Station Crew Busy Ahead of Thursday SpaceX Crew Launch

Station Crew Busy Ahead of Thursday SpaceX Crew Launch

The four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts are pictured during a dress rehearsal at Kennedy Space Center. The Crew Dragon vehicle is atop the Falcon 9 rocket at the launchpad.
The four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts are pictured during a dress rehearsal at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon vehicle is atop the Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad.

The next crew to launch to the International Space Station is counting down to liftoff this Thursday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They will be greeted less than 24 hours later by the seven Expedition 65 crew members residing aboard the orbiting lab.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour sits atop the Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad ready to carry four Commercial Crew astronauts to the space station. The SpaceX Crew-2 quartet is comprised of Commander Shane Kimbrough and Pilot Megan McArthur, both NASA astronauts, and Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.

They are set to launch on Thursday at 6:11 a.m. EDT and dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter at 5:30 a.m. on Friday. NASA TV will broadcast the Crew-2 mission continuously from launch to docking beginning Thursday at 2 a.m.

Waiting for the Crew-2 astronauts is station Commander Shannon Walker of NASA along with her Crew-1 crewmates Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA. The orbiting lab’s newest trio, with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, will also be onboard the station to greet the SpaceX Crew-2 foursome.

There is still plenty of research and maintenance occurring on the station as NASA and SpaceX gear up for this Thursday’s launch. Walker serviced the Human Research Facility rack and updated software on the KERMIT microscope that can be operated by station astronauts or scientists on the ground. Hopkins swapped fuel canisters inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Vande Hei and Glover worked throughout Monday cleaning ventilation systems and crew quarters. Noguchi transferred oxygen to tanks inside the U.S. Quest airlock. Novitskiy and Dubrov, the two cosmonauts, worked on Soyuz crew ship cargo transfers and lab familiarization activities.

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Mark Garcia

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight

Monday, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.

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Expedition 64 Trio Back On Earth After 185-Day Mission

Expedition 64 Trio Back On Earth After 185-Day Mission

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft just before landing in Kazakhstan on April 17th, 2021. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos landed on Earth at 12:55 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 17 in Kazakhstan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft at 9:34 p.m.

After post-landing medical checks, the crew will split up with Rubins returning to her home in Houston, while the cosmonauts fly back to their training base in Star City, Russia.

Remaining aboard the station is the seven-person crew of Expedition 65, with new station commander Shannon Walker of NASA, NASA astronauts Victor GloverMichael Hopkins, and Mark Vande Hei, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

Later this month, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 members – NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet – will join the Expedition 65 members aboard the station. Crew-2 will be the second long-duration mission to fly as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, continuing to provide the capability of regularly launching humans from American soil.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed a 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique technological demonstrations and research that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars while also improving life on Earth. To date, 243 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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

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Mark Garcia

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