U.S. and Russian Spacewalk Preps, Human Research Aboard Station Today

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Megan McArthur are pictured inside BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.
Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Megan McArthur are pictured inside BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

Spacewalk preparations and biomedical research filled the Expedition 65 schedule on Tuesday. The International Space Station also continues to host a variety of maintenance on science and plumbing systems.

ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet checked out U.S. spacesuit components ahead of a pair of spacewalks to install new solar arrays on the Port-6 truss structure planned for June. Those solar arrays, the first two of six targeted for installation, will be launched to the station aboard the next SpaceX Dragon mission on June 3.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide worked throughout the day collecting his biological samples and stowing them in science freezers for a pair of human research studies. The Phospho-Aging study looks at rapid bone and muscle loss while the Vascular Aging experiment observes aging-like changes in arteries that take place in microgravity.

Another human research study, the Standard Measures investigation that NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur contributed to today, observes and documents the changes to the human body during a long-term spaceflight. McArthur also installed and configured hardware inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to support safe research into fuels and flames on the space station.

In the Tranquility module, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough spent the day on orbital plumbing duties. He was assisted throughout Tuesday by Pesquet and NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei as they serviced the Water Processing Assembly (WPA) to repair a possible leak.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov reviewed procedures for an upcoming spacewalk planned for June 2 for external maintenance and science experiment installations. The duo also partnered up for cardiac research before moving on to communications and systems maintenance in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment.

Maintenance for the WPA in the Tranquility module of the station occurred today as crew members removed the affected parts and configured ducting to perform a dryout of the lines. Maintenance will continue tomorrow with the installation of the replacement units and additional preventative maintenance to restore the hardware to its full functionality.

The WPA was powered off last week due to a suspected leak. This hardware is used to recycle water from multiple sources into clean, drinkable water for crew members aboard the International Space Station.

The crew is in no danger and has multiple spare parts on board to complete the repair process. There is enough water stored on the space station to provide the crew with the necessary consumables for several months if required.

The space station serves a vital role in testing and maturing life support technologies that will be required for future missions to the Moon and Mars. Repairs provide invaluable data to engineers refining these systems for use in future spacecraft and missions.

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.

More Immunity Studies as Crew Preps for Cargo Mission, Spacewalks

Expedition 65 Flight Engineers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Oleg Novitskiy unpack science hardware for installation inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.
Expedition 65 Flight Engineers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Oleg Novitskiy unpack science hardware for installation inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

The International Space Station hummed with activity on Thursday as the Expedition 65 crew gets ready for the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission and continues immune system research. All seven crew members also joined together and practiced their emergency response skills.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide teamed up with ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet during the morning, gathering and organizing items for return to Earth on the next resupply mission from SpaceX. The upgraded Cargo Dragon vehicle is targeted for launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket on June 3 from Kennedy Space Center. It will deliver the first two of six new solar arrays, a kidney disease therapy study, plant and microbe experiments and more, about two days after liftoff.

The Kibo laboratory module’s Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) once again was the center of activity for NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur. The duo continued servicing donor cell samples inside the LSG, which are being compared to cells on Earth, as scientists document the significant differences in microgravity. The Celestial Immunity study’s results may provide insights into new vaccines and drugs and advance the commercialization of space.

At the end of the day, Vande Hei had his veins scanned with an ultrasound device operated by NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough. Kimbrough earlier joined Pesquet and inspected tethers to be used during a pair of upcoming spacewalks. The spacewalks are planned for June and will see the installation of the soon-to-be delivered solar arrays on the station’s Port 6 truss structure.

Finally, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov joined their five crewmates and simulated an emergency aboard the station in conjunction with mission controllers on the ground. The drill consisted of locating emergency gear, practicing procedures and decision-making, and coordinating communications with controllers in Houston and Moscow.

Immune System, Eye and Ear Studies Continue Aboard Station

Astronaut Megan McArthur services cells inside the Kibo laboratory module's Life Science Glovebox for the Celestial Immunity study.
Astronaut Megan McArthur services cells inside the Kibo laboratory module’s Life Science Glovebox for the Celestial Immunity study.

Human research continued full speed ahead on the International Space Station today as the Expedition 65 crew researched the immune system and conducted eye and ear checks.

The Celestial Immunity investigation has been under way all week inside the Kibo laboratory module from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur once again treated donor cell samples inside the Life Sciences Glovebox which are compared to samples on Earth. Observations may provide insights into new vaccines and drugs and advance the commercialization of space.

Vande Hei later had his eyes checked at the end of the day by NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough using near-infrared medical-imaging for detailed views of his retina. Kimbrough also worked throughout the day replacing life support components inside a U.S. spacesuit before organizing Russian spacewalk tools.

Ear checks were on the schedule on Wednesday with Kimbrough, ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet and station Commander Akihiko Hoshide taking a hearing test using specialized audio software. The three astronauts individually took the hearing assessment isolated in their private crew quarters to block out external station sounds.

