Station Visitors Near Launch as Crew Stays Busy with Research

The Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft stands at the launch pad on a foggy day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos
The Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft stands at the launch pad on a foggy day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The Expedition 66 crew is getting ready to welcome three new visitors to the International Space Station on Wednesday. In the meantime, the seven orbital residents have started the work week on human research, space physics, and artificial intelligence.

In Kazakhstan, the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship has rolled out from its processing facility and is now standing vertical at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It will blast off on Wednesday at 2:38 a.m. EST (12:38 pm Kazakh time) carrying Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano to the orbiting lab. Just over six hours later, the veteran Roscosmos cosmonaut and the two Japanese space visitors will dock to the Poisk module beginning an 11-day stay at the space station. Live NASA TV coverage of the launch begins Wednesday at 2 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

Back in space, artery scans, eye checks and a hearing test filled a portion of the crew day. The astronauts are also continuing to clean up following last week’s spacewalk.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn spent Monday morning attaching electrodes to his right leg and scanning his femoral artery using an ultrasound scan device. Ground doctors monitored the activities in real-time to understand the accelerated aging characteristics that appear in an astronaut’s arteries.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer checked the eyes of NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari using medical imaging gear. NASA astronaut Kayla Barron had a hearing assessment before joining Chari collecting and stowing blood and saliva samples for later analysis.

Barron also partnered with Marshburn stowing the tools they used to replace a failed antenna system during a six-hour and 32-minute spacewalk last week. Chari also helped out cleaning the spacesuit’s cooling loops that keep spacewalkers comfortable in the extreme environment of microgravity.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei spent the day swapping samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory to explore ways microgravity can improve the development of new and existing materials. Maurer set up the CIMON hardware to study how artificial intelligence could provide future support to astronauts.

Station cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov readied the Poisk module for Wednesday’s docking of the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship. The station duo also familiarized themselves with the visiting crew’s timeline and prepared the Russian segment for the new guests.

Station Separates from Debris After Orbital Maneuver

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.
The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.

At 1:58 a.m. CST, 2:58 a.m. EST this morning, the Russian Progress 79, attached to the space station, fired its thrusters for 2 minutes and 41 seconds to slightly lower the station’s orbit. This maneuver provided a healthy margin of separation from a fragment of Pegasus rocket debris (object 39915) that ballistics specialists have been tracking. The Expedition 66 crew aboard the station is not in any additional danger.

The Pre-determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver, or PDAM, was coordinated between NASA flight controllers, Russian ballistics officials, and the station’s other international partners.

The station’s orbit has been lowered by 3/10 of a mile at apogee and 4/10 of a mile at perigee. The current orbit is 262.6 x 258.8 statute miles.

Object 39915 was a piece of debris generated during the breakup of object 23106 (Pegasus R/B). The launch occurred on May 19, 1994, and the breakup of the rocket’s upper stage occurred on June 3, 1996. Locate more information about how NASA manages the risk of orbital debris at: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/orbital_debris.html


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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Flight Controllers Assessing Debris Risk to Station

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021.
The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021.

Flight controllers and orbital debris experts in Houston are assessing the potential risk of a piece of orbital debris from a Pegasus rocket that may pass close to the International Space Station early Friday morning. Mission Control is working with NASA’s international partners to prepare for a possible debris avoidance maneuver. The closest pass is expected about 5:30 a.m. EST Friday, and the maneuver would take place about 3 a.m. if needed. The Expedition 66 crew aboard the station is not in any additional danger. Object 39915 was a piece of debris generated during the breakup of object 23106 (Pegasus R/B). The launch occurred on May 19, 1994, and the breakup of the rocket’s upper stage occurred on June 3, 1996.

Locate more information about how NASA manages the risk of orbital debris at: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/orbital_debris.html


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 Astronauts Replace Antenna System Ending Spacewalk

NASA spacewalker Thomas Marshburn rides the Canadarm2 robotic arm to the worksite to replace a station antenna system.
NASA spacewalker Thomas Marshburn (upper right) rides the Canadarm2 robotic arm to the worksite to replace a station antenna system.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron concluded the first Expedition 66 spacewalk at 12:47 p.m. EST, after 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Marshburn and Barron successfully installed an S-band Antenna Subassembly (SASA) on the Port-1 truss structure and stowed the failed antenna. Additionally, the pair completed get-ahead tasks on the Port-4 truss structure, including resetting the torque on a set of bolts.

This was the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, the first for Barron, and the 13th spacewalk at the International Space Station this year. Marshburn has now spent a total of 31 hours and one minute spacewalking, and Barron’s spacewalking time is now 6 hours and 32 minutes. Space station crew members have now spent a total of 64 days, 12 hours, and 26 minutes working outside the station conducting 245 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

Earlier this month, the International Space Station surpassed its 21-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. During that time, 249 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory, which has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.


