Station Gets Ready to Welcome Commercial Crew

The insignias of the Expedition 64 and SpaceX Crew-1 missions.
The insignias of the Expedition 64 and SpaceX Crew-1 missions.

The Expedition 64 crew is getting ready to welcome four new crew members to the International Space Station this weekend. The orbiting trio is also gearing up for a Russian spacewalk that will take place soon afterward.

The SpaceX Crew-1 mission, with Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, is scheduled to launch to the station on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. EST. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, with the U.S. and Japanese quartet aboard, will dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter on Sunday at 4:20 a.m.

The four Commercial Crew astronauts suited up today and practiced their countdown procedures inside the Crew Dragon at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

Meanwhile, on the station, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins configured a laptop computer for operations with the Crew Dragon vehicle after it arrives on Sunday. Rubins also cleaned up inside the Harmony module, stowing cargo to accommodate the new crew.

The two cosmonauts aboard the station, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, are getting ready for their first spacewalk scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m. The Roscosmos duo took turns exercising on a treadmill today for a cardiovascular assessment as part of their spacewalk preparations. Afterward, the pair installed lights, cameras, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries on their Orlan spacesuits.

Crew Dragon Rolls Out, Station Crew Works Research and Comm Gear

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft atop is seen at its launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft atop is seen at its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on top rolled out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center overnight. Meanwhile aboard the International Space Station, the Expedition 64 crew was busy setting up a variety of research and communications gear today.

Four Commercial Crew astronauts from the United States and Japan are in Florida in quarantine and getting ready for their launch to the space station. Their Dragon crew ship is standing vertical at Launch Complex 39A counting down to a Nov. 14 lift off.

Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi will blast off on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. EST. Eight hours and 30 minutes later the quartet will dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter. They are scheduled for a five-and-a-half-month research mission aboard the station.

Back in space, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins spent Tuesday morning setting up a specialized microscope that uses fluorescence to study biological processes in microgravity. During the afternoon, she installed wireless instrumentation gear in the Zvezda service module and handed over radiation detectors to cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov checked out communications systems and biomedical sensors inside a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits this morning with assistance from Kud-Sverchkov. The cosmonaut duo then spent the rest of the day servicing life support hardware and re-pressurizing the station’s atmosphere with air from the Progress 76 resupply ship.

Physics, Biology and Spacewalk Preps as SpaceX Crew-1 Ramps Up

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Rubins works in Japan's Kibo laboratory module to set up a small satellite deployer.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Rubins works in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module to set up a small satellite deployer.

Space physics and biomedical research kicked off the work week as the Expedition 64 crew continued its spacewalk preparations. Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew astronauts are in Florida counting down to their launch to the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins started Monday morning checking out samples exposed to extreme temperatures inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The advanced research facility provides insights into the thermophysical properties and the synthesis of new materials.

Rubins then serviced components on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device that helps astronauts maintain muscle strength and mass in microgravity. The two-time station resident wrapped up her science work today collecting and stowing saliva samples for the Standard Measures study. The human research experiment collects biological data from astronauts before, during and after missions to understand how humans adapt to living in space.

A spacewalk is scheduled for Nov. 18 for maintenance and science tasks outside the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and conducted leak checks and valve tests inside their Orlan spacesuits today. The duo then partnered up with Rubins to review tasks and procedures planned for the six-hour spacewalk.

The next crew to visit the space station arrived at the Kennedy Space Center from Houston on Sunday getting ready for a launch on Nov. 14 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon. The quartet from the United States and Japan is planned to dock about eight-and-a-half hours later the following day to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter.

Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi are in quarantine in Florida conducting final mission preparations. They are scheduled for a five-and-a-half-month research mission aboard the station.

Busy Period on Station as Crew Ramps up For Spacewalk and Visitors

The Sun's glint beams off the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay as the space station orbited off the coast of California.
The Sun’s glint beams off the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay as the space station orbited off the coast of California.

Science, robotics training and lab maintenance took precedence Friday alongside ongoing spacewalk preparations aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 64 crew is also getting ready to expand with the addition of four Commercial Crew astronauts.

It is a busy period for NASA and its international partners as SpaceX gets ready to launch its next Crew Dragon vehicle with three U.S. astronauts and one Japanese astronaut on Nov. 14. Two Russian cosmonauts aboard the orbiting lab are also gearing up for their first spacewalk on Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins stayed busy this week on a technology study that explores how water evaporation can keep spacesuits cool. Today, she collected and stowed water samples for analysis that could help engineers improve heat rejection and temperature controls in spacesuits.

Rubins started the day practicing her robotics skills on a computer before installing student-controlled camera gear that photographs Earth landmarks. The two-time station visitor also put on her technician cap today and serviced life support gear that removes carbon dioxide from the station’s atmosphere.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov has been gearing up for his first spacewalk with Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The duo from Roscosmos spent Friday activating and inspecting their Orlan spacesuits and checking control panels in the Poisk module. They will exit Poisk into the vacuum of space for a six-hour spacewalk for maintenance and science work on the Russian segment of the station.

