Russian Cargo Ship Leaves, Crew Tests Dragon’s Comfort Factors

July 8, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the HTV-9 resupply ship from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Russia's Progress 75 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.
July 8, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the HTV-9 resupply ship from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Russia’s Progress 75 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.

Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft departed the International Space Station today leaving four spaceships from the U.S., Russia and Japan parked at the orbital lab. It will be replaced in two weeks when the Progress 76 arrives to replenish the crew.

The 74P undocked today at 2:23 p.m. EDT after seven months attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-packed resupply ship will descend into Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise. The 76P will take its place when it launches on July 23 at 10:26 a.m. and docks just three-and-a-half hours later to Pirs.

Four out of the five Expedition 63 crew members assessed comfort factors inside the docked SpaceX Crew Dragon today. This is a demonstration of the Crew Dragon’s habitability ahead of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission planned for later this year.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who piloted the Crew Dragon, will be joined by station Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin for the one-hour habitability test. The crew will arrange the cabin to suit the four space residents and report their comfort levels to engineers on the ground.

While they were setting up Crew Dragon for the test, the three NASA astronauts also had time for ultrasound eye scans, microfluid studies and orbital plumbing work. The two cosmonauts, including Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner, juggled a variety of Russian space research and tested Soyuz crew ship communications gear.

Dragon Work, Space Research and Spacewalk Preps Today

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy prepares to stow biological samples for preservation inside a science freezer.
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy prepares to stow biological samples for preservation inside a science freezer.

Two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station are getting ready for a pair of spacewalks set to begin at the end of June. Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew is still performing advanced space research to benefit Earth and space industries.

Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken are studying the tasks they will perform during two spacewalks to upgrade station power systems. NASA TV will broadcast both spacewalks live on June 26 and July 1 when the astronauts will swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-6 truss structure.

Flight Engineers Doug Hurley of NASA and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos teamed up Wednesday morning readying the jetpacks the spacewalkers would use in the unlikely event they became detached from the station. They later joined Cassidy and Behnken during the afternoon for a spacewalk review with engineers on the ground.

Cassidy was back on biology work this morning collecting and stowing his blood and urine samples to learn how microgravity affects the human body. Behnken and Hurley checked their Dragon crew suits and charged their crew ship’s computer tablets.

Vagner also had time for a trio of Russian experiments as he photographed the Earth, researched future spacecraft piloting techniques and studied plasma crystals. Fellow cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin was also studying plasma crystals today while researching the dynamic forces the station experiences in orbit.

The Red-Eye microsatellite was deployed into Earth orbit this afternoon using the NanoRacks Kaber Microsat deployer outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The 110-kilogram Red-Eye will test satellite communications, flight computers and thermal management technologies.

Science Stepping Up on Station for Earth and Space Benefits

The newly-expanded Expedition 63 crew
The newly-expanded Expedition 63 crew with NASA astronauts (front row, from left) Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. In the center, in the back row, is NASA Commander Chris Cassidy flanked by Roscosmos Flight Engineers (from left) Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

The three NASA astronauts and two Roscosmos cosmonauts that comprise the Expedition 63 crew are keeping the International Space Station humming with space research.

Less than a week into their stay on the orbiting lab, Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are still orienting themselves with station systems and operations. Meanwhile, the duo is beginning to step up their advanced science activities to benefit people on and off Earth.

Hurley is getting up to speed with a pair of space physics experiments today. He started research today on space bubbles and microfluids to improve oxygen and medicine delivery systems. He then photographed hardware being set up to research how tiny particles behave in fluids. Results could improve the development of advanced materials and 3D printing techniques.

Behnken is studying how to remove and re-install a plant habitat so he can access and replace life support gear on Thursday. He also tested the SpaceX Crew Dragon’s wi-fi system that connects the spacecraft’s portable computer tablets.

Both astronauts also joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy on Wednesday afternoon reviewing station safety procedures and equipment. Cassidy spent the morning setting up science gear that Hurley would later use to begin his space bubbles research.

In the Russian segment of the station, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner split their time between Earth observations, radiation checks and module inspections. The duo also videotaped messages and station activities for audiences on the ground.