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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NASA Astronauts Begin Spacewalk to Replace Antenna System

Spacewalkers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.
Spacewalkers (from left) Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are reviewing the procedures they will use during Thursday’s spacewalk. The duo will exit the International Space Station after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:15 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk. photographed the condition of electronics gear that supports commercial spaceflight operations. Maurer checked tested electrical hardware and switches inside the Columbus 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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Astronauts Getting Ready for Spacewalk Live on NASA TV

Spacewalkers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.
Spacewalkers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 66 are preparing to go outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7:10 a.m. EST and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in their spacesuits in the airlock in preparation to exit the space station and begin today’s activities that will focus on replacing a faulty antenna system. NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Mark Vande Hei are assisting Marshburn and Barron in preparations before they exit the station.

Marshburn and Barron will work at the Port 1 (P1) truss structure, where the antenna is mounted. The antenna recently lost its ability to send signals to Earth via NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. Although its degradation has had limited impact on station operations, mission managers decided to install a new antenna to ensure communications redundancy. The space station has additional low-rate S-band systems, as well as the high-rate KU-band communications system that relays video.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Vincent LaCourt with support from Art Thomason as the lead spacewalk officer and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan acting as the capsule communicator, or CAPCOM, to the crew.


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 Preps for Thursday Spacewalk During Station Upkeep, Research

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.
The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are reviewing the procedures they will use during Thursday’s spacewalk. The duo will exit the International Space Station after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:10 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk.

Marshburn and Barron are getting ready to replace a faulty antenna system outside on the orbiting lab’s Port-1 truss structure. Live NASA TV coverage of the spacewalk begins Thursday at 5:30 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

The pair were joined by fellow flight engineers Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer, including spacewalk specialists on the ground, for a spacewalk procedures conference on Wednesday. Vande Hei and Chari from NASA will help Marshburn and Barron in and out of their spacesuits as well as monitor the pair during the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. Maurer from ESA (European Space agency) will be commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvering Marshburn and gear during the antenna swap work.

While the two spacewalkers gear up for Thursday’s excursion, the station’s other three astronauts and two cosmonauts still had time for electronics and communications servicing while conducting microgravity research.

Vande Hei replaced a failed global positioning system receiver as Chari photographed the condition of electronics gear that supports commercial spaceflight operations. Maurer checked tested electrical hardware and switches inside the Columbus laboratory module.

In the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov studied how stress during and after a space mission affects the immune system. Station Commander Anton Shkaplerov worked on Russian video equipment and began setting up additional crew quarters for an upcoming Soyuz crew ship mission.


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 Spacewalk Now Planned for Thursday

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday, Dec. 2.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday, Dec. 2.

After receiving additional information about a late notification debris event on Monday, NASA determined the orbit of the debris does not pose a risk to a scheduled spacewalk by Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron or to International Space Station operations. Delaying the spacewalk provided an opportunity for NASA to evaluate the risk from the debris notification. The spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system on the station’s truss structure is now planned for Thursday, Dec. 2.

NASA Teams Delay Spacewalk After Debris Notification

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were slated to perform a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were slated to perform a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system.

The evening of Monday, Nov. 29, NASA received a debris notification for the International Space Station. Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the spacewalk planned for Tuesday, Nov. 30 until more information is available. The space station schedule and operations are able to easily accommodate the delay of the spacewalk. The latest information and future spacewalk dates will be shared on https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation.


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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NASA TV Covers Station Spacewalk Live on Tuesday

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will go on a spacewalk on Tuesday for station maintenance work.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will go on a spacewalk on Tuesday for station maintenance work.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Tuesday for a spacewalk that will focus on replacing an S-band Antenna Subassembly (SASA) with a spare already available on the station’s truss structure.

Live coverage of the spacewalk will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning Nov. 30 at 5:30 a.m. EST, with the crew members scheduled to set their spacesuits to battery power about 7:10 a.m., signifying the start of their spacewalk.

Marshburn and Barron will work at the Port 1 (P1) truss structure, where the antenna is mounted. The antenna recently lost its ability to send signals to Earth via NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. Although its degradation has had limited impact on station operations, mission managers decided to install a new antenna to ensure communications redundancy. The space station has additional low-rate S-band systems, as well as the high-rate KU-band communications system that relays video.

During the planned six-and-a-half hour spacewalk, Marshburn will position himself at the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm, working in tandem with Barron. Astronaut Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) will control the robotic arm from inside the space station.

This will be the 245th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Marshburn will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), with red stripes on his spacesuit, while Barron will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), with an unmarked suit.

This will be the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, the first spacewalk for Barron, and the 13th spacewalk on the space station this year. The pair arrived for a six-month science mission at the space station Nov. 11 with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance.


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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