Crew Returns to Space Science Day after Starliner Lands

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft descends to Earth underneath parachutes for a landing in New Mexico completing the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft descends to Earth underneath parachutes for a landing in New Mexico completing the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The seven Expedition 67 crew members are resuming their normal schedule of science and maintenance activities following Wednesday’s departure of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. The orbital residents focused on vein scans, robotics, and a host of other space research onboard the International Space Station today.

NASA and Boeing completed its Orbital Flight Test-2 mission on Wednesday. NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines monitored the crew ship’s arrival last week, conducted cargo and test operations inside the vehicle, then closed the hatch on Tuesday before finally seeing Starliner undock from the Harmony module’s forward port at 2:36 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Lindgren started Thursday with a hearing assessment for the Acoustic Diagnostics experiment then setup the Astrobee robotic free-flyers for the Kibo Robot Programming Challenge 3. Hines set up hardware that will measure blood flow in the brain for the Cerebral Autoregulation investigation.

Both astronauts later joined astronauts Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) for vein scans on Thursday. The quartet used the Ultrasound 2 device to scan each other’s neck, shoulder and leg veins. Doctors on the ground monitored the downlinked biomedical scans in real time to gain insight into how the astronaut’s bodies are adapting to microgravity.

Watkins and Cristoforetti began their day collecting their blood and urine samples, spinning them in a centrifuge, and stowing the samples in a science freezer for future analysis. The duo then joined Lindgren in checking out the U.S. spacesuits.

The station’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos also contributed to the array of space research taking place today on the orbiting lab. The trio, including Commander Oleg Artemyev, with Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, took turns exploring ultrasound techniques to improve locating landmarks on Earth for photography. Artemyev also completed a session that monitored his cardiac activity for 24 hours. Matveev assisted Korsakov, attached to a variety of sensors, as he worked out on an exercise cycle for a fitness evaluation.

Starliner Undocks from Station, Heads Toward Earth

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 2:36 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 25.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 2:36 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 25.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 2:36 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 25, completing about 5-days attached to the microgravity laboratory as part of its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2. At undocking, Starliner and the space station were flying over Earth south of Bangkok, Thailand.

Starliner will execute a deorbit burn at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, to begin the final phase of its return to Earth, headed for a parachute-assisted landing about 6:49 p.m. at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. Live coverage for the deorbit burn and landing will begin 5:45 p.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA and Boeing will host a postlanding news conference at 9 p.m. on NASA TV from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with:

  • Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, NASA’s International Space Station Program
  • Suni Williams, NASA astronaut
  • Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, Boeing

Starliner launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on a flight test to the International Space Station at 6:54 p.m. Thursday, May 19, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The uncrewed spacecraft successfully docked to the space station’s Harmony module at 8:28 p.m. Friday, May 20.


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.

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Crew Works Starliner Operations and Studies Space Biology

The Expedition 67 crew poses together for a portrait during dinner time inside the International Space Station's Unity module.
The Expedition 67 crew poses together for a portrait during dinner time inside the International Space Station’s Unity module.

Two Expedition 67 astronauts are unloading cargo delivered inside Boeing’s Starliner crew ship and testing its systems ahead of its departure this week. Meanwhile, the other residents aboard the International Space Station are juggling advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines have been unpacking some of the 500 pounds of NASA cargo delivered aboard Starliner on Friday. The duo has also been testing the commercial crew vehicle’s communications and power systems.

They will turn their attention on Tuesday to readying Starliner for its undocking and return to Earth on Wednesday. Lindgren and Hines will pack Starliner with 600 pounds of return cargo, close the vehicle’s hatch, and monitor its departure set for 2:36 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. It will parachute to a landing in White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 6:49 p.m. (4:49 p.m. Mountain Time) the same day.

Science is always underway on the orbiting lab with the crew exploring a multitude of phenomena to benefit humans living on Earth and in space. Today, NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins attached electrodes to herself and scanned her neck, chest and leg with an Ultrasound device for the Vascular Echo study. The experiment investigates how microgravity affects an astronaut’s arteries and veins with insights possibly improving cardiovascular conditions on Earth.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) worked on complex research hardware and supported a space botany experiment on Monday. Cristoforetti replaced a sensor on the Materials Science Laboratory then swapped components inside the DECLIC device that supports fluid and material physics research. She also refilled water and nutrients in the XROOTS facility that explores growing plants in space using hydroponics and aeroponics.

Over in the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev checked thermal control system pipes then serviced the Elektron oxygen generator. He also joined Flight Engineer Denis Matveev and tested communication systems aboard the ISS Progress 79 cargo craft. Matveev also installed radiation detectors then unpacked cargo from the inside the ISS Progress 80 resupply ship. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on ventilation and orbital systems then set up gear for the future installation of a glovebox facility inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.


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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Station Crew Awaits Starliner Mission on Launch Day

Launch pad spotlights illuminate Boeing's Starliner crew ship atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Launch pad spotlights illuminate Boeing’s Starliner crew ship atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is counting down to a liftoff at 6:54 p.m. EDT today to begin a 24-hour trip to the International Space Station. The Expedition 67 crew focused primarily on human research and cargo operations while also preparing for the OFT-2 mission’s arrival on Friday.

Starliner will launch uncrewed atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will automatically dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday where it will stay for approximately five days of cargo and test operations. NASA TV begins live launch coverage on the NASA app and its website at 6 p.m. today.

On Wednesday, flight controllers notified the space station crew of the possibility of a close pass by orbital debris late Thursday, May 19 and the station executing a debris avoidance maneuver. Additional tracking data received overnight shows there is no longer concern for a close pass and no avoidance maneuver is required.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren spent Thursday afternoon setting up hardware and software that will help monitor the arrival of Boeing’s Starliner crew ship on the OFT-2 mission. Earlier, he conducted a pair of tests measuring his cognition and hearing levels to understand microgravity’s long-term effects on humans.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins joined ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti conducting cargo operations inside the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter. The commercial cargo craft arrived at the station on Feb. 21 delivering 8,300 pounds of experiments and hardware. Cygnus will depart the station in mid-June loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery, but safe destruction above the south Pacific Ocean.

Hines and Watkins started the day collecting and stowing their blood samples for later analysis. Hines later serviced a variety of life support and research hardware. Watkins monitored her glucose level to understand the cardiovascular risk of living and working in space. Cristoforetti collected air samples to demonstrate analyzing trace atmospheric contaminants using the ANITA-2 (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2) device.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev packed the docked ISS Progress 79 crew ship with obsolete gear and checked its systems ahead of its departure in early June. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov worked on Russian life support gear and panel inspections inside the Zvezda service module.


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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Starliner Launching Thursday, Crew Works Science and Medical Training

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing’s Starliner crew ship sits atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance counting down to its launch from Florida to the International Space Station on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew concentrated on medical training, exercise systems maintenance, and a variety of advanced space science on Wednesday.

Two NASA astronauts continued preparing for the arrival of Boeing’s uncrewed Starliner spaceship on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines reviewed Starliner systems and approach and rendezvous procedures ahead of the spacecraft’s automated docking to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday. The uncrewed spacecraft is targeted to launch at 6:54 p.m. on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The duo will be on duty Friday monitoring Starliner during its three-and-a-half hours of automated approach maneuvers.

Lindgren started his day servicing the advanced resistive exercise device which mimics free weight exercises in microgravity. Hines collected and stowed his urine samples in a science freezer for later analysis to understand the long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body.

Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) worked on a variety of orbital plumbing tasks during Wednesday morning. Watkins also wrapped up a blood pressure measurement session and prepared the health data for downlinking to doctors on Earth. Cristoforetti trained on a computer to increase her proficiency when commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The quartet also joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov, for a medical emergency training session on Wednesday. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation, reviewed medical hardware, and discussed coordination of care in the event of an emergency on the space station.

Artemyev, the commander of the orbiting lab, also tested using ultrasound sensors for more accurate Earth photography sessions. The veteran cosmonaut then studied ways to improve international coordination between space crews and mission controllers. Matveev joined Artemyev participating in the photography tests and the crew coordination study. Korsakov inventoried and stowed medical gear and also inspected and photographed windows in the Zvezda service module.


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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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.