NanoRacks Delivers Educational Research, CubeSats, and Novel Medical Science to the Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at 1:16 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, on its 16th mission for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, carries more than 5,600 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies. (Credits: NASA Television)

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (NanoRacks PR) – Last weekend, Dragon, the spacecraft from the sixteenth SpaceX contracted resupply mission, berthed with the International Space Station carrying educational experiments, CubeSats, and industry science research from NanoRacks’ customers into orbit. Within this mission, the NanoRacks team delivered payloads for four of the Company’s commercial platforms on Space Station.

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Cosmonauts Cut into Soyuz to Find Hole, Make Huge Mess

Two Russian cosmonauts spent about 7.5 hours outside the International Space Station today. They cut through insulation on a Soyuz orbital module to try to find the outside of a hole that was apparently drilled during pre-launch preparations on the ground. They made a real mess of things, with insulation floating all over the place. (According to presumably informed tweets, the debris will probably de-orbit quickly — one hopes.)

Report: SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Contaminating Space Station

Dragon on the end of Candarm2. (Credit: NASA)

Wired has a fascinating story that details how SpaceX’s cargo Dragon spacecraft have been contaminating the International Space Station during their stays there – and how NASA has tried to hide the fact.

The contamination was discovered by the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III Earth observing instrument, which was launched to the station aboard SpaceX’s CRS-10 resupply mission in February 2017. The instrument has crystals in it capable of detecting contamination at the space station.

The results are preliminary, but Dragon may have deposited, according to this presentation, up to 21 times the allowed amount of contamination on one sensor. The crystals also significantly changed in frequency when the next Dragon docked, and the report estimates that this mission may have left behind up to 32 times the rule-abiding amount of extra matter on one sensor….

During this thirteenth mission, one sensor may have been sprayed with up to 73 times more than what’s allowed during a sojourn. And for the month or so that Dragon was docked at the Station, two of the sensors individually detected more contamination than is allowed—total, from everything on the Station—in a whole year.

Among the space assets at risk from the capsule’s outgassing is the U.S. Laboratory Science Window, a porthole through which astronauts and instruments can gaze out on Earth. On the more scientific side, there’s CATS, an instrument that measures smoke, pollution, dust, and other particles in the planet’s atmosphere. In total, seven sensitive areas or instruments on the ISS, including SAGE, could be contaminated beyond the limit.

“NASA has communicated with the Station payload community its findings, and payload developers have responded either that their instruments have experienced no impact or they have taken precautions to mitigate impacts to their science,” says Space Environments in a statement. The SAGE III team closes the instrument’s “contamination door,” as a standard operating procedure, when any spacecraft visit to protect its optical instrument, although the resulting measurements aren’t as sensitive .

SpaceX said it is working with suppliers to develop low outgassing materials for use in future Dragon spacecraft. It said NASA pre-approved the materials used in the resupply ships. (The story, however, says that it’s possible materials such as paint are not being applied and cured properly.)

The information came from a presentation marked unclassified and unlimited public distribution that was posted on the NASA Technical Reports Server in September. A day after the Wired writer requested an interview about it with NASA officials, the document disappeared from the server. A NASA official said the report is “under review” and told Wired to submit a Freedom of Information Act request for it.

 

SpaceX Dragon Arrives at Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at 1:16 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, on its 16th mission for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, carries more than 5,600 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies. (Credits: NASA Television)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three days after its launch from Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 10:36 a.m. EST.

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NASA Sends New Research, Hardware to Space Station on SpaceX Mission

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at 1:16 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, on its 16th mission for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, carries more than 5,600 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies. (Credits: NASA Television)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — Experiments in forest observation, protein crystal growth and in-space fuel transfer demonstration are heading to the International Space Station following the launch Wednesday of SpaceX’s 16th mission for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

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Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques Launched to Space Station

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques (Credit: CSA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec, December 3, 2018 (CSA PR) – Today, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut David Saint-Jacques successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) with crewmates, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.

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Bridenstine Sees First Crew Dragon Flight Slipping into Spring

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

USA Today reports that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine believes the SpaceX Crew Dragon flight test scheduled for Jan. 7 will likely slip into spring.

That would mean the mission, which will not have a crew aboard for its flight to the International Space Station, would launch no sooner  than the first day of spring on March 20.

Bridenstine’s acknowledgment that January is a “very low probability” window is the first time the agency has publicly cast doubt on the timing of the scheduled launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test flight of the SpaceX rocket and capsule is a key step in NASA’s efforts to resume U.S. transport to Earth’s orbit nearly a decade after the space shuttle was mothballed.

The administrator attributed the delay to challenges with several components, including landing parachutes. Some of those systems could be tested without flying them on the initial flight.

It’s a matter of determining “what configuration are we willing to accept as an agency and are we willing to waive certain items (and) how do we test those items,” Bridenstine told reporters at NASA headquarters.

But he said the test flight “will certainly be in the first half of 2019,” a schedule that still would accommodate a crewed flight by the end of the year.

Parabolic Arc earlier reported that not all of Dragon’s systems would be ready in time for the first flight.

A flight test of Crew Dragon with astronauts aboard is currently scheduled for June 2019. NASA would then certify the vehicle to carry astronauts to the space station on a commercial basis.

