Astronauts Study how Space Affects Immune System, Exercise

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module with the Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants. Credits: NASA
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module with the Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants. Credits: NASA

Human Research and space physics topped the science schedule aboard the International Space Station today. The seven-member Expedition 65 crew also spent Thursday servicing a variety of life support gear.

The new Celestial Immunity study underway aboard the orbiting lab this week is looking at how the human immune system is affected by long-term weightlessness. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei started the day readying blood cell samples for the human research experiment inside the Life Science Glovebox (LSG). In the afternoon, NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur thawed the samples, placed them in a centrifuge, and inoculated them inside the LSG located in the Kibo laboratory module.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide joined Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet for a long-running space workout study today. The duo took turns attaching sensors to themselves then pedaling on an exercise cycle. The exercise study measures an astronaut’s aerobic capacity and the effort required to perform strenuous activities such as spacewalks.

A space physics experiment is looking at the production of semiconductor crystals aboard the orbiting lab. Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos swapped hardware for the study taking place inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Results may improve the quality of semiconductors to benefit industries on Earth.

Maintenance is key to ensuring life support systems and science hardware stay in tip-top shape on the station. The crew is constantly monitoring and servicing lab hardware with support from mission controllers on the ground.

Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov worked throughout Thursday checking out fans and navigation hardware in the station’s Russian segment. Vande Hei, McArthur, and Pesquet partnered together and replaced components in the U.S. segment’s oxygen generation system throughout the day.

Life Science, Cargo Packing Midweek Aboard Orbital Lab

SpaceX Crew-2 Mission Specialists and Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide pose for a portrait together.
SpaceX Crew-2 Mission Specialists and Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide pose for a portrait together.

Life science was the main science topic aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The Expedition 65 crew is also packing a U.S. cargo ship and maintaining orbital lab systems today.

Four astronauts, who rode to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, kicked off the day with the first health checkup of their expedition today. NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet spent a few moments in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module undergoing temperature, blood pressure and ear checks as part of periodic health evaluations.

Kimbrough and Hoshide then took turns loading the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman with trash and old gear before its departure in a few weeks. Kimbrough spent the rest of the afternoon setting up hardware inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for a semiconductor crystal experiment. Hoshide serviced fluid systems and cleaned electrical hardware.

McArthur charged computer tablets delivered aboard Endeavour and organized cargo in the Tranquility module. Pesquet replaced components on the Destiny lab’s exercise cycle ahead of a space workout study planned on Thursday.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei collected donor samples delivered aboard Endeavour and transferred to the station’s science freezers for the new Celestial Immunity study. The experiment seeks to understand how weightlessness affects the immune system, potentially impacting the development of new vaccines and medicines.

The two cosmonauts aboard the station, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, had hearing tests today aboard the orbiting lab. The duo then spent most of the day on a variety of Russian computer and electrical maintenance tasks. Novitskiy also spent a few moments on a study investigating how international space crews get along and work together. Dubrov gathered Russian discarded items for disposal on the U.S. Cygnus resupply ship.

Crew-1 Takes Questions Thursday, Station Busy with Human Research

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, with four astronauts aboard, is pictured from the station reentering Earth's atmosphere on May 2, 2021.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, with four astronauts aboard, is pictured from the station reentering Earth’s atmosphere on May 2, 2021.

The SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are back in Houston after splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday completing a 168-day mission. The quartet will have a news conference on NASA TV then participate in a Facebook Live event on Thursday.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Victor Glover with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will talk to reporters and answer social media questions on Thursday. The NASA TV news conference starts at 3:45 p.m. EDT. The Facebook Live event will begin at 4:35 p.m. and last 20 minutes.

Back in space, seven Expedition 65 crew members will be orbiting Earth on the International Space Station until October. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts are participating in a variety of research today to understand how living in space affects the human body.

Microbes can change characteristics in microgravity and scientists are testing anti-microbial coatings on the station. Today, an astronaut touched a sample with the coating representing a high-touch surface. The sample was stowed in a science freezer and will be returned later to Earth for analysis. Results could mitigate health issues on spacecraft and planetary surfaces.

The Celestial Immunity study taking place today on the orbiting lab is exploring how the immune system adapts to weightlessness. The astronauts look at human blood cells for age-associated effects giving scientists insights into the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases.

Some of the crewmates also had ultrasound scans today to understand how long-term microgravity affects their muscle’s biochemical properties such as tone, stiffness and elasticity. Samples, including blood, saliva and urine, were also collected and stowed for the Standard Measures and Repository biology studies.

Crew Staying in Space Until October for Research Mission

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur is at the robotics workstation participating in Canadarm2 robotic arm training.
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur is at the robotics workstation participating in Canadarm2 robotic arm training.

The seven-member Expedition 65 crew aboard the International Space Station will be orbiting Earth until October after watching the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts depart over the weekend. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts staying behind prepared for the next SpaceX Cargo mission and researched a variety of space phenomena today.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting June 3 for the launch of the next Cargo Dragon mission to resupply the orbital lab. NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough and station Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency began getting the station ready for the upcoming space shipment. The duo organized the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the Kibo laboratory module today to make room for the new cargo.

