Category Archives: ISS

ISS Resupply Cargo Launch

The launch of Progress 65 a resupply mission to the ISS was beautiful.  Things went awry about the time for the third stage. Communications with the spacecraft was lost at 383 seconds into the flight – Don’t worry this was an autonomous flight, no people were aboard the spacecraft and the International Space Station has plenty of supplies.

ROSCOSMOS — “According to preliminary information, the contingency took place at an altitude of about 190 km over remote and unpopulated mountainous area of the Republic of Tyva. The most of cargo spacecraft fragments burned in the dense atmosphere. ” – link.

Orbital’s Cygnus Spacecraft Leaves ISS


The Orbital Cygnus spacecraft departed the International Space Station yesterday morning when it was released from the  Candadarm2 robotic arm by Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA.

In the normal course of events the Cygnus would deorbit until it interfaced with and burned up in the atmosphere.  Not this time around though, Cygnus has a couple of other missions to accomplish before its particular re-entry.

Shortly after departure from the ISS and when the craft is at a safe distance away, mission controllers will set nine sample swatches from different materials used in space on fire in the second of three fire safety experiments.  The experiment called (in this case) Saffire-2 has already occurred and we might get a look as data, including images have been returned.  The first Saffire experiment took place this past October and a third experiment is scheduled.

Cygnus  will release four LEMUR CubeSats from an external deployer on Friday, Nov. 25, sending them to join a remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring.

Image: NASA

EVA to Install a New Docking Port

This morning there will be a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install a new docking port delivered on a previous cargo mission by the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.

The new port is necessary for the Americans to send astronauts to the station from their own soil, something that has not happened since the end of the Space Shuttle program.

The EVA begins at 12:05 UTC with coverage starting at 10:30 UTC. Below you should find a live stream so you can follow along.

Soyuz Arrives at the ISS

After the docking the new crew – Expedition 48-49 Soyuz Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of JAXA are welcomed aboard the ISS by station Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, and Flight Engineers Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos:

The flight to the station was a big success for the new Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft – congrats!

Docking video
Boarding the ISS

Noctilucent Clouds from the ISS


Noctilucent clouds are beautiful and strange at the same time. You can indeed see them from the ground and are a welcome site.

This image was taken on 29 May 2016 by Tim Peake aboard the ISS:

The NASA Image of the Day caption:

Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency photographed rare, high-altitude noctilucent or “night shining” clouds from the International Space Station on May 29, 2016.

Polar mesospheric clouds — also known as noctilucent clouds – form between 76 to 85 kilometers (47 to 53 miles) above the Earth’s surface, near the boundary of the mesosphere and thermosphere, a region known as the mesopause. At these altitudes, water vapor can freeze into clouds of ice crystals. When the sun is below the horizon and the ground is in darkness, these high clouds may still be illuminated, lending them their ethereal, “night shining” qualities.

In the late spring and summer, unusual clouds form high in the atmosphere above the polar regions of the world. As the lower atmosphere warms, the upper atmosphere gets cooler, and ice crystals form on meteor dust and other particles high in the sky. The result is noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds — electric blue wisps that grow on the edge of space. Polar mesospheric clouds can be observed from both the Earth’s surface and in orbit by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA