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.

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

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.

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

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.

Station Gears up for U.S. Crew and Cargo Spaceships

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolls out to the launch pad on Monday at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolls out to the launch pad on Monday at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is targeted for launch on Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. EDT atop the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Meteorologists predict a 60% chance of favorable weather at the launch pad on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

For an on-time launch, Starliner would reach the International Space Station one day later and dock to the Harmony module’s forward-port at 1:37 p.m. All events will be broadcast live on NASA TV.

All is well aboard the orbiting lab today as all seven Expedition 65 crew members focus on physics research, spacesuit maintenance and station upkeep. The orbital residents are also gearing up for the next U.S. cargo mission to resupply the station.

Flight Engineers Megan McArthur joined Thomas Pesquet for several runs of the InSpace-4 nanoparticle study throughout Monday. The duo from NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) took turns working inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the space-manufacturing investigation. InSpace-4 seeks to develop advanced materials in microgravity to improve and strengthen spacecraft and Earthbound systems.

Both astronauts also trained on a computer for the rendezvous and capture of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter planned for Aug. 12 at 6:10 a.m. NASA TV will cover Cygnus’ station arrival including its launch scheduled on Aug. 10 at 5:56 p.m.

Pesquet moved on and assisted Commander Akihiko Hoshide inside the Quest airlock and serviced a pair U.S. spacesuits ahead of an upcoming spacewalk for more roll-out solar array work. NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei worked on a variety of science, communications hardware and life support throughout Monday.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov have been unpacking and configuring new hardware delivered aboard Nauka after it docked to the Zvezda service module’s Earth-facing port last week. Novitskiy also activated a long-running Russian Earth observation experiment while Dubrov photographed the condition of Zvezda’s treadmill and downlinked the files.