February 2020
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ISS: Expedition 25 To Launch On New Soyuz

Three new crewmembers are flying to the International Space Station tonight aboard an upgraded spacecraft, known as Soyuz TMA-01M. Their crewmates are waiting for them on the ISS. When the Soyuz docks Saturday night, the Station will be back to its full complement of sixNASA reports:

New Station Crew Members Ready for Launch

JSC2010-E-167400 -- Scott Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg SkripochkaImage above: At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 25 Flight Engineers Scott Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka (left to right) are pictured in front of their Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft. Photo credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexander Kaleri made final preparations for their launch Thursday aboard the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft to the International Space Station. Their two-day journey to the station will begin with a launch set for 7:10 p.m. EDT. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 6:15 p.m.

› Watch the launch on NASA TV

Kelly, Skripochka and Kaleri are scheduled to dock to the station’s Poisk module Saturday at 8:02 p.m. completing the Expedition 25 crew.

Welcoming them aboard will be current station residents, Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker. Wheelock, Yurchikhin and Walker arrived June 17 aboard their Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft.

Live HD coverage at SpaceVidCast. Live video at SFN. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Preflight pics are up at JSC and Energia. Rollout vid at YouTube. More clips at Space Multimedia. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

ISS: Soyuz TMA-19 Ready To Launch Expedition 24 Crew

Fyodor Yurchikhin will command the Russian spacecraft, while NASA's Shannon Walker will act as Soyuz Flight Engineer. Doug Wheelock rounds out the crew as FE-2. Wheelock will command Expedition 25 in September.

The trio will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome on a 2-day flight which will arrive at the ISS on Thursday,  joining Expedition 24 commander Alexander Skvortsov, cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Tracy Caldwell-Dyson.

Liftoff is scheduled for 5:35PM EDT today (that's 2135 GMT Tuesday, 3:35AM Wednesday local time).

Play-by-play at Spaceflight Now. Watch live on NASA TV.

Check our Twitter for updates.

Today In Space History: Ancient To Modern

May 28 In Space History:

585 BC (going waaaaay back): The "Battle of the Eclipse" ended a war between two ancient nations because a solar eclipse caused the warring factions to believe that their gods wanted an end to the hostilities. Since eclipses can be calculated for past and future dates, this is one of the earliest historical events for which the precise date is known. (Thanks Wikipedia)

1959 (ok, back to AD): Able and Miss Baker, the first "space monkeys" to return from space alive, were launched and recovered unscathed after a 9-minute suborbital flight in the nosecone of a Jupiter MRBM. Go primates! (Thanks @SpacemensLuck)

1962: The USSR launches the Kosmos 5 satellite, which spent a year in orbit on a scientific research and testing mission.

1964: NASA launches Saturn 6, an unmanned test of the Saturn I rocket which would evolve into the launchers to carry astronauts to Earth orbit and to the Moon(Thanks Mark Wade)

2002: Scientists working on the Mars Odyssey orbiter program announce that large quantities of water ice were detected beneath the surface of Mars. (Thanks @airandspace)

Look for hashtag #TISH on our Twitter feed for more Today In Space History!

Lost in Space

The only nation to put a man on the moon soon won't be able to put one into orbit, leaving astronauts in the lurch. When America's space shuttle program ends in September, the U.S. will be completely dependent on Russian rockets for transport into space. But what will happen to American astronauts if U.S.-Russian relations sour?

STS-130: Flight Day 7

LIVE, from orbit, it's SATURDAY NIGHT SPACEWALK! The second EVAs of Endeavour's of three scheduled spacewalks is slated for tonight. On tap: installing coolant lines for the Tranquility and Cupola modules that were berthed to the Space Station Thursday morning.  NASA reports:

Second STS-130 Spacewalk Tonight

ISS022-E-062966: Space shuttle Endeavour's starboard wingImage above: Intersecting the thin line of Earth's atmosphere, space shuttle Endeavour's starboard wing is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member while Endeavour remains docked with the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA

All plans are go for the second spacewalk of shuttle mission STS-130 at 9:09 p.m. EST, resuming the integration of the International Space Station’s new Tranquility module. The crew members from the station and shuttle Endeavour also have learned they’ll have an extra day on orbit together.

Spacewalkers Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick will spend the first part of the spacewalk connecting two ammonia loops, with two lines in each loop, from the Destiny module to Tranquility, hooking the new module to the station’s cooling system, and open one of those loops to initiate cooling of the module. Then they’ll install thermal covers on Tranquility’s keel pin and trunnions, to prevent condensation inside the module, outfit the nadir docking port of Tranquility for the relocation of the cupola module, and install handrails. The spacewalk is scheduled to conclude at 3:39 a.m. Sunday.

Station Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer, Pilot Terry Virts and Mission Specialist Kathryn Hire will continue outfitting Tranquility’s interior, including setting up the ventilation system and configuring racks

Early Saturday morning the crew members outfitting Tranquility were unable to install a center disk cover on the module’s outboard docking port due to interference with the cover’s attach mechanism from hardware inside the cupola; that cover protects the docking interface from debris and temperature extremes when there’s no module attached to it. The planned depressurization and grappling of the cupola at the end of the crew work day has been deferred to permit troubleshooting of that situation.

