Monthly Archives: August 2017

Crew Checks New Exercise Gear, CREAM Observes Cosmic Rays

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson is pictured at work inside the Unity module. Unity is the node that connects the Russian segment of the space station to the U.S. segment.

A pair of Expedition 52 astronauts checked out new, smaller exercise gear today. The crew also worked on a variety of human research while a new cosmic ray detector has begun scanning outer space.

The space station’s two newest astronauts, Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik, joined forces today to measure the effectiveness of the new Mini-Exercise Device-2 (MED2). The MED2 is smaller and less bulky than other space exercise equipment providing more habitability room on a spacecraft. The duo worked out on MED2 and took photographs to demonstrate its ability to provide motion and resistance during an exercise session.

Flight Engineer Jack Fischer scanned his leg artery with an ultrasound device after a short exercise during the afternoon. The Vascular Echo study is examining how blood vessels and the heart adapt to microgravity. Astronaut Peggy Whitson spent her afternoon swapping cell cultures inside the Advanced Space Experiment Processor.

The Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Investigation, or CREAM, is now observing cosmic rays coming from across the galaxy. CREAM was attached to the outside of the Kibo lab module on Tuesday after a handoff from the Canadian robotic arm to the Japanese robotic arm. CREAM was delivered aboard the SpaceX Dragon and will help determine the origin of the cosmic rays and measure their features across the energy spectrum.


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Cosmic Ray Study Prepped for Installation After Monday Eclipse

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Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse was photographed by Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin aboard the International Space Station on Monday Aug. 21.

Overnight, robotics controllers extracted a new astrophysics experiment from the trunk of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. The Canadarm2 will hand off the new astronomy gear to the Japanese robotic arm which will then install it outside the Kibo laboratory module.

Dubbed CREAM, short for Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Investigation, it will observe a variety of cosmic rays and measure their charges. The experiment is an extension of what started as high-altitude, long-duration balloon flights over Antarctica. The orbital data is expected to be several orders of magnitude greater than that collected in Earth’s atmosphere.

The six Expedition 52 crew members had a once-in-a-lifetime experience Monday as they witnessed the solar eclipse from space. The orbiting crewmates employed a multitude of cameras to photograph the eclipse. They captured stunning views of the moon’s shadow against the Earth with a high definition camcorder as the eclipse darkened a coast-to-coast swath of the United States.


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Station Crew Ends Week Preparing for Eclipse 2017

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The station crew will have three chances to see the solar eclipse from space. The third pass will offer the most coverage with the sun 84% obscured by the moon.

The Expedition 52 crew wrapped up a busy week on Friday with more science work, cargo unloading and cleanup after a Russian spacewalk on Thursday. They are also busy preparing for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse on Monday with the chance at several unique views of the event.

The crew participated in several studies including Vascular Echo Ultrasound, a Canadian Space Agency investigation that examines changes in blood vessels and the heart while the crew members are in space. They also completed weekly questionnaires for the ESA Space Headaches investigation which collects information that may help in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms and improvement in the well-being and performance of crewmembers in space.

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy performed cleanup tasks following their Thursday spacewalk which lasted seven hours and 34 minutes. The duo completed a number of tasks including the manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

Station crew members will have their cameras outfitted with special filters on Monday for three chances to photograph the solar eclipse from windows aboard the orbiting laboratory. For more information on their opportunities and what they expect to see, visit NASA’s Solar Eclipse website.


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Spacewalk Comes to a Close

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Spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy

At the bottom center, spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy are partially obscured by gear on the outside of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The two spacewalkers exited the Pirs Docking Compartment Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT. Among their accomplishments was manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

One of the satellites, with casings made using 3-D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3-D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist.

They also collected residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station.


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Cosmonauts Begin Spacewalk

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Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Sergey Ryazanskiy are pictured in the Orlan spacesuits they are wearing during today’s spacewalk. Credit: @SergeyISS

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a planned six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Yurchikhin is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television and the agency’s website.


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Dragon Installed to Station for Month of Cargo Swaps

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Space Station Configuration

Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, the Progress 67 resupply ship and two Soyuz crew ships.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 9:07 a.m. EDT. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened as soon as later today.

