BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, was successfully expanded Saturday beginning two years of tests to demonstrate the new expandable technology. BEAM was pressurized and expanded to its full volume, width and length this weekend after 25 pulses of air were introduced into the new module.
BEAM leak checks are underway and will continue before astronaut Jeff Williams gets the go to enter the module on June 6. Williams will install sensors inside BEAM to measure its environment.
Japan’s Kibo lab module is sending more CubeSats into orbit this week from a small satellite deployer. The CubeSats are supporting research such as communications and Earth observations sponsored by government, education and private organizations.
Back inside the International Space Station, the six-person Expedition 47 crew was exploring human research and advanced physics in microgravity. The crew was also setting up science gear and maintenance hardware and continued packing the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft before its June 14 departure.
Teams on the ground are assessing data from the initial introduction of air into the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). Operations will resume shortly. NASA Television coverage from Mission Control Center in Houston continues.
The final preparations are under way for Thursday morning’s expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) from the Tranquility module. Back on Earth, a veteran cosmonaut and a pair of first time space flyers are getting ready for their mission in June.
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams performed leak checks and installed hardware to monitor and support BEAM expansion set to begin Thursday at 6:10 a.m. EDT (10:10 a.m. UTC). The expansion could potentially start earlier. NASA Television will broadcast the expansion activities live beginning at 5:30 a.m. Crew entry into BEAM, which has an expanded habitable volume of 565 cubic feet (16 cubic meters), is planned for June 2.
A new trio of International Space Station crew members is in Russia ready for final qualification exams for a mission set for launch June 24. Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin will command the new Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi. The Expedition 48-49 crew members are scheduled for a four-month stay aboard the orbital lab.
The crew orbiting in space now explored working with detailed tasks and interacting with touch-based computer screens for the Fine Motor Skills study. They continued stowing gear after completing the Rodent Research-3 bone and muscle atrophy experiment. Other experiments today looked at Earth photography techniques, interactions between space crews and teams on the ground as well as more eye checks.
SpaceX and NASA managers are targeting July 16 for the launch of the ninth Dragon commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, U.S. and Russian spaceships are being packed for upcoming departures in June and July from the orbital lab.
The crew also began preparing the vestibule space between BEAM – the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module – and the rest of the station for Thursday’s expansion activities, by pressurizing the area and performing leak checks.
Dragon will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida carrying supplies, science gear and one of two international docking adapters. The adapters will allow future commercial crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX to dock. The first adapter will be attached to the station’s Harmony module in August by a pair of spacewalkers.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus private space freighter is due to be the next spaceship to leave the station when it is released June 14. Expedition 47 will end four days later when Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake undock and return to Earth inside the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.
Back inside the station, a pair of crew members participated in blood pressure and vision checks for the Ocular Health study. Another astronaut conducted ultrasound scans today helping scientists explore the likelihood of clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, occurring on long-term space missions.
The Expedition 47 crew is getting a new module recently attached to the Tranquility module ready for expansion later this week. The International Space Station residents are also running experiments today exploring a wide variety of phenomena and checking station gear.
BEAM, or the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, is scheduled to expand to full pressurized volume Thursday morning. In preparation, the crew is installing computer cables, checking connections and verifying hardware prior to BEAM deployment. NASA TV will televise the BEAM expansion activities live. Crew entry into the new module is scheduled for next week but will not be televised.
The Rodent Research-3 (RR-3) experiment was completed last week and the astronauts are cleaning up and inventorying the gear today. During the wrap up work, the crew also collected station air and astronaut breath samples for the Marrow bone study sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency.
Some of the station hardware that helps run and monitor equipment and experiments is getting new gear and upgrades. The Microgravity Science Glovebox, which housed the RR-3 activities last week, is being prepared for video equipment upgrades. A new laptop computer is being loaded with software to demonstrate control of station assets from both the orbital lab and the ground.
The crew was back at work today with more life science studies and human research. Cygnus cargo transfer work is ongoing as robotics controllers prepare for an external video survey.
