International Space Station related news websites

 

 

News

1st December 2018 – Planned launch of Soyuz MS-11 and SpaceX Dragon CRS-16

Three new Expedition 58 crew members are preparing to blast off to the Space Station on a Russian Soyuz MS-11 crew ship next week Monday (3rd December). The following day (4th December) SpaceX planning to launch its Dragon CRS-16 cargo craft to the orbital lab atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

They are preparing for a very busy December month on the International Space Station. The normal schedule was disrupted by the failed Soyuz MS-10 launch attempt, but hopefully we go back to normal soon with the safe launch of MS-11 on Monday.

20th November 2018 – Happy 20th Anniversary

Here is my contribution to this remarkable event.

18th-19th November 2018 – Busy few weeks with various spacecraft arrivals

First on 18th November the russian Progress MS-10 or 71P arrives to the station and berths to the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment (more about the event here). Only a day later on 19th November the american Cygnus NG-10 (S.S. John Young) arrives as well and successfully berths to the bottom of the station’s Unity module (more about the event here).

13 October 2018 – Increasing cargo traffic to ISS

After the japanese HTV-7 cargo vessel left the station, two more cargo ship will arrive to ISS. The american Cygnus CRS OA-10E (S.S. John Young) is scheduled for launch on the 15th November and the russian Progress MS-10 (or 71P) for the next day on the 16th November. They both will arrive to ISS on the 18th November 10 hours apart from each other. For latest update visit NASA’s Space Station Blog.

7 November – HTV-7 Kounotori unberthed from the station

Great mission, JAXA did an excellent job with this spacecraft once again. Now HTV released and heading a small part of it heading back to Earth for the first time. I took a few good shot of the cargo vessel (more details here), she will be a memorable for me without doubt…

11 October 2018 – Extremely stressful day with a failed launch – crew is back safe

The Soyuz MS-10 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 p.m. in Baikonur). Shortly after launch, there was an issue with the booster. Teams have confirmed the spacecraft separated from the booster and are in contact with the crew as the capsule returns in a ballistic decent mode.

Later teams have confirmed the crew have landed and Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchinin are in good condition. Then search and rescue teams have been deployed to the landing site and were in contact with the crew.

Astronuts are back to Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia outside of Moscow. For latest update visit NASA’s Space Station Blog.

9 October 2018 – New crew is about to leave Earth in two days

The next rocket that will launch NASA’s Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexey Ovchinin to the International Space Station stands ready at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The duo will liftoff atop the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft Thursday at 4:40 a.m. EDT for a six-hour ride to their new home in space.

4 October 2018 – Return of Expedition 56

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, along with Flight Engineer and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos landed at 7:44 a.m. EDT (5:44 p.m. in Kazakhstan) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. More information here.

They returned with Soyuz MS-08, the only spacecraft I have ever photographed berthed to space facing side of ISS.

 

29 September 2018 – After a successful grapple and berth HTV-7 has arrived to ISS

We have been all watching the live coverage as Canadarm slowly reached for the cargo vessel and after grapple it moved the craft to Harmony module Earth facing port. Here is a video summary about the event. In the meantime I have managed to take a close-up photo of HTV-7. More about that story here.

27 September 2018 – HTV-7 has arrived

After seeing last night both of the spacecrafts I can confirm, HTV-7 is en route as planned and in a few hours it will arrive. First they will grapple the cargo vessel with Canadarm (the station’s robotic arm) and it will move Kounotori to the Harmony port. Watch the docking procedure here.

26 September 2018 – HTV-7 position update

At noon today (almost exactly one day before rendezvous) this was the position of ISS and the HTV-7 cargo vessel. They are more or less on the same orbit, but HTV-7 is still somewhat 100km lower at around 300km above surface of Earth. Tonight is the chance to see them hopefully close to each other.

25 September 2018 – First photos of HTV-7  (from Monika Landy-Gyebnar) and it’s bright

We’ve been waiting for the first occasion to finally spot HTV-7 cargo vessel on orbit. I have seen it myself too, it was really bright even though it was a very low pass at around 14-15° of elevation. Luckily my very good friend Monika Landy-Gyebnar took these amazing photos of HTV-7 from Hungary.
She said “HTV-7 crossed the MW near Saturn and Vesta, it also had a bright flare. It was constantly bright, around 0/+1 mag”.

 

Find updates for the evening HTV-7 flybys on Calsky. Go to Satellites -> Sat Library -> at “find a satellite by name or number” type HTV and after hitting search choose HTV-7 from the list.

 

24 September 2018 – at what time can we see HTV-7 Kounotori?

After the successful launch of HTV-7 cargo vessel we all waiting for an update from Calsky website about the HTV-7 sightings. Untill the update arrives (hopefully uodates arrive by tomorrow), here is my own measurement. Satflare.com website shows already the exact position of Kounotori, so I’ve waited to see roughly what is the time gap between ISS and HTV-7. HTV was near Madagaskar, so I have waited ro see how much later will ISS fly over Madagascar.

