Monthly Archives: June 2016

Cosmonauts Rest Before Spacecraft Maneuver Test

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Progress 62 Cargo Ship

The Progress 62 cargo ship is pictured during its rendezvous before docking Dec. 23, 2015, to the Pirs docking compartment. Credit: @Volkov_ISS

Two cosmonauts are resting today before they test a new system by flying a cargo ship back to its port early Friday. Commander Jeff Williams spent the morning testing a pair of free-floating satellites known as SPHERES.

Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will test a new telerobotically operated rendezvous system also called the TORU. The duo will use the TORU to manually guide the Progress 62 cargo ship back to the Pirs docking port after it undocks Friday at 1:36 a.m. EDT. The redocking maneuver is planned to take 34 minutes and will be broadcast live on NASA TV beginning at 1:15 a.m.

Williams cleaned the battery compartments of the SPHERES satellites and searched for the source of ultrasound noise affecting their performance. The tiny satellites are the size of bowling balls and are operated inside the space station to test formation flying techniques, control algorithms and other technology demonstrations. Middle school students on the ground also compete to test their satellite control algorithms using the SPHERES as part of the Zero Robotics competition.

3-D Print Tests Continue Before Spaceships Depart and Arrive

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Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts

The east coast states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are pictured from the International Space Station.

Three Expedition 48 crew members worked on a variety of science experiments today before this weekend’s cargo ship maneuvers. On the ground in Kazakhstan, another set of crew members is getting ready for a two-day trip to the International Space Station next week.

Commander Jeff Williams worked on the 3-D Printing in Zero-G experiment inside the Destiny lab module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. Ground controllers also remotely operated the experiment creating a pair of 3-D objects. NASA is demonstrating the ability to manufacture parts in space using a 3-D printer on the International Space Station.

A Russian cargo ship, Progress 62, will back away from the Pirs docking port Friday morning before redocking 34 minutes later. Progress 62 will depart for the final time Saturday evening, re-entering the atmosphere a few hours later for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean.

The redocking maneuver will test an upgraded telerobotically operated rendezvous system (TORU) installed last year inside the Zvezda service module. Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will test the new TORU and manually guide the cargo ship back to its port during the test. Normally, a Progress resupply ship performs automated rendezvous and docking maneuvers, but the TORU is used in the event of an emergency.

Three Expedition 48-49 crew members are in the final days before a July 6 launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to the space station. After launch, veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and first time astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi will take a two-day ride to the station testing the new systems inside their upgraded Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft.

 

3-D Printer Work Ahead of Weekend Departure of Cargo Ship

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Progress 62 Cargo Craft

The Progress 62 cargo craft arrived at the International Space Station Dec. 23, 2015, and docked to the Pirs docking compartment.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams is conducting a 3-D printing experiment inside the Destiny laboratory module today. His crewmates, Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin, worked on a variety of Russian experiments and readied a cargo ship for departure.

Williams gathered the 3-D Printing payload hardware and set up the gear in the Destiny lab’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. The 3-D Printing in Zero G is a demonstration experiment seeking to determine if a 3-D printer can work in outer space. In-space manufacturing may enable future crews to be less dependent on cargo missions for supplies.

Skripochka checked equipment that is part of an experiment to determine the location of micrometeoroid impacts on the International Space Station.

The duo started the day closing the hatch to the Progress 62 (62P) cargo ship and conducting leak checks. The 62P will undock from the Pirs docking compartment early Friday then redock 34 minutes later. The redocking will be done manually to test an upgraded telerobotically operated rendezvous system installed in the Zvezda service module. The 62P will finally undock Saturday night and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery destruction less than four hours.

Crew Preps for Cargo Ship Maneuvers

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Expedition 48-49 Crew Members

(From left) Expedition 48-49 crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi pose for a portrait in front the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft they will launch in July 6. Credit: NASA/Alexander Vysotsky

A pair of Expedition 48 cosmonauts are getting a Progress cargo ship ready to undock and redock Friday morning before its ultimate departure Saturday night. The maneuver will test an upgraded telerobotically operated rendezvous system installed in the Zvezda service module after the Progress docked in December.

The Progress 62 (62P) resupply ship will undock from the Pirs docking compartment, back away to a distance of about 200 meters, then move back toward Pirs and dock 34 minutes later. Finally, the 62P will complete its mission Saturday night when it undocks for good and burns up over the Pacific Ocean less than 4 hours later.

Commander Jeff Williams checked out the Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) inside the Destiny lab module. The MCA checks the quality and components of the International Space Station’s air. Williams also swapped out batteries on a device that listens for and detects air leaks among the background noise of the station’s systems and hardware.

Back on Earth, the next crew members to launch to the station familiarized themselves with their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft. Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and first time astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome scheduled to launch July 6 to begin a four-month mission on the station.

Next Station Crew Arrives at Launch Site

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Expedition 48-49 Crew Members

(From left) Expedition 48-49 crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi are pictured flying to the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Three Expedition 48-49 crew members are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome awaiting the beginning of their mission in less than two weeks. Back inside the International Space Station, the orbiting crew is working on research hardware and conducting life science.

Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and first time space flyers Kate Rubins from NASA and Takuya Onishi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are at their launch site counting down to a July 6 launch. The new trio will launch aboard the upgraded Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft and take a two day trip before docking to the Rassvet module.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will welcome their new crewmates July 9. After they dock and enter their new home, the new station residents will say hello to family and mission officials and then receive a safety briefing before kicking off their four-month mission.

