Next-Generation Airlock Prepped for SpaceX CRS-21 Launch

The Nanoracks Bishop Airlock is launching on SpaceX’s 21st commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: SpaceX

The first commercially funded airlock for the International Space Station is ready for its journey to space. On Saturday, Oct. 10, teams moved the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock to SpaceX’s processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Two days later, it was packed in the Dragon spacecraft’s trunk for its ride to the orbiting laboratory.

CRS-21
The airlock will provide payload hosting, robotics testing, and satellite deployment, while also serving as an outside toolbox for astronauts conducting spacewalks. Photo credit: SpaceX

The airlock will provide payload hosting, robotics testing, and satellite deployment, and also will serve as an outside toolbox for crew members conducting spacewalks.

The Bishop Airlock is launching on SpaceX’s 21st commercial resupply services (CRS-21) mission to the space station. This will be the first flight of SpaceX’s upgraded cargo version of Dragon, which can carry more science payloads to and from the space station.

The pressurized capsule will carry a variety of research including studies on the effects of microgravity on cardiovascular cells, how space conditions affect the interaction between microbes and minerals, and a technology demonstration of a blood analysis tool in space.

CRS-21 is scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Teams are targeting late November or early December for liftoff.

Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Berthed to Station

Two 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 on Monday, May 6, at 9:32 a.m. EDT.

The 17th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-17) delivered more than 5,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory. After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with about 4,200 pounds of cargo and research.

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 Spacecraft Captured at 7:01 a.m. EDT

While the International Space Station was traveling over the north Atlantic Ocean, astronauts David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Nick Hague of NASA grappled Dragon at 7:01 a.m. EDT using the space station’s robotic arm Canadarm2.

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 Saturday, May 4 with more than 5,500 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Here’s some of the research arriving at station:

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) examines the complex dynamics of Earth’s atmospheric carbon cycle by collecting measurements to track variations in a specific type of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Understanding carbon sources can aid in forecasting increased atmospheric heat retention and reduce its long-term risks.

The Photobioreactor investigation aims to demonstrate how microalgae can be used together with existing life support systems on the space station to improve recycling of resources. The cultivation of microalgae for food, and as part of a life support system to generate oxygen and consume carbon dioxide, could be helpful in future long-duration exploration missions, as it could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth.

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.

SpaceX Dragon Heads to Space Station After Successful Launch

From left to right, Joshua Santora, NASA Communications; Kenny Todd, manager, International Space Station Operations and Integration, NASA’s Johnson Space Center; and Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX, participate in a postlaunch press conference at Kennedy Space Center following the SpaceX CRS-17 launch on May 4, 2019. The Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station on Monday, May 6. Photo credit: NASA
From left to right, Joshua Santora, NASA Communications; Kenny Todd, manager, International Space Station Operations and Integration, NASA’s Johnson Space Center; and Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX, participate in a postlaunch press conference at Kennedy Space Center following the SpaceX CRS-17 launch on May 4, 2019. The Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station on Monday, May 6. Photo credit: NASA

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

More than 5,500 pounds of cargo is on its way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The company’s 17th commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station began at 2:48 a.m. EDT on May 4, 2019, with liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Kenny Todd, International Space Station Operations and Integration manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, explained during the postlaunch press conference that launch success far overshadowed fatigue with the early morning launch.

“If you have to be up, I can’t think of a better reason than to see one of these launches — it was absolutely spectacular,” Todd said. “We’re really excited to get Dragon on board in a couple of days.”

After a successful climb into space, the Dragon spacecraft now is in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power.

“We had a beautiful launch today; it was really great,” said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president, Build and Flight Reliability. “Dragon is on the way, the orbiter is great — it’s right on the money.”

The Dragon spacecraft will deliver science, supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory. Science experiments include NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).

OCO-3 will be robotically installed on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate.

STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.

Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 6. Capture is scheduled for 7 a.m.; installation coverage is set to begin at 9 a.m. Astronauts aboard the station will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module.

The Dragon spacecraft will spend about four weeks attached to the space station, returning to Earth with more than 4,200 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.

For updates during the mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/commercialresupply.

Postlaunch Press Conference Set for 4 a.m.

The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the SpaceX’s Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 2:48 a.m. EDT, May 4, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson
The two-stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the SpaceX’s Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 2:48 a.m. EDT, May 4, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station, after launching on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 2:48 a.m. EDT on May 4, 2019. A postlaunch press conference will take place today at 4 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Participants are:

  • Kenny Todd, manager, International Space Station Operations and Integration, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX

Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture of the Dragon will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 a.m. Monday, May 6. Capture is scheduled for 7 a.m.; installation coverage is set to begin at 9 a.m.

The Dragon spacecraft will remain at the space station for about four weeks before returning to Earth with more than 4,200 pounds of research and return cargo.

 

Dragon’s Solar Arrays Deployed

Dragon's solar arrays deploy en route to the International Space Station on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Photo credit: NASA
Dragon’s solar arrays deploy en route to the International Space Station on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Photo credit: NASA

Dragon’s solar arrays are unfurled and the spacecraft will begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the International Space Station two days later, Monday, May 6. Dragon will deliver about 5,500 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station.

Visit www.nasa.gov/live for live coverage of the rendezvous and capture on Monday, May 6, starting at 5:30 a.m. Capture is scheduled for 7 a.m., while Dragon installation to the nadir port of the Harmony module of the station will occur at approximately 9 a.m.

Liftoff! SpaceX CRS-17 on its Way to the Space Station

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA

We have ignition and liftoff at 2:48 a.m. EDT of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft! It is the company’s 17th mission to deliver supplies, equipment and science materials to the International Space Station.

The vehicle is quickly climbing away from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Ten Minutes to Launch: Things Looking Great

Launch preparations are proceeding smoothly, and everything is on track for liftoff of the SpaceX CRS-17 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Fueling of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle is underway.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 90% chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The primary weather concern is ground winds.

The SpaceX Dragon will deliver more than 5,500 pounds of research investigations and equipment, cargo and supplies that will support some of the hundreds of investigations aboard the International Space Station.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing live coverage of the launch.

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