The International Space Station is operating at full capacity as the six-member Expedition 42 crew ramps up new science experiments by setting up research hardware.
Commander Barry Wilmore partnered up with new Flight Engineer Terry Virts in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module setting up a nanosatellite deployer known as Cyclops. Wilmore then moved on to science freezer maintenance while Virts worked on the Aniso Tubule botany study and measured air velocity in Kibo.
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on her first space mission set up gear for the Blind and Imagined experiment that observes visual and sensory changes in crew members on long-duration space missions. The three cosmonauts worked on a variety of Russian science experiments including the study of the cardiovascular system, radiation exposure in the station and plasma research.
The International Space Station’s population stands at six after three new crew members arrived Sunday night. After a six hour ride that began at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineers Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti docked to the Rassvet module beginning a 5-1/2 month stay at the orbital laboratory.
Monday was a day of rest for all six Expedition 42 crew members. However, it was back to work Tuesday as the crew was scattered around the station to transfer cargo from the new Soyuz, conduct science and work maintenance.
Cristoforetti, Europe’s newest station astronaut, was in the Columbus laboratory module getting the European Physiology Module ready for upcoming installation work. Virts, worked inside Japan’s Kibo lab, getting a small satellite deployer ready for installation. Shkaplerov spent time on crew orientation and cargo transfers.
Commander Barry Wilmore reviewed the new 3-D Printer payload. Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev was conducting diagnostic work inside the Zarya cargo module. Russia’s first female cosmonaut on the station, Elena Serova, worked on various maintenance tasks throughout the Russian segment.
The six International Space Station crew members, in orbit 260 miles above Earth, will enjoy a somewhat traditional Thanksgiving dinner but with a few tweaks.
While most Americans are roasting turkeys and emptying cranberry sauce out of cans, the station crew will be cutting open bags of freeze-dried, irradiated and thermostabilized foods.
Their menu will include traditional holiday fare with a space-food flair — irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized candied yams and freeze-dried green beans and mushrooms. The meal also will feature NASA’s own freeze-dried cornbread dressing — just add water. Dessert features thermostabilized cherry-blueberry cobbler.
The space station Expedition 42 crew is made up of Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA, Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA, Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of Russia’s Roscosmos and Italian Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency.
Station food generally resembles that, for the most part, flown in space since the inception of the Space Shuttle Program some 30 years ago. NASA is researching and developing ways to extend the shelf-life of food needed for deep space missions, such as those to Mars, and to minimize the volume of packaging. The agency also is using the International Space Station as a laboratory to learn how to grow plants, such as lettuce, in space.
Future crew members spending Thanksgiving in space may have one traditional staple, fresh sweet potatoes. The sweet potato may be one of the crops chosen for crews to grow on deep space missions. It provides an important energy source — carbohydrate — as well as beta-carotene.
The sweet potato is able to adapt to a controlled environment with artificial sunlight. It is highly adaptable to a variety of vine-training architectures. The main shoot tip, or the end of the main vine, is the only really sensitive part. It sends hormones throughout the plant that stimulate root development, which is important since it is the roots that become the sweet potatoes. The side shoots, if picked when young, are tender and can be eaten in salads, improving the plant’s usefulness.
Scientists believe most food items in the transit food system on future deep space missions will resemble those used on the station. Advanced processing and packaging methods will be needed to provide extended shelf lives and improved nutrition for the longer missions. Stored food and salad crops will be used in the early stages of planetary stays until permanent living bases are constructed.
NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency joined their Expedition 42 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at midnight EST. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.
Expedition 42 will continue to take advantage of the orbital lab’s unique microgravity environment and expand the scope of research. The crew will perform experiments that cover human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development and Earth observations as well as engage in educational activities. They are scheduled to greet a host of cargo vehicles during their mission, including a number of U.S. commercial resupply flights, two Russian Progress resupply missions and the departure of the final European ATV cargo spacecraft. The crew will conduct up to three U.S. spacewalks.
Wilmore, Samoukutyaev and Serova will return home in March 2015. At that time Virts will become commander for Expedition 43. Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti will return to Earth in May 2015.
To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Expedition 42 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISS, #Exp42 and #Soyuz. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.
New Expedition 42 crew members Anton Shkaplerov, Terry Virts and are fixing to open the hatches to the International Space Station. Watch NASA TV coverage of their crew greeting with current station residents Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova…. https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
The Soyuz TMA-15M vehicle docked to the International Space Station at 9:49 p.m. EST, above the Pacific Ocean, approaching the coast of Ecuador.
