Tag: space station

NASA Tests Second International Docking Adapter

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The second International Docking Adapter. (Credit: NASA)

The second International Docking Adapter. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Engineers in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently tested the mechanisms that will connect future commercial crew spacecraft with the second International Docking Adapter. IDA-2, as it’s called, will be taken to the space station on a future cargo resupply mission. It will be one of two connection points for commercial crew spacecraft visiting the orbiting laboratory. The systems and targets for IDA-2 are set to be put through extensive tests with both Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon before the adapter is loaded for launch.KSC-315D-0315_0023

“We set IDA-2 up horizontally for the alignment checks with the CST-100 to more closely mirror how the two would connect in space,” said Steve Bigos, project manager for orbital replacement unit processing at Kennedy. “There is a lot of new technology, so it’s very interesting.”

The targets are much more sophisticated than previous docking systems and include lasers and sensors that allow the station and spacecraft to autonomously communicate distance cues and enable alignment and connection. Think of it as a car that can park itself.

Russia Commits to Operating International Space Station Until 2024

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Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

Some good news for NASA came last week when the Russian government formally committed to operating the International Space Station until 2024. The orbiting facility had been previously slated to be decommissioned in 2020.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos is reportedly to have fought hard for the four-year extension despite tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine.

Earlier this year, the Canadian government agreed to continue participating in the program until 2024. The European Space Agency and Japanese government have made similar commitments yet. Japan is widely expected to sign on to the extension.

 

Robotic Refueling Mission Continues on ISS

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RRM operations demonstrate satellite-servicing technologies using the RRM module (right) and the Dextre robot (top center). Behind them, the ISS solar array is visible. (Credit: NASA)

RRM operations demonstrate satellite-servicing technologies using the RRM module (right) and the Dextre robot (top center). Behind them, the ISS solar array is visible. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — It’s back, it’s updated, and it’s making great progress – all on the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), a groundbreaking demonstration of new satellite-servicing technologies and techniques, recently resumed operations on the space station after a two-year hiatus. Within five days, the RRM team had outfitted the RRM module with fresh hardware for a series of technology demonstrations and tested a new, multi-capability inspection tool.

Continue reading ‘Robotic Refueling Mission Continues on ISS’

Musk: Failed Strut Suspected in Falcon 9 Failure

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falcon9_debris
By Douglas Messier

Managing Editor

In a press conference today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said a preliminary investigation has identified the failure of a strut in the second stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank as the failure of a Falcon 9 rocket last month.

Continue reading ‘Musk: Failed Strut Suspected in Falcon 9 Failure’

Space Access Society Update on Station Supply, Commercial Crew & SpaceX Investigation

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Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Space Access Update #144 7/6/15
copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
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Contents This Issue:

Station Supply Update

Latest From SpaceX

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Station Supply Update

A Russian Progress cargo ship successfully docked with Station in the early hours of Sunday morning. This adds a month to International Space Station’s supply reserves, sufficient now for roughly through November.

Continue reading ‘Space Access Society Update on Station Supply, Commercial Crew & SpaceX Investigation’

SpaceX’s Philosophy: Reliability Through Continual Upgrades

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falcon9_debris

Remains of a Falcon 9 rocket fall to Earth.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To succeed in the launch business, you need to be very, very good and more than a little bit lucky. Eventually, there comes a day when you are neither.

That is what happened to SpaceX on June 28. A string of 18 successful Falcon 9 launches was snapped as the company’s latest rocket broke up in the clear blues skies over the Atlantic Ocean. A Dragon supply ship headed for the International Space Station was lost, SpaceX’s crowded manifest was thrown into confusion, and the company’s reputation for reliability was shattered.

Continue reading ‘SpaceX’s Philosophy: Reliability Through Continual Upgrades’

Progress Resupply Ship Arrives at Space Station

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Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Traveling about 251 miles over the south Pacific, southeast of New Zealand, the unpiloted ISS Progress 60 Russian cargo ship docked at 3:11 a.m. EDT to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station.

The craft is delivering more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies, including 1,940 pounds of propellant, 106 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,133 pounds of spare parts, supplies and experiment hardware for the members of the Expedition 44 crew currently living and working in space. Progress 60 is scheduled to remain docked to Pirs for the next four months.

For more information about the current crew and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

Critical Progress Resupply Mission Set for Friday Launch

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progress_on_approach

UPDATE: Looks like the launch went well. Progress is in orbit, solar arrays deployed.

Russia’s preparing to launch a critical Progress resupply mission containing more than 3 tons of food, fuel, water, oxygen and other supplies to the International Space Station on Friday. The launch of Progress M-28M is set for 0455 GMT (12:55 a.m. EDT).

Progress flights usually attract little attention. However, this flight is seen a crucial following the loss of SpaceX’s Dragon freighter last summer in a launch accident. It was the third launch failure involving an ISS resupply ship in eight months.

On April 28, a Progress vehicle began tumbling out of control after it reached orbit. The mission was eventually abandoned. Last Oct. 28, an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket exploded shortly after liftoff, destroying a Cygnus cargo ship.

Russians officials have blamed a problem with the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket for the Progress failure. For this launch, they have switched to a Soyuz-U launch vehicle that is not susceptible to the same problem.

The resupply ship is scheduled to arrive on Sunday at 0713 GMT (3:13 a.m. EDT) with an automatic docking to the space station’s Pirs compartment.

Space Access Update: Falcon 9 Failure

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falcon9_debris
Space Access Update #143 7/2/15

copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
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Sunday’s Commercial Cargo Mission Loss

Background

Sunday’s (6/28/15) SpaceX cargo resupply launch to Station failed, breaking up a little over two minutes into the flight. (More here and here.) This was SpaceX’s eighth such flight; their initial test mission then six commercial-contract cargo flights had essentially gone as planned. This was SpaceX’s nineteenth launch of the Falcon 9 booster; the first eighteen F9 launches all reached orbit successfully.
Continue reading ‘Space Access Update: Falcon 9 Failure’

A Look at the ISS Flight Manifest

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Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

There was a lot of discussion on Sunday about the impact of the loss of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on the International Space Station. NASA officials said the ISS crew was in no danger from a supply standpoint, and they said they would stick to the existing schedule for crew rotation but might change the cargo manifest.

Continue reading ‘A Look at the ISS Flight Manifest’