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Spacewalk disconnects cables on mating adaptor ready for its move

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) conducted a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on March 24. The main job was to disconnect cables and electrical connections on …

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JAXA launches HTV cargo craft to ISS using H-2B rocket

A HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) cargo craft was carried into orbit by an H-2B (H-IIB) rocket at 1326 GMT on 9 December. The mission was a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and was launched from the Tanegashima …

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Two Chinese taikonauts return home safely after 30-day stay in orbit

The Shenzhou 11 Descent Module landed in the Inner Mongolia territory, in Northern China, at 0559 GMT on 18 November. The two taikonauts inside, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, were found to be in good health having already opened the …

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Back in play: Antares 230 launches Cygnus freighter to the ISS on long awaited return (Updated)

At 2345 GMT on 17 October an Antares 230  rocket lifted off from Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, carrying the Cygnus OA-5 commercial resupply mission for the International Space Station (ISS) into orbit. This flight marks the return-to-flight of …

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Russian Soyuz vehicle successfully launches astronauts, and troubled Soyuz craft, to the ISS

At 0805 GMT, 19 October 2016, a Soyuz-FG rocket lifted off from Site 31/6, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, carrying the Soyuz MS-02 craft containing crew members of Expedition 49/50 to the International Space Station (ISS). The new crew members …

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Russian Soyuz craft suffers anomaly, while Roscosmos announces crew reductions to the ISS

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, announced on 17 September 2016, that the next flight of the Soyuz-MS crew transport craft would be delayed for technical reasons after testing conducted at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. According to TASS, the Russian state …

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China launches Tiangong-2 Spacelab module as precursor to full-sized space station

China has launched the Tiangong-2 “man tended” spacelab/mini-space station as a forerunner for its planned full-sized space station. The Long March 2F/T2 (CZ-2F/T2) launch of the mini-space station module took place at 14:04 GMT on 15 September 2016, from the …

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Progress MS-01 has thruster control fault during docking test

The cargo spacecraft Progress MS-01 was deliberately undocked from the International Space Station on at 0545 on 1 July. The idea was for the spacecraft to pull away and then use a new version of the Toru remote manual control …

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Despite Bigelow launches, ULA will still lay off 11% of workforce with more to follow

The Boeing/Lockheed Martin-owned United Launch Alliance (ULA) has declared in the Denver Post that it will cut 375 jobs out of its total of 3,400 in 2016. The firm expects the majority of these to be achieved relatively painlessly via

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Last Soyuz TMA spacecraft carries three crew to orbit and docks with ISS

At 2126 GMT on 18 March 2015, a Soyuz-FG launch vehicle successfully lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan. Before the launch from Pad 1, Soyuz Commander and Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and …

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SpaceX gets five more NASA CRS-1 Dragon cargo mission orders

NASA is reported to have awarded a further five Dragon cargo flights to SpaceX in December 2015 as a further addition to its original Commercial Resupply Services CRS-1 contract which was originally signed in 2008.  The new five missions to …

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On a lighter note: For all those space sales monkeys out there one goes berserk on ISS

For all those space sales monkeys, worker monkeys, surrender monkeys, and cheeky monkeys slogging away out there, the Chinese Year of the Monkey was bad news: 2016 was also a leap year.  This effectively meant that workers had an extra …

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Skylab: No need for a buffer brake – very slow array deployment was predicted

While USA decides whether or not it wants to continue with the International Space Station, whose cost-effectiveness is often criticised given its very high cost (US$100 billion and counting), it was not, of course, America’s first foray into space station …

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Need to fix robot arm transporter results in extra spacewalk on ISS

On 17 Dec 2015 the Mobile Transporter carrying Canadarm-2 robot arm became jammed on the rail on worksite due to a jammed brake on an attached cart.  As the jammed robot arm was deemed a safety issue, an unscheduled spacewalk …

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On a lighter note: If you start finding slapstick funny again you could be turning into a gaga-naut (or a German)

While this column has previously noted that astronauts on long missions might be prone to premature dementia due to cosmic and solar radiation’s effect on the brain, a way to detect this before the said astronaut becomes a danger to …

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Progress M-029M makes rapid ascent to International Space Station after Soyuz launch

The Progress M-029M cargo spacecraft was launched into orbit on top of a Soyuz-U launch vehicle at 1649 GMT on 1 October 2015 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam, in Kazakhstan. After using the rapid approach technique, Progress M-029M docked …

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Soyuz TMA-018M launches with three crew to ISS

A Soyuz FG launch vehicle successfully launched the Soyuz TMA-018M spacecraft carrying three crew to the International Space Station at 0437 GMT on 2 September 2015.  The launch was from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan.  The crew carried …

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Soyuz TMA-017M spacecraft had sticky solar array after its launch, while ISS colleagues had to shelter from space debris

A Soyuz FG rocket successfully launched three astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on board their Soyuz TMA-017M/ISS-43S spacecraft (aka Soyuz TMA-17M).  Lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan, took place at 2102 GMT on 22 July 2015.  …

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Astronauts on International Space Station get long-awaited Christmas presents and unwanted ammonia alarm

Having had their cargo deliveries disrupted by the Antares 130 rocket failure which destroyed the Cygnus Orb 3 freighter, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the 9,700kg Dragon CRS-5 freighter.  The Dragon …

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Soyuz TMA-013M lands safely on Earth with its three crew

The manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-013M undocked from ISS/Rassvet at 0031 GMT on 10 November 2014  It made its deorbit burn at 0305 GMT. The descent module Soyuz TMA-013M spacecraft, carrying  Russian cosmonaut and commander Maxim Suraev, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst …

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