Fully Staffed Station Crew Kicks off Busy Week Waiting for Dragon
SpaceX is targeting Wednesday at 6:24 p.m. EDT for the launch of its 18th contracted Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station. This will be the third flight of this particular reusable Dragon space freighter atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
The Expedition 60 crew is now fully staffed with three new flight engineers, who arrived Saturday aboard the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft, expanding the station inhabitants to six. Drew Morgan of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos are getting used to their new home in space and working to get the orbiting lab up to full speed.
Morgan will be on Dragon duty Friday morning, monitoring its approach to the station. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch will capture the commercial cargo craft around 7 a.m. with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Dragon is delivering a variety of research gear supporting human health and the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) for commercial vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX.
Station managers are planning a spacewalk to complete the installation of the IDA-3 on the space-facing side of the Harmony module. Parmitano, Hague and Koch teamed up Monday to service U.S. spacesuits ahead of the upcoming spacewalk.
Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Skvortsov focused on science and maintenance in the Russian segment of the space station. Ovchinin photographed the condition of the Zvezda service module docking port and checked radiation readings. Skvortsov, now on his third station mission, inventoried gear delivered aboard the new Soyuz crew ship.
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos joined Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station when the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 9:04 p.m. EDT.
The arrival restores the station’s crew complement to six. The Expedition 60 crew will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.
One of those key technology developments will be the arrival and installation of the second docking port for commercial crew spacecraft – SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner. International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) is set to launch to the station on SpaceX Dragon’s 18th commercial resupply services mission.
Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth. Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will facilitate on the orbiting laboratory in the unique microgravity environment include the growth of moss aboard the station, a platform to attempt successful printing of biological tissues and bio-mining in space.
Parmitano and Skvortsov are scheduled to remain aboard the station with Koch until February 2020, leaving Morgan on station for an extended stay. Hague and Ovchinin are set to return to Earth on Oct. 3.
Soyuz Spaceship Docks, Station Crew Expanding to Six
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station at 6:48 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 250 miles over southern Russian, northeast of the Black Sea.
Aboard the space station, NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Christina Koch and Expedition 60 Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.
Watch the hatch opening targeted for 8:50 p.m. and welcome ceremony to follow live on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 8 p.m.
Three Expedition 60 Crew Members Heading to Station on Apollo 50th
Fifty years to the day that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon in a giant leap for humanity, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and two fellow crew members arrived Saturday for their mission aboard the International Space Station, where humans have lived and worked continuously for more than 18 years.
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft carrying Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched at 12:28 p.m. EDT July 20 (9:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and has safely reached orbit. At the time of launch, the station was flying about 254 miles over southern Russia between Kazakhstan and Mongolia, 646 miles ahead of the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.
The crew has begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for their mission. Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 6 p.m., with the spacecraft docking expected at 6:50 p.m.
Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 8 p.m.
Live Now on NASA TV: Launch of New Expedition 60 Crew
Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 12:28 p.m. EDT (9:28 p.m. in Baikonur), of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.