Monthly Archives: December 2016

Station Crew Gearing Up for 2017

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The Expedition 50 crew enjoys an international Christmas dinner aboard the space station.

The Expedition 50 crew enjoys an international Christmas dinner aboard the space station.

The Expedition 50 crew aboard the International Space Station spent the week working on an array of science, maintenance and spacewalking preparation to close out 2016.

Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet are getting ready for a pair of spacewalks on Jan. 6 and 13. The spacewalks, in conjunction with remote robotics work, will complete the replacement of old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the station’s truss structure. The crew performed a loop scrub on their spacesuits, reviewed spacewalking procedures and did a fit verification with their suits on Friday.

The crew participated in a variety of science experiments during the week including the Fluid Shifts study, which investigates the causes for  lasting physical changes to astronauts’ eyes; performed the final harvest of the Outredgous Romaine Lettuce from the Veggie facility, which is further demonstrating the ability to grow fresh plants in space to supplement crew diets; and continued preparing the station’s Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) for the upcoming Cool Flames Investigation, which will provide new insight into the phenomenon where some types of fuels initially burn very hot, then appear to go out — but they continue burning at a much lower temperature, with no visible flames (cool flames).

Going into New Year’s weekend, the crew will enjoy their typical off-duty time on Saturday and Sunday. They also will have Monday, Jan. 2 off.

Crew Heads into Christmas Weekend with Spacewalk Preps

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Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA sent holiday greetings and festive imagery from the Japanese Kibo laboratory module on Dec. 18.

The six-member Expedition 50 crew from France, Russia and the U.S. is heading into the holiday weekend with spacesuit checks and eye studies. The international crew will share a Christmas meal, enjoy a light-duty weekend and take Dec. 26 off.

Commander Shane Kimbrough scrubbed cooling loops and tested the water in a pair of U.S. spacesuits today. Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet are getting ready for a pair of spacewalks on Jan. 6 and 13. The spacewalks, in conjunction with remote robotics work, will complete the replacement of old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the station’s truss structure.

Whitson, who is spending her second Christmas in space, and Pesquet drew blood, urine and saliva samples for the Fluid Shifts study. That experiment investigates the upward flow of body fluids in space potentially causing lasting vision changes in astronauts.

In the Russian segment of the International Space Station, the three cosmonauts primarily worked on maintenance tasks and science work. Oleg Novitskiy worked on communications gear and experimented with space photography techniques. Sergey Ryzhikov worked on water transfers and a cardiac study. Andrey Borisenko worked on life support equipment before studying how a crew member learns to orient themselves in microgravity.

Astronauts Study How Lack of Gravity Impacts Muscles

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Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough

Expedition 50 crew members Peggy Whitson (left) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA (right) share fresh fruit that was recently delivered by the HTV-6 cargo vehicle to the International Space Station.

The crew wrapped up part of a muscle research program today while continuing other experiments to study the effects of living in space. Also, a new CubeSat deployer was installed in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

Scientists want to understand how the lack of gravity impacts muscles that aren’t used due to working in the microgravity environment. The Sarcolab experiment is one study that measures how the calf muscle changes in space using an ultrasound and electrode stimulators. The first part of that experiment was completed today as its gear was stowed and data downlinked for analysis on Earth.

The station residents also explored how astronauts adapt to spaceflight conditions, the effects of a long-term mission on the human circulatory system and how charged particles behave in a magnetic field.

An enhanced small satellite deployer was installed in the Kibo module replacing an older model that deployed its last CubeSat on Monday. The new CubeSat deployer has twice the satellite deployment capacity than the previous version. CubeSats scheduled for release from the new deployer will study a variety of space phenomena and enable advanced satellite communications.

Muscle Research and Space Emergency Drill for Crew

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Commander Shane Kimbrough

Commander Shane Kimbrough rests in between a pair of U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock.

