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September 19-25, 2016 / Vol 35, No 38 / Hawai`i Island, USA

16 Sep 2016, 20:28 UTC
September 19-25, 2016 / Vol 35, No 38 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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ISS Close to 50th Expedition, China Tiangong-2 in Initial Operations

International Space Station Expedition 49 is underway at LEO with three crew members Commander Anatoly Ivanishin, Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi expecting the launch of Soyuz MS-02 carrying Robert Kimbrough, Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on September 23. The 50th ISS Expedition will begin October 30 marking 5,842 days of continuous human occupation and 6,555 days since the first module, Zarya, was launched. The newest space station for China, Tiangong-2 (Heavenly Palace 2) space lab is now orbiting at 393-km altitude carrying 14 payloads including a cold atomic fountain clock, quantum key distribution and laser communications experiment. The 10.4-m long, 4-m diameter, 8,600 kg lab will house 3 people for 20 days. The first crewed mission Shenzhou 11 is planned for October with 2 Astronauts on a 30-day residence, followed by cargo resupply Tianzhou 1 April 2017. Prototype Tiangong-1 is deorbiting and disintegrating in Earth atmosphere. Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace continues making strides toward commercial LEO, Moon, Mars and Deep Space habitats while BEAM is being tested on ISS, and Genesis 1 and 2 are operating in LEO. Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin ...

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