Mission managers today approved adding an extra day to the flight. That day, which will be a new Flight Day 11 beginning Wednesday afternoon, will be used to relocate two Water Recovery System racks, the Waste Hygiene Compartment and the Oxygen Generation System into Tranquility. Those relocations were on hold pending the repairs conducted earlier in the flight, and enough run time on the system to generate needed samples for return to Earth for analysis.

Endeavour’s landing now will occur Sunday night, Feb. 21.

Live HD coverage at SpaceVidCast. Live video at SFN and Florida Today. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

STS-130: Flight Day 5 Wrap-Up

So, these flight days are a little funny this time out (at least for those of us in US time zones) because they span calendar days. FD 5 is scheduled to end at 8:14AM EST today (Friday) - it started yesterday afternoon. Overnight, Endeavour astronauts Nicholas Patrick and Bob Behnken completed the first spacewalk of the STS-130 mission.  NASA reports:

Shuttle Crew Completes First STS-130 Spacewalk

Mission Specialist Bob Behnken
Image above: Mission Specialist Bob Behnken works outside the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of the STS-130 mission. Image credit: NASA TV

› Meet the STS-130 Crew

STS-130 crew members installed a 2,600-cubic-foot addition to the International Space Station early Friday, combining the talents of robotic arm operators and spacewalkers to connect the Italian-built Tranquility module.

Tranquility was installed at 1:20 a.m. EST Friday over the Indian Ocean west of Singapore. Mission Specialist Kay Hire and Pilot Terry Virts used the station’s Canadarm2 to pull Tranquility out of the space shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay and position it on the port side of the station’s 10-year-old Unity module. Tranquility was locked in place with 16 remotely controlled bolts.

Spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick stepped outside the Quest airlock module at 9:17 p.m. Thursday and immediately began preparing the new module for its trip from the cargo bay to the station. Mission Specialist Steve Robinson helped coordinate the 6-hour, 32-minute spacewalk, which ended at 3:49 a.m. Friday. As Behnken and Patrick waited for the robotic arm operators to carefully maneuver Tranquility into position, they relocated a temporary platform from the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, to the station’s truss structure and installed two handles on the robot.

Once Tranquility was structurally mated to Unity, the spacewalkers connected heater and data cables that will integrate the new module with the rest of the station’s systems. They also pre-positioned insulation blankets and ammonia hoses that will be used to connect Tranquility to the station’s cooling radiators during the mission’s second spacewalk that begins Saturday night. The station’s new room with a view, the cupola, will be moved from Tranquility’s end to its Earth-facing port on Sunday.

As the spacewalk ended, Mission Control reported that all data and heater connections were working well, and that the vestibule separating Tranquility and Unity had passed its initial leak check.

STS-130 spacewalkers
Image above: Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick and Bob Behnken work outside the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of the STS-130 mission. Image credit: NASA TV

Live video at SFN and Florida Today. Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Status Report #9 here. Flight Day 4 pics and video are up at the JSC Gallery. More clips at Space Multimedia. CFNews13 has a new "inside view" launch clip. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.

Russian Cosmonaut’s Blog Much Funnier Than NASA

It’s not just NASA that’s hip to the social media game anymore. Now, the Russian space agency Roscosmos has one of its own blogging from the International Space Station.

STS-128: Undocking Tuesday Afternoon

Flight Day 12 will see Discovery undock from the ISS and begin its journey home. Coming along for the ride will be Buzz Lightyear. The action figure arrived at the Station last year, and will return to Earth for "several debriefing sessions," and a parade with the real BuzzNASA reports:

Shuttle, Station to Undock Today

S128-E-007429: Soyuz and Discovery docked to International Space Station
Image above: This scene, photographed from the International Space Station while docked with space shuttle Discovery, shows the orbiter, the shuttle's robotic arm and a Soyuz vehicle docked with the orbital outpost. Credit: NASA

After closing the hatches between the two spacecraft last night, the two crews aboard space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station prepare to undock today.

Shuttle commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Kevin Ford and mission specialists Tim Kopra, Pat Forrester, Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, and Christer Fuglesang, will focus on preparations for the undocking from the station.

They are scheduled to undock from the station at 3:26 p.m. EDT. Once safely separated from the orbiting complex by about 450 feet, Ford will conduct a flyaround of the space station. The maneuver provides an opportunity to get video of the station that can be used to inspect for damage or general condition of the vehicle’s exterior. A final separation burn is expected at 5:09 p.m.

Later, the shuttle crew will again engage the shuttle robotic arm, its extension boom and cameras for a last look at the thermal protection system to check for any damage.

Discovery Set to Depart Station

The Expedition 20 and STS-128 crews say goodbye
Image above: The Expedition 20 and STS-128 crews say goodbye before closing the hatches between the International Space Station and space shuttle Discovery. Credit: NASA TV

With over a week of docked operations behind them, the astronauts and cosmonauts said their goodbyes and closed the hatches between the International Space Station and space shuttle Discovery at 11:41 p.m. EDT Monday.

The 13 crew members aboard space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station completed final transfer work between the two spacecraft and returned the high-tech moving van “Leonardo” back to the orbiter’s payload bay Monday.

Arriving aboard Discovery was the newest Expedition 20 crew member, Nicole Stott, who switched places with Mission Specialist Tim Kopra. Stott will handle flight engineer duties aboard the station until her return home aboard Atlantis following the STS-129 mission in November.

Discussion at Nasaspaceflight. Pics and video at Space Multimedia. Check the links at right for play-by-play and NASA TV.