Press "Enter" to skip to content

Dawn of the Cygnus: A Cosmic Caravan’s Voyage to the Starry Outpost

The Earth’s horizon is barely visible as the International Space Station soars into an orbital sunset 261 miles above northeastern China. In the foreground, are the Canadarm2 robotic arm (left) with the Dextre fine-tuned robotic hand attached and the orbital outpost’s main solar arrays (right) and shorter roll-out solar arrays. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 70 crew is looking ahead to the arrival of a U.S. cargo craft due to arrive at the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>International Space Station (ISS) next week. Meanwhile, the Axiom Space 3 (Ax-3) crew finished its first week in orbit with a busy schedule of research, education, and media activities.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft will take its first ride atop a SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket when it lifts off no earlier than 12:07 p.m. ESTEST is an abbreviation for Eastern Standard Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing standard time (autumn/winter). It is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and the Kennedy Space Center are in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>EST on Tuesday, January 30, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The private space freighter will be carrying over 8,200 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and lab hardware to the orbiting outpost. NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli is due to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm 2 robotic arm at 4:15 a.m. on Thursday, February 1. She will be on duty that morning along with fellow NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara who will monitor Cygnus’ automated approach and rendezvous.

Astronaut Loral O’Hara Advanced Plant Habitat

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara poses in front of the Kibo laboratory module’s Advanced Plant Habitat housing tomato plants for an experiment investigating how the plant immune system adapts to spaceflight and how spaceflight affects plant production. Credit: NASA

Both astronauts including JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa relaxed on Friday following the weeklong Cygnus preparations and Ax-3 orientation activities. Station Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>European Space Agency) had a light duty day at the end of the week spending a couple of hours aiding the Ax-3 foursome during its science and maintenance-filled itinerary.

Ax-3 Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría joined his crewmates Walter Villadei and Alper Gezeravcı at the start of their shift with blood draws for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis. Afterward, the five-time station visitor partnered with Italian astronaut Villadei configuring hardware that monitors space radiation and how it affects astronauts. At the end of the day, López-Alegría tested a digital voice assistant for its potential to assist with crew operations.

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa Pedals on Exercise Cycle

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa pedals on an exercise cycle, also known as the Cycle Ergometer Vibration Isolation System (or CEVIS), inside the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Gezeravcı, Turkey’s first astronaut, tended to algae samples growing in petri dishes for an antibacterial investigation and then photographed his Ax-3 crewmates as they worked throughout the day. Mission Specialist Marcus Wandt representing ESA spent Friday juggling a variety of science experiments. The Swedish astronaut powered on plasmaPlasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter, along with solid, liquid, and gas. It is an ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons. It was first described by chemist Irving Langmuir in the 1920s.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>plasma physics hardware, collected station air samples for chemical analysis, and taped high frame rate video of thunderstorm conditions in Earth’s stratosphere.

In the RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>Roscosmos segment of the orbiting lab, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko spent his morning updating laptop computer software before inventorying cargo in the Prichal docking module. First time space flyers Nikolai Chub and Konstantin Borisov split their day studying fluid physics, servicing life support components, and maintaining communications and computer systems.

Source: SciTechDaily