Mice continue to be observed today for the Rodent Research-3 study. The astronauts are measuring their bone density to learn how microgravity affects muscles and bones and potentially helping crews in space and citizens on Earth stay healthier.
Astronaut Jeff Williams scanned his leg with an ultrasound today for the long-running Sprint study. The research is exploring new space exercise techniques that may minimize muscle and bone loss on long duration missions. The cosmonauts were collecting blood and saliva samples for analysis as they explore how living in space affects the human body.
Cargo transfers are over half way complete as the Cygnus commercial space freighter targets a mid-June departure from the Unity module. The Canadarm2 robotic arm will link up with the DEXTRE robotic hand tonight. Robotics controllers will then conduct a video scan of the external RapidScat system that monitors weather patterns on the Earth’s oceans.
The final set of Cubesats was ejected from the International Space Station today. Inside the orbital lab, the station residents continued more rodent bone and muscle research, checked for microbes and cleaned fans.
A total of 17 Cubesats have been released since Monday from a small satellite deployer on the outside of the Kibo experiment module’s airlock. The suite of Cubesats deployed today will provide Earth observations, improve commercial ship tracking and provide weather data on the Earth’s seas.
Bone density measurements were on the schedule again for the mice being monitored as part of the Rodent Research-3 study. The experiment is researching the bone and muscle wasting that takes place in space and is exploring an antibody to prevent musculoskeletal weakness to benefit astronauts and people on Earth.
The crew sampled and analyzed the station’s surfaces and air for microbes to monitor and protect the orbital lab’s environment. Ventilation fans in the U.S. Destiny lab module were also inspected and cleaned today to keep the air clean and flowing keeping the environment safe.
A new wave of Cubesats was shot into space today for a wide variety of Earth observations and communications research. The crew also explored life science and worked on high-flying plumbing tasks.
Today’s set of Cubesat deployments from the Kibo lab module’s airlock was the second of three consecutive days of deployment operations. The Dove Satellites deployed today are built and operated by Planet Labs Inc. and take images of Earth for several humanitarian and environmental applications.
Back inside the International Space Station, the crew took bone density measurements in mice in the Microgravity Science Glovebox to learn how living in space affects muscles and bones. The Rodent Research-3 experiment is testing an antibody used on Earth that may prevent muscle and bone wasting in space possibly improving the health of astronauts and humans on the ground.
The Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC), one of the orbital lab’s restrooms, experienced a problem last week requiring some part replacement work. That maintenance work coincided with the installation of a new Advanced Recycle Filter Tank Assembly in support of transition to new pre-treat formula which aims to increase the amount of urine that is recycled into potable water.
The International Space Station completed its 100,000th orbit early this morning after its first component, the Zarya cargo module, launched Nov. 20, 1998. That is over 2.6 billion miles traveled, nearly the distance from Earth to Neptune (2.9 billion miles), or ten round trips from Mars to Earth.
A few hours after the station reached this morning’s orbital benchmark, a several types of Cubesats were deployed from the Kibo lab module’s airlock. More Cubesats will deployed through Wednesday contributing to a wide variety of research designed by students and scientists.
The crew is measuring the grip strength of mice today for the Rodent Research experiment. That study is exploring an antibody used on Earth that may prevent the weakening of muscles and bones in space.
A laptop computer is being readied ahead of next week’s expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). The computer will monitor sensors and prepare for upcoming BEAM operations.
Two NASA astronauts and a European Space Agency astronaut are relaxing today after sending the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft home Wednesday. The three cosmonauts continued their ongoing Russian research work and maintenance activities after taking Monday off in observation of Victory Day.
The Japanese Kibo lab’s airlock is being depressurized today before a series a nanosatellites are deployed beginning Monday morning. The Cubesats, which will be deployed Monday through Wednesday, will support Earth observation experiments.
On the Russian side of the International Space Station, the cosmonauts inspected windows and photographed the internal condition of the segment’s modules. They also explored new photography techniques to improve the ability to locate and picture landmarks on the Earth’s surface.