In the meantime, Williams stowed hardware that observed how gases and liquids flow through porous media. The hardware is part of the Packed Bed Reactor Experiment that may help engineers design more efficient life support systems benefiting future space missions.

The two cosmonauts, Skripochka and Ovchinin, explored how plasmas behave when trapped in a magnetic field. The duo also looked at heart health in space and photographed Earth features to document natural and man-made changes.

Space Research Ongoing as New Trio Awaits Launch

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Sunlight Reflecting Off Earth

Sunlight is pictured reflecting off Earth.

Three Expedition 48 crew members are orbiting Earth awaiting the addition of a new trio preparing to join them next month on the International Space Station. As the new crew gets ready to head to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad on Friday, the orbiting crew is conducting advanced science and maintaining the orbital lab systems.

An upgraded Soyuz spacecraft, the Soyuz MS-01, will launch July 6 carrying cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi to their new home in space. They will join Commander Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin completing the six-member Expedition 48 crew.

Science continues on the station, as the crew performed some robotics work, checked out a microscope and sampled water for a microbe check. The Japanese robotic arm was put to work today attaching samples outside the Kibo lab module. An advanced microscope, the Light Microscopy Module, had its diffusion plates swapped out. Also, water samples were collected to check for quality.

On the Russian side of the station, the cosmonauts explored how microgravity affects the human digestive system. They also continued more Earth photography to understand how natural and man-made changes affect the planet.

Astronaut Works Spacesuits as Cygnus Burns Up for Science

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Astronaut Jeff Williams

Astronaut Jeff Williams works on a pair of U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock. Credit: NASA TV

Commander Jeff Williams continued the ongoing maintenance on U.S. spacesuits throughout the workday on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Cygnus cargo craft from Orbital ATK re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere completing one final experiment.

Williams scrubbed cooling loops and collected water samples from inside U.S. spacesuits ahead of a pair of spacewalks planned for later this year. The main task planned for the first spacewalk will be installing an international docking adapter to the Harmony module. The second spacewalk will see the replacement of batteries as part of maintenance for the International Space Station’s power system.

Cygnus has been busy since its release from the station June 14 serving as a platform for science. Its first experiment saw a large fire set inside the vehicle helping scientists understand combustion in space. Earlier this week, a set of nanosatellites was released from Cygnus. Finally, as Cygnus broke apart during its re-entry recorders downlinked data providing insights into the behavior of spacecraft re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Last Day in Space for Cygnus as Crew Practices Emergency

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Full Moon Above Earth

The moon is pictured above Earth from the space station.

A cargo ship that was released last week from the International Space Station will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere Wednesday. Back inside the orbital lab, the crew practiced emergency procedures after a light day of science and maintenance.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is spending its last day in space today. Cygnus has been busy conducting an array science activities including a fire experiment and deploying nanosatellites. It will complete its last experiment Wednesday monitoring its own destruction when it deorbits into Earth’s atmosphere.

Aboard the space station, the three-member Expedition 48 crew practiced an emergency drill. In the unlikely event of an emergency such as a rapid depressurization, the crew would put on gas masks, head to its Soyuz spacecraft, put on their Sokol spacesuits and prepare for an undocking and descent back to Earth.

More saliva samples were collected today for the Multi-Omics study researching how an astronaut’s immune system is affected by a long-term spaceflight. The crew also explored heart health in space and analyzed water samples for microbes.

Expedition 48 Begins and Awaits Three New Crew Members

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Expedition 47 Lands in Kazakhstan

The Expedition 47 crew members rest outside shortly after landing in Kazakhstan. Seated from left to right, and in their Sokol suits, are European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.

Expedition 48 officially began Saturday morning with Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin continuing their stay aboard the International Space Station. They await the addition of three new crew members who will launch July 6 for a two-day ride to their new home in space.

Expedition 47 completed 186 days in space Saturday after landing in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra returned home to Houston the following day. European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake flew to Cologne, Germany, to begin his reconditioning. Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko returned to Russia after completing his sixth mission to space.

Despite the weekend’s landing activities, science continues around the clock on the orbital laboratory. The crew is exploring how living in space affects the immune system and collected and stowed biological samples today for the Multi-Omics study. The crew is also setting up hardware for the NeuroMapping experiment. That study will research how spaceflight changes an astronaut’s brain and associated activities such as function, motor control, and multi-tasking abilities.

The next crew launch to the space station includes cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi. They will join Expedition 48 when their Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft docks to the Rassvet module July 8.

Crew Back on Earth After 186 Days in Space

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Soyuz TMA-19M Spacecraft

The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft descends to Earth carrying the Expedition 47 crew underneath a huge parachute. Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA

Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA, and Tim Peake of ESA and Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos landed their Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 5:15 a.m. EDT. Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

The trio arrived at the International Space Station on Dec. 15, 2015. The crew’s return marks completion of the in-flight portion for NASA human research studies in four categories– ocular health, cognition, salivary markers and microbiome. From potential development of vaccines to data that could be relevant for patients suffering from ocular diseases such as glaucoma, the research will help prepare for human long-duration exploration while offering benefits to people on Earth.

Having completed his sixth mission, Malenchenko now has spent 828 days in space, making him second on the all-time list behind Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. Kopra now has 244 days in space on two flights while Peake spent 186 days in space on his first.

The station now is occupied by Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA, and Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are scheduled to launch July 6 (Eastern time) from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

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