Russian Nodal Module for Space Station Completes Vacuum Chamber Test

Prichal nodal module (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosomos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, tightness tests of the Prichal nodal module in the vacuum chamber of the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 have been completed.

In accordance with the work schedule, specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation and the Yuzhny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities) performed a cycle of pneumatic vacuum tests of the Prichal module, which lasted from September 21, 2021. The module is currently installed in its workplace and connected to ground test equipment to continue prelaunch preparation.

The Prichal universal nodal module designed and manufactured by RSC Energia named after S.P. Korolev is designed to expand the technical and operational capabilities of the Russian segment of the ISS. The launch of the Prichal into a near-earth orbit and its docking with the nadir node of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are planned for November 2021.

Eytan Stibbe to Take Historic Jewish Coin, Space Art on Private Axiom Space Mission to International Space Station

Eli Eskosido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and future astronaut Eytan Stibbe. (Credit: Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority)

TEL AVIV (Rakia Mission PR) — In early 2022, the Rakia Mission is scheduled to launch into space, and onboard will be Eytan Stibbe, Israel’s second man in space and the first to fly to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Nine Ways We Use AR and VR on the International Space Station

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Even the most highly trained and experienced person sometimes needs a hand. For astronauts aboard the International Space Station, that helping hand comes from other crew members, experts on the ground, and increasingly, in the form of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

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Russian Government Allocates $60.6 Million for Future Soyuz Tourist Flight

The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 62 crew members Jessica Meir and Drew Morgan of NASA, and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, Friday, April 17, 2020. Meir and Skripochka returned after 205 days in space, and Morgan after 272 days in space. All three served as Expedition 60-61-62 crew members onboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

The Russian government has allocated $60.6 million (4.4 billion rubles) to the Roscosmos subsidiary Glavkosmos to produce a Soyuz 2.1a rocket and Soyuz MS spacecraft for a space tourism flight scheduled for 2024, according to Space Daily.

Glavkosmos head Dmitry Loskutov said in May that the company was already in talks with potential space tourists and was simultaneously working on putting together a reserve of Soyuz spaceships to make the first tourist flight possible in late 2023.

Now that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is carrying astronauts to the station, Russia has restarted spaceflights for paying customers. On Oct. 5, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko to the International Space Station (ISS). Peresild and Shipenko will shoot scenes for a movie titled, “Challenge,” during a spaceflight lasting 12 days.

On Dec. 8, the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and Maezawa’s assistant Yozo Hirano to ISS on a 12-day spaceflight.

China Launches Tianzhou-3 Supply Ship to Space Station

Launch of the Long March 7 rocket. (Credit: Su Dong)

WENCHANG, China (CASC PR) — At 15:10 on September 20th, on the eve of the Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, the Long March 7 carrier rocket soared into the sky and successfully lifted the Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft to the sky with the “Mid-Autumn Gift Package” from the motherland. The spacecraft was placed into an accurate orbit.

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Meanwhile, the Next Billionaire to Go to Space Continues Training

The Japanese billionaire and his assistant are heading to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz ship in December. Maezawa has also booked a trip around the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle for himself a group of people he’s taking with him.

Three Chinese Astronauts on Way Home From 3 Month Stay Aboard Tiangong Space Station

The Shenzhou-12 capsule with the Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming aboard has already separated from the Tiangong space station. The flight home to a landing near the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center will reportedly take 30 hours.

The three astronauts were the first crew to occupy China’s first permanent space station. A new supply ship that will automatically dock with Tiangong has been placed on the launch pad for a flight later this month. A new crew will fly to the station in October.

NASA Enables Commercial Crew, Private Astronaut Missions

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — When SpaceX launches its Inspiration4 mission with four crew members to space, it will be the company’s first fully private launch with astronauts to orbit. Although not a NASA mission, the flight embodies the agency’s vision and work to foster a strong space economy, with private companies providing commercial transportation to space for people and cargo as well as creating future commercial destinations in space.

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Two Flight Engineers’ Stay on ISS Extended; Biology, Maintenance Work Pick Up

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two International Space Station crew members have had their stay onboard the orbiting lab extended to nearly a year. Meanwhile, space biology and life support maintenance kept the Expedition 65 crew busy on Tuesday.

With the plans for Russian spaceflight participants to visit the space station as part of the Soyuz MS-19 crew in October 2021, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov will remain aboard the station until March 2022. Upon return to Earth, Vande Hei will hold the record for longest single spaceflight for an American. [Editor’s Note: The Russians are sending an actress and director to shoot a movied named “Challenge.”]

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NASA, SpaceX Continue Planning for Next Crew Rotation Missions to International Space Station

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX are continuing plans to launch Crew-3 astronauts to the International Space Station as early as Sunday Oct. 31, and targeting the return home of Crew-2 astronauts in the early-to-mid November timeframe.

Crew-3 will be the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on an American rocket and spacecraft from the United States to the space station, and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight in 2020, Crew-1 mission in 2020-21, and the ongoing Crew-2 flight as part of the Expedition 65 crew.

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NASA Coverage of Rescheduled Spacewalk Preparing for New Solar Array

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough (left) and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet maneuver the first ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) into place on the space station’s port 6 truss structure during a spacewalk June 16, 2021. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk Sunday, Sept. 12.

NASA will provide details about the procedures scheduled for the upcoming spacewalk during a news conference at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 10, from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Live coverage of the news conference and the spacewalk will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

This will be the first spacewalk, or extravehicular activity (EVA) conducted by two international partner astronauts out of the space station’s Quest airlock. U.S. EVA 77, originally scheduled to take place Tuesday, Aug. 24, will focus on attaching a support bracket in preparation for future installation of the orbiting laboratory’s third new solar array. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is recovering from a minor medical issue and will provide support for Pesquet and Hoshide from inside the space station.

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New Augmented Reality Applications Assist Astronaut Repairs to Space Station

NASA astronaut and Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Megan McArthur wears the specialized Sidekick headset and tests using augmented reality aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA)

by Leah Cheshier
International Space Station Program Research Office
NASA Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — Most often, communications delays between the International Space Station crew and ground are nearly unnoticeable as they are routed from one Tracking and Data Relay Satellite to another as the station orbits about 250 miles above Earth. As NASA prepares to explore the Moon, about 240,000 miles away, and eventually Mars, which averages about 245 million miles away, NASA is developing tools to increase astronaut autonomy to operate spacecraft or systems without assistance from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston because communication delays from Earth will last longer.

The T2 Augmented Reality (T2AR) project demonstrates how station crew members can inspect and maintain scientific and exercise equipment critical to maintaining crew health and achieving research goals without assistance from ground teams.

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