Aboard the space station, Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will welcome Soyuz crew members Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened.
Aboard their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft, Terry Virts, Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti are scheduled to dock at 9:53 p.m. EST to the International Space Station’s Rassvet module. NASA Television coverage of the docking will begin at 9:15 p.m. NASA TV will resume at 11 p.m. to cover hatch opening between the two spacecraft and the welcome ceremony.
The Soyuz crew will join Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency. Wilmore, Samoukutyaev and Serova have lived aboard the space station since September.
Watch live starting at 9:15 p.m. on NASA TV: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
The Soyuz TMA-15M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:01 p.m. EST (3:01 a.m. on Nov. 24 Baikonur time). Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency now are safely in orbit.
Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti will dock with the station’s Rassvet module at 9:53 p.m. Welcoming them aboard will be the current station residents, Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos. Wilmore, Samoukutyaev and Serova arrived at the space station in September aboard their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft and will remain aboard until March 2015.
Some of the cargo flown aboard this Soyuz will be used in research investigations that are either ongoing or planned aboard the International Space Station. Items such as questionnaires will be delivered to obtain in-flight data about crew member characteristics, such as day-to-day changes in health or incidence of pain or pressure in microgravity. One such investigation is Space Headaches which uses questionnaires to collect information about the prevalence and characteristics of crew members’ headaches in microgravity. This information is used to develop future countermeasures for headaches often caused by intracranial pressure change.
Researchers will also use biological sample kits delivered by the Soyuz spacecraft to obtain samples of blood, saliva or urine. The ongoing collection of biological samples from crew members help scientists determine if immune system impairment caused by spaceflight increases the possibility for infection or poses a significant health risk during life aboard the space station.
The Russian Soyuz spacecraft that will carry three additional crew members to the International Space Station stands ready for its 4:01 p.m. EST liftoff. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3 p.m.
Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency will launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a 4:01 p.m. EST (3:01 a.m. on Nov. 24 Baikonur time) liftoff. NASA TV will broadcast launch coverage live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv beginning at 3 p.m.
Below is the crew’s launch timeline, from wakeup to docking.
Sunday, Nov. 23
6:10 a.m. Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel
9:25 a.m. Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
10:10 a.m. Crew arrives at Site 254
10:16 a.m. Batteries installed in booster
10:55 a.m. Crew suit up
11:01 a.m. Tanking begins
11:55 a.m. Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
11:56 a.m. Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
12:56 p.m. First and second stage Oxygen fueling complete
12:15 p.m. Crew walkout and readiness report to the State Commission
1:20 p.m. Crew departs for launch pad (Site 31)
1:30 p.m. Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 31)
1:35 p.m. Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
2:26 p.m. Descent module hardware tested
2:41 p.m. Hatch closed; leak checks begin 3:00 p.m. NASA TV: LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
3:01 p.m. Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
3:16 p.m. Pad service structure components lowered
3:17 p.m. Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
3:24 p.m. Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
3:27 p.m. Emergency escape system armed
3:46 p.m. Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
3:51 p.m. Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
3:54 p.m. Pre-launch operations complete
3:55 p.m. Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
3:56 p.m. Commander’s controls activated
3:57 p.m. Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
3:58:14 p.m. Propellant drainback
3:58:29 p.m. Booster propellant tank pressurization
3:59:10 p.m. ISS flies directly over Baikonur Cosmodrome
3:59:44 p.m. Ground propellant feed terminated
4:00:14 p.m. Vehicle to internal power
4:00:39 p.m. First umbilical tower separates, Auto sequence start
4:00:44 p.m. Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
4:00:59 p.m. Second umbilical tower separates
4:01:02 p.m. Launch command issued, Engine Start Sequence Begins
4:01:04 p.m. Engine turbopumps at flight speed
4:01:09 p.m. Engines at maximum thrust 4:01:14 p.m. LAUNCH OF SOYUZ TMA-15M TO THE ISS
4:09 p.m. Third Stage Shutdown; Orbital Insertion 9:15 p.m. NASA TV: DOCKING COVERAGE BEGINS
9:30 p.m. Flyaround mode start
9:38 p.m. Station-keeping start
9:42 p.m. Final Approach start 9:53 p.m. DOCKING OF SOYUZ TMA-15M TO THE ISS
10:07 p.m. Soyuz & station hooks closed 11 p.m. NASA TV: HATCH OPENING COVERAGE BEGINS
11:30 p.m. Hatches between Soyuz and station open
To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Expedition 40 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISS, #Exp42 and #Soyuz. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.