Spaceflight Now


Follow space shuttle Endeavour's STS-127 mission to finish assembly of the International Space Station's Japanese segment. Reload this page for the latest updates.

Bookmark and Share
Sign up to our Twitter feed and get text message updates on your cellphone. U.S. readers can also sign up from their phone by texting "follow spaceflightnow" to 40404. (Standard text messaging charges apply.)

Astronauts operating a Japanese robot arm from inside the space station's Kibo laboratory module Thursday successfully transferred three compact experiments from a shuttle pallet to a newly installed porch-like platform in a major milestone for Japan's space program.

While the experiment transfers were going on, flight controllers were revising plans for the crew's final two spacewalks. Spacewalk No. 4, scheduled to begin at 9:58 a.m. EDT Friday, will be devoted to completing the installation of new batteries in the station's oldest set of solar arrays, work expected to take seven-and-a-half hours to complete.

Read our full story.

2335 GMT (7:35 p.m. EDT)
Guy Laliberte, a former street entertainer who founded the enormously successful Cirque du Soleil, says he doesn't plan any fire eating or stilt walking aboard the International Space Station when he visits this fall.

Read our full story.

2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT)
Engineers are monitoring a problem with a "sustaining heater" used to keep one of the shuttle Endeavour's electricity producing fuel cells from getting too cold. The heater ran longer than expected earlier today and engineers decided to change the shuttle's power generation configuration to prevent additional problems.

Read our full story.

2215 GMT (6:15 p.m. EDT)
NASA managers decided Thursday to order another 125 foam "plug-pull" tests on the external tank scheduled for use by the shuttle Discovery next month to make sure there are no adhesion problems like those that resulted in unusual foam shedding during Endeavour's takeoff last week.

Read our full story.

2120 GMT (5:20 p.m. EDT)
The space environment monitoring payload, called SEDA-AP for short, has been taken its place aboard the Japanese science facility.

This package will measure neutrons, plasma, heavy ions, high-energy particles, atomic oxygen and cosmic dust as the International Space Station orbits the Earth. It has small mast that will be unfurled as part of the sensor suite.

To read more about the instrument, please refer to the Japanese space agency's site.

2045 GMT (4:45 p.m. EDT)
This third of three payloads launched on a special carrier has been detached by the Japanese robotic arm and maneuvered over to the science deck.
1943 GMT (3:43 p.m. EDT)
Kibo's arm has moved into place to get a firm grasp on the Space Environment Data Acquisition Equipment-Attached Payload in preparation for picking up the experiment from the delivery pallet and moving it to the Exposed Facility.
1858 GMT (2:58 p.m. EDT)
On the outer edge of the science deck, the Inter-orbit Communications System has been installed. The payload contains an antenna and pointing mechanism for communicating with Japan's Data Relay Test Satellite.

This system will pave the way for Japan to have direct communications between the orbiting Kibo laboratory and the Mission Control Room at the Tsukuba Space Center near Tokyo. The uplinking of commands and the downlinking of experiment data and video will be possible, plus enabling an independent path for two-way voice communications.

1726 GMT (1:26 p.m. EDT)
The next payload to be moved with a communications package designed to route data from the station to Japan's orbiting relay satellite for transmission down to the Tsukuba Space Center near Tokyo. Kibo's arm grappled the unit and just began unberthing it from the launch carrier. The arm is being operated by Julie Payette and Tim Kopra.
1525 GMT (11:25 a.m. EDT)
The space station's external science facility has received its first experiment -- an X-ray astronomy instrument. The MAXI payload has been successfully installed on the front side of the deck using the Kibo laboratory's robotic arm operated by the astronauts inside.

MAXI is the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image project designed to scan the sky as the space station orbits the Earth. To read more about the instrument, please refer to the Japanese space agency's site.

1420 GMT (10:20 a.m. EDT)
Aboard the International Space Station at this hour, the first of three packages have been removed from the Japanese logistics carrier - known as JLE or "jelly" - by the Kibo robot arm. All three payloads will be attached to the Exposed Facility today.
1240 GMT (8:40 a.m. EDT)
The latest version of the NASA Television schedule (Rev. L) can be downloaded here.
0935 GMT (5:35 a.m. EDT)
Flight Day 9 for the astronauts began with the sounds of "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. The main focus of the day will be the inaugural use of Japan's robot arm to install three experiment packages onto the new Exposed Facility.

Read our earlier status center coverage.

STS-127 patch
The official embroidered patch for shuttle Endeavour's flight to finish building Japanese section of the space station.

Hubble crew
The official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle's last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase.


Expedition 20
The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 20 crew is now available from our stores.

STS-128 patch
The official embroidered patch for shuttle Discovery's flight to deliver equipment and research gear to the space station.