The International Space Station is gearing up for the next-generation SpaceX Dragon cargo craft due to lift off this weekend. Meanwhile, the seven-member Expedition 64 crew kicked off the work week on space botany and human research.
The newest Dragon resupply ship from SpaceX is due to launch to the station on Saturday at 11:39 a.m. EST with over 6,500 pounds of crew supplies and station hardware, including the NanoRacks Bishop airlock. The upgraded vehicle will dock on its own for the first time to the space-facing port of the Harmony module adjacent to the recently arrived Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover reviewed approach, rendezvous and hatch opening procedures today. They will be monitoring its arrival and docking set for Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Cargo Dragon vehicles were previously captured and installed using the Canadarm2 robotic arm.
Exercise in space is critical so that astronauts remain fit and healthy and able to withstand the rigors of physically demanding tasks such as spacewalks and returning to Earth’s gravity. Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker attached sensors to themselves today and took turns on an exercise bike to measure their cardiopulmonary function. Observations from today’s exercise study may help improve physical stamina to sustain crews on longer term missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos worked throughout the day on life support maintenance and communication tests. His fellow cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov also checked out communications gear and worked on a pair of Russian experiments exploring the Earth’s upper atmosphere and advanced space photography techniques.
The main science focus today aboard the International Space Station was a human research study observing an astronaut’s muscular system. All seven Expedition 64 crew members also gathered together Friday afternoon and familiarized themselves with emergency hardware.
Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins kicked off the Myotones study Friday morning gathering hardware to collect measurements of his muscles and tendons. Crewmates Victor Glover and Shannon Walker also joined Hopkins for the muscle scans and measurements. Methods such as an ultrasound scan and blood draws are used to look at the biomechanical properties of muscles. Observations may improve performance and fitness in space as well as treatments for rehabilitation on Earth.
A pair of studies looking at botany and fluid technology was also on Friday’s research schedule. Rubins collected and stowed leaf samples from radish plants growing in the Columbus laboratory module. She also explored the behavior of water droplets with an eye towards developing advanced fuel and life support systems.
JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi relaxed Friday morning before moving onto lab maintenance activities. The three-time space visitor first serviced U.S. spacesuit batteries before closing out the Avatar-X robotic camera experiment. He also worked on light plumbing duties servicing components in the station’s restroom located in the Tranquility module.
Crews aboard the station regularly practice emergency drills such as evacuations or medical procedures in conjunction with mission controllers on the ground. Today, all the station residents, including Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, familiarized themselves with emergency gear to be prepared for an unlikely emergency scenario in space.
NASA Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker worked throughout Wednesday readying the station’s Tranquility module for a new commercial airlock from NanoRacks. Dubbed Bishop, the airlock will be delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission targeted to launch on Dec. 5. The Bishop airlock will enable private industries to increase research opportunities in the vacuum of space.
Planned for Dec. 6, this will be the first automated docking of the Cargo Dragon to the space-facing port on the Harmony module. Previous Cargo Dragon vehicles were captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvered by astronauts. Robotics controllers then took over and remotely installed Dragon to Harmony’s Earth-facing port.
The GRASP human research experiment, sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA), was back on the science schedule Wednesday. Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover wore virtual reality goggles and responded to virtual stimuli to help doctors understand how the central nervous system, specifically hand-eye coordination, adapts to weightlessness.
JAXA astronaut and Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi started his day servicing the Kibo laboratory module’s Cell Biology Experiment Facility, a specialized incubator that can generate artificial gravity. Later, he joined Kate Rubins and examined her eyes using optical coherence tomography.
The orbiting lab’s two cosmonauts, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, continued studying ways to make space workouts more effective. The duo later joined Rubins and practiced chest compressions, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, in the event of a medical emergency aboard the space station.
Human research was the prime area of study today aboard the International Space Station. Results are helping NASA and its international partners keep astronauts safe and healthy on long term space missions.
Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover took turns today exploring how weightlessness impacts their hand-eye coordination. The GRASP study, sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA), explores how microgravity affects a crew member’s central nervous system. That experiment has been under way at the orbiting lab since 2016, providing researchers critical data and insights on how astronauts adapt to living and working in space.
