Six spaceships, three U.S. and three Russian, are parked at the International Space Station after Monday’s arrival of the upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle. The Expedition 64 crew will spend the rest of December focusing on science as 2021 shapes up to be a busy year on the orbital lab.
Two Dragon spaceships, one cargo craft and one crew ship, are docked to the station’s Harmony module for the first time ever. The Cargo Dragon docked Monday afternoon to Harmony’s space-facing port where it will stay for one month. The Crew Dragon has been docked to Harmony’s forward port since Nov. 16 and will return four astronauts back to Earth in the spring.
NASA Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Michael Hopkins began Tuesday offloading the Dragon-transported critical research samples and stowing them in science freezers to be examined later. Their crewmates Kate Rubins installed new science freezers in the station, while Victor Glover set up newly delivered habitats carrying rodents for analysis.
A new human stem cell experiment, Space Organogenesis, got underway today after JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi collected biological samples and research hardware from Dragon. Microgravity will give scientists insight into growing organs and observing genetic changes which could impact regenerative medicine.
While the International Space Station was traveling 268 miles over the southern Indian Ocean, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the space-facing side of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module for the first time at 1:40 p.m. EST, Monday, Dec. 7. NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover monitored docking operations for Dragon.
Some of the science being delivered on this mission includes a study aimed at better understanding heart disease to support development of treatments for patients on Earth, research into how microbes can be used for biomining on asteroids, and a tool being tested for quick and accurate blood analysis in microgravity. The first commercially owned and operated airlock on the space station, the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, arrives in the unpressurized trunk of the Dragon cargo spacecraft. Bishop will provide a variety of capabilities to the orbiting laboratory, including CubeSat deployment, and support of external payloads.
The Dragon launched on SpaceX’s 21st contracted commercial resupply mission at 11:17 a.m. EST Sunday, Dec. 6 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.
When it arrives to the space station, Dragon will automatically dock to the space-facing side (zenith) of the station’s Harmony module with NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover monitoring operations. Dragon lifted off Sunday, Dec. 6 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cargo spacecraft with more than 6,400 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory. It will be the first time a cargo Dragon autonomously docks to the station and will join the Dragon Resilience that brought the Crew-1 astronauts to orbit as the second Dragon spacecraft parked at the space station.
Five Expedition 64 astronauts are relaxing aboard the International Space Station today as they get ready for the arrival of the next-generation SpaceX Dragon resupply ship. The two cosmonauts stayed focused on their contingent of Russian space science and lab maintenance.
The Falcon 9 rocket that will carry the Cargo Dragon spacecraft into Earth orbit stands at its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Currently, there is a 50% chance of favorable weather conditions for a launch on Saturday at 11:39 a.m. EST to the orbiting lab.
The station’s two cosmonauts, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, spent Friday day on research and maintenance tasks. The Russian duo explored ways to improve the effectiveness of space exercise and also worked on lab computers and life support gear.
Expedition 64 is getting ready for over 6,400 pounds of cargo due to arrive this weekend aboard the next-generation SpaceX Dragon space freighter. All seven International Space Station residents also were immersed in microgravity research throughout Thursday.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo spacecraft has rolled out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is counting down to a Saturday lift off at 11:39 a.m. EST. Weather permitting, Dragon would automatically dock just under 24 hours later to the Harmony module’s space-facing port adjacent to the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.
The Cargo Dragon’s main payload is the NanoRacks Bishop airlock that will be robotically attached to the Tranquility module. Bishop will increase the capacity for external space research at the space station benefitting public and private organizations.
The orbiting lab was humming today with a host of advanced space science looking at a variety of microgravity phenomena to enhance life for humans on and off the Earth.
Finally, station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos wrapped up a 24-hour session that monitored his heart activity. The two-time station resident also explored ways to improve the workspace inside the station.