The Expedition 50 crew is exploring a wide variety of phenomena today to understand the effects of living and working in space. Results from the advanced space research aboard the International Space Station has the potential to benefit humans on Earth and astronauts on long-term missions.

Two first-time space flyers, Sergey Ryzhikov from Russia and Thomas Pesquet from France, partnered again today for the Sarcolab muscle study. The duo used an ultrasound scanner and electrodes to measure and stimulate the knee muscles for possible muscle loss due to microgravity.

Commander Shane Kimbrough and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson continued more maintenance work on the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, a combustion research device that enables high temperature science. Whitson then worked on the Packed Bed Reactor Experiment gear that observes the behavior of gases and liquids.

Whitson and Pesquet later joined their Soyuz crewmate Oleg Novitskiy for a medical emergency drill. The three Expedition 50-51 crew members reviewed CPR procedures, medical hardware and their roles and responsibilities.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Human Research and Emergency Drill Week Before Christmas

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Docked Soyuz and Progress Spacecraft

The docked Soyuz and Progress spacecraft are seen as the International Space Station orbited over the southern continent of Africa. Credit: Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

The six Expedition 50 crew members from France, Russia and the United States are heading into the final holidays of the year with a muscle study and Earth observations today. The astronauts also checked out fluids and combustion science gear and practiced an emergency escape drill.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet measured his muscle and tendon response today with assistance from Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov. Pesquet used an ultrasound while wearing electrode stimulators around his right calf muscle. The Sarcolab experiment from the European Space Agency seeks to define which muscles are used and not used when living in space.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson worked on replacing gear inside an integrated rack facility that contains two racks. One rack, the Fluids Integrated Rack, studies how fluids behave in space. The other rack, Combustion Integrated Rack, enables the safe research into how flames behave and materials burn in space.

Commander Shane Kimbrough swapped sample cartridges inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace which enables the observation of the levitation, melting and solidification materials. At the end of the workday, he joined his Soyuz crewmates Ryzhikov and veteran cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko for an emergency Soyuz descent drill. The trio practiced the escape routes and procedures they would use in the unlikely event they would need to evacuate the station aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.

New Japanese Gear Installed, New European Experiment Started

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Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough work inside the cupola module to robotically capture the Japanese HTV-6 cargo craft.

External and internal cargo is currently being unloaded from Japan’s sixth H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6) to visit the International Space Station. The Expedition 50 commander also talked to students on Earth today and helped the rest of the crew with space research and orbital lab maintenance.

Commander Shane Kimbrough continued unpacking gear and fresh food delivered in the HTV-6 day. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson installed a new small satellite deployer delivered on the Japanese resupply ship inside the Kibo lab module. Kimbrough also spent a few minutes during his workday answering questions uplinked live from Nantucket New School students in Massachusetts this morning.

European Space Agency Thomas Pesquet astronaut looked at a new method for water recycling in space called AquaMembrane. Pesquet also joined Kimbrough and Whitson in the afternoon for eye and retina checks as part of the Ocular Health study.

Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko partnered throughout the day on Russian communication gear maintenance tasks. Veteran cosmonaut and second-time station resident Oleg Novitskiy worked on various science experiments studying how weightlessness affects respiration and the remote control of rovers on another planet from a spacecraft.

Crew Begins Unloading Japanese Cargo Ship

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Japan's HTV-6 cargo craft

Japan’s HTV-6 cargo craft is pictured moments before it was grappled by Canada’s 57.7-foot-long robotic arm Tuesday morning.

Robotic officers in Mission Control, Houston maneuvered the Canadarm2 robotic arm overnight to extract a pallet from the newly-arrived Japanese HTV-6 cargo ship containing new batteries for the station’s power supply.  The batteries will replace older batteries on the starboard truss through a series of robotic operations and spacewalks planned through mid-January.

The hatch to the HTV-6 resupply vehicle was opened Tuesday just a few hours after it arrived and was installed to the International Space Station. The Expedition 50 crew began unloading supplies from the vehicle shortly afterward.

