Monthly Archives: March 2017

Friday’s Spacewalk Continues Commercial Crew Readiness

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Astronaut Thomas Pesquet

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet works on spacewalk gear inside the U.S. Quest airlock.

Two astronauts are getting the Quest airlock and their equipment ready for a Friday morning spacewalk. The cosmonauts continued their human research program today exploring the various affects of living in space.

Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will exit the Quest airlock Friday at 8 a.m. EDT to begin setting up the International Space Station for future commercial crew missions. The duo will work outside for about 6.5 hours on the first of three spacewalks scheduled to take place over the next two weeks.

Friday’s major tasks include disconnecting cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 ahead of its relocation from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module on Sunday.  The latching end of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator will also be lubricated and computer relay boxes with commercial crew software upgrades will be replaced. NASA TV will cover the spacewalk activities live beginning Friday at 6:30 a.m.

Cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy collected their blood, saliva and urine samples today for a metabolism study and an immunity experiment. Researchers will analyze these samples to learn how microgravity affects humans and provide countermeasures to keep crew members healthy.

BEAM Checks and Human Research Fill Crew Day

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Soyuz and Progress

This long-exposure photograph shows the docked Soyuz and Progress vehicles as the International Space Station orbits above the Earth.

The astronauts took a break from spacewalk preparations today and checked out an expandable module and worked on science freezers. The crew also continued its human research program exploring space nutrition and the effects of microgravity on metabolism and the immune system.

Thomas Pesquet opened the hatches to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) today for a status check. The European Space Agency astronaut sampled BEAM’s air and surfaces for microbes and installed impact sensors. He also used a digital camera with a fish-eye lens to capture 360-degree imagery of the inside of BEAM.

Veteran NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson serviced three science freezers ensuring biological samples can be preserved for return on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon mission. She also brushed up on robotics skills necessary for Friday’s spacewalk.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy logged his meals again today before collecting saliva samples for an immunity study. Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko researched how living in space long term affects metabolism and a crew member’s psychophysiological state.


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

Astronauts Preparing for First of Three Spacewalks

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Spacewalker Thomas Pesquet

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet is photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

Three astronauts are preparing for a Friday morning spacewalk to upgrade and maintain the International Space Station’s external systems. The three cosmonauts stayed focused today on their set of Russian space experiments and life support work.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency are reviewing procedures for the spacewalk set to begin Friday at 8 a.m. EDT with live NASA TV coverage at 6:30 a.m. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson joined the pair for the review and will assist the spacewalkers from inside the station.

Friday’s spacewalk will see Kimbrough and Pesquet begin setting up the station for future commercial crew missions. They will prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 for removal from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module. The astronauts will also replace computer relay boxes with software upgrades for future dockings of commercial crew vehicles.

In the midst of the spacewalk work today, Pesquet received a call from the French President Francois Hollande who toured an observatory with school children outside Lyon, France. Kimbrough and Whitson answered questions submitted by social media fans on Facebook Live Tuesday morning

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Andrey Borisenko documented what they ate for breakfast and lunch today for a pair of nutrition studies. The experiments are researching how diet affects a crew member’s metabolism and bone structure while living in space. Flight Engineer Sergey Ryzhikov spent the day checking Russian life support gear and sampling drinking water.


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

Crew Gears Up for Three Spacewalks as Dragon Heads to Port

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Spacewalker Shane Kimbrough

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

The Expedition 50 crew is gearing up for three spacewalks over two weeks to continue the external maintenance at the International Space Station. Also, the SpaceX Dragon is returning to port today after completing a month-long stay at the station.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will begin the first spacewalk Friday at 8 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will begin live coverage of the 198th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance Friday at 6:30 a.m.

The two spacewalkers will spend 6.5 hours disconnecting cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3), lubricating the tip of the Canadarm2, inspecting a radiator and replacing cameras. Computer relay boxes will also be replaced. The new hardware contains software upgrades for future dockings of commercial crew vehicles.

Friday’s cable work on the PMA-3 will prepare it for its relocation from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module on March 30. The relocation readies the PMA-3 for the future installation of the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future cargo mission.

The SpaceX Dragon is heading to its port today in southern California after a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Sunday morning. NASA support personnel will retrieve the numerous research samples stowed in Dragon’s cargo hold and deliver them to scientists for analysis. The results of the advanced space science may improve disease therapies and injury treatments on Earth.

Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific Ocean

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Dragon Splashdown

The SpaceX Dragon is pictured seconds before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 10:46 a.m. EDT, about 200 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, marking the end of the company’s tenth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Expedition 50 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station’s robotic arm right on schedule, at 5:11 a.m.

A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. The Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation had crew members observe cell growth and other characteristics in microgravity. This information will provide insight into how human cancers start and spread, which aids in the development of prevention and treatment plans. Results from this investigation could lead to the treatment of disease and injury in space, as well as provide a way to improve stem cell production for human therapy on Earth.

Samples from the Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect study, a U.S. National Laboratory investigation sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, studied what prevents vertebrates such as rodents and humans from re-growing lost bone and tissue, and how microgravity conditions affect the process. Results will provide a new understanding of the biological reasons behind a human’s inability to grow a lost limb at the wound site, and could lead to new treatment options for the more than 30 percent of the patient population who do not respond to current options for chronic non-healing wounds.

