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Posts tagged ‘International Space Station (ISS)’

US spacewalkers repair aging ISS robotic arm

Miami (AFP)

Oct 5, 2017

Two NASA astronauts wrapped up a successful spacewalk Thursday to repair the International Space Station’s aging robotic arm, the US space agency said.

The outing by Americans Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei ended at 3 pm (1900 GMT), marking a “very successful day,” a NASA spokesman said.

The spacewalk lasted six hours and 55 minutes, almost a half hour longer than planned because the pair managed to tack on a few extra jobs that had been planned for next week.

Their main work involved the latching end of the Canadian-made arm, known as Canadarm2.

They replaced one of two Latching End Effectors (LEE) which had lost the ability to grip effectively, said the US space agency.

The 57.7 foot-long (18 meter) arm was instrumental in assembling the space station and is used to reach out and grab approaching cargo ships.

The robotic arm has been a key piece of equipment at the orbiting outpost for more than 16 years, but began malfunctioning in August.

NASA wants to restore its full capability before the next US cargo ship arrives next month, carrying supplies for the six astronauts living in orbit.

Thursday’s spacewalk was the first of three scheduled spacewalks this month aimed at repairing and maintaining various pieces of equipment outside the ISS, and was the 203rd spacewalk in the history of the space station.

Vande Hei and Bresnik plan to step out on another spacewalk October 10, with the third set for October 18.

“The second and third spacewalks will be devoted to lubricating the newly installed end effector and replacing cameras on the left side of the station’s truss and the right side of the station’s US Destiny laboratory,” NASA said.

Source: Robo Daily.

Link: http://www.robodaily.com/reports/US_spacewalkers_repair_aging_ISS_robotic_arm_999.html.

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Three astronauts blast off for five-month ISS mission

By Kirill Kudryavtsev

Baikonur, Kazakhstan (AFP)

Sept 12, 2017

Two US astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut blasted off for the International Space Station in a nighttime launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday, heading for a five-month mission.

The Soyuz MS-06 rocket carrying Alexander Misurkin of the Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, NASA first-time flyer Mark Vande Hei and his veteran colleague Joe Acaba launched as scheduled at 3:17 am (2117 GMT), according to images broadcast live by Roscosmos.

After a roughly six-hour flight, the spacecraft is expected to dock at around 0300 GMT on Wednesday, where the astronauts will join Paolo Nespoli of Italy, Sergey Riazanski of Russia and Randy Bresnik of the US.

The launch marks the first time two US astronauts have blasted off together on a mission to the ISS from Russia’s Baikonur since June 2010.

The American space agency stopped its own manned launches to the ISS in 2011 but recently moved to increase its crew complement aboard the orbital lab as the Russians cut theirs in a cost-saving measure announced last year.

Acaba, 50, has spent nearly 138 days in space over two missions, while Vande Hei, 50, served with the US army in Iraq before training as an astronaut.

Misurkin, 39, who is beginning his second mission aboard the ISS, also has a military background.

Speaking at the pre-launch news conference on Monday, Acaba, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, said he would be taking some “musica Latina” on board to lift his crewmates’ spirits.

“I can guarantee my crewmates they will not fall asleep during that music and if you want to dance at about 3 am tuned into our Soyuz capsule I think you’ll enjoy it,” he told journalists.

– ‘Praying for people’ –

The launch has been overshadowed by deadly storms that have battered the Caribbean and the southern half of the United States.

External cameras on the ISS captured footage of hurricane Irma last week brewing over the Atlantic as it prepared to wreak deadly havoc.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston said earlier this month it suffered “significant” damage during Hurricane Harvey, although Mission Control remained operational.

Vande Hei struck a somber note in a pre-launch tweet on Monday.

“L-2 days. Sunrise over Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Praying for the people of Florida as well as the continued recovery of the Texas Gulf Coast,” he said.

Space is one of the few areas of international cooperation between Russia and the US that has not been wrecked by tensions over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

The ISS orbits the Earth at a height of about 250 miles (400 kilometres), circling the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometres) per hour.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Three_astronauts_blast_off_for_five-month_ISS_mission_999.html.

Russian supply ship launched to International Space Station

February 22, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) — An unmanned Russian cargo ship lifted off successfully Wednesday on a supply mission to the International Space Station. A Soyuz-U booster rocket carrying the Progress MS-05 spacecraft blasted off as scheduled at 11:58 a.m. (0558 GMT) from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch complex in Kazakhstan.

The mission follows the Dec. 1 botched launch of the previous Progress ship, which crashed less than seven minutes after liftoff, spraying fiery debris over a sparsely populated area in southern Siberia near the border with Mongolia.

An official Russian investigation concluded that the failed launch was caused by a manufacturing flaw in the Soyuz booster’s third-stage engine. Prior to Wednesday’s launch, space officials ran rigorous checks of the engines already built and conducted a comprehensive scrutiny of manufacturing facilities.

The launch went ahead without a hitch and the spacecraft entered a designated preliminary orbit en route to the space outpost. It’s set to dock at the station Friday. A Dragon supply ship launched Sunday by SpaceX is also set to arrive at the station this week. NASA said the Dragon spacecraft has waved off Wednesday’s docking, adding that the Mission Control Center in Houston is evaluating the next attempt for rendezvous.

The station is currently inhabited by NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, Andrei Borisenko, Sergei Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitskiy of Russia, and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Space station receives oldest female astronaut, bit of Mars

November 20, 2016

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station gained three new residents Saturday, including the oldest and most experienced woman to orbit the world. A bit of Mars also arrived, courtesy of a Frenchman who brought along a small piece of a Mars meteorite.

