NASA News Roundup: Space Station departures and launches

April is a busy month for the International Space Station. See what’s on the horizon for the floating laboratory in this week’s NASA News Roundup.

April 7 departure

Space Center Houston is the best place to experience the past, present and future of space exploration. Sometimes, that means being part of NASA’s mission and sending experiments up to the International Space Station.

That’s what one group recently did as part of our Corporate Leadership program.

This group developed, selected and delivered an experiment that was placed on the SpaceX Dragon CRS-20 capsule that rendezvoused with the ISS last month. The astronauts on board ISS performed the experiment and will send it back down to Earth Tuesday.

Watch the capsule’s return live as part of NASA’s feed on April 7.

Once back on the ground, results from the experiment will be collected and conclusions drawn from the data. In short, real science in real time.

April 9 launch

Expedition 63 will launch to the Space Station at 3 a.m. (CT) on April 9. You can watch live on NASA TV. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission.

If 3 a.m. is a little too early to tune in, watch Cassidy and fellow space station astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan answer questions from orbit at 9:30 a.m. (CT) on April 10.

The teleconference will take place on Cassidy’s first day on his third spaceflight, Meir’s 199th day in space during her mission, and Morgan’s 266th day in space, placing him fourth on the list of American astronauts for total time in space during one spaceflight.

Meir and Morgan are scheduled to return home to Earth Friday, April 17. Morgan launched July 20, 2019, for an extended duration mission. Meir and Expedition 62 commander Oleg Skripochka launched to the space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 25, 2019. It is the first spaceflight for both Morgan and Meir.

Morgan has participated in six spacewalks, including four to help repair a cosmic ray detector experiment called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Meir participated in the first three all-woman spacewalks.

For almost 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space, including the Moon and Mars. As a global endeavor, 239 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,800 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries.

Space to Ground

Astronauts packed up a cargo ship for its departure. Bartolomeo, the first external commercial research platform was installed onto the station. Learn more in this week’s Space to Ground video below.

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