Crew Opens U.S. Market; Advanced Space Science Continues

NASA astronauts pictured on the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square
NASA astronauts (from left) Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy are pictured on the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square located in New York City.

The three NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station rang the NASDAQ opening bell this morning then joined the rest of the Expedition 63 crew for ongoing lab operations.

Commander Chris Cassidy kicked off the U.S. financial markets Tuesday morning ringing the NASDAQ opening bell alongside Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The NASA trio will broaden space science activities, both private and public, on the orbiting lab to benefit humans on and off the Earth.

Meanwhile, Cassidy is helping Hurley and Behnken get up to speed with station operations and systems. Hurley and Behnken today familiarized themselves with the station’s workout facilities including the advanced resistive exercise device (ARED). The ARED simulates free-weight exercises and works all the major muscle groups. The duo also reviewed personal protective equipment and helped unpack Japan’s HTV-9 cargo craft.

The two visitors each previously visited the station twice during the space shuttle era. Hurley rode shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis in 2009 and 2011. Behnken flew on Endeavour twice in 2008 and 2010.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued their Russian research and maintenance tasks today. Ivanishin photographed how man-made and natural causes are affecting the Earth. Vagner explored how space travelers may pilot future spacecraft on planetary missions.

SpaceX Crew Astronauts Get Used to Space Station

NASA astronauts and Expedition 63 crew members (from left) Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy.
NASA astronauts and Expedition 63 crew members (from left) Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Chris Cassidy.

The International Space Station has two new NASA astronauts after the SpaceX Crew Dragon arrived on Sunday. The newly-expanded Expedition 63 crew will now be ramping up microgravity research in the coming days and weeks.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are getting up to speed with space station systems and operations on their first full day as Expedition 63 crewmates. The duo is also unpacking the Crew Dragon vehicle today and integrating its systems with the space station.

The duo joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy, who has been on orbit since April 9, for a news conference today and talked about the historical nature of the first crewed Dragon mission. Hurley and Behnken, who each flew on two space shuttle missions, also described the differences between the Dragon crew ship and the now-retired shuttles.

Cassidy primarily spent Monday on ongoing lab maintenance activities. The veteran astronaut, who also flew on two previous shuttle missions, serviced research hardware and plumbing gear throughout Monday.

The two Roscosmos cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, focused on science and routine operations in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab. They joined their NASA crewmates in the morning to review Crew Dragon emergency procedures. Afterward, the duo explored advanced Earth photography techniques and ways to improve space exercise.

Commercial Crew Astronauts Join Expedition 63

The Expedition 63 crew has expanded to five members
The Expedition 63 crew has expanded to five members with the arrival of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. (From left) Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour have arrived at the International Space Station to join Expedition 63 Commander and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and Dragon Endeavour at 1:02 p.m. EDT, allowing Hurley and Behnken to enter their new home in space as members of Expedition 63. The five crew members will hold a welcome ceremony next, after which the continuous coverage of the mission that began prior to launch will conclude.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will hold a news conference at 3:15 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to discuss the successful docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Johnson Center Director Mark Geyer, International Space Station Program Deputy Manager Kenneth Todd, NASA Commercial Crew Program Deputy Manager Steve Stich, and NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren also will participate in the live media briefing broadcast on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

It is the second arrival and autonomous docking to the International Space Station for a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the first time any commercially built spacecraft has delivered astronauts to the orbiting laboratory.

Known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations and pave the way for its certification for regular crew flights to the station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

For operational missions, Crew Dragon will be able to launch as many as four crew members and carry more than 220 pounds of cargo, enabling the expansion of the inhabitants of the space station, increasing the time dedicated to research in the unique microgravity environment, and returning more science back to Earth.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts

Crew Dragon Docks to Space Station

The SpaceX Crew Dragon
The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 30 meters away from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour have arrived at the International Space Station.

The Crew Dragon arrived at the station’s Harmony port, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying about 262 miles above the northern border of China and Mongolia. Following soft capture, 12 hooks were closed to complete a hard capture at 10:27 a.m. Teams now will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for approximately 12:45 p.m.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission.