Boeing is scheduled to test its Starliner spacecraft with an automated test in March and a flight with crew in August. NASA could extend the crewed flight from a brief stay at the space station to a long-duration mission.

Both SpaceX and Boeing are scheduled to conduct abort tests in between their automated and crewed flight tests. SpaceX will conduct an in-flight abort test; Boeing’s abort test will be conducted from a launch pad.

NASA needs to have at least one of the crew systems functional by January 2020. That is when the last agency astronaut to fly aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle on a paid basis is set to return.

NASA to Launch New Refueling Mission

By Isabelle Yan
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Md.

NASA will lay the foundation for spacecraft life extension and long duration space exploration with the upcoming launch of Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3), a mission that will pioneer techniques for storing and replenishing cryogenic spacecraft fuel.

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SpaceX Dragon to Transport More than 20 ISS National Lab Experiments to ISS

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla, November 27, 2018 (SpaceX PR)– SpaceX is targeting no earlier than December 4 at 1:38 p.m. EST for its 16th commercial resupply mission (awarded by NASA) to the International Space Station  from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will bring approximately 300 kilograms of research and hardware facilities to the orbiting laboratory under the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory flight allocation. There are more than 20 payloads included on this mission sponsored by the ISS National Lab.

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NASA to Highlight Science Investigations Launching on Next Dragon Supply Ship

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 28, to discuss select science investigations launching on the next SpaceX commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station.

SpaceX is targeting Dec. 4 for launch of its Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.

Participants in the briefing will be:

  • Hsiao Smith, deputy director for technical of the Satellite Servicing Projects Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will discuss the Robotic Refueling Mission-3 to demonstrate the storage and transfer of liquid methane in space for the first time.
  • Timothy Etheridge, principal investigator for the Molecular Muscle investigation, and a professor at University of Exeter, Department of Sport and Health Sciences in the United Kingdom,will discuss research to examine the molecular causes of muscle abnormalities during spaceflight in order to establish effective countermeasures.
  • Ralph Dubayah, principal investigator for Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) at the Joint Global Carbon Cycle Center in College Park, Maryland, will discuss an investigation to test high-quality laser ranging observations of the Earth’s forests and topography required to advance the understanding of important carbon and water cycling processes, biodiversity, and habitat.
  • Vic Keasler, Director of Research, Development and Engineering at Nalco Champion, an Ecolab company, will discuss an investigation to examine the rate of corrosion on carbon steel materials caused by films made up of microorganisms on Earth and in space.
  • Jahaun Azadmanesh, a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, will discuss the Perfect Crystals investigation which aims to help understand how an antioxidant protein helps protect the human body from oxidizing radiation and oxidants created as a byproduct of metabolism.

To participate in the teleconference, media must contact Kathryn Hambleton at 202-358-1100 or kathryn.hambleton@nasa.gov by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov 27, for dial-in information.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live online at:

https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will carry crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 57 and 58 crews for the 16th contracted mission by SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

UK Space Agency Funds New Experiments Aboard International Space Station

The International Space Station as it appears in 2018. Zarya is visible at the center of the complex, identifiable by its partially retracted solar arrays. (Credit: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — UK science will be launched into space to help tackle the effects of ageing, thanks to funding from the UK Space Agency, the Science Minister Sam Gyimah has announced.

  • New funding for three UK-led experiments on the International Space Station
  • Research to improve our understanding of the ageing process and develop new materials as part of government’s Industrial Strategy.
  • Universities of Liverpool, Nottingham, Exeter and Strathclyde to benefit.

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NanoRacks Provides Historic Triple-Altitude Delivery for Customers in Single Space Station Launch

HOUSTON, November 19, 2018 (NanoRacks PR) — Early this morning, Cygnus, the spacecraft from the tenth contracted cargo resupply mission for Northrop Grumman (previously Orbital ATK), berthed with the International Space Station carrying yet another historic NanoRacks mission. For the first time ever, NanoRacks booked customers on three different altitudes on one commercial resupply launch.

The first delivery will be a research experiment to the astronauts on station. The experiment, “Experimental Chondrule Formation at the International Space Station,” or EXCISS, is the third and final project to launch through the joint “Überflieger” program, sponsored by DLR, the German Space Agency, and DreamUp, an XO Markets company and the leading provider of educational opportunities in space.

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Musk’s Behavior Triggers NASA Safety Review of SpaceX & Boeing

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

The Washington Post reports NASA safety reviews of its two commercial crew providers was triggered by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s use of drugs and alcohol.

The review, to begin next year, would look at both Boeing and SpaceX, the companies under contract to fly NASA’s astronauts, and examine “everything and anything that could impact safety” as the companies prepare to fly humans for the first time, William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration, said in an interview with The Washington Post.
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International Space Station Construction Began 20 Years Ago

Left: Launch of the Zarya Functional Cargo Block from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Right: Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Center on the STS-88 mission to deliver the Unity Node 1 module. (Credit: NASA, Roscosmos)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The largest and most complex international construction project in space began on the steppes of Kazakhstan 20 years ago today. Atop its Proton rocket, on Nov. 20, 1998, the Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB) thundered off its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome into cold wintry skies. Zarya was built by the Khrunichev in Moscow and served as a temporary control module for the nascent ISS.

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