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, the two Expedition 64 cosmonauts, participated in a Russian exercise study today. The duo worked out on a treadmill in the Zvezda service module while attached to a variety of sensors. Observations could lead to improved crew training techniques and more effective workouts on the way to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
All seven crew members started the day measuring their body mass with an instrument that follows Newton’s second law of motion to account for the lack of gravity. Known as SLAMMD, or Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device, it applies a known force to an astronaut with the resulting acceleration used to calculate the person’s mass.
New station Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover continued studying how microgravity impacts dexterous manipulation today. Their inputs for the Grip study could help scientists and engineers develop safer, more advanced spacecraft systems and interfaces.
NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker relaxed Monday morning before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring how to manufacture high quality, next generation fiber optic cables in space. Kate Rubins, on her second station mission, studied how water droplets behave in space to help engineers design improved spacecraft fuel and life support systems.
The two station cosmonauts worked on a pair of docked Russian Progress cargo ships, but otherwise relaxed Monday. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov are winding down several days of cleaning their spacesuits and stowing their tools following Wednesday’s six-hour and 48-minute spacewalk.
The International Space Station’s four newest crew members are fitting in a variety of space research today. The quartet also continues to get up to speed with station systems and procedures.
Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover, the SpaceX Crew Dragon commander and pilot, respectively, researched how their dexterous manipulation is affected by microgravity. The Grip study may influence the development of future space systems and interfaces as NASA plans missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
The two Expedition 64 cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, cleaned their Russian Orlan spacesuits today following Wednesday’s spacewalk. The duo spent six hours and 48 minutes readying the station’s Russian segment for the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
Three Expedition 64 crewmates slept in today following Wednesday’s spacewalk to upgrade the International Space Station for a new Russian module. Meanwhile, the station’s four newest crew members are adjusting to life in space, working science and unloading cargo from the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins had a long day Wednesday as she assisted cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov during their six-hour and 48-minute spacewalk. The trio had an extended sleep shift Thursday having also adjusted their schedules at the beginning of the week to welcome the four astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon.
The extended crew woke up at 7 a.m. EST and jumped right into a busy workday getting familiarized with station systems and working space research. At the end of the day, the quartet also briefed mission controllers and discussed their experience riding in the Crew Dragon vehicle.
Flight Engineers Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi partnered up Wednesday morning and transferred cargo from Crew Dragon into the station. The duo then split up as Glover participated in the Vection study to understand how astronauts visually perceive and adapt to the space environment. Noguchi spent a good portion of his day inside the Japanese Kibo lab module servicing the Cell Biology Experiment Facility, an incubator that can generate artificial gravity.
The two cosmonauts opened the hatch to the Poisk module‘s airlock to begin the spacewalk at 10:12 a.m. EST. They re-entered the airlock and closed the hatch at 5 p.m. EST.
During the spacewalk, the duo inspected the Poisk airlock for leaks, relocated an antenna from the Pirs module to Poisk, retrieved hardware that measures space debris impacts, and repositioned an instrument used to measure the residue from thruster firings. Additionally, the team retrieved and installed an impact tray on the Zvezda service module and took photos of the plume deflectors. The cosmonauts deferred the task of replacing the fluid flow regulator on the Zarya module to a future spacewalk.
It was the 232nd spacewalk in support of International Space Station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades, the eighth spacewalk of 2020, and the first spacewalk for both Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov.
Ryzhikov, designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), is wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, and Kud-Sverchkov is wearing a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).
Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Views from a camera on Ryzhikov’s helmet are designated with the number 20, and Kud-Sverchkov’s is labeled with the number 18.
Expedition 64 Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing for their exit from the station’s Poisk docking compartment airlock at approximately 9:30 a.m. EST to begin a spacewalk planned for about six hours to service the International Space Station.
The primary objective during the spacewalk will be to relocate an antenna from the Pirs docking compartment to the Poisk module, the first in a series of tasks that will prepare the Pirs module for decommissioning, undocking, and disposal. The Earth-facing Pirs module will be replaced by the new Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, named “Nauka,” Russian for “science.”
The cosmonauts will also conduct leak inspections outside the Poisk hatch, replace a fluid flow regulator on the Zarya module, retrieve hardware that measures space debris impacts, and reposition an instrument used to measure the residue from thruster firings.
Coverage of the spacewalk is now underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website.