Monthly Archives: May 2015

SpaceX Dragon Set For Thursday Departure

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SpaceX Dragon CRS-6

ISS043E193779 (05/14/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21.

The Expedition 43 crew completed preparations on Wednesday to send SpaceX’s Dragon cargo vehicle back to Earth.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts transferred samples from two of the station’s Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS, or MELFI, freezers for return on Dragon. These included samples from the Cell Shape and Expression, CASIS PCG-3, Nematode Muscles experiments along with human research samples.

After final cargo loading was completed, the crew closed the hatch to Dragon and began preparing it for release tomorrow. Dragon has been grappled by the station’s robotic arm and is set to be released on Thursday, May 21 at 7:04 a.m. EDT.

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Crew Gets a Breather Before SpaceX Departure

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SpaceX Dragon CRS-6

ISS043E190604 (05/13/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21.

The USOS crewmembers worked a reduced day today as they prepare to sleep shift in preparation for SpaceX-6 departure on Thursday.

The crew performed a checkout of the Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS) UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) that the crew will use to communicate with the Dragon capsule while it is flying free in the vicinity of the station. They also continued loading the final cargo items onto Dragon which will return about 3,100 pounds of experiment samples and other hardware.

One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko took samples for the Fluid Shifts experiment, an investigation into the suspected cause of astronaut vision changes while in microgravity. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also performed eye scans on NASA astronaut Terry Virts for an astronaut vision study known as Ocular Health which tests microgravity-induced visual impairment, as well as changes believed to arise from elevated intracranial pressure, to characterize how living in microgravity can affect the visual, vascular and central nervous systems. The investigation also measures how long it takes for crew members to return to normal after they return to Earth.

Station Orbit Boosted Sunday Night; Eye Science on Monday

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Progress 58 Docking

iss042e274677 (02/17/2015) – The Russian Progress 58 cargo craft pictured shortly before docking to the aft end of the Zvezda service module on the International Space Station.

A reboost of the International Space Station using the Russian Progress 58 cargo craft was completed successfully on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CDT. A previous attempt on Friday evening was aborted one second into the burn automatically by the Progress vehicle. Russian flight controllers identified an issue with one of the eight thrusters on the spacecraft that was disabled for Sunday’s backup attempt.

The burn lasted 32 minutes and 3 seconds and began the process of setting up the correct phasing for the early June landing of three members of the Expedition 43 crew while providing the proper trajectory for Thursday’s return of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for its parachute-assisted landing in the Pacific. The reboost raised the station’s altitude by 1.2 statute miles at apogee and 3 miles at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 252.2 x 247.1 statute miles.

The six-member Expedition 43 crew started its work week with medical science. The crew practiced using a tonometer on an eye simulator with help from doctors on the ground. Similarly, One-Year crew member Scott Kelly explored how microgravity shifts fluids to the upper body impacting a crew member’s vision and eye structure.

Station to Raise Orbit before June Expedition 43 Undocking

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Astronaut Terry Virts and Scott Kelly

Astronaut Terry Virts and Scott Kelly were inside the Quest airlock Friday morning talking to reporters from The Weather Channel and Time Magazine . Credit: NASA TV

The six-member Expedition 43 crew ends its work week with a wide variety of science exploring life in space benefiting both crews in space and humans on Earth. Meanwhile, one space freighter is preparing to fire its thrusters to lift the station’s orbit as another is being packed and readied for splashdown.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko participated in the Fine Motor Skills experiment which monitors different phases of a crew member’s microgravity adaptation and recovery back on Earth. Commander Terry Virts took samples of air and surface microbes for the Microbial Observatory-1 study which will be analyzed by scientists on the ground.

Samantha Cristoforetti studied the physics of where fluids and gases meet in Japan’s Kibo lab module. Flight Engineer Gennady Padalka worked on video gear and tested magnetometers in the station’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov studied chemical reactions in the Earth’s atmosphere, checked Russian docking systems and photographed windows in the Pirs and Poisk modules.

The ISS Progress 58 resupply ship docked to the Zvezda service module will fire its engines Friday night. The orbital boost will place the International Space Station at the correct altitude for the undocking of Expedition 43 in early June. The SpaceX Dragon loaded with science and gear will be released from the grips of the Canadarm2 May 21 at 7:05 a.m. EDT for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later.

Visiting Vehicle Activities and Maintenance Keep Crew Busy

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Astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts

ISS043E181459 (05/07/2015) — NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Terry Virts (right) work on a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) inside the station’s Japanese Experiment Module.

Expedition 43 is packing the SpaceX Dragon space freighter readying the vehicle for its return home and splashdown May 21. The docked ISS Progress 58 resupply ship will fire its thrusters Friday night placing the International Space Station at the correct orbit for next month’s Soyuz undocking.

