Starliner Nears Launch, Crew Works Space Botany and Human Research

The Moon, with Earth's shadow draping across it during a lunar eclipse, is pictured from the International Space Station.
The Moon, with Earth’s shadow draping across it during a lunar eclipse, is pictured from the International Space Station.

The International Space Station is gearing up for the targeted arrival of Boeing’s Starliner crew ship on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew is continuing its ongoing life science activities while maintaining orbital lab systems.

Weather forecasters are predicting a 70% chance for favorable weather when Boeing’s OFT-2 mission is scheduled to launch at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The Starliner spacecraft will lift off atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Starliner will take a 24-hour automated trip to the station where it will dock to the Harmony module’s forward port for five to 10 days of cargo and test operations.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines spent an hour on Tuesday reviewing procedures for Starliner’s approach and docking. The duo will be on duty Friday monitoring Starliner during its three-and-a-half hours of automated approach maneuvers before docking at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Lindgren later spent the afternoon participating in a robotics proficiency test before installing seed cartridges and root modules for the xROOTS space botany study. Hines worked on U.S. spacesuit maintenance, partnering with astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), swapping and stowing components planned for return on an upcoming SpaceX cargo mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins finished wearing a headband and vest after 24 hours for the Bio-Monitor experiment that monitors an astronaut’s health without interfering with mobility. Watkins also checked her blood pressure throughout the day for the Vascular Echo study that examines changes in blood vessels and cardiac activity in microgravity.

The station’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos focused on their list of science and maintenance tasks in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov updated software and replaced a laptop computer then explored ways to improve communications between station crew members and mission controllers from around the world. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev joined each other Tuesday morning and serviced exercise gear. The duo then split up to work on broadband communications gear and inventory tools.

Crew-3 Astronauts Splashdown Ending Six-Month Mission

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship lands in the Gulf of Mexico for a nighttime splashdown with four commercial crew astronauts inside.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship returns to Earth in the Gulf of Mexico for a nighttime splashdown with four commercial crew astronauts inside.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer splashed down safely in the SpaceX Dragon Endurance in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, at 12:43 a.m. EDT after 177 days in space.

Teams on the Shannon recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Dragon onto the main deck of Shannon with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to board a plane for Houston.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Dragon Endurance Fires Engines to Return Crew-3 to Earth

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m.

The Dragon Endurance spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer on their return to Earth after a nearly six-month science mission has completed its deorbit burn as expected ahead of splashdown at about 12:43 a.m. EDT in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

Four minutes before splashdown, the drogue parachutes will deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour, and less than a minute later, the main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while the spacecraft is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.

NASA TV coverage available online and via the NASA app will continue until the crew is recovered from the spacecraft.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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NASA TV is Live as Crew-3 Gets Ready for Earth Return

The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check on April 21, 2022.
The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check on April 21, 2022.

Watch the agency’s live coverage as NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft are nearing the final stages of return before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 12:43 a.m. EDT. Weather conditions remain within the splashdown weather criteria and are “Go” at the primary targeted site off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

Here are the upcoming approximate milestones (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 5

11:47 p.m. – Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule.
11:48 p.m. – Trunk jettison
11:53 p.m. – Deorbit burn

FRIDAY, MAY 6

12:01 a.m. – Deorbit burn complete
12:04 a.m. – Nosecone closed
12:27 a.m. – Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
12:39 a.m. – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour.
12:40 a.m. – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
12:43 a.m. – Dragon splashdown


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Crew-3: Dragon Undocks from the International Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m. Credit: NASA TV.

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer inside undocked from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m. EDT to complete a nearly six-month science mission.

The return timeline with approximate times (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 5

11:48 p.m.    Trunk jettison

11:53 p.m.    Deorbit burn

FRIDAY, MAY 6

12:04 p.m.    Nosecone closed

12:43 a.m.    Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Endurance splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-3 astronauts are recovered off the coast of Florida.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission launched Nov. 10 on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station Nov. 11.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Crew-3: Dragon Undocks from the International Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m. Credit: NASA TV.

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer inside undocked from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m. EDT to complete a nearly six-month science mission.

The return timeline with approximate times (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 5

11:48 p.m.    Trunk jettison

11:53 p.m.    Deorbit burn

FRIDAY, MAY 6

12:04 a.m.    Nosecone closed

12:43 a.m.    Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Endurance splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-3 astronauts are recovered off the coast of Florida.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission launched Nov. 10 on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station Nov. 11.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Crew-3: Dragon Hatch Closed, Undocking Coverage Resumes at 12:45 a.m.

 The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is shown after the hatch closed between it and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.
The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is shown after the hatch closed between it and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

At 11:20 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 4, the hatch closed between the Dragon Endurance spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer.

NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 12:45 a.m. Thursday, May 5, for undocking scheduled at 1:05 a.m. and continue coverage through their splashdown off the coast of Florida at about 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

NASA TV Coverage is Live for Dragon Hatch Closure

The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check aboard the International Space Station's Harmony module on April 21, 2022.
The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check aboard the International Space Station’s Harmony module on April 21, 2022.

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV, the NASA app and the agency’s website as hatch closure and undocking preparations are underway for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer are in the process of boarding the Dragon for departure from the International Space Station.

Crew-3 is targeting a return to Earth about 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 1:05 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, to begin the journey home.

Dragon will autonomously undock, depart the space station, and splash down at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Endurance also will return important and time-sensitive research to Earth.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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The Station Changes Command as Crew-3 Prepares to Depart

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev in a traditional Change of Command ceremony today ahead of Crew-3’s departure tonight. Credit: NASA TV.
NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev in a traditional Change of Command ceremony today ahead of Crew-3’s departure tonight. Credit: NASA TV.

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev in a traditional Change of Command ceremony which began at 2:35 p.m. EDT today. Artemyev, a veteran of three spaceflights to the space station, will lead the Expedition 67 crew until the end of summer.

Marshburn and his Crew-3 crewmates Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer have been living aboard the orbital lab since November 11, 2021, and are set to depart tonight. Hatch closure is set for 11:20 p.m. EDT, with undocking following at 1:05 a.m. EDT. The commercial crew quartet is due to splashdown off the coast of Florida  at 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6. Watch live on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the app.

The Crew-3 astronauts worked on final Dragon cargo operations and configuring Dragon for departure, final egress, and hatch closure, as well as transferring emergency hardware from Dragon to the space station prior to departure. The Endurance crew closed out research operations which included transferring and packing frozen samples and ice bricks from the Minus Eighty (Degrees Celsius) Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) into coldbags in preparation for the return to Earth. MELFI provides the space station storage and fast-freezing of life science and biological samples. The Crew-3 astronauts also removed and stowed their Actiwatches, small, lightweight, wrist-worn devices that simultaneously detect body movement and light intensity. They are used to evaluate sleep-wake adaptation and circadian cycle and determine if space travel has an impact on the sleep-wake patterns of crewmembers.

The station’s four newest astronauts, Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Samantha Cristoforetti, had a light duty day performing some life science, lab maintenance, and inventory tasks. The foursome and their three Russian crewmates are due to have an off-duty day following the departure of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

In the station’s Russian segment, Artemyev and Flight Engineers Sergey Korsakov and Denis Matveev performed monthly maintenance checks on laptops and video equipment, as well as physical training, and a robotic piloting experiment.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Meet the Crew-4 Astronauts

The official crew portrait of the SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts representing NASA's Commercial Crew Program. From left are, Pilot Robert Hines, Mission Specialists Samantha Cristoforetti and Jessica Watkins, and Commander Kjell Lindgren. Hines, Watkins, and Lindgren are NASA astronauts and Cristoforetti is an ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut.
The official crew portrait of the SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts representing NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. From left are, Pilot Robert Hines, Mission Specialists Samantha Cristoforetti and Jessica Watkins, and Commander Kjell Lindgren. Hines, Watkins, and Lindgren are NASA astronauts and Cristoforetti is an ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut. Photo credit: NASA

Kjell Lindgren is commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-4 mission. He is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry, and will serve as an Expedition 67 flight engineer aboard the station. This will be Lindgren’s second spaceflight since becoming an astronaut in 2009. In 2015, he spent 141 days aboard the station as an Expedition 44/45 flight engineer. Board certified in emergency medicine, he previously worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston as a flight surgeon supporting space station training and operations and served as a deputy crew surgeon for space shuttle flight STS-130 and Expedition 24. Lindgren was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and spent most of his childhood in England before graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Robert Hines is the pilot of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and second in command for the mission. He is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Onboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 67 flight engineer. This will be his first flight since his selection as an astronaut in 2017. Hines has served more than 22 years in the U.S. Air Force as a test pilot, fighter pilot, and instructor pilot. Before his selection in 2017, he was a research pilot at Johnson.

Jessica Watkins is a mission specialist for Crew-4 and will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. Once aboard the station, she will become a flight engineer for Expedition 67. Watkins grew up in Lafayette, Colorado, and studied geology at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and the University of California, Los Angeles. As a geologist, she studied the surface of Mars and was a science team collaborator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, working on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. She also was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2017, and this will be her first trip to space.

Samantha Cristoforetti will also serve as a mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She will be a flight engineer for Expedition 67. This will be her second trip to space following five months in 2015 as an Expedition 42/43 flight engineer. Born in Milan, Italy, she was a fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force prior to being selected as an ESA astronaut in 2009. In 2019, she served as commander for NASA’s 23rd Extreme Environment Mission Operations mission on a 10-day stay in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station.