WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing, the most historic moment in space exploration, while also making significant progress toward putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program.
Through America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, Artemis gained bipartisan support this year among members of Congress, the U.S aerospace industry, as well as with international partners, including Canada, Australia, and Japan, and member states of the European Space Agency.
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft suffered an anomaly after reaching space during its maiden flight test on Friday morning, resulting in the abandonment of plans for a rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station (ISS).
Boeing and NASA officials said the spacecraft is in a good orbit and performing well. They are planning an abbreviated two-day flight test before bringing the spacecraft down for a landing on Sunday morning at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Astronaut Christina Koch recently gave a warm welcome to a very cool arrival to the International Space Station: a new piece of hardware for the Cold Atom Lab, an experimental physics facility that chills atoms to almost absolute zero, or minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273 degrees Celsius). That’s colder than any known place in the universe.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station has continuously been home to astronauts for more than nineteen years. Astronauts conduct scientific research using dozens of special facilities aboard the space station, which also provides them with a place to eat, sleep, relax and exercise. To make all of this possible requires sending more than 7,000 pounds of spare parts to the station annually. Another 29,000 pounds of spaceflight hardware spares are stored aboard the station and another 39,000 on the ground, ready to fly if needed.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) is the second uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a partnership with the aerospace industry to launch astronauts on U.S. rockets and spacecraft from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch carrying the Orbital Flight Test (OFT), Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule.
The mission is set to lift off on Friday, Dec. 20, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous launch is planned for 6:36 a.m. EST.
Live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 5:30 a.m. EST on Dec. 20 and will broadcast live on NASA TV. Live launch updates and the webcast will be available at www.ulalaunch.com and www.boeing.com/starliner
Atlas V rocket will deliver the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to a 98 nautical mile suborbital trajectory to the International Space Station. After Starliner separation from Atlas V, Starliner engines will burn taking it the rest of the way to orbit and on to the International Space Station.
The Starliner OFT will be the 81st launch of the Atlas V and will mark ULA’s 136th mission.
Launch Forecast Summary
Today’s forecast shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.
Overall probability of violating weather constraints: 30% Primary concerns: Cumulus cloud rule, ground winds Overall probability of violating weather constraints for 24-hour delay: 40% Primary concern: Cumulus cloud rule, thick cloud layer rule
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — Aerospace’s new infrared camera is now obtaining unique high-contrast, nighttime images from its home on the International Space Station (ISS). The 45-kilogram instrument, known as the Near Infrared Airglow Camera (NIRAC), will provide detailed observations of clouds at night for weather prediction, among other applications.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The launch of Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) to the International Space Station, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, is targeted for 6:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20. The uncrewed flight test will be the Boeing CST-100 Starliner’s maiden mission to the space station.
Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Tuesday, Dec. 17, with prelaunch events.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — From start to finish, Aerojet Rocketdyne will play a major role in Boeing’s first demonstration mission of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for NASA, ushering in a new era of human spaceflight. The Starliner Orbital Flight Test (OFT) demonstration is slated to launch Dec. 20, 2019 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Boeing will hold a news teleconference Thursday, Dec. 12, following the agency’s Flight Readiness Review for Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) to the International Space Station, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The teleconference will begin no earlier than 2 p.m. EST, or approximately one hour after the review ends. The start time will be adjusted as necessary. Media may participate and ask questions via phone only.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On December 9, 2019, at 10:35 UTC the Progress MS-13 cargo vehicle successfully docked to the Pirs docking module of the International Space Station.
The spacecraft approach was performed according to a 72-hour scheme and was conducted automatically under control of the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Mission Control Center and the Russian ISS crewmembers – Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka.
The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket launched from launchpad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 6, 2019. The autonomous flight was controlled by the Chief Operative Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Korolyov-based Mission Control Center.
The Progress MS-13 spacecraft delivered about 2.5 tons of various cargo including fuel, air, equipment to support the station workability, packages and life support means for the crewmembers. The spacecraft also delivered the new belt for the BD-2 running machine meant to keep the crew’s physical fitness under the zero-g conditions
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 7:47 a.m. EST.
The 19th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX delivers more than 5,700 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.
Here’s some of the science arriving at station:
Keeping Bones and Muscles Strong Rodent Research-19 (RR-19) investigates myostatin (MSTN) and activin, molecular signaling pathways that influence muscle degradation, as possible targets for preventing muscle and bone loss during spaceflight and enhancing recovery following return to Earth. This study also could support the development of therapies for a wide range of conditions that cause muscle and bone loss on Earth.
Checking for Leaks NASA is launching Robotic Tool Stowage (RiTS), a docking station that allows Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) units to be stored on the outside of space station, making it quicker and simpler to deploy the instruments. The leak locator is a robotic, remote-controlled tool that helps mission operators detect the location of an external leak and rapidly confirm a successful repair. These capabilities can be applied to any place that humans live in space, including NASA’s lunar Gateway and eventually habitats on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.
Next up, the station crew will be preparing for the arrival early Monday morning of a second resupply spacecraft. The Russian Progress 74 that launched Friday at 4:34 a.m. is expected to dock to the Pirs compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 5:38 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9. NASA TV and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of Progress rendezvous and docking at 4:45 a.m.
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On December 6, 2019, at 09:34:11 UTC the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Progress MS-13 cargo spacecraft launched from launchpad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Antennas and solar batteries panels’ extension went routinely.
After the cargo vehicle separation from the third stage of the carrier rocket, the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the International Space Station at the Mission Control Center took over the flight control.
Progress MS-13 spacecraft approach to the ISS and berthing to the Pirs docking module is planned to be performed automatically under control of the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Mission Control Center and the Russian ISS crewmembers – Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka. The docking is scheduled for December 9, 2019, at 10:38 UTC. The broadcast will be available in the Live Broadcast section at Roscosmos website.
The spacecraft is to deliver 700 kg of fuel and gas, as well as 1,350 kg of various equipment and cargo including resource facilities of the onboard control and life support systems, equipment to conduct scientific and research experiments, sanitary and hygiene products and medical control means, 420 kilograms of water in the Rodnik system tanks and standard food rations.