The Dragon spacecraft launched Feb. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Feb. 23.

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

www.nasa.gov/station

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

https://www.facebook.com/ISS

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SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Departs Space Station

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The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was released from space station at 5:11 a.m. ET on March 19 after delivering more than 5,500 pounds of cargo.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was released from space station at 5:11 a.m. ET on March 19 after delivering more than 5,500 pounds of cargo.

Expedition 50 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station‘s robotic arm at 5:11 a.m. EDT.

With the spacecraft a safe distance from the station, SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, will command its deorbit burn around 10 a.m. The capsule will splash down at about 10:54 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 5,400 pounds of cargo. The cargo includes science samples from human and animal research, external payloads, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities.

The deorbit burn and splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours of splashdown.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched Feb. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Feb. 23 for the company’s 10th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission.

Harvest Day on Station as Kids Space Research Begins

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Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson seemingly juggle apples and oranges floating in the microgravity environment inside the space station.

The crew is harvesting plants today grown on the International Space Station that will be returned to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon. Also, a variety of student experiments submitted from schools across the United States were activated inside the orbital laboratory.

Dragon is due to return to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean March 19. The resupply ship will carry back gear and science samples for analysis by NASA personnel. Plants that were grown on petri plates for the APEX-04 study will also be returned aboard Dragon. Astronaut Peggy Whitson harvested those plants today helping researchers study the molecular changes that plants experience when grown in space.

Future scientists had their experiments activated today inside the NanoRacks commercial space research facility aboard the station. Students from five U.S. schools will be exploring ways to reduce infections, improve muscle injury treatments, grow plants on Mars, filter bacteria and solve common slippery surface problems.

Ongoing Space Science Seeks to Keep Astronauts Healthy

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Astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet were pictured inside the cupola just after the SpaceX Dragon was captured Feb. 23, 2017.

NASA is preparing for longer human journeys deeper into space and is exploring how to keep astronauts healthy and productive. The Expedition 50 crew members today studied space nutrition, measured their bodies and checked their eyes to learn how to adapt to living in space. The space residents also unloaded a cargo ship, worked on the Tranquility module and practiced an emergency simulation.

The ongoing Energy experiment that ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet collected urine samples for today seeks to define the energy requirements necessary to keep an astronaut successful during a space mission. Pesquet also joined NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson for body measurements to learn how microgravity affects body shape and impacts crew suit sizing. Commander Shane Kimbrough checked his eyes today with Whitson’s help and support from experts on the ground.

Kimbrough worked throughout the day before his eye checks and configured the Tranquility module for upcoming electronics and communications work. Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy continued unloading gear from the newly-arrived Progress 66 cargo ship. At the end of the day, Novitskiy joined Whitson and Pesquet for an emergency simulation with inputs from control centers in Houston and Moscow.

CubeSats Deployed During Crew Ultrasound Scans

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Expedition 50 Crew Members

Five Expedition 50 crew members gather in the Zvezda service module for mealtime. Clockwise from bottom are NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov.

Four CubeSats were deployed this morning as the crew researched fluid shifts toward the head that may affect astronaut vision. Tools were also being collected and organized today ahead of possible maintenance spacewalks.

Four CubeSats were ejected Monday morning from outside Japan’s Kibo lab module using the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer. The LEMUR-2 satellites will help monitor global ship tracking and improve weather forecasting.

Sergey Ryzhikov from Roscosmos participated in ultrasound scans of the head and neck for the long-running Fluid Shifts study. Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency joined Ryzhikov for the experiment to learn how to prevent upward fluid shifts that may cause lasting eye damage.

Commander Shane Kimbrough worked inside the Quest airlock today gathering spacewalk tools. Mission planners are looking at potential spacewalks to continue upgrading the International Space Station’s power systems.


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

Trio Surpasses 100 Days as Dragon Unloads Earth Science

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson shows off posters signed by hundreds of personnel who have supported her mission.

Three Expedition 50 crew members recently surpassed 100 days in space and will come home in June. Also, SpaceX Dragon external experiments are being unloaded for installation on the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has been living in space with her Expedition 50 crewmates for over 100 days now. She and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency and Oleg Novitskiy from Roscosmos will return to Earth June 2 after 197 days in space. The trio launched Nov. 17 beginning a two-day trip to the station.

Whitson has reached out to her supporters on the ground and mentioned them with her “NASA Village” campaign from space. She launched to the station with posters signed by hundreds of support personnel and recently showed them off on orbit.

Watch Peggy Whitson describe the “NASA Village”
Visit Peggy Whitson’s Facebook page

A pair of Earth observation experiments delivered last week on the SpaceX Dragon have been robotically removed from the resupply ship. Both experiments will be installed on specialized pallets on the outside of the orbital laboratory and activated for years of research.

The first experiment, SAGE-III, will observe how tiny particles interact with Earth’s sunscreen, or ozone, possibly affecting the climate. The second, Lightning Image Sensor, will monitor lightning around the globe to improve weather forecasting, enhance climate models and increase aviation safety.


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

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