Monthly Archives: November 2016

Year-End Cargo Shipments Prepped Amidst Space Research

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International Space Station Configuration

As of Nov. 21, 2016, there are three spacecraft are docked at the station including the Soyuz MS-02 and MS-03 crew vehicles and the Progress 64 resupply ship. Two more spaceships will arrive in December. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 50 crew is getting ready to receive a shipment of space supplies Saturday after Russia launches the Progress 65 cargo craft Thursday morning. The final space delivery of the year will be Dec. 13 when the Kounotori HTV-6 resupply ship arrives four days after its launch from Tanegashima, Japan.

Inside the International Space Station, Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson installed aerosol samplers to collect airborne particles for analysis on Earth. Scientists will study the samples using specialized techniques with powerful microscopes.

Commander Shane Kimbrough is setting up science gear inside Japan’s Kibo lab module to study the fundamental physics of surface tension where liquid and gas meet. The experiment known as Marangoni Ultrasonic Velocity Profiler-2 may improve industrial processes and products on Earth and in space.

New astronaut Thomas Pesquet, from the European Space Agency, strapped himself into the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System chair for a study of his calf muscle and Achilles tendon. On Earth, that area carries loads from the entire human body. He conducted a series of ankle exercises while attached to sensors to monitor any changes in that area caused by living in space.


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Crew Heads Into Thanksgiving With Human Research

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Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough pause for a portrait inside the space station.

Six International Space Station crew members are heading in to the Thanksgiving holiday with human research activities and orbital lab maintenance.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is the most experienced crew member in space right now getting ready to spend her third holiday season on orbit. Today, she stowed the tools used for space plumbing work done on Tuesday putting the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, the station’s toilet, back in service after a leak was discovered.

She and her new crewmates, Oleg Novitskiy from Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency, are in their first week aboard the space station. They are getting used to their new home in space and familiarizing themselves with station emergency gear and procedures today. Whitson is beginning her third mission aboard the orbital complex while Novitskiy is starting his second mission. Pesquet is on his first mission and is France’s fourth astronaut to visit the space station.

The rest of the crew members, including Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, are beginning their second month in space.

Today’s science work included collecting breath samples to help doctors understand how living in space affects bone marrow and blood cells. A new device that indirectly measures an astronaut’s intracranial pressure is being checked out today while the crew is also conducting eye exams.

New Crew Begins First Week Aboard Station

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The Soyuz MS-03 Spacecraft

The newly-docked Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft is next to one of the Cygnus’ round Ultraflex solar arrays in the left foreground. The Cygnus cargo craft departed the station two days after the Soyuz arrived.

Three new crew members are in their first week aboard the International Space Station. They joined the Expedition 50 crew Saturday bringing the occupancy of the orbital lab to six humans.

The two U.S. astronauts, three cosmonauts and one French astronaut are getting ready for Thanksgiving in space. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is beginning her third station mission and will spend the traditional U.S. holiday orbiting above the Earth for the third time.

Meanwhile, new crew members Whitson, veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and first time space-flyer Thomas Pesquet and are familiarizing themselves with their home on orbit where they will live for the next six months. Whitson was last onboard the station during Expedition 16 in 2008 before Japan’s Kibo lab module had been delivered and the final solar arrays had been installed.

Whitson spent several hours repairing the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) today, one of two functional toilets aboard the station. She replaced several components after a leak was detected in the WHC on Monday.

Novitskiy’s previous mission was Expedition 34 which ended in 2013. Pesquet is on his first spaceflight and is the fourth astronaut from France to visit the space station.


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Astronauts Release Cygnus Space Freighter From Station

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The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 50 robotic arm operators Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 8:22 a.m. EST while the space station was flying 251 miles over the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of Colombia. Earlier, ground controllers detached Cygnus from the station and maneuvered it into place for its departure.

Once Cygnus is a safe distance away from the station, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and at Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia, will activate the Saffire-II experiment.

Cygnus also will release four LEMUR CubeSats from an external deployer on Friday, Nov. 25, sending them to join a remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring.

The spacecraft will remain in orbit until Sunday, Nov. 27, when its engines will fire twice, pushing it into Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up over the Pacific Ocean.

The Cygnus resupply craft launched Oct. 17 on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, for the company’s sixth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission. The company’s seventh contracted resupply mission is targeted for spring 2017 on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Welcome Aboard! New Arrivals Make Six Expedition 50 Crew Members

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The Six-Member Expedition 50 Crew

The six-member Expedition 50 crew is comprised of (front row, from left) Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet. In the back, from left, are Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko. Credit: NASA TV

Three new crew members are aboard the International Space Station. The hatches on the space station and Soyuz MS-03 opened at 7:40 p.m. EST, marking the arrival to the orbiting laboratory for NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency).

Along with Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, the arriving crew members will contribute to more than 250 research experiments ongoing aboard the space station, in diverse fields such as biology, Earth Science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

To follow activities on orbit, visit the space station Facebook page at:

http://www.facebook.com/ISS

Follow the crew members and the station on Twitter at:

http://www.twitter.com/nasa_astronauts

and

http://www.twitter.com/Space_Station

Follow the station on Instagram at:

https://instagram.com/iss/

New Trio Arrives to Join Expedition 50 Crew

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Soyuz Approaches Station

A camera on the space station observes the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft moments before docking to the Rassvet module. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) have docked to the International Space Station. After orbiting the Earth for approximately two days, their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft docked with the space station’s Rassvet module at 4:58 p.m. EST.

