The crew of STS-128, on the space shuttle Discovery have left behind the crew of expedition 20, on the International Space Station. There were a couple of crew changes, they left behind @Astro_Nicole and picked up @Astro_Tim, as well as a Buzz Lightyear action figure who has been zipping around making films on the station for more than a year.
The next significant visit to the ISS will be an unmanned Japanese H-II Transport Vehicle. The HTV will arrive without docking and guidance systems, simply waiting next to the ISS to be grabbed by the robotic arms of the station and docked manually. This allows computer space to be given over to additional cargo. The HTV will also have pressurised (for direct to inside of station stuff, like food and clothes) and unpressurised (experiment racks etc to be pulled out by Kibo’s arms) compartments. JAXA’s HTV will join the existing supply craft – Roskosmos’s Progress capsule and ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle – in the ISS supply market. SpaceX, the private company, will also throw its hat into the ring with the reusable Dragon vehicle. Unlike the other three, Dragon intends to parachute back to Earth rather than burning up in the atmosphere.
Since my last post on the mission, there’ve been a few additions to NASA’s Youtube Page. These include media events, flight days 8 and 11 highlights (what happened to 9 and 10?) as well as a couple of mission status briefings, EVA 3 video and today’s ISS flyaround:
STS-128 can be followed by occasional bulletins here, its mission pages, through live events on NASA TV (later posted to NASA’s Youtube Channel) or through twitter via @Astro_Jose, @Astro_Tim, @CFuglesang, @Astro_Nicole and @NASA. Check here to see if the ISS or other satellites are going to pass over your area.