Monday, January 12, 2015

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arrives at space station

The unmanned Dragon capsule owned by private U.S. firm SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday morning for its fifth commercial resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory, U.S. space agency NASA said.

The spacecraft was successfully captured by a robotic arm operated by U.S. astronaut Barry Wilmore inside the ISS at 5:54 a.m. EDT (1054 GMT), 18 minutes ahead of schedule, as the two flew over the Mediterranean Sea, NASA said.

Dragon, which was launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday, carried about 2.5 tons of supplies and payloads, including materials to support 256 scientific experiments in space.

The scientific payloads included an instrument that will evaluate the clouds and tiny particles in the Earth's atmosphere to potentially decipher important clues for climate change and aid in weather forecasting on the Earth.

The spacecraft is also loaded with several biological experiments that will take advantage of the microgravity environment unavailable on the Earth to advance medical knowledge.

  • One of the projects will study fruit flies' immune systems as a model for the human immune system, to explore how spaceflight can make organisms more susceptible to disease, especially since microbes can become more virulent in space.
  • Another project will grow proteins inside a 10-centimeter cube in weightlessness to research a suspected cause of Alzheimer's and similar brain ailments in people.

Dragon will remain connected to the ISS for more than four weeks before departing for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of California.

This is the fifth operational cargo delivery mission for SpaceX to the ISS. The company's 1.6-billion-U.S.-dollar contract with NASA requires at least a dozen cargo delivery flights in all.

Besides SpaceX, NASA has also signed a deal with another private company called Orbital Sciences Corp. to supply cargo to the ISS.

Orbital's first two flights went smoothly, but the third failed when the company's Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff in late October. 

 Xinhua -


  1. Un segmento estadounidense de la EEI segrega sustancias peligrosas a la atmófera ...

    Un segmento estadounidense de la Estación Espacial Internacional (ISS, por sus siglas en inglés) ha segregado sustancias nocivas procedentes del sistema de refrigeración a la atmósfera, afirma RIA Novosti citando a la agencia rusa Rosmocosmos. La tripulación que iba en su interior está a salvo.

    Una fuga en el sistema de refrigeración de un segmento estadounidense de la EEI se ha registrado este miércoles a las 11:44, hora local de Moscú, lo que ha derivado en el vertido de sustancias tóxicas a la atmósfera, informa RIA Novosti citando a Rosmocosmos.

    En estos momentos, el segmento ha sido sellado y toda la tripulación que iba en su interior se encuentra a salvo, tras haber sido evacuada a un segmento ruso."La seguridad de la tripulación ha sido garantizada gracias a la acción rápida y operativa de los astronautas, así como de los grupos de gestión operativa de Moscú y Houston", afirma Rosmocosmos en su comunicado.

    Asimismo, la agencia rusa establece que "la concentración de sustancias nocivas segregadas por el segmento estadounidense a la atmósfera se encuentran dentro de los límites aceptados".

    Más información en breve.

  2. American ISS sector contaminated, crew safe in Russian zone ...

    A toxic leak has broken out in the US-made sector of the International Space Station. The crew is safe, but has been forced to isolate the contaminated unit and take refuge in the Russian sector. Houston and the ISS crew are considering how to respond.

    The incident occurred at about 11:44 GMT. The atmosphere of the ISS, apart from in the isolated area, remains stable. The concentration of air pollutants is within acceptable levels. ..................

  3. Crew members were evacuated from a US segment of the International Space Station after an ammonia leak was suspected...

    But Nasa officials now says a sensor problem probably created the false impression of leaking coolant.

    The Russian space agency emphasised that the crew members had not been in any danger.

    It said that mission control experts in Russia and the US had quickly co-operated to ensure the crew's safety.

    The six crew members on the outpost put on breathing equipment and moved into the Russian segment after the alert at around 0900 GMT, closing the hatch to the US side behind them.

    Jim Kelly from Nasa mission control in Houston told the crew: "We're still trying to figure out exactly what happened. We're not entirely convinced that this is an ammonia leak."

    A spokesperson for the space agency, Bob Jacobs, added that there was "no concrete data that suggests that there was in fact an ammonia leak"............

  4. Fuite de substance toxique dans la Station spatiale internationale ...

    (Belga) Une fuite de substance toxique issue d'un circuit de refroidissement a forcé mercredi les spationautes à évacuer le segment américain de la Station spatiale internationale (ISS), a annoncé l'agence spatiale russe.

    "Une substance toxique a été émise depuis un circuit de refroidissement dans l'atmosphère de la station dans le segment américain de l'ISS vers 11h44 heure de Moscou (9h44 heure belge)", a indiqué l'agence Roskosmos dans un communiqué. "Actuellement, le segment américain a été évacué et l'équipage est en sécurité dans le segment russe", a ajouté l'agence. Un représentant du centre de contrôle russe a précisé aux agences de presse russes que la substance en question était de l'ammoniac, un gaz incolore qui brûle les yeux et les poumons. Réparer la fuite pourrait, selon lui, nécessiter une sortie dans l'espace, mais pas l'évacuation de l'équipage. "La situation est compliquée, mais sous contrôle. De telles fuites d'ammoniac sont déjà survenues dans le passé", a expliqué ce responsable. Le responsable de l'industrie spatiale russe Maxime Matiouchine a affirmé que ses homologues de la NASA étaient mobilisés pour résoudre le problème. Cet incident pourrait entre autres retarder le retour sur Terre de la capsule Dragon de SpaceX qui avait ravitaillé la station plus tôt cette semaine. (Belga)


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