The six-member crew also worked a variety of onboard maintenance ensuring crew safety and the upkeep of station hardware. One-Year crew member Scott Kelly worked on science gear in Japan’s Kibo lab module. Commander Terry Virts worked on replacing a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly blower fan. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti routed cables and configured valves to prepare the Permanent Multipurpose Module for its relocation later this month.

On the Russian side of the orbital lab, Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov photographed the condition of the Zvezda service module windows. Flight Engineer Gennady Padalka partnered up with One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko to study acoustic techniques for immediately locating micrometeoroid impacts on the station’s exterior. The trio also continued the maintenance of the Russian station systems.

The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is scheduled for early June. NASA and its international partners set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) findings on the loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact date has not yet been established and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Landing Delayed, Life Science and Dragon Packing for Expedition 43

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Samantha Cristoforetti

ISS043E160082 (05/03/2015) — ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti enjoys her first drink from the new ISSpresso machine. The espresso device allows crews to make tea, coffee, broth, or other hot beverages they might enjoy.

The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is scheduled for early June. NASA and its international partners set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) findings on the loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact date has not yet been established and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Full Release

The six-member Expedition 43 crew worked Tuesday on a wide variety of tasks. The International Space Station residents explored life sciences, trained for a robotics experiment, conducted maintenance and prepared for next week’s departure of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Astronaut Scott Kelly worked on an experiment which observes how a crew member’s fine motor skills adapt over a six-month and a year-long mission in space. He then moved on to training for the Robotics Refueling Mission.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked on the Rodent Research experiment during the afternoon. Commander Terry Virts worked on cargo transfers to the Dragon space freighter which is getting ready for its May 21 departure and splashdown.

The three cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko, worked in the Russian segment. The trio cleaned dust filters, changed out a smoke detector and downloaded results from a microbial air sampling.

Crew Begins Week With Science and Samples For Dragon Return

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Kelly captures image of storm clouds

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly captured this image of storm clouds that moved across the American Midwest on May 10, 2015.

The crew of Expedition 43 spent much of the day on Monday working on experiments that will be coming home on SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle later this month.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts studied the effects of microgravity on living organisms for the Rodent Research experiment. They are looking at mice and how their body systems change in space. The results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti configured one of the station’s Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubators (MERLIN) for return on Dragon. She also transferred a number of other items into the unmanned cargo craft. Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station on May 21.

Crew Catches Its Breath After Busy Week

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Typhoon Noul Over Pacific

Photo of Typhoon Noul from NASA astronaut Terry Virts while the storm churns over the Pacific

The crew was scheduled for a half-duty day today to catch their breath following a week of heavy maintenance and in advance of activities to come.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly completed the work they’ve been doing this week on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA) by reconnecting power, data and fluid lines to the unit. Ground controllers then performed a series of checkouts before the unit was powered back on. The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti focused on a mix of experiment work including the Skin-B study and completing her runs with the Triplelux-A experiment. Skin-B is seeking to better understand the process of skin aging, which is greatly accelerated in microgravity, which could provide insight into the aging process of similar bodily tissues. Triplelux-A is investigating immune suppression in space.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reported the Progress 59 cargo craft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:04 p.m. EDT on Thursday over the Pacific Ocean. Full Update

 

Progress 59 Update

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ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) --- The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station's Pirs Docking Compartment at 4:43 p.m. (EDT) on July 25, 2013. The Progress 50 deorbited over the Pacific Ocean a few hours later for a fiery destruction. An ISS Progress 52 is set to replace the 50P when it launches at 4:45 p.m. on July 27 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) — The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reports the Progress 59 cargo craft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:04 p.m. EDT over the central Pacific Ocean.

The spacecraft was not carrying any supplies critical for the United States Operating Segment (USOS) of the station, and the break up and reenty of the Progress posed no threat to the ISS crew.   Both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight.

Roscosmos statement: http://www.federalspace.ru/21474/

For further information on Progress, please contact Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency at +7 (495) 631-92-46 or press@roscosmos.ru

Crew Wraps Up Atmospheric Maintenance

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Kelly and Virts Work on CDRA

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Terry Virts (right) are seen here in the Japanese Experiment Module working on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies.

Maintenance and experiment work continued on Thursday for the Expedition 43 crew.

NASA astronauts Terry Virt and Scott Kelly finished the work they’ve been doing on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin. Virts also did some preparatory work on a payload rack for a cellular biology experiment scheduled to launch on the next SpaceX mission.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly also took time to collect a number of acoustic dosimeters which measure noise levels around the station.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti did some troubleshooting with the bone densitometer unit and prepared samples for the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-Low Gravity Phase Kinetics Platform (BCAT-KP) experiment. The BCAT-KP experiment aims to help materials scientists develop new consumer products with unique properties and longer shelf lives

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