Crew Studies Living in Space Before New Trio Launches

Commander Tim Kopra
Commander Tim Kopra works inside the Zvezda service module.

The three residents onboard the International Space Station are busy today researching space science to benefit life on Earth and future crews. The trio is also ramping up to welcome a new set of Expedition 47-48 crew members when they arrive at the end of the week.

Scientists are researching how astronauts perform complex and detailed tasks before, during and after their long-term space missions. Commander Tim Kopra contributed to that study today, known as the Fine Motor Skills experiment, by conducting a series of interactive tasks on a touchscreen tablet. Kopra is also getting ready for another experiment that observes the impact of microbes on a crew member’s immune system.

British astronaut Tim Peake started the day conducting the final experiment run for the Magvector electromagnetic study. He then moved on to Japan’s Kibo lab and replaced Payload Data Handling hardware required to run future life science experiments.

In the Russian side of the orbital lab, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko is preparing for the arrival of three new crew members. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft Friday at 5:26 p.m. EDT/9:26 p.m. UTC and dock less than six hours later to the Pirs docking compartment.

Communications Gear Work to Ready Station for Future

Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko
Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko is inside the seven-window cupola prepared to photograph the Earth below.

The International Space Station is being upgraded with new communications gear as NASA moves ahead with its Commercial Crew Program. Meanwhile, science taking place on the orbital laboratory today included human research and Earth photography.

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake were back at work today installing hardware that will communicate with future commercial crew vehicles. The equipment will enable hardline and frequency communications with the private spacecraft during rendezvous, docking and mated activities.

Kopra also conducted a quarterly inspection of a treadmill ensuring it is in operable condition. He later conducted a ham radio pass with students at the University of North Dakota, the 1,000th such contact made possible by the ARISS program.

Peake spent a few moments collecting a saliva sample for a study that observes the human immune system in space. He is also helping engineers understand the factors necessary for a comfortable living space during long term missions.

Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko explored Earth photography techniques to better identify features on the ground. He also researched the effects of living in space on blood circulation.

Crew Practices Emergency Escape before Afternoon Research

Starry Night Pass
An Expedition 47 crew member photographed the Earth’s limb during a starry night pass. One of the International Space Station’s solar arrays is seen in the right foreground.

This morning the three Expedition 47 crew members practiced evacuating the International Space Station in the event of an emergency. Afterward, it was back to work on advanced space science and orbital lab maintenance.

Several times a year the station residents get together to practice the communication and procedures necessary to escape an emergency situation. The crew practiced departing the space station quickly today and entering their docked Soyuz spacecraft for use as a lifeboat.

Before the emergency drill, Commander Tim Kopra of NASA and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) participated in a series of tests on a touchscreen tablet for the Fine Motor Skills study. The experiment is helping researchers understand how astronauts concentrate and work on detailed tasks and sensitive equipment during and after a long-term space mission.

After the drill, the trio split up as Kopra studied liquid crystals to help engineers design better display screens for use on Earth and in space. Peake moved on to the Magvector experiment and studied magnetic fields and electrical conductivity, possibly setting up the space station for future astrophysics research. Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko investigated the forces the station experiences during orbital reboosts, spacecraft dockings and spacewalks among other activities.


Crew Sets Up Experiment Ahead of Next SpaceX Mission

Astronaut Tim Peake
Astronaut Tim Peake answers questions from U.S. and British journalists Tuesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 47 trio conducted a wide variety of science today. The crew explored life science, physics research and crew performance.

Astronaut Tim Peake is setting up the Microgravity Science Glovebox for Rodent Research operations. That experiment is due to start after the arrival of the next SpaceX mission due in the spring. Scientists will use the research to learn how to prevent muscle atrophy and bone loss in space.

Commander Tim Kopra also worked with the Microgravity Science Glovebox installing gear for a different experiment. The OASIS study explores the unique behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity with potential benefits for display devices on Earth and in spacecraft. Kopra also explored how living in space affects cognitive performance by taking brief computerized tests.

Veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko transferred cargo from the new 62P resupply ship docked to the Pirs docking compartment. He also studied radiation exposure on the Russian side of the International Space Station using simulated tissue.

Crew Readying Station for Future Commercial Crew Vehicles

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake
Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake perform medical work in the Columbus laboratory module.

The three orbiting residents on the International Space Station worked on commercial crew vehicle equipment and lab maintenance today. The crew members also worked on life science and physics research to improve life for citizens on Earth and future space crews.

British astronaut Tim Peake started installing and routing cables that will enable communications with future commercial crew vehicles. The Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles, or C2V2, consists of both radio frequency and hardline connections that will be used during rendezvous, docking and mated activities at the space station.

Commander Tim Kopra installed and tested acoustic equipment in the U.S. Destiny lab module that will listen for air and pressure leaks. The tests will contribute to the development of a system that can differentiate between harmless background noise and potential leaks. Kopra also checked out gear that will support research on biological samples such as small plants, animal cells and microorganisms.

