Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Comings and Goings on the ISS

Current crew of Expedition 34.

While Russia gets walloped by an asteroid, and Congress fights over budgetary woes (which of course will affect NASA as well), the ISS floats serenely over our Earth at a standard orbitally speed of about 17,500 mph. Currently, the ISS is crewed by Expedition 34, which includes Commander Kevin Ford, and Flight Engineers Oleg Novistkiy, Evgeny Tarelkin, Thomas Marshburn, Chris Hadfield, and Roman Romanenko. Wikipedia has a nice page of the crew assignments and links to their biographies here:

Chris Hadfield working on some of the EVA suits.

The first part of the expedition began last November. Expedition 35 will begin in March when Canadian Chris Hadfield takes command of the ISS and the current team of Ford, Novitskiy, and Tarelkin depart the station. 

View from Progress 48 as it undocks from Russian Module.

There has been a change of robotic cargo spacecraft. Progress 48 undocked from the station on Saturday, Feb. 9 and was deorbited, burning up in the atmosphere. This left room for a new cargo spacecraft, designated Progress 50, to arrive on Monday the 11th. Its flight from Baikonur had only taken 6 hours, using the new "short" trajectory being adopted by Russia for quick transfers to the ISS. You can learn about its cargo and see a great picture of cosmonauts inside the ISS remotely docking the Progress 50 at

View from ISS of Progress 50 docking at the Pirs module.

Dragon in final preparations room at Cape Canaveral.

NASA has chosen March 1 as its next launch opening for the Dragon resupply spacecraft. SpaceX and NASA will launch from the Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, technically separate from the Kennedy Space Center just to its north. Currently the cargo craft has had its solar panels installed and final preparations are being made for rollout and launch.

Astronaut Tom Marshburn and HAM radio equipment. There was a communications glitch with the ISS main computer on Tuesday.

Inside the ISS, expedition crewmembers maintain equipment, perform science experiments, and go about their daily chores living in space. You can read about their daily routines and adventures at NASA's mission highlights page:

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