NASA’s ISS Transition Report — Executive Summary

The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an STS-133 crew member on space shuttle Discovery. (Credit: NASA)

International Space Station Transition Report
NASA
March 30, 2018

Full Report (PDF)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-10) provided for an ISS Transition Report under section 303:

The Administrator, in coordination with the ISS management entity (as defined in section 2 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017), ISS partners, the scientific user community, and the commercial space sector, shall develop a plan to transition in a step-wise approach from the current regime that relies heavily on NASA sponsorship to a regime where NASA could be one of many customers of a low-Earth orbit non-governmental human space flight enterprise.

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NASA Releases Solicitation for LEO Commercialization Studies

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins removes samples from the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). Blood, saliva and urine samples will be stored in MELFI until they can be transported back to Earth for analysis. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has released a research announcement requesting proposals to study the future of human spaceflight commercialization in low-Earth orbit.

The research announcement solicits industry concepts detailing business plans and viability for habitable platforms, whether using the International Space Station or a separate free-flying structure, that would enable a space economy in low-Earth orbit in which NASA is one of many customers.

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Orbital ATK’s Cygnus Capsule to Host Research Destined for ISS

SS John Glenn near the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (May 16, 2018) – The 9th Commercial Resupply Services (awarded by NASA) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by Orbital ATK is targeted for launch no earlier than 5:04 a.m. EDT on May 20th. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus capsule will host multiple payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space). These payloads represent a diverse combination of science (life and materials sciences, chemistry evaluations), technology, small satellites, and the replenishment of hardware facilities to support future research. Additionally, multiple investigations will launch to station focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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Dragon Splashed Down in Pacific After Space Station Mission

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev tweeted this image of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship shortly after it was released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm today. (Credit: @OlegMKS)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Following release from the International Space Station by ground controllers at 9:23 a.m. EDT on Saturday, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at about 3 p.m. This marks the end of the company’s 14th contracted cargo resupply mission to the space station for NASA.

A boat will take the Dragon to the port at Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

Dragon is returning more than 4,000 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from a variety of technological and biological studies about the space station. Some of the science returning on this flight includes samples from the Metabolic Tracking study that could lead to more effective, less expensive drugs, the APEX-06 investigation examining how to effectively grow crops in space, and the Fruit Fly Lab–03 investigation to research disease genes and immunity to help prepare for future long-duration human space exploration missions.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA Science to Return to Earth Aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

Dragon capsule after recovery. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, May 5, west of Baja California, with more than 4,000 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed immediately for return to NASA. Dragon then will be prepared for a return trip to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for final processing.

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Blue Origin Conducts Successful New Shepard Flight Test

This was the eighth launch of the New Shepard system, and the second one with paid experiments aboard. An instrumented crash test dummy named Mannequin Skywalker was aboard for the second time.

The 10-minute flight was apparently nominal. The booster landed successfully and the capsule touched down under three parachutes. The capsule reached an apogee of 347,485 ft (106 km or 65.86 miles), which was a new record for the company but slightly below the 350,000 ft target altitude. (Update: Jeff Bezos tweeted that apogee was actually 351,000 ft, which is the planned operational altitude for future flights.)

Blue Origin officials have said they plan additional flight tests this year. It is possible they will fly test subjects on the vehicle by the end of 2018.

NanoRacks Forms International Business Development Partnership with ALTEC, Thales Alenia Space

NanoRacks Opening European Office in Italy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 18, 2018 (NanoRacks PR) – NanoRacks is pleased to announce that the Company will be pursuing International Space Station opportunities in cooperation with ALTEC and Thales Alenia Space, joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%. To pursue these opportunities, NanoRacks will be staffing its first formal European-based office at ALTEC’s facilities in Torino, Italy.

The office will serve as a business development hub for European and Asian customers. International customers will enjoy NanoRacks end-to-end turnkey services and technical advice, now in a more accommodating time zone.

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SpaceX Launches Dragon Resupply Ship to Space Station

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with a Dragon resupply ship on April 2, 2018. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station soon will receive a delivery of experiments dealing with how the human body, plants and materials behave in space following the 4:30 p.m. EDT launch Monday of a SpaceX commercial resupply mission.