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko explored methods to detect and locate micrometeoroid impacts outside the station. The veteran cosmonaut also photographed areas on Earth impacted by natural or man-made disasters for the long-running Uragan experiment.

Station Lifts Orbit Before New Crew Launches

Expedition 47-48 Crew Members
Expedition 47-48 crew members (from left) Jeff Williams, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka are pictured before leaving to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan.

The Expedition 47 crew onboard the International Space Station is getting ready to welcome three new crew members when they launch in two weeks. The station will raise its orbit tonight to the correct altitude to receive the new crew that will launch inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin are counting down to their March 18 launch scheduled for 5:26 p.m. EST/10:26 p.m. UTC. They are in Kazakhstan at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site checking out their Soyuz spacecraft today. This will be Williams’ fourth trip to the orbital lab, Skripochka’s second and Ovchinin’s first.

The three current space station residents are NASA astronaut and Commander Tim Kopra, European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. The orbiting trio worked today on high-flying plumbing tasks, participated in a variety of space research and exercised to stay healthy and in shape during their long-term mission.

U.S., Russian and British Crew Continuing Station Operations

British Astronaut Tim Peake
British astronaut Tim Peake works on an experiment that explores the risk of breathing in toxic dust during a future crewed mission to Mars.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has returned to Houston and his Expedition 46 crewmates Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov have returned to Russia. Their historic mission is over but there are three crew members who are still orbiting Earth on the International Space Station.

The new station commander of Expedition 47, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, worked on the Water Recovery System that converts urine into pure drinking water. After that, he took a look at the humanoid robot, also known as Robonaut2, for some troubleshooting activities.

British astronaut Tim Peake was inside the Columbus lab module today checking out science hardware for a magnetic field experiment and a payload transfer rack. Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who has visited the orbital lab five times, worked on Russian life support gear.

A new set of space station crew members is getting ready to join Expedition 47 when they launch March 18 U.S. time. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will ride the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft for a six-hour trip to their new home in space.

Scott Kelly Returns to Houston After Year In Space

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly speaks to friends, family and NASA officials shortly after arriving in Houston early Thursday morning. Behind Scott from left are, Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States; Mark Kelly, former astronaut and Scott’s twin brother; Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator; and Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center Director. Credit: NASA TV

Just before 2:30 a.m. EST Thursday, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly landed at Houston’s Ellington Field, marking his return to the U.S. following an agency record-setting year in space aboard the International Space Station.

Those on hand to greet him in Houston included Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Dr. John P. Holdren, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and Kelly’s identical twin brother and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

Scott Kelly returned to Earth March 1, along with his one-year mission crewmate, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov.

Historic Crew Finishes Mission as Orbiting Trio Relaxes

Astronaut Scott Kelly
Astronaut Scott Kelly steps off a NASA jet in Stavanger, Norway, during a refueling stop. He is en route to Houston after landing inside a Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan a few hours earlier.

With three crew members back on Earth after a historic mission, another trio is still orbiting Earth on the International Space Station until their mission ends in June.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly floated to a landing in Kazakhstan last night alongside his crewmates Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov inside the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft. Kelly and Kornienko were in space for a record-setting 340 days encompassing Expeditions 43 through 46. Volkov lived in space for 182 days across Expeditions 45 and 46.

Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra and Flight Engineers Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are continuing their mission on the orbital lab conducting science and maintenance. The orbiting crew is relaxing today after yesterday’s departure activities and waiting for the next set of station residents to arrive. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will join Expedition 47 when they launch March 18.

Veteran Station Crew Returns to Earth after Historic Mission

Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly
Year in Space crew members Mikhail Kornienko (left) and Scott Kelly work with tiny free-floating satellites known as SPHERES back in January.

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA, and Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 11:26 p.m. EST. Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

Kelly and Kornienko launched to the space station on March 27, 2015, for their one-year mission. The pair’s return on March 1 marks the end of 340 days aboard the space station and almost 143 million miles during their time in space, roughly the same average distance between Earth and Mars.

With Kelly, Kornienko and Volkov landing in Kazakhstan, Kelly has logged 520 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-103 in 1998. Kornienko has spent 516 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 23/24 in 2010. Volkov arrived at the station on September 4 and has spent 548 days in space on three flights, the first of which was in 2008.

Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA, Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos, and Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) remain aboard the station to continue research and maintenance. The remainder of the Expedition 47 crew, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin, is scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on March 18.

The one-year mission will provide new insights into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and stress of long-duration spaceflight. The science will continue for months and years as the data are collected and analyzed, an important step in the first phase of NASA’s efforts to prepare humanity for the journey to Mars. Such Earth-reliant exploration will lead to more complex operations in orbit around the moon where NASA will demonstrate, advance, and validate the capabilities and technologies we will need to send humans to Mars.