Back on Earth, four astronauts are preparing to launch Saturday, Nov. 14, to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The quartet, with Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, are in quarantine as part of routine “flight crew health stabilization.” They will head to Florida from Houston on Sunday for final mission preparations. For a launch on time, the first operational crew mission from SpaceX would dock about eight-and-half-hours later to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter.

Space Agriculture and Spacesuit Studies During Spacewalk Preps

The Earth's limb, or horizon, is pictured as the space station orbited above the north Pacific near Alaska's Aleutian Islands.
The Earth’s limb, or horizon, is pictured as the space station orbited above the north Pacific near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.

Space botany and spacesuit studies were back on the research schedule aboard the International Space Station today. Meanwhile, the Expedition 64 crew is staying focused on an upcoming spacewalk while the SpaceX commercial crew begins its quarantine period.

NASA astronaut and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins started her day on a space agriculture study that explores how microbes and fungi can improve soil health and crop production. She serviced samples for the experiment that seeks to improve food production in space and increase crop yields on Earth.

In the afternoon, Rubins moved on to a spacesuit study installing research components in an EXPRESS science rack. The experiment looks at water evaporation as means to cool spacesuits and prevent contamination and corrosion of parts inside the suits.

Two cosmonauts continue gearing up for their mission’s first spacewalk. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov were gathering and organizing a variety of spacewalk gear today for staging inside the orbiting lab’s Poisk module. They are due to exit Poisk in their Orlan spacesuits on Nov. 18 and spend about six hours during the spacewalk working on maintenance and science tasks.

Following the spacewalk preps, Ryzhikov worked on a Russian oxygen generator then wrapped up the day with a hearing test. Kud-Sverchkov configured communications gear and cleaned smoke detectors.

Commander Michael Hopkins with Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi are in Florida for final training before they launch on Nov. 14 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the station. The four commercial crew astronauts began their official quarantine period on Saturday which is a routine “flight crew health stabilization” before missions to the orbiting lab.

Botany and Tech Studies Today as Crew Preps for Spacewalk

The three-member Expedition 64 crew with (from left) Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos.
The three-member Expedition 64 crew with (from left) Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos.

Botany and technology research were the primary science objectives on Tuesday aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 64 crew is also stepping up preparations for an upcoming spacewalk.

Scientists on the ground use the orbiting lab’s microgravity environment to explore phenomena that can’t be observed or are degraded on Earth’s surface. The research observations on the station provide insights that can improve health and advance industry on Earth and in space.

Space botany is a critical research area as researchers and mission managers plan and learn to sustain crews on long-term missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Today, Flight Engineer Kate Rubins installed a science carrier, or tray that plants grow in, and then added water inside the Advanced Plant Habitat located in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module.

Rubins then moved on to a technology study seeking ways to improve spacesuit thermal and water controls. She reviewed procedures and installed gear for the experiment demonstrating how evaporating water cools the suits and avoids contamination and corrosion of suit components.

The crew’s first spacewalk is planned for Nov. 18 outside the station’s Russian segment. Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov spent Tuesday organizing their spacewalk tools and preparing Orlan spacesuit components in the Poisk module’s airlock. The Russian duo will spend about six hours during the spacewalk working on maintenance and science tasks.

Science, Spacewalk Preps Continue 20 Years After First Station Crew

Expedition One Commander William Shepherd of NASA (center) is flanked by Roscosmos Flight Engineers Yuri Gidzenko (right) and Sergei K. Krikalev.
Expedition One Commander William Shepherd of NASA (center) is flanked by Roscosmos Flight Engineers Yuri Gidzenko (right) and Sergei K. Krikalev.

Twenty years ago, today, the Expedition One crew docked to the fledgling, three-module International Space Station beginning 20 years of continuous human presence in space. William Shepherd of NASA, the first station commander, with Roscosmos Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, would orbit Earth for 141 days before returning home in March 2001.

Now, the Expedition 64 crew inhabits the near-complete orbital lab with an internal volume of a five-bedroom house. The trio will be welcoming in November a SpaceX commercial crew mission and is also gearing up for a Russian spacewalk.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins reviewed rendezvous procedures today for the planned Nov. 15 arrival of four astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. Three NASA astronauts and one JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut are targeted to launch on Nov. 14 from Florida aboard the Crew Dragon for a five-and-a-half-month research mission on the station.

Michael Hopkins will command the first operational mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft piloted by first-time space flyer Victor Glover. Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi are the mission specialists.

Rubins’ two Russian crewmates, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, are getting ready for their first spacewalk set for Nov. 18. The Roscosmos duo spent Monday morning studying their planned spacewalk duties which include about six hours of external science and maintenance tasks.

The orbiting trio also spent Monday fulfilling a multitude of space science objectives. Rubins and Ryzhikov began the day collecting and stowing their blood samples for later analysis. Rubins then set up a small satellite deployer that will soon release a set of CubeSats into Earth orbit for governmental and educational research.

Ryzhikov joined Kud-Sverchkov in the afternoon for a long-running study that explores how crew members perform complex tasks on long-duration space missions. Scientists will use the data to gauge how operators might pilot future spaceships and robots on planetary missions.