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Dragon Prepares to Resupply Station

The Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, Dragon spacecraft stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Teams had just installed the spacecraft’s solar array fairings.

NASA and its international partners are targeting Friday, March 1, as the launch date for the next cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station by SpaceX. Launch is scheduled for 10:10 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will be filled with about 1,200 pounds of supplies for the space station crew and experiments being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Read more at:http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2452.html

 

NASA, Roscosmos Assign Veteran Crew to Year-Long Space Station Mission

 

Scott Kelly

 WASHINGTON — NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and their international partners have selected two veteran spacefarers for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015. This mission will include collecting scientific data important to future human exploration of our solar system. NASA has selected Scott Kelly and Roscosmos has chosen Mikhail Kornienko.

Kelly and Kornienko will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and will land in Kazakhstan in spring 2016. Kelly and Kornienko already have a connection; Kelly was a backup crew member for the station’s Expedition 23/24 crews, where Kornienko served as a flight engineer.

The goal of their yearlong expedition aboard the orbiting laboratory is to understand better how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. Data from the 12-month expedition will help inform current assessments of crew performance and health and will determine better and validate countermeasures to reduce the risks associated with future exploration as NASA plans for missions around the moon, an asteroid and ultimately Mars.

Read more at:  http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/nov/HQ_12-406_ISS_1-Year_Crew.html

 

 

Spot The Space Station Over Your Backyard With New NASA Service

 

WASHINGTON — On the 12th anniversary of crews continuously living and working aboard the International Space Station, NASA announced Friday a new service to help people see the orbiting laboratory when it passes overhead. “Spot the Station” will send an email or text message to those who sign up for the service a few hours before they will be able to see the space station.

“It’s really remarkable to see the space station fly overhead and to realize humans built an orbital complex that can be spotted from Earth by almost anyone looking up at just the right moment,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations. “We’re accomplishing science on the space station that is helping to improve life on Earth and paving the way for future exploration of deep space.”

When the space station is visible — typically at dawn and dusk — it is the brightest object in the night sky, other than the moon. On a clear night, the station is visible as a fast moving point of light, similar in size and brightness to the planet Venus. “Spot the Station” users will have the options to receive alerts about morning, evening or both types of sightings.

The International Space Station’s trajectory passes over more than 90 percent of Earth’s population. The service is designed to only notify users of passes that are high enough in the sky to be easily visible over trees, buildings and other objects on the horizon. NASA’s Johnson Space Center calculates the sighting information several times a week for more than 4,600 locations worldwide, all of which are available on “Spot the Station.”

Nov. 2 marks 12 years of continuous human habitation of the space station.

To sign up for “Spot the Station,” visit:

http://spotthestation.nasa.gov

For information about the International Space Station and a full list of sightings, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

SpaceX’s Dragon Carrying NASA Cargo Resupplies Space Station

 

HOUSTON — The Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft was berthed to the International Space Station at 8:03 a.m. CDT Wednesday, a key milestone in a new era of
commercial spaceflight. The delivery flight is the first contracted resupply mission by the company under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

“I want to congratulate SpaceX and the NASA team that worked alongside them to make this happen, and salute the astronauts aboard the space station who successfully captured the Dragon capsule,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
said. “This marks the start of a new era of exploration for the United States, one where we will reduce the cost of missions to low-Earth orbit so we can focus our resources on deep space human missions back around the moon, to an asteroid
and eventually to Mars.”

Space station Expedition 33 crew members Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Sunita Williams of NASA used the station’s robotic arm to successfully capture Dragon at 5:56 a.m. The
capture came 2 days, 10 hours, 21 minutes and after the mission’s launch. The station was 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean, just west of Baja California.

Following its capture, the spacecraft was attached to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node. The station crew could open the hatch to Dragon as early as Wednesday afternoon to begin unloading its cargo. The capsule is
scheduled to spend 18 days attached to the station before returning for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coast.

Dragon delivered 882 pounds of supplies to the orbiting laboratory, including 260 pounds of crew supplies, 390 pounds of scientific research, 225 pounds of hardware and several pounds of other supplies. Dragon will return a
total of 1,673 pounds, including 163 pounds of crew supplies, 866 pounds of scientific research, and 518 pounds of vehicle hardware and other hardware.

Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/oct/HQ_12-357_SpaceX_CRS-1_Berthing.html

 

NASA Offers Opportunities for Biological Research on Space Station

WASHINGTON — NASA invites scientists from around the country to submit proposals to perform biological research aboard the International Space Station. The NASA Research Announcement (NRA), “Research Opportunities in Space Biology,” opened Sept. 30.

This NRA challenges scientists to propose experiments that could provide answers to questions about how life adapts and responds to microgravity. Selected investigators will have the opportunity to take advantage of new cell, plant and animal research facilities being developed for the space station. Proposals should demonstrate benefits to astronauts living and working in the harsh environment of space during long-duration missions. They also should improve medicine and health care for humans on Earth.

The NRA also focuses on ground-based research designed to lead to new space biology investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory. The investigations should use microgravity and other characteristics of the space environment effectively to enhance our understanding of basic biological processes and develop the scientific and technological foundations for a safe, productive human presence in space for extended periods in preparation for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The investigations should apply this knowledge and technology to improve the nation’s competitiveness, education and quality of life.

NASA’s selection of research projects is guided by recommendations from the National Research Council’s 2011 Decadal Survey Report, “Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era.” The NASA-developed “Fundamental Space Biology Science Plan” provides an implementation strategy and roadmap based on available flight and fiscal resources.

To read the complete NRA, click on “Solicitations” at NASA’s NSPIRES website:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com

For information about the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

OCTOBER 7 ANNOUNCED AS TARGET LAUNCH DATE FOR SPACE STATION MISSION

NASA and SpaceX have announced October 7, 2012 as the target launch date for SpaceX’s first resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for 8:34 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral, Florida. October 8 is the backup date.

The launch represents the first of 12 SpaceX flights to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract, and follows a successful demonstration mission in May when SpaceX became the first private company ever to attach
to the ISS and return safely to Earth.

The SpaceX CRS-1 mission also represents restoration of American capability to deliver and return cargo to the ISS—a feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle. SpaceX is also contracted to develop Dragon to send crew to the space station. SpaceX’s first manned flight is expected to take place in 2015.

On this mission, Dragon will be filled with supplies, which include materials to support 166 experiments in plant cell biology, human biotechnology, and materials technology. One experiment will examine the effects of microgravity
on the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans, which is present on all humans. Another will evaluate how microgravity affects the growth of cell walls in a plant called Arabidopsis.

Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use a robotic arm to grapple Dragon following its rendezvous with the station, expected on October 10. They will attach Dragon to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module for a few weeks while crew members unload cargo and load experiment samples for return to Earth.

Dragon is scheduled to return in late October for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. Dragon will fly back carrying scientific materials and space station hardware.

Trio From International Space Station Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

HOUSTON — Three members of the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth Sunday, July 1, wrapping up a mission that lasted six-and-a-half months.

Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers landed their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 3:14 a.m. CDT (2:14 p.m. local time)
after undocking from the space station’s Rassvet module at 11:47 p.m. June 30. The trio, which arrived at the station Dec. 23, 2011, spent a total of 193 days in space, 191 of which were aboard the station.

During their expedition, the crew supported more than 200 scientific investigations involving more than 400 researchers around the world. The studies ranged from integrated investigations of the human cardiovascular and immune systems to fluid, flame and robotic research.

Before leaving the station, Kononenko handed over command of Expedition 32 to the Russian Federal Space Agency’s Gennady Padalka, who remains aboard the station with NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Revin. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide will join them July 17. Williams, Malenchenko and Hoshide are scheduled to launch July 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

On June 25, Pettit celebrated achieving one cumulative year in space, combining his time in orbit on Expedition 6, Expedition 30/31 and the STS-126 space shuttle Endeavour flight to the station in November 2008. Pettit now has 370 days in space, placing him fourth among U.S. space fliers for the longest time in space.

During Expedition 31, Pettit also used household objects aboard the station to perform a variety of unusual physics experiments for the video series “Science Off the Sphere.” Through these demonstrations, Pettit showed more than
a million Internet viewers how space affects scientific principles.

Read more:
To watch “Science Off the Sphere” videos, visit:

http://www.physicscentral.com/sots

To follow Twitter updates from NASA’s Expedition 31 and 32 astronauts,
visit:

http://twitter.com/Astro_Suni

https://twitter.com/AstroAcaba

https://twitter.com/Aki_Hoshide

For more information about Expedition 32 and the space station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

 

SpaceX Dragon Becomes First Commercial Spacecraft to Attach to the Space Station


Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) made history when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Previously only four governments – the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency – had achieved this challenging technical feat.
The vehicle was grappled by the station’s robotic arm at 9:56 a.m. Eastern. Dragon’s passive common berthing mechanism successfully attached to the orbiting laboratory at 12:02 p.m Eastern.

