Monthly Archives: August 2016

Astronauts Relaxing Before Pair of Spaceships Leave

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Spacewalker

An astronaut works to install an international docking adapter during a spacewalk on Friday.

Three astronauts are relaxing today after a spacewalk on Friday and weekend cleanup work. Meanwhile, a pair of spacecraft will be departing the International Space Station over the next two weeks.

NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully installed a new international docking adapter Friday morning during a five hour and 58-minute spacewalk. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi assisted the duo from inside the station, while all three cleaned up the Quest airlock afterward where they stowed their spacesuits and tools.

Williams is scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 6 with cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin ending Expedition 48. The two cosmonauts began their departure preparations today to get the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft ready for undocking and landing in Kazakhstan.

Before Expedition 48 returns home in two weeks the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will leave the station this Friday at 6:10 a.m. EDT. The crew is loading the space freighter with gear and science for analysis by NASA engineers on the ground. Dragon will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours after its release Friday and be retrieved by SpaceX personnel.

Spacewalk Concludes After Commercial Crew Port Installation

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Kate Rubins Works Outside Station

Spacewalker Kate Rubins works outside the International Space Station with the SpaceX Dragon space freighter just below her. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins concluded their spacewalk at 2:02 EDT. During the five-hour and 58-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully installed the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs).

The IDAs will be used for the future arrivals of Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft in development under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station will restore America’s human launch capability and increase the time U.S. crews can dedicate to scientific research, which is helping prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the journey to Mars.

Space station crew members have conducted 194 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,210 hours and 46 minutes working outside the station.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at:

www.nasa.gov/station

Get breaking news, images, videos and features from the station on social media at:

https://www.facebook.com/ISS

http://instagram.com/iss

http://www.twitter.com/Space_Station

Spacewalkers Begin Work to Install Commercial Crew Port

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Spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins

Astronaut Jeff Williams is conducting the fourth spacewalk of his career. Astronaut Kate Rubins is conducting her first spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 8:04 a.m. EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last some six and a half hours. Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins will install the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs) that will enable future arrivals of Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft.

The docking adapter arrived to the space station July 20 on a SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft. On Wednesday, ground controllers used the Canadarm2 robotic arm, and its attached “Dextre” Special Dexterous Manipulator, to extract the IDA from the trunk of Dragon and position it just 2 feet away from Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 located on the forward end of the Harmony module.

Once the IDA is moved to a surface to surface contact with the PMA, Williams and Rubins will begin work to hook up tethers in advance of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takuya Onishi sending commands to close the hooks between the two docking ports. Once the hooks are closed, Williams and Rubins will press ahead to mate power and data connectors for future use of the IDA.

Williams is wearing the spacesuit with a red stripe. Rubins is wearing the spacesuit with the white stripe. This is the fourth spacewalk in Williams’ career and the first for Rubins. It is the 194th spacewalk for the space station

NASA TV’s Public Channel (NTV-1) is broadcasting enhanced coverage of the spacewalk including operational commentary, in-studio experts and features. The Media Channel (NTV-3) is carrying a clean feed of video from the space station with operational commentary. Full schedule details are available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Watch NASA TV Now for Spacewalk with Rubins and Williams

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Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams are pictured in front of the U.S. spacesuits they will wear during a spacewalk Friday morning.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at 8:05 a.m. EDT Friday. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. NASA TV’s Public Channel (NTV-1) will broadcast enhanced coverage of the spacewalk including operational commentary, in-studio experts and features. The Media Channel (NTV-3) will broadcast a clean feed of video from the space station with operational commentary. Full schedule details are available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Williams and Rubin will conduct the spacewalk to install and connect the first of two international docking adapters that will be used for the future arrivals of Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft.

Follow @space_station on Twitter and #spacewalk for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, including current residents, visit:

www.nasa.gov/station

New Docking Adapter in Position for Spacewalk Friday Morning

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Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams check the U.S. spacesuits they will wear Friday morning during a 6.5 hour spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

A new port for commercial crew vehicles was robotically removed from the back of the SpaceX Dragon Wednesday night. The International Docking Adapter was placed in position for its installation Friday morning to a pressurized mating adapter attached to the Harmony module.

VIDEO: International Docking Adapter is Extracted from SpaceX Dragon

Two spacewalkers, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, will complete the installation work during a spacewalk scheduled to begin Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. The NASA astronauts will install cables and outfit the docking port that will enable future Boeing and SpaceX crew vehicles to dock at the International Space Station.

While the spacewalk preparations were under way, a Japanese astronaut and three cosmonauts conducted a variety of space research. Takuya Onishi tended to the mice being observed for the Mouse Epigenetics study. That experiment is researching altered gene expression and DNA changes in mice and their offspring living in space.

Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin explored ways of detecting micrometeoroid impacts on the outside of the station. He also joined Oleg Skripochka and studied how galactic and solar radiation genetically affects viruses that infect bacteria. Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin investigated how coulomb crystals and liquids are formed by charged macroparticles and researched how the heart beats in space.

New International Docking Adapter Being Prepped for Installation

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Astronaut Kate Rubins

Astronaut Kate Rubins checks a U.S. spacesuit she will wear during a spacewalk planned for Aug. 19, 2016.

Flight controllers and the Expedition 48 crew are preparing for tonight’s International Docking Adapter extraction work and Friday morning’s installation spacewalk. The orbital residents are also continuing to load the SpaceX Dragon with gear and science for return to Earth.

