The city lights of Japan, with Tokyo at bottom, seemingly trail off onto into an orbital sunrise as the space station orbited 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
Japan is less than a day from launching its ninth mission to resupply the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the three-member Expedition 63 crew continued space science operations and practiced for an emergency.
More than four tons of crew supplies, station experiments and lithium-ion batteries are ready to head to the station inside the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9). The spacecraft from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center on Wednesday at 12:31 p.m. EDT (1:31 a.m. May 21 Japanese time).
The HTV-9 will arrive at the orbiting lab on Monday, May 25 for a robotic capture with the Canadarm2 at 8:15 a.m. NASA Commander Chris Cassidy brushed up on his robotics skills today and will lead the capture activities from the cupola. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner will back up Cassidy and monitor the HTV-9’s approach and rendezvous. NASA TV is covering all the HTV-9 launch and capture activities live.
Vagner started Tuesday checking out medical gear for ear, nose and throat exams and ended the day ...