Launched Thursday from Kazakhstan, the Russian Soyuz capsule docked at the 250-mile-high outpost just an hour or two before NASA launched a weather satellite from Florida. The Soyuz delivered NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. They joined three men already on board, one American and two Russians.

This is the third space station mission for Whitson, who at 56 is older than each of her crewmates. She already holds the record for most time in space for a woman: nearly 400 days during her various missions. By the time she returns next spring, she should break the record for any American, man or woman.

“We could not be more proud,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Whitson once she entered the space station. He joined the new crew’s family and friends at Russia’s Mission Control outside Moscow to welcome the newcomers on board.

“I’m really happy to be here,” Whitson replied. A biochemist by training, Whitson will celebrate her 57th birthday at the orbiting lab in February. Until Thursday, no woman older than 55 had flown in space.

Pesquet, meanwhile, is making his first spaceflight and Novitskiy his second. Before rocketing away, Pesquet told reporters he was taking up a piece of a Mars meteorite to illustrate the necessary union between human and robotic explorers. He intends to bring the stone back with him to Earth in six months. It then will launch aboard a Mars rover and return to its home planet.

“So it’s going to be the most experienced space traveler there is in the world,” Pesquet said Wednesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. “The idea is to show that space exploration is just the whole … we’re not competing against robotic exploration, we’re all working together. What we do on the (space station) is just one step on that road to exploration.”

Sunday marks the 18th anniversary of the launch of the first space station piece. It’s now as big as a football field, with a mass of 1 million pounds and eight miles of electrical wiring. Whitson and company represent its 50th full-time expedition.

“So we can celebrate the station’s birthday today,” said Sergei Krikalev, a cosmonaut-turned-space official who spoke from the Russian control center. “Good luck.”

Soyuz space capsule returns to Earth from 115-day mission

October 30, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian Soyuz space capsule has landed in Kazakhstan, bringing three astronauts from the United States, Japan and Russia back to Earth from a 115-day mission aboard the International Space Station.

The landing took place Sunday morning near Dzhezkazgan on the treeless Central Asian steppes. Kate Rubins of NASA, Japan’s Takuya Onishi and Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia were removed from the capsule and sat on the steppes still in their capsule seats while they readjusted to the forces of gravity after nearly four months in weightless conditions, then were taken to a nearby medical tent for initial examination.

Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhykov of Russia and NASA astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough remain aboard the space station. They arrived on Oct. 22 after a two-day voyage. The trip back to Earth was much quicker for the three returnees on Sunday, about 3 1/2 hours from undocking until landing.

The capsule landed as scheduled and was closely tracked by helicopters as it wafted through partly cloudy skies under a parachute marked in red and white concentric circles. The craft landed upright, which made the extraction of the astronauts quicker than when capsules land on their sides.

Japan Schedules Cargo Transporter Launch to ISS for December 9

Tokyo (Sputnik)

Oct 10, 2016

Japanese cargo spaceship KOUNOTORI6 is set to be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 9, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Friday.

KOUNOTORI is an unmanned cargo transporter which will be launched with the H-IIB launch vehicle from Tanegashima Space Center.

It is designed to deliver up to 6 tons of food and clothes among other supplies.

Takuya Onishi, a Japanese astronaut who is currently at the ISS, is about to return to Earth at the end of October. He will be replaced by the Norishige Kanai in 2017.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Japan_Schedules_Cargo_Transporter_Launch_to_ISS_for_December_9_999.html.

Happy landings: 3 space station crew members back on Earth

September 07, 2016

After watching more than 2,750 sunrises from above the Earth, three crew members of the International Space Station returned to the planet for a sparkling sunrise back on Earth Wednesday. A record-setting American astronaut and his two Russian colleagues felt the sun beat down on them on a cloudless morning after a six-month trek in orbit.

NASA’s Jeff Williams returned as the U.S. record holder for time in orbit, logging 534 days in space over four missions. Williams, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka logged 72.8 million miles in space, circling the globe 2,752 times before landing on target in the south central steppes of Kazakhstan just 23 minutes after sunrise Wednesday, 7:13 a.m. local time (1:13 a.m. GMT).

Stretched out in chairs placed in the brown wild grass, the three flyers were all smiles, giving thumbs up, chatting on cell phones. They were promptly pulled out of the Russian Soyuz capsule, which landed on its side, which is not unusual. Williams wore a black baseball cap while seated outside and talking on the phone. Ovchinin clutched a stuffed doll his daughter gave him as a mascot that went into space with him.

They were then carried to a medical tent for routine tests to see how they adjust to gravity, including checking to see how they could stand. The trio undocked from the space station nearly three and a half hours before touchdown in hazy sunshine with a comfortable welcome home temperature around 66 degrees (19 degrees Celsius) about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. They landed thanks to a large orange and white parachute and last second engine firings. NASA spokesman Dan Huot called it a “picturesque landing” on a picture-perfect day.

The three conducted experiments aboard the space station. Williams set the U.S. record last month for most time spent in space. He beat the previous record set by Scott Kelly during his year in orbit. The capsule contained air samples returned from the first inflatable module deployed in orbit.

The world record is held by Russian Gennady Padalka at 879 days in space. Thirteen Russians have more time in space than Williams. “Everything went very smoothly, very normally,” NASA spokesman Rob Navias said.

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