Space Stations

The Japanese space cargo ship HTV-5 Kounotori captured by the International Space Station's robotic arm (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the HTV-5 “Kounotori” spacecraft was captured by the robotic arm Canadarm2 of the International Space Station, operated by Kimiya Yui assisted by Kjell Lindgren. The Japanese space cargo ship, which blasted off last Wednesday, is carrying food, water, scientific experiments, propellant and various hardware. After its capture, it will take a little while before the HTV-5 starts getting moved to its berthing location on the Harmony module.

The space lettuce growing system (Photo Orbital Technologies/NASA)

Yesterday the crew of the International Space Station ate some salad. It seems a very trivial act but it was based on lettuce grown on the Station as part of the Veg-01 experiment that is specifically intended to study the growth of plants in a microgravity environment. The ultimate goal is to enable self-sufficiency in the food production during outer space trips and in space colonies.

Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui during a press conference (Photo NASA)

A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after almost exactly six hours reached the International Space Station carrying Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui. The Soyuz traveled on the fast path normally used. There were a couple of little problems because one of the spacecraft’s solar panels didn’t deploy and after the arrival it took longer than expected to balance the air pressure with the Station but in the end everything went well.

The Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-28M during its approach to the International Space Station (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the Progress M-28M spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. The Russian space cargo ship, launched last Friday, is carrying food and water that ensure a reserve of about another month to the crew as well as scientific experiments, propellant and various hardware. For the nations cooperating in running the Station it’s certainly a relief after three mishaps in less than a year, so much as to be defined Christmas in July.

Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti assisted after their landing in the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft (Photo NASA TV, Anatoly Zak)

A little while ago, NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. The three of them spent nearly six and a half months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on November 24, 2014. They were initially part of the Expedition 42, in the second half of their stay they were part of Expedition 43 with Terry Virts as Station commander.