Monday April 22, 2019
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ISS Astronauts Await Science Cargo Aboard Japanese Spacecraft

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photo credit: www.popularmechanics.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Six crew members onboard the International Space Station (ISS) are waiting for more than 4,000 kg of research and supplies set to reach the orbiting laboratory on Monday.

photo credit: blogs.nasa.gov
photo credit: blogs.nasa.gov

If weather permits, the “Kounotori” H-II Transfer Vehicle-5 (HTV-5) from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will deliver a key science load to the ISS.

The supplies will carry a group of CubeSat-class satellites.

“These small satellites will capture imagery of Earth for use in humanitarian, environmental and commercial applications,” the US space agency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Expedition 44 crew continued a series of biomedical studies, physics experiments and maintenance tasks.

Three cosmonauts participated in ultrasound scans and blood pressure checks.

photo credit: http://gadgets.ndtv.com
photo credit: http://gadgets.ndtv.com

The team, consisting of commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Oleg Kononenko, also subjected themselves to vision checks for an ocular health study.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly collected blood and urine samples and stored them in a science freezer for the “Fluid Shifts” study.

“Data from the expedition will be used to determine whether there are ways to further reduce the risks on future long-duration missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars,” NASA said.

Next Story

Spacecraft Test Runs into Serious Problems, Smoke All Over SpaceX in Florida

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test"

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space craft
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

Thick plumes of smoke rose over a SpaceX facility in Florida during a test fire of a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the issue was serious, it could derail plans to fly astronauts aboard the capsule later this year, the media reported.

SpaceX, which was founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk in 2002, said the craft was undergoing a “series of engine tests” at a facility in Cape Canaveral on Saturday, and something went wrong during the final stretch, CNN reported.

SpaceX will work with NASA to determine what caused the issue. No injuries were reported.

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The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules. Pixabay

“Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test,” SpaceX said in a statement.

Crew Dragon is already overdue and more delays could make things tricky for NASA.

It was scheduled to conduct a key test of its emergency abort system in June. And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.

space craft
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules.

NASA has also decided to ask the private sector to design and build a new generation of spacecrafts.

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SpaceX and Boeing, which is building a vehicle called Starliner, were awarded contracts worth up to $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, in 2014. Both capsules were supposed to start flying in 2017, but they have been hampered with delays.

Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. (IANS)