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:

While cargo transfers were under way the six-member crew also worked on analyzing water samples, installing new science gear, continuing ongoing research and maintaining station systems. The orbital residents also reviewed procedures in the unlikely event of an emergency with the HTV-6 attached to the station.

Commander Shane Kimbrough began work to install a new Japanese experiment that measures space radiation and the exposure risk to astronauts. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet explored new technologies to analyze water samples for microbes. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson researched how astronauts work with touch-based devices and repair sensitive equipment.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy studied plasma physics then moved onto testing the remote control of rovers on another planet from a spacecraft. Flight Engineer Sergey Ryzhikov gathered radiation detectors for the Matryeshka-Bubble experiment. Veteran cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko worked throughout the station’s Russian segment on maintenance task.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Japan’s “White Stork” Spacecraft Installed on Station

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Dec. 13 Space Station Configuration

Japan’s HTV-6 cargo craft is installed to the Harmony module’s Earth-facing port. There are now four spacecraft parked at the International Space Station, including two Soyuz crew vehicles and one Progress resupply ship. Credit: NASA

Ground controllers successfully installed the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kounotori 6 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6) to the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Harmony module at 8:57 a.m. EST.

The spacecraft’s arrival supports the crew members’ research off the Earth to benefit the Earth. The cargo spacecraft began its trip on an H-IIB rocket at 8:26 a.m. EST (10:26 p.m. Japan time) on Friday, Dec. 9 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

The early Tuesday morning cargo delivery includes more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Two Astronauts Capture Japanese “White Stork”

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HTV-6 in the Grip of the Canadarm2

Japan’s HTV-6 cargo craft is pictured in the grip of the Canadarm2 shortly after it was captured Tuesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

Using the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) successfully captured the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6). At the time of capture, the space station and cargo spacecraft were flying 250 miles over southern Chile. Robotic ground controllers now will install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module.

NASA TV coverage of the berthing currently is scheduled to begin about 7:45 a.m. at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The Japanese cargo ship, whose name means “white stork,” is delivering more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew.

The re-supply vehicle is delivering six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station’s solar arrays. These will be installed during a series of robotic operations and spacewalks between late December and mid-January.

The spacecraft also is bringing the Technology Education (TechEdSat-5) nanosatellite, which includes the Exo-Brake technology demonstration mission. The Exo-Brake technology is a tension-based, flexible braking device that could help bring small payloads back through Earth’s atmosphere unharmed, accurately de-orbiting through a series of adjustments to modulate drag. Exo-Brake deployment is targeted for early 2017.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

 

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Astronauts Ready to Capture Japan’s Cargo Ship

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Japan's HTV-2 cargo craft

Japan’s HTV-2 cargo craft is seen moments before its capture on Jan. 27, 2011, during Expedition 26 at the International Space Station.

Aboard the International Space Station, crew members are making final preparations for the arrival of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s HTV-6 cargo spacecraft. NASA Television is providing live coverage, available at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv. Capture is scheduled around 6 a.m. EST.

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to reach out and grapple the 12-ton spacecraft. Robotic ground controllers will then install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will monitor HTV-6 systems during the rendezvous and grapple.

The spacecraft is loaded with more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew. The unpiloted cargo spacecraft, named “Kounotori” – the Japanese word for white stork – launched Friday, Dec. 9 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

The re-supply vehicle is delivering six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station’s solar arrays. These will be installed during a series of robotic operations and spacewalks between late December and mid-January.

The spacecraft also is bringing the Technology Education (TechEdSat-5) nanosatellite, which includes the Exo-Brake technology demonstration mission. The Exo-Brake technology is a tension-based, flexible braking device that could help bring small payloads back through Earth’s atmosphere unharmed, accurately de-orbiting through a series of adjustments to modulate drag. Exo-Brake deployment is targeted for early 2017.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

For more information on previous HTV missions from JAXA to the space station visit:


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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