Space Station Sunday: Fourth Launch Attempt Is The Charm?

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's another round of what's going on around the world.  Well, around and above it...

So You Think You Can Go To Orbit, round 4.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)


Numerous attempts were made this week to launch the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft to the station.  On Thursday, Friday, and then Saturday, several different efforts were made, but all were ultimately scrubbed due to sub-optimal launch conditions.  The launch is an important one, with NASA's collaborator Orbital Technologies providing a lift for an array of interesting experiments.  7,000 pounds of science experiments, research material, and other station-critical supplies will be bound for the ISS in the unmanned vehicle, which will be grappled to the ISS by the Canadarm-2 robotic arm.

Numerous fascinating and innovative experiments are aboard, including two networking micro-satellites, an investigation into flame-resistant textiles for space use, an experiment dealing with the mixture of gases and liquids in micro-gravity, and even an entire temperature-controlled chamber for use in a variety of other experiments.  The launch has been rescheduled for today.  Check updates and mission info here!


The Cygnus spacecraft and Atlas rocket, standing by for launch.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui participated in various biological experiments this week, working tirelessly in their final days in space.  The astronauts, as well as cosmonaut and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko, will return to Earth on December 11th.  This will officially conclude the Expedition 45 mission.

Astronaut Scott Kelly, still going strong on his One Year Mission, will greet another trio of astronauts on December 15th.  Launching out of Baikonur, Kazahkstan in a Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft, astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra, plus cosmonaut Yuri Malachenko, will take a six-hour ride up to the station.


The next round of ISS astronauts pose with their space suits, which clearly have no oxygen flow issues.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

And as usual, One Year Crewman Scott Kelly has captured another round of stunning imagery from his perch, including a sunset from his 247th day in orbit...



...as well as an image of Portugal and Spain so beautiful, it may as well be hanging in a gallery in Madrid.

¡Qué maravilloso!

That's all for this week, space fans!  See you next week with tales of Cygnus success and more on the new crew of spacefarers.  Watch this space!


Science takes patience, particularly when explosions are involved.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

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