CRS-12 is scheduled to deliver more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station, including a sweet treat for the astronauts: ice cream. The small cups of chocolate, vanilla and birthday cake-flavored ice cream are arriving in freezers that will be reloaded with research samples for return to Earth when the Dragon spacecraft departs the station mid-September.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.


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Robotic Arm Reaches Out and Grapples Dragon

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SpaceX Dragon

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Wednesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling over the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured the Dragon spacecraft at 6:52 a.m. EDT using the station’s robotic arm. It then will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.

NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.


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Expedition 52 Awaits Wednesday Dragon Arrival, Thursday Spacewalk

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Expedition 52 Crew Portrait

The Expedition 52 crew poses for a unique portrait. Pictured clockwise from top right are, Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Jack Fischer, Peggy Whitson, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.

The SpaceX Dragon is hauling advanced space research for delivery Wednesday morning to the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the seventh station spacewalk this year set to begin Thursday morning.

Dragon is less than 24 hours from its approach and rendezvous with the space station for SpaceX’s third resupply mission this year. Astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will be in the Cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Dragon at 7 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA TV will begin live coverage of Dragon’s arrival at 5:30 a.m.

Dragon will stay open at the station’s Harmony module for a month of cargo swaps. The astronauts will offload new life science studies to improve therapies against Parkinson’s disease and explore ways to grow lung tissue as well as other research. A new pair of external experiments will also be deployed including a cosmic ray study to be installed outside of the Kibo lab module and a nanosatellite technology demonstration.

Two cosmonauts are trying on their Orlan spacesuits today to ensure they are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy will exit the Pirs airlock at 10:45 a.m. for about six hours of science and maintenance work. Thursday’s spacewalk highlight will be when Ryazanskiy manually deploys five nanosatellites, including the first 3D printed CubeSat, into Earth orbit.


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Eye Check Day on Station, Dragon Gets Ready For Launch

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The full moon

The full moon is pictured from the International Space Station.

The Expedition 52 crew members pulled out their medical hardware today for a variety of eye checks and other biomedical research. The station residents are also making space and packing up gear for next week’s cargo delivery aboard the SpaceX Dragon.

The crew each participated in a series of eye exams throughout Thursday working with optical coherence tomography (OCT) gear. OCT is a medical imaging technique that captures imagery of the retina using light waves. A pair of cosmonauts then peered into a fundoscope for a more detailed look at the eye’s interior. The regularly scheduled eye checks were conducted with real-time input from doctors on the ground.

SpaceX completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket today at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon cargo craft will be perched atop the Falcon 9 for a targeted launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT.

Once in space, Dragon will conduct a series of orbital maneuvers navigating its way to the station Wednesday morning. Finally, Dragon will reach its capture point ten meters away from the complex. From there, astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon. Next, ground controllers remotely guide Dragon still attached to the Canadarm2 and install it to the Harmony module.

The crew is clearing space on the International Space Station today and packing gear to stow on Dragon after it arrives next week. NASA TV begins its pre-launch coverage Sunday covering Dragon’s science payloads. Monday’s launch coverage begins at noon. NASA TV will also broadcast Dragon’s arrival Wednesday beginning at 5:30 a.m.

Station Boosts Orbit, Dragon Launch Slips a Day

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson works on the Combustion Integrated Rack in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

A docked Russian cargo craft fired its engines today slightly raising the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbital boost sets up next month’s crew swap. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft also received a new target launch date while the crew gets ready for a spacewalk next week.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will return to Earth on Sept. 2 with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapping up their Expedition 52 mission. Fischer and Yurchikhin will each have lived 135 consecutive days in space while Whitson will have 289 days. The next crew, with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, launches Sept. 13 to begin a 167-day mission in space.

SpaceX announced a one-day launch slip of its Dragon cargo craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon is now targeted to launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. Fischer and astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are training for Dragon’s arrival and capture planned for Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for a spacewalk amidst the cargo mission and crew swap preparations. The experienced Russian spacewalkers, Yurchikhin with eight career spacewalks and Sergey Ryazanskiy with three, performed leak checks, installed batteries and sized up their Orlan spacesuits and ahead of their Aug. 17 spacewalk.


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