A SpaceX Dragon lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with more than 5,800 pounds of research investigations and equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the space station.

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Preview of ISS National Lab Science

Video Caption: The SpaceX CRS-14 commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station will carry over 20 separate payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space) to the orbital outpost.

For more details on the research detailed in the video, visit: http://bit.ly/2E2SI6M

For more information on the ISS National Lab and CASIS, visit: www.iss-casis.org

Tupperware Takes to Space to Help Improve Astronaut Diets

Howard Levine, Ph.D., a research scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, reviews the growth of several tomato plants in a laboratory in the Space Station Processing Facility. The tomato plants are growing in the Veggie Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS). (Credit: NASA/Cory Huston)

By Amanda Griffin
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

For decades, airtight plastic containers have been synonymous with keeping baked goods and leftovers fresh. Now a manufacturer of iconic, household plasticware is helping provide fresh food in space.

As the agency plans for future missions to deep space destinations, the nutritional boost of fresh food and the psychological benefits of growing plants becomes more and more paramount. Since 2015, NASA astronauts have supplemented their space diet with fresh greens grown in the Vegetable Production System known as Veggie on the International Space Station.

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Techshot & Tupperware to Send Plant Growth System to Space Station

Mizuna growing inside plant growth chambers developed for NASA by Tupperware and Techshot. Six of the chambers are visible inside a Veggie mini-greenhouse at the Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: Techshot)

An improved system for growing plants in space, developed for NASA by Tupperware Brands and Techshot Inc., is expected to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) April 2 aboard a commercial SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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TechShot Variable Gravity Device Headed for Space Station

Seen with its door removed, revealing two carousels, the Techshot Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a privately owned and operated research system for the International Space Station. (Credit: Techshot)

A new privately-owned and operated device designed to conduct research in space at varying gravity levels with a wide variety of sample types – such as tissue chips, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals, worms and flies – will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the next SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

Expected to launch April 2 from space launch complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX CRS-14 will carry the Techshot Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform (MVP), which can produce artificial gravity in 0.1 g increments, up to a maximum of 2.0 g.

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House Science Committee Approves Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act

The second SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by WhiteKnightTwo on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

The House Science Committee has approved a bill that would allow Virgin Galactic and other companies to obtain FAA licenses and experimental permits to use space support vehicles for training and research.

“Companies would like to utilize space support vehicles to train crews and spaceflight participants by exposing them to the physiological effects encountered in spaceflight or conduct research in reduced gravity environments,” said Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who introduced the measure.

“This legislation creates a foundation for more companies to engage in human space flight activities and support commercial space operations. I would like to thank Rep. Al Lawson, Chairman Lamar Smith and Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin for their support of this important, bipartisan legislation,” Posey added.

Virgin Galactic would like to use the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft that launches SpaceShipTwo for training and research purposes. The legislation would also affect the Stratolaunch air-launch system and Starfighters Aerospace, which wants to train people in F-104 aircraft.

“The Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act provides the appropriate regulatory approach – by authorizing the secretary of transportation to develop the regulations by March 1, 2019, allowing licensed space support flights,” Posey said.

Dragon Mission to Carry CASIS-Sponsored Experiments to Space Station

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL., March 21, 2018 (CASIS PR) The 14th Commercial Resupply Services (awarded by NASA) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by SpaceX is targeted for launch no earlier than 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2.

A Dragon cargo spacecraft previously flown on SpaceX’s 8th commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA will now include 20 separate payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space).

These payloads represent a diverse combination of science, technology, and the validation of new facilities that will contribute to greater research capacity in the future. Additionally, multiple investigations will launch to station focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Below are highlights of sponsored ISS National Lab investigations that are part of the SpaceX CRS-14 mission.
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NASA Science Heading to Space Ranges from the Upper Atmosphere to Microbes

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A Dragon spacecraft scheduled to launch into orbit no earlier than April 2, carries the 14th SpaceX commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. Lifted into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Dragon takes supplies, equipment and scientific research to crew members living and working aboard the station.

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