicles are pictured on Sept. 12, 2021, docked to the station’s Harmony module.

There are now four spacecraft parked at the International Space Station today after a Russian cargo craft undocked Wednesday morning. A fifth spaceship will arrive on Friday to replace it and replenish the Expedition 67 crew with food, fuel, and supplies.

The ISS Progress 79 resupply ship undocked from the rear port of the Zvezda service module at 4:03 a.m. EDT today completing a 214-day cargo mission at the station. The trash-filled space freighter reentered Earth’s atmosphere just over three hours later for a fiery, but safe demise over the Pacific Ocean.

A new resupply ship, the ISS Progress 81 (81P), stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a lift off at 5:32 a.m. on Friday. The 81P will dock three-and-a-half hours later to the same Zvezda port vacated by the 79P. The launch and docking activities will be broadcast live on the NASA app and on the NASA website.

Less than a week later, SpaceX will launch its 25th commercial resupply mission to the space station. The Cargo Dragon will launch atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Florida at 10:45 a.m. on June 9. It will arrive the next day at 1:30 p.m. automatically docking to the Harmony module’s forward port previously occupied by Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. NASA TV will broadcast both the Dragon’s liftoff and its arrival at the station.

Meanwhile, the seven station residents orbiting Earth started their shifts today with body mass measurements. The crew mates took turns attaching themselves to a mass measurement device that applies a known force to the individual with the resulting acceleration being used to calculate body mass. The measurements are based on a formula using Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force equals mass times acceleration).

Lab maintenance took precedence today for NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins as they worked throughout Wednesday on life support gear and orbital plumbing components. Lindgren and Hines also had time for blood sample collections as well as tending to the XROOTS space botany experiment.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti also worked on the space botany study as she checked and photographed the growing plants. The two-time station visitor from Italy also analyzed changes in her body composition for the NutrISS investigation then checked out a robotics control terminal.

Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev took turns today studying future planetary piloting and robotic control techniques. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov serviced power supply systems inside the Zarya module then replaced a laptop computer battery in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Station Crew Gets Back to Work After Crew-3 Mission Ends

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are pictured inside the Dragon Endurance vehicle after returning to Earth. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are pictured inside the Dragon Endurance vehicle after returning to Earth. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The Expedition 67 crew was back to normal on Friday following the departure of four commercial crew astronauts early Thursday morning. The seven International Space Station astronauts and cosmonauts will live and work in space together until late summer.

The SpaceX Crew-3 mission ended at 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday when the Dragon Endurance crew ship splashed down off the coast of Tampa, Florida. Nearly 24 hours earlier, Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari with Pilot Tom Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer undocked from the Harmony module’s forward port inside Dragon.

After saying farewell to the Crew-3 astronauts early Thursday, the orbiting lab’s four newest astronauts, who arrived the week before aboard the Dragon Freedom spaceship, closed the station’s hatches, went to bed about two hours later, and took the rest of the day off.

On Friday, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren, who is one week into his second spaceflight, stowed emergency gear and checked out hydroponic hardware for the XROOTS space botany study. ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti, who is also on her second mission, spent her day maintaining orbital plumbing systems.

First time space-flyers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins partnered once again in the Columbus laboratory module studying how the central nervous system adapts to weightlessness. Hines and Watkins were both selected as members of the 2017 class of astronaut candidates in August of the same year.

The station’s new commander, Oleg Artemyev, started his day installing video gear before continuing his weeklong research on ways to maximize the effectiveness of a space workout. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov also participated on the space exercise study before working on networking equipment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev checked out systems inside the Rassvet and Zarya modules before performing Russian orbital maintenance tasks.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Crew-3 Astronauts Splashdown Ending Six-Month Mission

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship lands in the Gulf of Mexico for a nighttime splashdown with four commercial crew astronauts inside.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship returns to Earth in the Gulf of Mexico for a nighttime splashdown with four commercial crew astronauts inside.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer splashed down safely in the SpaceX Dragon Endurance in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, at 12:43 a.m. EDT after 177 days in space.

Teams on the Shannon recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Dragon onto the main deck of Shannon with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to board a plane for Houston.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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NASA TV is Live as Crew-3 Gets Ready for Earth Return

The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check on April 21, 2022.
The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check on April 21, 2022.

Watch the agency’s live coverage as NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft are nearing the final stages of return before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 12:43 a.m. EDT. Weather conditions remain within the splashdown weather criteria and are “Go” at the primary targeted site off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

Here are the upcoming approximate milestones (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 5

11:47 p.m. – Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule.
11:48 p.m. – Trunk jettison
11:53 p.m. – Deorbit burn

FRIDAY, MAY 6

12:01 a.m. – Deorbit burn complete
12:04 a.m. – Nosecone closed
12:27 a.m. – Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
12:39 a.m. – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour.
12:40 a.m. – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
12:43 a.m. – Dragon splashdown


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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