Monday’s science activities ran the gamut of robotics, human research and drug development. Research on the orbiting lab can improve the health of humans on and off the Earth, benefit a range of industries, and advance the commercialization of space.

The Astrobee robotic assistants were flying around inside Kibo testing automated rendezvous techniques as Kimbrough monitored the activities. Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency wore a virtual reality headset and reached for virtual objects to help scientists understand how weightlessness affects the central nervous system.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur cleaned up the Microgravity Science Glovebox after closing out the Transparent Alloys physics study. Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA checked out emergency hardware then set up gear for an immune system study that may promote the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases.

Roscosmos cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy worked on inventory updates and cargo transfers from the ISS Progress 77 resupply ship. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov installed hardware for a Russian experiment that monitors the Earth’s atmosphere in ultraviolet light.

Crew-1 Makes Nighttime Splashdown, Ends Mission

A night-vision camera pictures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV
A night-vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV

Astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) splashed down safely in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 a.m. EDT after 168 days in space. The return marks the end of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed in partnership between NASA and SpaceX as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Teams on the Go Navigator recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Crew 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 Crew Dragon onto the main deck of Go Navigator 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 Pensacola to board a plane for Houston.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

Hopkins has now spent a total of 335 days in space during two spaceflights; he conducted three spacewalks during this mission for a total of five in his career. It was Glover’s first spaceflight, during which he conducted four spacewalks during the 168 days. It was Walker’s second spaceflight, bringing her total time in space to 331 days. Noguchi conducted one spacewalk, for a total of four spacewalks during his three total spaceflights; he has spent a total of 345 days in space.

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

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

Crew Dragon Fires Braking Engines, Begins Earth Descent

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on their return to Earth after a six-month science mission has completed its deorbit burn as expected ahead of splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

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 @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew-1 Astronauts in Final Hour Before Splashdown

The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Watch NASA’s live coverage as astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft are about one hour away from splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:57 a.m. EDT. Weather conditions remain within the splashdown weather criteria and are “Go” at the primary targeted site off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

Here are the upcoming milestones (all times Eastern):

All times approximate:

  • 1:57 a.m. – Crew Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Crew Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule.
  • 1:58 a.m. – Trunk separation
  • 2:03 a.m. – Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:19 a.m. – Deorbit burn complete
  • 2:22 a.m. – Nosecone closed
  • 2:40 a.m. – Crew Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
  • 2:52 a.m. – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour.
  • 2:53 p.m. – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
  • 2:57 p.m. – Splashdown

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 @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew-1 Undocks From Station and Heads for Splashdown

May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.
May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft with astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) inside undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 8:35 p.m. EDT to complete a six-month science mission.

Two very small engine burns separated Crew Dragon from the station, and the spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to Earth.

Once flying free, Crew Dragon Resilience will autonomously execute four departure burns to move the spaceship away from the space station and begin the flight home.

The return timeline with approximate times in EDT is:

May 1

  • 8:35 p.m.             Departure burn 0
  • 8:40 p.m.             Departure burn 1
  • 9:28 p.m.             Departure burn 2
  • 10:14 p.m.           Departure burn 3

May 2

  • 1:58 a.m.             Trunk jettison
  • 2:03 a.m.             Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:57 a.m.             Crew Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Resilience splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-1 astronauts are recovered from the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

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 @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch NASA TV Now as Crew-1 Prepares for Departure and Splashdown

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV and the agency’s website as undocking preparations continue for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) from the International Space Station.

After the Crew-1 astronauts closed the Dragon hatch at 6:26 p.m. EDT, Expedition 65 astronauts closed the hatch of the orbital laboratory. With Crew-1 astronauts seated inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft, teams are conducting standard leak checks and depressurization of the space between the spacecraft, called the vestibule, in preparation for its undocking and return to Earth.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:35 p.m. for Crew Dragon to autonomously undock from the space station, with its four international crew members aboard the spacecraft, and return to Earth. After hooks holding Crew Dragon in place retract, two very small engine burns at 8:30 p.m. and 8:32 p.m. will fire to separate the spacecraft from the station.

Conditions remain “Go” at the primary targeted site, off the coast of Panama City, Florida, for splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico about 2:57 a.m. on Sunday, May 2.

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 @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Hatch Closed, Undocks Soon on NASA TV

Currently, five spaceships are attached to the space station including two SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicles, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia's 77 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The Crew-1 Endeavour spaceship will undock today.
Currently, five spaceships are attached to the space station including two SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicles, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia’s 77 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The Crew-1 Endeavour spaceship will undock today.

At 6:26p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 8:15 p.m. for undocking scheduled at 8:35 p.m. and continue coverage through their splashdown off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at about 2:57 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 2 and their recovery from the spacecraft.

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 @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.