JAXA

The International Space Station photographed by a space shuttle Atlantis crew member on May 23, 2010 (Photo NASA)

On November 2, 2000, the first three crew members reached the International Space Station to begin their work in what was then the new outpost of humanity. With that act, American astronaut Bill Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko established a continuous human presence there. Over the years, the Station has been expanded to take its current configuration developing wider and wider opportunities to do research that have brought and will bring various technological and scientific developments.

The Astro-E2, then renamed Suzaku, satellite during its test phase (Photo NASA)

In recent days, the Japanese Suzaku space observatory has been deactivated. On August 26, 2015, JAXA, the Japanese space agency, communicated the decision to terminate the mission of this satellite specialized in X-ray astronomy. Communications between the mission control center and Suzaku had become intermittent since June 1, 2015 and JAXA, after trying to restore them, decided to start the deactivation procedures.

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.

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.