Controllers on the ground checked the Canadian robotics systems they will use to remove the International Docking Adapter from the rear of the SpaceX Dragon tonight. The new adapter will be extracted with the Canadarm2 then maneuvered to a point about three feet away from its installation point. It will then be installed on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 which is attached to the forward end of the Harmony module.

The final and intricate installation work will be done during a 6.5 hour spacewalk scheduled to begin Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT with astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins . The new adapter, the first of two, will enable new Commercial Crew vehicles being developed by Boeing and SpaceX to dock at the International Space Station in the future.

In the meantime, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is still being loaded with gear ahead of its return to Earth on Aug. 26. Rubins spent the morning packing Dragon with research samples and used hardware for analysis back on Earth.

Crew Gets Ready for New Commercial Crew Port

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Computer Rendering of a Spacewalker

This computer rendering depicts a spacewalker performing installation activities for the International Docking Adapter. Credit: NASA Johnson YouTube

Space station and Commercial Crew managers wrapped up a spacewalk briefing Monday afternoon discussing the installation of a new International Docking Adapter at the end of the week. Spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will begin the installation work Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT to enable future crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX to dock in the future.

The first major task begins Wednesday evening when the docking adapter is extracted from the rear of the SpaceX Dragon space freighter. The Canadarm2 will then maneuver the new adapter about three feet away from the forward end of the Harmony module. It will stay there until Friday when Williams and Rubins will complete the installation during a 6.5 hour spacewalk.

Meanwhile, Williams is loading gear into Dragon for return to Earth and retrieval by NASA and SpaceX engineers. Dragon’s last day at the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module is Aug. 26 when it will be grappled and then released by the Canadarm2 for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

The crew also explored a wide variety of space research today amidst the spacewalk preparations. A pair of cosmonauts studied how microgravity impacts fluid shifts from the lower body to the upper body. Rubins researched the physics of tiny particles suspended in water possibly benefiting materials manufacturing on Earth. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi observed altered gene expression and DNA changes in mice and their offspring living in space.

Cosmonauts Busy Today as Rest of Crew Takes Day Off

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Expedition 48

All six Expedition 48 crew members gather in the Zvezda service module sharing a light moment and a meal. From left are Anatoly Ivanishin, Oleg Skripochka, Kate Rubins, Commander Jeff Williams, Takuya Onishi and Alexey Ovchinin.

Three astronauts are relaxing today in recognition of Mountain Day, an annual Japanese holiday in effect as of 2016. The three cosmonauts stayed busy with their set of Russian science and maintenance tasks aboard the International Space Station.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi took the day off Thursday. Williams and Rubin, both NASA astronauts, will be getting ready for an Aug. 19 spacewalk to install the first of two International Docking Adapters. The two adapters will allow new Commercial Crew vehicles being designed by Boeing and SpaceX to dock at the station. Onishi will assist the spacewalkers and monitor their activities.

Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, on his second station mission, sampled the air and surfaces in the station’s Russian segment checking for microbes and quality today. His fellow cosmonauts, Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin, worked on communication connections between systems in the Russian modules.

Crew Tries On Spacesuits, Conducts Heart and Meteor Research

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Spacesuit Checks

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams try on their U.S. spacesuits. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin assisted the duo. Credit: NASA TV

A pair of astronauts tried on U.S. spacesuits this morning ahead of a spacewalk next week. Afterward, the crew explored heart cells, fluid pressure in the head and the eyes and the composition of meteors.

NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins are due to work outside the International Space Station on Aug. 19 for 6.5 hours. The duo tried on the spacesuits today they will wear during the spacewalk to complete the installation of the first of two International Docking Adapters to the Harmony module. Commercial Crew vehicles are being developed by Boeing and SpaceX that will dock to the new adapters in the future.

Rubins then moved on to observing heart cells with a specialized microscope. The heart cells are derived from stem cells that were manufactured from human skin cells.

Williams joined cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin for ultrasound scans and vision checks. That work was part of the Fluid Shifts study that is exploring how the lack of gravity influences head pressure and eye shape possibly affecting an astronaut’s vision.

Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi replaced a hard drive on a laptop computer that collects data on the composition of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere. Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin participated in a study that seeks to improve the ability of a crew member to pilot a spacecraft.

Eye Exams and Spacesuit Checks Today

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Fluids Shifts

Fluids shift toward the upper body in space since they don’t have to fight against gravity. This results in familiar phenomena such as a puffy face. The fluid shifts also affect intra-cranial pressure and eye shape. Credit: NASA Johnson YouTube

The Expedition 48 crew continued more eye exams and ongoing research to understand how microgravity shifts body fluids toward the upper body. Two NASA astronauts also checked out U.S. spacesuit safety gear and tools.

All six crew members participated in variety of eye exams throughout the day. Some of the eye checks also coincided with the Fluid Shifts study. That research observes how fluid pressure in space affects a crew member’s head and eyes, possibly affecting vision.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are getting ready for an Aug. 19 spacewalk to install an International Docking Adapter. The docking port, delivered by the SpaceX Dragon last month, will enable future commercial crew spacecraft from Boeing and SpaceX dock to the station. The spacewalkers checked their spacesuit safety jetpacks they would use in the unlikely event they became separated from the International Space Station.

 

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