Crew Unpacking New Cargo, Researching Life Science Before Sunday Ship Departure

Expedition 56-57 crewmates
Expedition 56-57 crewmates (from left) Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA; Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency); and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.

Expedition 56 crew members are transferring cargo in and out of U.S. and Russian cargo ships today. Two astronauts are also planning to release a U.S. resupply ship on Sunday ending its mission at the International Space Station.

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst were back inside the SpaceX Dragon today unloading science gear and station hardware from inside the space freighter. Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos continued unloading the nearly three tons of crew supplies and station hardware delivered Monday aboard the new Progress 70 cargo craft.

The Cygnus resupply ship will complete its stay at the orbital Sunday at 8:35 a.m. EDT after 52 days attached to the Unity module. Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release Cygnus back into Earth orbit backed up by Auñón-Chancellor of NASA. Cygnus will remain in orbit until July 30 supporting engineering activities before it is deorbited to burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.

Space research aboard the orbital lab is always ongoing as the crew explored a variety of life science today. The space residents explored how microgravity impacts fertility, algae production and the gastrointestinal system. The crew also completed routine eye checks with an ultrasound device Wednesday morning to maintain good vision during spaceflight.


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

Cargo Ships and Cancer Research Keeps Orbital Lab Humming

The Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) Cygnus resupply ship
The Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) Cygnus resupply ship with its round, brass-colored UltraFlex solar arrays is guided to its port on the Unity module shortly after it was captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm on May 24, 2018.

Russia’s Progress 70 (70P) cargo craft delivered nearly 5,700 pounds of crew supplies and station cargo to the International Space Station on Monday less than four hours after launch. Meanwhile, the U.S. Cygnus resupply ship from Northrop Grumman tested its ability to boost the orbital laboratory’s altitude today.

Monday’s arrival of the Russian resupply craft set a milestone for station operations by arriving with its cargo in just 3 hours and 40 minutes, or only two Earth orbits. The new Progress makes six spacecraft parked at the orbital complex including the Progress 69 resupply ship, the Soyuz MS-08 and MS-09 crew ships and the SpaceX Dragon and Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighters.

The engine on Northrup Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship fired for 50 seconds Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. EDT to reboost the station in a test designed to verify an additional capability to adjust the station’s altitude, if required. The brief engine firing raised the station’s altitude by about 295 feet. Cygnus will depart the station on Sunday after delivering several tons of supplies and science experiments back in May for the six crewmembers on board.

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst continued more life science work today exploring cancer research and fertility. Serena split her time today between testing ways to develop safer, more effective cancer therapies and exploring how living in space impacts fertility. Gerst set up a specialized microscope to look at proteins that could be used for cancer treatment and radiation protection.

New Earth Obs Study Installed Before Monday Russian Cargo Mission

SpaceX Dragon, a star-lit sky and Earth's atmospheric glow
A star-lit sky and Earth’s atmospheric glow are the backdrop as the Canadarm2 robotic arm with its Dextre robotic hand attached is poised to begin extracting cargo from the SpaceX Dragon’s trunk.

More research gear continues to be unloaded from inside and outside of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft today. Back on Earth, another resupply ship is poised to blast off Monday on a quick delivery mission to the International Space Station.

Overnight, mission controllers commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract a new Earth-observing experiment from the rear of the Dragon space freighter. The new ECOSTRESS gear was then remotely installed on the outside of the Kibo laboratory module. ECOSTRESS will provide thermal infrared measurements of Earth’s surface helping scientists assess water and vegetation changes on agriculture.

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst processed and stowed their blood samples today for the Myotones muscle study. Observations may help doctors develop strategies to keep astronauts healthy in space and improve conditions for patients on Earth with mobility or aging issues.

The Progress 70 resupply ship from Roscosmos is being processed for launch Monday at 5:51 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Russian mission controllers are planning a short 3 hour and 48 minute delivery trip, or just two orbits, to the station’s Pirs docking compartment. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and automated docking live beginning Monday at 5:30 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.

Expedition 56 Crew Unpacks Dragon to Begin New Science Operations

The SpaceX Dragon captured with the Canadarm2
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured moments after being captured with the Canadarm2 (the 57.7-foot-long robotic arm designed and built by the Canadian Space Agency) controlled by NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold as the International Space Station orbited over Quebec, Canada.

