Astro Alex will launch to the ISS this Wednesday! MarconISSta has already arrived safely on the ISS on May 24th. We can guess that you want to know when operations start. And we guess you know that we are even more excited! Unfortunately, there still is some remaining paperwork that needs to be done by other involved parties…
Astro Alex’s ride to the ISS
More importantly, we can’t wait for Alexander Gerst’s launch to the ISS from Baikonur on June 6th, 13:12 CEST. There are several opportunities to watch the launch live, e.g. here: http://blogs.esa.int/alexander-gerst/2018/05/22/follow-the-launch-and-docking-of-esa-astronaut-alexander-gerst/
Alexander Gerst and his crew Sergei Prokopyev (Russia) and Serena Auñón-Chancellor (USA) will arrive on the station after 34 orbits on June 8th, 15:07 CEST. Read Alex’s blog to stay updated: http://blogs.esa.int/alexander-gerst/
Delays in MarconISSta operations
Delays are quite common in space business. From the beginning it was quite challenging to get the project running and make it to the ISS only one year after project kick-off. But not all mandatory procedures could be finished in time to guarantee quick setup and initialization of the experiments. Naturally, the hardware and software was certified to be safe for the launch and it is also clear that the components are safe for operations. However, the components will be integrated into an existing setup and the so-called “integrated safety” has not been finished yet. For this, the existing setup plus MarconISSta have to be reviewed as an integrated system and verified to be safe for both hardware and humans. Although this process is not expected to identify any issues, the completion is still pending. We expect this to be finished in the next two weeks. After this, the final operations certificates have to be signed and crew time has to be allocated for installation. We currently expect installation in beginning/ mid of July.
As we currently can’t do anything but wait, we keep you updated as soon as we know when installation will happen. In the meantime, here are some more pictures of the validation at BIOTESC. Thanks Vincent for the nice pics!