A pair of CubeSats has been deployed from the Kibo laboratory’s robotic arm with more deployments planned. Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus commercial cargo craft is nearing the end of its stay at the International Space Station.
The NanoRacks Launcher attached to the end of the Japanese robotic arm released two more CubeSats early Thursday after the crew took photographs of the deployer mechanism. On Wednesday, the device failed to deploy a set of CubeSats causing Japanese and U.S. controllers to review the status of further deployments.
The CubeSats were delivered on Orb-1, Orbital Sciences first official commercial cargo mission, aboard Cygnus last month. They are deployed from a commercial device designed by NanoRacks, a company that provides research facilities on the orbital laboratory to business and public organizations.
Cygnus arrived at the space station Jan. 12 after launching three days earlier from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The commercial delivery vehicle was captured by the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Harmony node’s Earth-facing port.
Cygnus is wrapping up its stay and is planned to be released Feb. 18 at 6:40 a.m. EST. Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins and Koichi Wakata will be in the cupola grappling then releasing the Cygnus with the Canadarm2. Watch the activities on NASA TV beginning at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the six-person Expedition 38 crew worked medical science, performed station maintenance and conducted a Soyuz emergency evacuation drill.
Hopkins joined Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio for another eye exam using optical coherence tomography for subsurface views with remote guidance from ground personnel. The duo conducted a second eye exam using a Fundoscope with Wakata participating at the end of the workday.
On the Russian side of the space station, the three cosmonauts worked an array of ongoing science and maintenance.
Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin downloaded data acquired for the Obstanovka study which observes how plasma waves and Earth’s magnetic field affects the space station. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy checked a bioreactor for the Caskad cell cultivation experiment. Commander Oleg Kotov installed a new navigation receiver module inside the Zarya cargo module.
During the morning, Soyuz TMA-11M crew members Tyurin, Mastracchio and Wakata practiced evacuation procedures in the unlikely event an emergency would force the trio’s early departure in their docked Soyuz spacecraft.