The International Space Station crew from the United States, Russia and Germany is going into the Fourth of July holiday unpacking new research gear from the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. The six Expedition 56 crew members also conducted advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance today.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold opened the hatches to the SpaceX Dragon space freighter Tuesday morning beginning a month of cargo swaps. He and Commander Drew Feustel began retrieving and unpacking a variety of new space cargo. Next, Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst transferred critical science gear into the space station. The duo reviewed the experiment installation and research operations to help scientists learn how microgravity affects physics and biology.

The space residents, including cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev, will spend the Fourth of July holiday with light duty. Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor will begin transferring mice delivered aboard Dragon into their new habitats aboard the station on Wednesday. The rodents will be observed to understand how microbes impact the gastrointestinal system in microgravity. Arnold and Feustel will be swapping frozen research samples from the Japanese Kibo lab module into the U.S. Destiny lab module.

Dragon Now Installed To Station For Month-Long Stay

July 2, 2018: International Space Station Configuration
July 2, 2018: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Dragon and Cygnus resupply ships from the United States; and from Roscosmos, the Progress 69 resupply ship and the Soyuz MS-08 and MS-09 crew ships.

Three days after its launch from Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 9:52 a.m. EDT.

The 15th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-15) delivers more than 5,900 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.

Among the research arriving to the U.S. National Laboratory is the Space Algae investigation, will discuss research to select algae strains adapted to space and sequence their genomes to identify growth-related genes. Algae consume waste carbon dioxide, can provide basic nutrition and may perceive microgravity as a trigger to produce algae oils rich in antioxidants that may help mitigate the harmful effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation during spaceflight. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the U.S. National Laboratory, is sponsoring the investigation.

A technology demonstration arriving is an observational pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON) that aims to provide first insights into the effects of crew support from an artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space.

After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with about 3,800 pounds of cargo and research, including an investigation to advance DNA sequencing in space and the Angiex cancer therapy investigation to improve understanding of endothelial cells that line the walls of blood vessels.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Dragon Capture Confirmed Over Canada

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon is pictured about 30 meters from the International Space Station. It would be captured minutes later when it reached its capture point 10 meters from the station Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling more than 256 miles over Quebec, Canada, NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel, captured the Dragon spacecraft at 6:54 a.m. EDT using the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation of the spacecraft on bottom of the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

The Dragon lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Friday, June 29 with more than 5,900 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Among the hardware flying to the space station is a spare Canadian-built Latching End Effector (LEE), the part used as the “hands” that grapple payloads and visiting cargo spaceships such as Dragon. This was the 30th grapple of an arriving spacecraft, and the 15th time the Canadarm2 has captured a Dragon. Each end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm has an identical LEE, and they also enable Canadarm2 to “walk” to different locations on the orbiting outpost.

Among the research arriving on Dragon is a cellular biology investigation (Micro-12) to understand how microgravity affects the growth, gene expression and ability of a model bacterium to transfer electrons through its cell membrane along the bacterial nanowires it produces. Such bacteria could be used in microbial fuel cells to make electricity from waste organic material.

An Earth science instrument called the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) will provide a new space-based measurement of how plants respond to changes in water availability. This data can help society better manage agricultural water use.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Dragon Blasts Off Carrying Science and Supplies for Station Crew

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was successfully launched
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was successfully launched on the Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad LC-40 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Dragon successfully launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:42 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The spacecraft’s solar arrays have deployed. It will arrive at the International Space Station Monday morning carrying more than 5,900 pounds of research investigations and equipment, cargo and supplies that will support some of the hundreds of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.

A postlaunch press conference will take place at 8 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Participants are:

  • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program, Johnson Space Center
  • Jessica Jensen, director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel will use the space station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Dragon when it arrives at the station. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 a.m. Monday, July 2. Installation coverage is set to begin at 9 a.m.

Research materials flying inside Dragon’s pressurized cargo area include a cellular biology investigation (Micro-12) to understand how microgravity affects the growth, gene expression and ability of a model bacterium to transfer electrons through its cell membrane along the bacterial nanowires it produces. Such bacteria could be used in microbial fuel cells to make electricity from waste organic material.

An Earth science instrument called the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) will provide a new space-based measurement of how plants respond to changes in water availability. This data can help society better manage agricultural water use.

An observational pilot study with the Crew Interactive MObile companioN (CIMON) aims to provide first insights into the effects of crew support from an artificial intelligence (AI) in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space.

