Weather Delays U.S. Cargo Mission; Crew Back to Work After Leak Test

The three-member Expedition 63 crew aboard the International Space Station
The Expedition 63 crew with (from left) Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

A U.S. cargo mission will wait a couple of extra days for weather to clear before launching to resupply the International Space Station this week. Meanwhile, the Expedition 63 crew has resumed standard operations following a leak test over the weekend.

Scattered thunderstorms and rain are predicted at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia where Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship was originally targeted for liftoff Tuesday night. Mission managers rescheduled Cygnus’ launch for Thursday at 9:38 p.m. EDT setting its arrival and robotic capture at the station for Sunday at 5:20 a.m.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonaut Ivan Vagner practiced their robotics skills on a computer today to get ready to capture Cygnus with the Canadarm2 robotic arm on Sunday morning. Cassidy will lead the capture activities while Vagner monitors the U.S. spacecraft’s approach and rendezvous.

NASA TV will broadcast live the launch and capture activities of the Cygnus space freighter. It will arrive at the station packed with nearly 8,000 pounds supplies and gear including an advanced space toilet and brand-new science experiments.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin once again opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and replaced fuel bottles to support fuel and flames studies inside the research device. He then spent the rest of the day servicing laptop computers and life support systems.

The three-member crew exited their isolation in the Russian segment on Monday morning after a weekend of leak tests and resumed normal operations. Ground teams will analyze the leak test data in their ongoing work to determine the source of the increased leak rate at the station.

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