Hoshide began the morning collecting and stowing his urine samples before spending the rest of the day on lab maintenance and inventory tasks. Pesquet demonstrated a simple heat transfer experiment for kids. He then checked out the immersive Sidekick device that displays high-definition holograms to assist crews with science and maintenance tasks.

Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy worked on Russian maintenance tasks and continued packing the U.S. Cygnus space freighter ahead of its departure in a few weeks. First time space-flyer Pyotr Dubrov had orbital plumbing duties Wednesday morning and checking station cameras and ventilation systems.

The Water Processor Assembly (WPA) in the Tranquility module has been powered off due to a possible leak. This hardware is used to recycle water from multiple sources into clean, drinkable water for crew members aboard the International Space Station.

The crew is in no danger and has multiple spare parts aboard to begin the repair process which is expected to be complete early next week. Enough water is stored on the space station to provide the crew with the necessary consumables for several months if required.

The space station serves a vital role in testing and maturing life support technologies that will be required for future missions to the Moon and Mars. Repairs provide invaluable data to engineers refining these systems for use in future spacecraft and missions.

Human Research May Lead to New Vaccines, Increase Space Commercialization

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei works on the Celestial Immunity study that may provide insights into new treatments for diseases on Earth.
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei works on the Celestial Immunity study that may provide insights into new treatments for diseases on Earth.

Human research took precedence aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday as the Expedition 65 crew explored how weightlessness affects the immune system. The orbital residents also trained for a medical emergency and ensured station systems continued operating in tip-top shape.

NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur worked in the Kibo laboratory module researching possible age-associated effects of the human immune system. The Celestial Immunity study observes donor cells in Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox for insights into new vaccines and drugs which may advance the commercialization of space.

McArthur started her day with NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough collecting blood samples, spinning them in a centrifuge and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. Kimbrough then spent the rest of Tuesday replacing fans that cool science racks in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

Station Commander Aki Hoshide started the fan replacement work before swapping out life support components in the Tranquility module. At the end of the day, he and ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet stowed hardware in Tranquility’s end cone. Pesquet also packed the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter with trash and discarded gear ahead of its departure in a few weeks.

Vande Hei joined his Soyuz MS-18 crewmates Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov and trained for the unlikely event of a medical emergency in space. The trio reviewed medical hardware, performed simulated chest compressions, and practiced communication and coordination.

Novitskiy also transferred cargo from the ISS Progress 77 (77P) resupply ship before studying planetary spacecraft piloting techniques. Dubrov worked on plumbing tasks inside the 77P before contributing to the Russian future pilot study.

Three-Day Weekend Aboard Lab Ahead of June Cargo Mission

An aurora is pictured streaming above the Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica on April 19, 2021.
An aurora is pictured streaming above the Indian Ocean in between Australia and Antarctica on April 19, 2021.

The seven orbital residents that comprise the Expedition 65 crew aboard the International Space Station took a well-deserved day off on Monday. May looks to be relaxed month, following a very busy April, with no spacecraft activities on the calendar until June.

It was a three-day weekend on the orbiting lab today as the five astronauts and two cosmonauts took Monday off. The septet cleared its schedule for personal activities such as looking at the Earth below, talking to family, watching movies and playing games.

The crewmates continued their daily workouts as each crew member exercises about two hours a day to counteract the lack of gravity on their bodies. There are U.S. and Russian treadmills, an exercise cycle and an advanced resistive exercise device that the space residents use to maintain muscle and bone health in weightlessness.

There were also urine sample collections aboard the orbital lab today which are part of a variety of ongoing studies into the effects of long-term spaceflight on humans. Those samples were stowed in a science freezer for later analysis by scientists on Earth.

The next cargo mission planned to replenish the Expedition 65 crew is targeted for launch on June 3. The SpaceX Cargo Dragon will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center and dock on June 4 to the Harmony module’s space-facing international adapter. The Cargo Dragon will deliver new solar arrays to augment the space station’s power system.

Crew Ends Week on Human Research and Space Physics

Russia’s ISS Progress 75 resupply ship is pictured with a Full Moon above the Earth’s horizon after undocking from the station. Credits: NASA
Russia’s ISS Progress 75 resupply ship is pictured with a Full Moon above the Earth’s horizon after undocking from the station. Credits: NASA

The work week is wrapping up with biology and physics aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 65 residents also maintained the upkeep of plumbing, computer, and power systems.

NASA and its international partners take advantage of the weightless environment of the orbiting lab to gain new insights unattainable due to Earth’s gravity. They use the knowledge from the long-term microgravity research to improve conditions for humans on and off the planet.

A new study recently delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour is exploring how the immune system adapts to microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur set up hardware and samples for the Celestial Immunity investigation inside the Life Science Glovebox today. Results may provide new vaccines and medicines for diseases on Earth and increase the potential for commercialization of space.

McArthur also joined fellow NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei logging their meals on a computer to help researchers understand the nutritional requirements for astronauts. Vande Hei spent most of Friday on maintenance replacing life support system components and swapping fuel tanks in the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) partnered with Vande Hei for some of the life support work on Friday. Pesquet also transferred the AstroPi science computer to the Columbus laboratory module after joining NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough for orbital plumbing work in the Tranquility module. Additionally, Kimbrough spent a few hours installing power equipment and routing cables inside Tranquility before collecting and stowing his urine samples for later analysis.

Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency started Friday in the Kibo laboratory module retrieving sample cartridges from the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The three-time space traveler finally wrapped up the workday turning off the Astrobee robotic free-flyers and consolidating crew provisions.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, also a three-time space visitor, worked on Russian communications gear and power tools before exchanging samples for a semiconductor crystal study. Roscosmos Flight Engineer and first-time space flyer Pyotr Dubrov spent the day on plumbing and ventilation tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

Astronauts Study how Space Affects Immune System, Exercise

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module with the Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants. Credits: NASA
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module with the Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants. Credits: NASA

Human Research and space physics topped the science schedule aboard the International Space Station today. The seven-member Expedition 65 crew also spent Thursday servicing a variety of life support gear.

The new Celestial Immunity study underway aboard the orbiting lab this week is looking at how the human immune system is affected by long-term weightlessness. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei started the day readying blood cell samples for the human research experiment inside the Life Science Glovebox (LSG). In the afternoon, NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur thawed the samples, placed them in a centrifuge, and inoculated them inside the LSG located in the Kibo laboratory module.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide joined Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet for a long-running space workout study today. The duo took turns attaching sensors to themselves then pedaling on an exercise cycle. The exercise study measures an astronaut’s aerobic capacity and the effort required to perform strenuous activities such as spacewalks.

A space physics experiment is looking at the production of semiconductor crystals aboard the orbiting lab. Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos swapped hardware for the study taking place inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Results may improve the quality of semiconductors to benefit industries on Earth.

Maintenance is key to ensuring life support systems and science hardware stay in tip-top shape on the station. The crew is constantly monitoring and servicing lab hardware with support from mission controllers on the ground.

Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov worked throughout Thursday checking out fans and navigation hardware in the station’s Russian segment. Vande Hei, McArthur, and Pesquet partnered together and replaced components in the U.S. segment’s oxygen generation system throughout the day.

Life Science, Cargo Packing Midweek Aboard Orbital Lab

SpaceX Crew-2 Mission Specialists and Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide pose for a portrait together.
SpaceX Crew-2 Mission Specialists and Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide pose for a portrait together.

Life science was the main science topic aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The Expedition 65 crew is also packing a U.S. cargo ship and maintaining orbital lab systems today.

Four astronauts, who rode to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, kicked off the day with the first health checkup of their expedition today. NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet spent a few moments in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module undergoing temperature, blood pressure and ear checks as part of periodic health evaluations.

Kimbrough and Hoshide then took turns loading the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman with trash and old gear before its departure in a few weeks. Kimbrough spent the rest of the afternoon setting up hardware inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for a semiconductor crystal experiment. Hoshide serviced fluid systems and cleaned electrical hardware.

McArthur charged computer tablets delivered aboard Endeavour and organized cargo in the Tranquility module. Pesquet replaced components on the Destiny lab’s exercise cycle ahead of a space workout study planned on Thursday.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei collected donor samples delivered aboard Endeavour and transferred to the station’s science freezers for the new Celestial Immunity study. The experiment seeks to understand how weightlessness affects the immune system, potentially impacting the development of new vaccines and medicines.

The two cosmonauts aboard the station, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, had hearing tests today aboard the orbiting lab. The duo then spent most of the day on a variety of Russian computer and electrical maintenance tasks. Novitskiy also spent a few moments on a study investigating how international space crews get along and work together. Dubrov gathered Russian discarded items for disposal on the U.S. Cygnus resupply ship.

Crew-1 Takes Questions Thursday, Station Busy with Human Research

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, with four astronauts aboard, is pictured from the station reentering Earth's atmosphere on May 2, 2021.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, with four astronauts aboard, is pictured from the station reentering Earth’s atmosphere on May 2, 2021.

The SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are back in Houston after splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday completing a 168-day mission. The quartet will have a news conference on NASA TV then participate in a Facebook Live event on Thursday.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will talk to reporters and answer social media questions on Thursday. The NASA TV news conference starts at 3:45 p.m. EDT. The Facebook Live event will begin at 4:35 p.m. and last 20 minutes.

Back in space, seven Expedition 65 crew members will be orbiting Earth on the International Space Station until October. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts are participating in a variety of research today to understand how living in space affects the human body.

Microbes can change characteristics in microgravity and scientists are testing anti-microbial coatings on the station. Today, an astronaut touched a sample with the coating representing a high-touch surface. The sample was stowed in a science freezer and will be returned later to Earth for analysis. Results could mitigate health issues on spacecraft and planetary surfaces.

The Celestial Immunity study taking place today on the orbiting lab is exploring how the immune system adapts to weightlessness. The astronauts look at human blood cells for age-associated effects giving scientists insights into the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases.

Some of the crewmates also had ultrasound scans today to understand how long-term microgravity affects their muscle’s biochemical properties such as tone, stiffness and elasticity. Samples, including blood, saliva and urine, were also collected and stowed for the Standard Measures and Repository biology studies.