Among the hundreds of pounds of hardware flying to the space station is a spare Canadian-built Latching End Effector (LEE). Each end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm has an identical LEE, and they are used as the “hands” that grapple payloads and visiting cargo spaceships. They also enable Canadarm2 to “walk” to different locations on the orbiting outpost.

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

Crew Sets Up Station for New Research Delivery Aboard Dragon

The Canadarm2 and the Caspian Sea
Canada’s 57.7-foot-long robotic arm, also known as the Canadarm2, with a latching end effector at its tip (used to grapple approaching spacecraft and portable data grapple fixtures) is pictured in the foreground as the International Space Station was orbiting over the Caspian Sea.

The Expedition 56 crew members are configuring the International Space Station for several new experiments being delivered on the upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. The orbital residents also explored space physics and serviced U.S. spacesuits.

NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold worked on science hardware today to support new research being delivered aboard Dragon when it arrives Monday at 7 a.m. EDT. The duo also continued studying the robotics procedures necessary to capture Dragon after its approach and rendezvous next week.

Feustel cleaned a mouse habitat for the Rodent Research-7 experiment observing microbes in the gastrointestinal system in mice. Arnold checked out the functionality of the Veggie facility that will process plants for the Veg-03 study researching how to grow food in space.

Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor looked at how cement solidifies in space exploring its microstructure and material properties. Results could impact the design of lightweight space habitats and improve cement and concrete processing on Earth.

Finally, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency looked at spacesuit gear and set up the Quest airlock for future spacewalk operations. Gerst purged nitrogen from the suit’s oxygen lines and helped ground controllers prepare for overnight oxygen leak checks.

Crew Gets Ready for Dragon, Studies Space Impacts on Health and Physics

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm as the International Space Station was orbiting above northern Africa on May 5, 2018.

The Expedition 56 crew members are getting ready for the arrival next week of the 15th SpaceX Dragon mission to the International Space Station. The space residents also explored how microgravity impacts health and physics today while setting up a variety of cubesats for deployment.

The Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX that will launch the Dragon space freighter into Earth orbit is due to lift off Friday at 5:41 a.m. EDT and take a three-day trip to the orbital laboratory. The commercial space freighter will be loaded with almost six thousand pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies and space station hardware.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold will be backed up by Commander Drew Feustel in the Cupola when he commands the Canadarm2 to grapple Dragon Monday at 7 a.m. The duo is reviewing procedures and training on a computer this week for the rendezvous and capture activities. Robotics controllers on the ground will then take over after the capture and remotely install Dragon a couple of hours later to the Harmony module where it will remain for 32 days. NASA TV will broadcast live the Dragon science briefings, launch, capture and installation activities.

Feustel started the workweek collecting and stowing biological samples for the Multi-Omics study that is observing how gut microbes may affect an astronaut’s immune system. He then worked on the Atomization experiment that is researching liquid spray processes to potentially improve the design of jet and rocket engines.

NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor installed a cubesat deployer on a multi-purpose experiment platform that will soon be placed outside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. It will deploy nine different cubesats to continue space research and demonstrate space applications.

New Satellite, Space Research and Cargo Missions Fill Crew Agenda

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor
Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor collects breath samples to analyze and measure red blood cell function for the Marrow investigation.

The International Space Station deployed a satellite this morning to demonstrate the potential of removing space junk. Back inside the orbital lab, the Expedition 56 crew explored space physics, studied human research and conducted an emergency drill.

A new satellite was deployed into space today from outside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. Officially named the NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite, it will explore using a 3D camera to map the location and speed of space debris. It will also deploy a net to capture a nanosatellite that will simulate space junk.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold worked inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox to troubleshoot gear today for a semiconductor crystal growth experiment. Alexander Gerst, of the European Space Agency, set up dosimeters and measured the station’s acoustic levels to understand the effects on crews.

Arnold later joined fellow Soyuz MS-08 crewmates Drew Feustel of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos for an emergency drill. The trio practiced evacuating the station in their Soyuz crew ship in the unlikely event of an emergency.

U.S. and Russian cargo ships are due to launch to the space station this summer. Another cargo craft is due to end its stay at the orbital lab next month. SpaceX is counting down to a June 29 launch of its Dragon cargo ship. Roscosmos will launch its Progress 70 cargo craft on July 9. Finally, the Cygnus space freighter attached to the Unity module is due to end its stay July 15.