When hatches between the Soyuz and space station open at 7:35 p.m., the three crew members will join Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who have been aboard the complex since October. NASA TV coverage for hatch opening will begin at 6:45 p.m.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station.

Watch New Expedition 50 Trio Dock Today

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Expedition 50 Crew Members

From left are Expedition 50 crew members Peggy Whitson of NASA, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA. Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Three new crew members are set to dock to the International Space Station Saturday at 5:01 p.m. EST. Live coverage of the docking and arrival will begin at 4:15 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) launched in their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft at 3:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 (2:20 a.m. Baikonur time, Nov. 18).

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.

Below is the docking timeline in EST:

Saturday, Nov. 19

4:15 p.m.         NASA TV: Docking coverage begins
5:01 p.m.         Scheduled time for docking to the Rassvet module
7:35 p.m.         Hatches scheduled to open

Expedition 50 Launches on Two-Day Trip to Station

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The Soyuz MS-03 Spacecraft Launches

The Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft launches Expedition 50 crew members Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet from Kazakhstan. Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz MS-03 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:20 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 17 (2:20 a.m. Baikonur time, Nov. 18). At the time of launch, the space station was flying about 250 miles over the south Atlantic east of Argentina. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) are now safely in orbit.

Over the next two days, the trio will orbit the Earth for approximately two days before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 5:01 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.

New Station Crew Launches Live Today on NASA TV

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Expedition 50 Crew Members

Expedition 50 crew members (from left) Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet are seen in quarantine behind glass during a crew press conference. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing for launch to the International Space Station. They are scheduled to lift off today in a Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft at 3:20 p.m. EST (2:20 a.m. Nov. 18, Baikonur time).

Live coverage of the launch will begin at 2:30 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Check out the NASA TV schedule online for information on how to watch live and replays.

The three crew members will join Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who have been aboard the complex since October. Whitson, Novitskiy and Pesquet will remain aboard the station until next spring. Kimbrough, Ryzhikov and Borisenko are scheduled to remain aboard the station until late February.

The Expedition 50 crew members will contribute to more than 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Below is the launch timeline for the crew in EST:

Nov. 17

9:20 a.m.        Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
9:35 a.m.        Batteries installed in booster
10:05 a.m.      Crew arrives at Site 254
10:20 a.m.      Tanking begins
10:50 a.m.      Crew suit up
11:15 a.m.      Booster loaded with liquid oxygen
11:50 a.m.      Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
12:15 p.m.      First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
12:20 p.m.      Crew walkout from 254; boards bus for the launch pad
12:25 p.m.      Crew departs for launch pad at Site 31
12:45 p.m.      Crew arrives at launch pad
12:55 p.m.      Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
1:45 p.m.        Descent module hardware tested
2:00 p.m.        Hatch closed; leak checks begin
2:20 p.m.        Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
2:30 p.m. NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
2:35 p.m.        Pad service structure components lowered
2:36 p.m.        Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
2:43 p.m.        Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
2:45 p.m. NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
2:46 p.m.        Emergency escape system armed
3:05 p.m.        Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
3:10 p.m.        Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
3:13 p.m.        Pre-launch operations complete
3:14 p.m.        Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
3:15 p.m.        Commander’s controls activated
3:16 p.m.        Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
3:17 p.m.        Propellant drainback
3:17 p.m.        Booster propellant tank pressurization
3:18 p.m.        Ground propellant feed terminated
3:19 p.m.        Vehicle to internal power;
3:19 p.m.        First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
3:19 p.m.        Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
3:19 p.m.        Second umbilical tower separates
3:20 p.m.        Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
3:20 p.m.        Engine turbopumps at flight speed
3:20 p.m.        Engines at maximum thrust
3:20:13 p.m.  LAUNCH
3:28 p.m.        Third stage separation and orbital insertion

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/station. For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/iss and on Twitter @Space_Station.

Soyuz Rocket Blessed Before Launch, Cygnus Prepped for Departure

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Orthodox Priest Blesses Rocket and Media

An Orthodox priest blesses the Soyuz rocket and members of the media Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz rocket that will launch three new Expedition 50 crew members to space Thursday was blessed at its launch pad today. Back in space, the Canadarm2 grappled the Cygnus cargo craft ahead of its release early next week.

An Orthodox priest performed the traditional blessing of the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft today before its launch to the International Space Station. Peggy Whitson of NASA, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA are in quarantine at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Kazakhstan and are scheduled to liftoff Thursday at 3:20 p.m. EST on a two-day trip to their new home in space.

The new trio will dock to the Rassvet module Saturday afternoon and join Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko who have been in space since Oct. 19. The new Soyuz crew ship will make four spacecraft docked at the orbital complex before the Cygnus resupply ship departs two days later.

Cygnus will end its month-long stay at the Unity module on Monday when Kimbrough commands the Canadarm2 to release the cargo craft at 8:20 a.m. NASA TV will broadcast the release and departure of Cygnus beginning at 8 a.m. Before Cygnus begins its fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere it will stay in space a few more days to release a set of ocean ship tracking CubeSats and conduct the Saffire-II spacecraft fire study.


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