Two rockets on opposite sides of the world are launching to the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver cargo and a new crew this week. The first spaceship launched from Kazakhstan on Tuesday night hauling supplies to replenish the Expedition 69 crew. The second will launch from Florida sending four new crew members to the orbital lab.
Roscosmos Progress 85 Cargo Mission
The Roscosmos Progress 85 cargo craft lifted off on a Soyuz rocket at 9:08 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 22 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It will orbit Earth for two days before docking to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 11:50 p.m. on Thursday. A few hours later on Friday, cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin will open Progress 85’s hatches and begin unpacking about three tons of food, fuel, and supplies.
SpaceX Crew-7 Launch Preparations
Four Commercial Crew astronauts were suited up inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida overnight for their dry dress launch countdown. A few hours later, the Falcon 9 engines fired for 6 seconds as part of the pre-launch static fire test. SpaceX Crew-7 is slated to launch at 3:49 a.m. on Friday.
Crew-7 Commander Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA will lead Pilot Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency), and Mission Specialists Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos during their ride to the orbital lab. The quartet, inside the Endurance, will dock to the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 2:02 a.m. on Saturday beginning a six-month space research mission.
Activities Aboard the ISS
Back aboard the orbital outpost on Tuesday, the seven crewmates from the U.S., UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Russia stayed focused on microgravity research and lab maintenance.
NASA Flight Engineers Frank Rubio and Stephen Bowen swapped out hardware inside the Fluids Integrated Rack for a boiling and condensation study that may improve thermal systems on Earth and in space. Rubio earlier joined UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi organizing cargo inside the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter. Bowen began his day cleaning crew quarters ventilation systems and checking airflow sensors. Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg of NASA also assisted with the Cygnus work before configuring the Tranquility module’s Bishop airlock ahead of its depressurization.
Health and Departure Preparations
During the morning, Prokopyev attached various sensors to himself as part of a long-running Roscosmos heart study. Later, he partnered with Petelin to employ ultrasound techniques, investigating the digestive system’s adaptability in a weightless environment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev occupied himself with orbital plumbing duties inside the Nauka science module.
As the day drew to a close, a team consisting of Fedyaev, Bowen, Hoburg, and Alneyadi initiated preparations for their slated departure on September 1 aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. The crew will land off Florida’s coast roughly 24 hours post-departure. Before concluding the day, the foursome communicated with ground experts, discussing the operations of the spacecraft for their Earthbound journey.