So according to my measurements from 1pm today, the time gap is ~30mins. So from my location today ISS is at maximum elevation at 8:55pm BST. According to that I expect HTV-7 around 8:25pm.

22 September 2018 – Kounotori on its way to ISS

Great news, after a few delays mainly due weather and technical issues, today at 1:52 EDT/6:52pm GMT H-2B rocket left the Tanegashima Space Center. This is the seventh JAXA cargo mission to the ISS. Target date for berthing is 27 September around 8am EDT/1pm GMT after a 4.5 days journey. For more information – Nasa Blog – Space Station.

19 September 2018 – New launch target date is announced for JAXA’s HTV-7 cargo mission

So the planned launch date scheduled for 22 September at 18:52 GMT / 1:52pm EDT. Let’s hope this she will fly this time. More information on this link.

14 September 2018 – Today HTV-7 launch at 9:59pm BST (SCRUBBED once again)

Finally the day has come and I only hope the HTV-7 cargo spacecraft will fly tonight. To watch the launch click here.

12 September 2018 – New target launch date for HTV-7

According to Nasa Blog – Space Station the planned launch date now is 13rd September 5:21pm EDT / 10:20pm GMT. Also the adjusted spacewalk target dates are 23rd and 29th September. I will share the live broadcast link here for the launch. Click HTV-7 mission for further information.

9 September 2018 – The launch of HTV-7 postponed

You can read JAXA’s official announcement here. No further target date announced yet. It means the planned spacewalks or EVAs (Extravehicular Activity) for the 20th and 26th September are pushed back as well.

8 September 2018 – Few days away from the launch of HTV-7 cargo spacecraft

At the moment no sign of delays with the HTV-7 launch, the target time is still 10th 7:32pm EDT (Monday) / 12:32am GMT (Tuesday). Anyone living in Europe will be able to see the tiny HTV following ISS, first quite behind the station but the gap will be decreasing slowly over the coming days. The planned rendezvous target time is 7:40am EDT / 12:40pm GMT (14th September) so by Friday morning HTV should be very very close to ISS. More information about the launch and the planned two spacewalks on Nasa Blog – Space Station.

Do go out and see it for yourself if weather permits! Just check if there is any flybys from your location (Guide to find ISS).

 

4 September 2018 – Interesting update about the hole

Astronauts successfully plugged the hole with epoxy solution. But yesterday I read an interesting article on Spaceflight Insider website, which says the hole was not caused by micrometeorite, but it was caused from inside…. This information is originally from a conversation between crew and ground control (find it in the article).

 

30 August 2018 – There was a depressurisation on ISS due to a hole on Soyuz MS-09

I will share the conclusion of the story once they resolved the problem. In the news they say not a biggie, but as I am reading Reddit there is a conversation about how they plant to fix it, russian and american agencies “arguing” about should they wait and test the repair method (rubber plug) on Earth and then actually fixing the hole or let’s just go ahead and fix it anyway. I do not want to speculate so I will wait and see as the story will unfold.

But the good news is that nobody is in danger on board the station!

30 August 2018 – H-II Transfer Vehicle “Kounotori” (HTV) target launch date 10th September

All the important information, technical specifications about the vehicle in this article. What might be relevant to us ISS fans/spotters/imagers is the following fact:

Maximum duration of a mission

Rendezvous flight period: about five days!
Berthed with the ISS: about 45 days
On-orbit emergency stand-by: about seven days

Target date of arrival is 14th September. If I understand correctly this means that after a successful launch it might take a few days for HTV spacecraft to catch up with ISS and eventually being berthed by Canadarm 2 robotic arm. This also means we might be able to see it flying overhead for a few days as it will be getting closer and closer to ISS – this info needs confirmation though. (Do not forget that your location determines whether you will be able to see ISS and HTV or not around 10th September. So please check for predicted flybys from your location on one of the websites in Guide to find ISS section).

Imagers at the correct location get prepared! HTV is large – four meters across and about 10 meters long, a size large enough to accommodate a sightseeing bus. Even bigger than Cygnus or Progress cargo vehicles so definitely worth giving to a close/up shot a try.

Once N2YO or Satflare websites has live tracking of HTV-7 I will copy the link here. Also usually a day after launch Calsky provides you sufficent information about HTV-7 flybys, to find out go Satellite -> Sat-library-> type HTV at Find a satellite by name

 

22 August 2018 – What it’s like to fly the Boeing Starliner CST-100 spaceship (Everyday Astronaut video)

 

22 August 2018 – Progress 69 leaving ISS

Progress 69 left ISS at 9:16 p.m. CDT, 10:16 p.m. EDT. The replacement vehicle – Progress 71 – will be launched around October. More info in this article, watch the recorded live feed about undocking:

 

3 August 2018 – This is how SpaceX Dragon CRS-15 left the International Space Station