 

When asked for his initial thoughts on Dragon’s capture and move into the history books, Elon Musk stated, “just awesome.” Broadcast quality videos, including video inside of the SpaceX factory, may be downloaded at vimeo.com/spacexlaunch. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. High-resolution photos are posted at spacexlaunch.zenfolio.com. SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk will join NASA Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini, NASA COTS Program Manager Alan Lindenmoyer and NASA Flight Director Holly Ridings for a press conference to discuss the remarkable achievement at 1:00 PM Eastern.

This is SpaceX’s second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. Demonstration launches are conducted to determine potential issues so that they might be addressed; by their very nature, they carry a significant risk. If any aspect of the mission is not successful, SpaceX will learn from the experience and try again.
Mission Highlights:
• May 22/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
• May 23: Dragon orbited Earth as it traveled toward the International Space Station.
• May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems were subjected to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle was ready to berth with the space station; these tests included maneuvers and systems checks in which the vehicle came within 1.5 miles of the station.
• May 25: NASA gave Dragon the GO to attempt berthing with the station. Dragon approached. It was captured by station’s robotic arm and attached to the station.
Coming up next:
• May 25 – 31: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
• May 31: Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Seen Flying Under the International Space Station

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Completes Key Tests In Quest to Visit Space Station

Most Difficult Challenges Still Ahead


May 24, 2012

Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft completed key on-orbit tests as part of a historic attempt to be the first commercial company in history to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.

In the days since SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the vehicle has steadily completed one task after another as it prepares to berth with the International Space Station. Only minutes after the spacecraft separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, its solar arrays successfully deployed, providing power to the spacecraft. The door that had been covering sensors needed for proximity operations opened successfully.

On Tuesday and Wednesday Dragon traveled in orbit, firing its thrusters to catch up to the space station. During that time, the vehicle hit a series of milestones. Dragon showed its Absolute Global Positioning System (GPS) is in good working order. The vehicle demonstrated both a pulsed and a full abort. It also demonstrated free drift, floating freely in orbit as it will when grappled by the space station’s robotic arm. And its proximity operations sensors and SpaceX’s COTS UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) are up and running.

Early this morning, Dragon’s thrusters fired, bringing the vehicle 2.4 kilometers below the International Space Station. The vehicle completed two key tests at that distance. Dragon demonstrated its Relative GPS and established a communications link with the International Space Station using CUCU. Astronauts commanded on Dragon’s strobe light to confirm the link worked.

A video of Dragon as seen by the space station is available at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=144472261

With these tests complete, Dragon has started the trip flying around the space station, returning the spacecraft to its original approach location.

Dragon has been performing well, but the most difficult aspects of the mission are still ahead.

 

FRIDAY MORNING – Final Approach, Dragon Grapple

Around 2:00 AM Pacific/5:00 AM Eastern NASA will decide if Dragon is GO to move into the approach ellipsoid 1.4 kilometers around the space station. If Dragon is GO, after approximately one hour Dragon will move to a location 250 meters directly below the station. Dragon will then perform a series of maneuvers to show systems are operating as expected. If NASA is satisfied with the results of these many tests, Dragon will be allowed to perform the final approach to the space station.

Sometime around 6:00 AM Pacific/9:00 AM Eastern, astronauts on the space station will grapple Dragon with the space station’s robotic arm and the spacecraft will attach to the station.

 

SATURDAY MORNING – Hatch Opening

If all goes well, at approximately 2:00 AM Pacific/5:00 AM Eastern, the crew will start procedures to open Dragon’s hatch. It will take around 2 hours to complete all operations leading to the hatch opening. Once the hatch is opened, astronauts will enter Dragon for the first time in space.

All dates and times are approximate and could easily change.

This is SpaceX’s second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. Demonstration launches are conducted to determine potential issues so that they might be addressed; by their very nature, they carry a significant risk. If any aspect of the mission is not successful, SpaceX will learn from the experience and try again.

Print You Own NASA ISS Calendar

Print your own 2012 Int’l Space Station calendar, packed with photos & interesting facts. 1.usa.gov/yyXnze #ISS

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