Behnken and Hurley made history Saturday as they became the first Americans to launch on an American rocket from American soil to the space station in nearly a decade. Their successful docking completed many of the test objectives of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, and the rest will be completed as the spacecraft operates as part of the space station, then at the conclusion of its mission undocks and descends for a parachute landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 63 Commander and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner are preparing to welcome Behnken and Hurley aboard the station.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch Commercial Crew Astronauts Dock to Station

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (foreground) and Bob Behnken call down to mission controllers for a report on their second flight day abnoard the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live continuous coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on their way to the International Space Station.

Hurley and Behnkhen received their wake-up call at 4:45 a.m. EDT with the song “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath. This morning they shared a tour inside the spacecraft, which they named Dragon Endeavour. Next they will conduct a near field manual piloting test to demonstrate their ability to control the spacecraft should an issue with the spacecraft’s automated flight arise.

The spacecraft will begin its close approach to the station at about 8:27 a.m. and is scheduled to dock at 10:29 a.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crews onboard the spacecraft and the space station will diligently monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.

As SpaceX’s final flight test, the Demo-2 mission will validate all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon spacecraft, spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch vehicle, launch pad LC-39A, and operations capabilities before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.

Behnken and Hurley will work with SpaceX mission control to verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system, and by maneuvering the thrusters, among other things.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Expedition 63 Awaits SpaceX Crew, Unpacks Japanese Cargo

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad in Florida during a brief static fire test on Friday, May 22, 2020.

The Expedition 63 crew is getting ready for the launch and arrival this week of two NASA astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade. This follows Monday morning’s arrival of a Japanese cargo craft that delivered over four tons of food, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX managers completed their readiness reviews and have given the “go” for the launch of Commercial Crew astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The duo will liftoff atop the Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center in Florida toward the station.

They will dock on Thursday at 11:39 a.m. to the Harmony module’s International Docking Adapter on the space station’s forward section. Two-and-a-half hours later the hatches will open, Behnken and Hurley will enter the station and the Expedition 63 crew will expand to five members to bring space research up to full speed aboard the orbiting lab.

The Crew Dragon will be docked adjacent to the newly-arrived H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) from Japan. The HTV-9 was installed to the Harmony module’s Earth-facing port a couple of hours after it was captured Monday at 8:13 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy began unloading the HTV-9 with help from Roscosmos Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner shortly after its arrival on Memorial Day.

The final mission of Japan’s expendable resupply ship will stay at the station until late July. Japan’s next version of resupply ships (HTV-X) will be returnable and reusable providing more cargo capabilities.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin swapped out more fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to maintain research operations inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. The refrigerator-sized research rack enables fuel, flame and soot research in microgravity.

Expedition 63 Awaits Japanese Cargo and American Crew

Japan's HTV-8 cargo craft and the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle
Japan’s HTV-8 cargo craft (left) is pictured gripped by the Canadarm2 robotic arm on November of 2019. The SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle is pictured at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Three Expedition 63 crewmates are orbiting Earth getting ready to welcome a Japanese cargo ship and the first crew to launch from America in almost a decade.

NASA Commander Chris Cassidy will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Japan’s ninth space freighter to visit the station on Memorial Day at 8:15 a.m. EDT. The H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) is delivering over four tons of crew supplies, space experiments and new lithium-ion batteries to upgrade station power systems. NASA TV’s live coverage begins Monday at 6:45 a.m.

Cassidy spent Friday readying the Harmony module for the HTV-9’s installation while also working on plumbing tasks. He’ll spend Saturday and Sunday relaxing aboard the International Space Station before turning his attention to the Japanese and American spaceships.

In Florida, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program are in final preparations for their launch aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. They will dock the next day at 11:39 a.m. to the station’s International Docking Adapter on the Harmony module’s forward port.

Cassidy with Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will welcome the Commercial Crew astronauts aboard the station when the hatches open about two-and-a-half hours later. Behnken and Hurley will join the Expedition 63 crew as Flight Engineers and ramp up space science aboard the orbiting lab.

Back onboard the space station, cosmonauts Ivanishin and Vagner spent Friday servicing a variety of Russian communications and life support hardware. The duo also continued inventorying station maintenance and repair equipment.