Monday Kicks Off with Japanese, U.S. Science and Spacewalk Preps

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough replaces life support components inside a U.S. spacesuit.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough replaces life support components inside a U.S. spacesuit.

The seven-member Expedition 65 crew kicked off the workweek working on Japanese science gear, a U.S. immune system study, and spacewalk preparations.

Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet joined station Commander Akihiko Hoshide for science maintenance in the Kibo laboratory module on Monday morning. The trio teamed up and installed an experiment platform in Kibo’s airlock, where it will soon be placed outside in the harsh environment of space.

Vande Hei then moved on and serviced donor cell samples for the Celestial Immunity study taking place inside the Kibo lab’s Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG). The experiment looks at cells launched to space and compares them to cell samples harvested on Earth to document the differences in weightlessness. Results could impact the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases on Earth and advance the commercialization of space.

Pesquet later took photographs of U.S. spacesuit gloves for inspection ahead of two spacewalks planned for June. During those spacewalks, new solar arrays will be installed on the station’s Port 6 truss structure to augment the station’s power system. The first two of six new solar arrays will be delivered on the next SpaceX cargo mission planned for launch on June 3 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Hoshide checked power cables on the Confocal Space Microscope that provides fluorescence imagery of biological samples. Then he took turns with NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough, participating in a computerized cognitive assessment. Next, Kimbrough worked the rest of Monday in the Tranquility module’s Water Processing Assembly to repair a possible leak.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur opened up BEAM, or the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and organized cargo during the morning. She then powered down and stowed the LSG after Vande Hei concluded Monday’s immunity research.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov spent the morning organizing Russian spacewalk tools. Afterward, the duo spent the rest of the day working on communications gear and ventilation systems.

Crew-1 Makes Nighttime Splashdown, Ends Mission

A night-vision camera pictures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV
A night-vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV

Astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) splashed down safely in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 a.m. EDT after 168 days in space. The return marks the end of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed in partnership between NASA and SpaceX as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Teams on the Go Navigator recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Crew Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Crew Dragon onto the main deck of Go Navigator with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to Pensacola to board a plane for Houston.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

Hopkins has now spent a total of 335 days in space during two spaceflights; he conducted three spacewalks during this mission for a total of five in his career. It was Glover’s first spaceflight, during which he conducted four spacewalks during the 168 days. It was Walker’s second spaceflight, bringing her total time in space to 331 days. Noguchi conducted one spacewalk, for a total of four spacewalks during his three total spaceflights; he has spent a total of 345 days in space.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew-1 Undocks From Station and Heads for Splashdown

May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.
May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft with astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) inside undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 8:35 p.m. EDT to complete a six-month science mission.

Two very small engine burns separated Crew Dragon from the station, and the spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to Earth.

Once flying free, Crew Dragon Resilience will autonomously execute four departure burns to move the spaceship away from the space station and begin the flight home.

The return timeline with approximate times in EDT is:

May 1

  • 8:35 p.m.             Departure burn 0
  • 8:40 p.m.             Departure burn 1
  • 9:28 p.m.             Departure burn 2
  • 10:14 p.m.           Departure burn 3

May 2

  • 1:58 a.m.             Trunk jettison
  • 2:03 a.m.             Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:57 a.m.             Crew Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Resilience splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-1 astronauts are recovered from the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.