Station Spacewalk Now Planned for Thursday

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday, Dec. 2.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday, Dec. 2.

After receiving additional information about a late notification debris event on Monday, NASA determined the orbit of the debris does not pose a risk to a scheduled spacewalk by Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron or to International Space Station operations. Delaying the spacewalk provided an opportunity for NASA to evaluate the risk from the debris notification. The spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system on the station’s truss structure is now planned for Thursday, Dec. 2.

NASA Teams Delay Spacewalk After Debris Notification

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were slated to perform a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were slated to perform a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system.

The evening of Monday, Nov. 29, NASA received a debris notification for the International Space Station. Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the spacewalk planned for Tuesday, Nov. 30 until more information is available. The space station schedule and operations are able to easily accommodate the delay of the spacewalk. The latest information and future spacewalk dates will be shared on https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation.


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

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Astronauts Ready for Tuesday’s Spacewalk

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021.
The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.

Two NASA astronauts are preparing for a spacewalk on Tuesday to replace a faulty antenna system on the International Space Station. Flight Engineers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will exit the orbiting lab tomorrow after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:10 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk.

The duo was joined on Monday by three of their fellow Expedition 66 flight engineers collecting tools and reviewing procedures planned for the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. NASA astronaut Raja Chari partnered with Marshburn and Barron gathering and organizing tethers, cameras, and pistol grip tools. The three astronauts then joined NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer for a procedures conference with spacewalk specialists on the ground.

Chari and Vande Hei will be on duty throughout Tuesday monitoring the two astronauts during the spacewalk and helping them in and out of their spacesuits. Maurer will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm assisting the spacewalkers at the Port-1 truss structure worksite. NASA TV begins its live coverage on Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov and Commander Anton Shkaplerov, spent their day on a variety of space research and maintenance tasks in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Dubrov photographed the condition of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module following the Prichal module’s docking on Friday. Shkaplerov swapped out life support hardware and began unpacking cargo from the newly arrived Prichal docking port.


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

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New Module Heads to Station During Spacewalk Preps and Science Today

A Russian Progress spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan at 8:06 a.m. EST (6:06 p.m. Baikonur time) today carrying the Prichal docking module into Earth orbit.
A Russian Progress spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan at 8:06 a.m. EST (6:06 p.m. Baikonur time) today carrying the Prichal docking module into Earth orbit.

Russia’s newest docking port, the Prichal module, launched today and will arrive on Friday at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the seven-member Expedition 66 crew is continuing spacewalk preparations while keeping up with ongoing advanced space research.

A Russian Progress spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan at 8:06 a.m. EST (6:06 p.m. Baikonur time) today carrying the five-ton Prichal docking module into Earth orbit. The new module, controlled by the Progress vehicle, will automatically dock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Friday at 10:26 a.m. Once attached Prichal will provide five additional docking ports and fuel transfer capability to the orbiting lab.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov will be on duty Friday monitoring Prichal’s arrival. Friday’s approach and docking will be covered live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Two NASA astronauts have begun focusing on an upcoming spacewalk planned for Nov. 30. Flight Engineers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron checked out spacewalking tools and emergency jetpacks today they would use in the unlikely event they became untethered from the station. The duo is timelined to spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system on the Port-1 truss segment.

Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) focused on human research strapping sensors to themselves for a pair of exercise studies. Chari performed a fitness test on an exercise cycle to measure his aerobic capacity in space. Maurer then took his turn on the exercise bike wearing a mask and a heart monitor to demonstrate cardio-pulmonary diagnosis aboard the orbiting lab. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei serviced the COLBERT treadmill inspecting and cleaning its components.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 5:06 a.m. EST for launch of the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon will bring food, supplies, and scientific investigations to the orbiting crew, including a protein crystal growth study that could improve the delivery of cancer treatment drugs and a handheld bioprinter that could one day be used to print tissue directly onto wounds to faster healing.


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Spacewalk Preps During Human Research, Robotics, and Physics Today

NASA astronaut Raja Chari is pictured aboard the station just a few hours after docking inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance on Nov. 12.
NASA astronaut Raja Chari is pictured aboard the station just a few hours after docking inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance on Nov. 12.

Two astronauts are checking out their gear today ahead of a spacewalk planned for the end of the month. The duo along with the rest of the Expedition 66 crew also had time set aside for human research, robotics, and physics aboard the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are getting ready for a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk scheduled for Nov. 30. The duo will exit the U.S. Quest airlock, translate over to the Port-1 truss segment, and replace a faulty antenna system. Today, the astronauts checked out spacewalking gear and inspected the tethers that will keep them attached to the station.

Afterward, Barron partnered again with NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari for the GRASP experiment studying how microgravity affects hand-eye coordination and the vestibular system. The pair took turns wearing a virtual reality headset reaching for virtual objects to understand how the central nervous system adapts to weightlessness.

Marshburn worked throughout Tuesday collecting and stowing his blood samples in a science freezer for later analysis. The three-time station visitor also contributed to the Food Physiology study that explores the effects of diet on astronauts living long-term in space.

Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) studied advanced robotic maneuvers today using the Astrobee robotic free-flyers. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei set up the Microgravity Science Glovebox to learn how to harness nanoparticles to fabricate and manufacture new materials for the InSPACE-4 physics study.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov had a physical fitness test today on the station’s exercise bicycle. The Roscosmos duo strapped sensors to themselves and measured their cardiovascular function during this morning’s test. The pair split up in the afternoon and worked on life support maintenance and cargo inventory tasks.

Crew Awaits New Docking Module During Human Research and Space Physics

The Russian rocket with the Prichal docking module atop stands vertical at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos
The Russian rocket with the Prichal docking module atop stands vertical at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The International Space Station is gearing up for a new Russian docking module due to arrive on Friday. In the meantime, the Expedition 66 residents focused on a variety of human research and space physics aboard the orbital lab today.

Russia’s newest docking port, the Prichal module, sits atop a rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a launch on Wednesday at 8:06 a.m. EST. It will arrive at the station on Friday where it will automatically dock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module at 10:26 a.m.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov started Monday morning training for Prichal’s arrival. The duo from Roscosmos simulated the Russian docking port’s approach, rendezvous and docking on the tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU. The TORU, located inside the Zvezda service module, can also be used to manually control and dock an approaching Russian spacecraft if necessary.

Human research continued on Monday as NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron studied how the central nervous system adapts to microgravity. The astronauts took turns wearing a virtual reality headset while seated inside the Columbus laboratory module for the GRASP experiment. The study observes a crew member reaching for virtual objects to compare hand-eye coordination and vestibular changes before, during, and after a spaceflight mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei worked on a pair of space physics experiments throughout Monday. Vande Hei first serviced samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace which enables the safe research of thermophysical properties of high temperature materials in weightlessness. Next, he opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox and uninstalled hardware supporting research that observes processes involved in semiconductor crystal growth.

Flight Engineers Thomas Marshburn and Matthias Maurer worked throughout the day on a variety of robotics and maintenance activities. Marshburn worked on orbital plumbing tasks, collected station water samples for analysis, and took a robotics test for the Behavioral Core Measures study. Maurer partnered up with Chari practicing Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvers planned for a spacewalk scheduled on Sept. 30th.

Crew Prioritizes Science, Training, and Exercise Before Cygnus Departure

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter pictured arriving at the International Space Station on Aug. 12, 2021. Cygnus will depart from the space station on Nov. 20, 2021.
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter pictured arriving at the International Space Station on Aug. 12, 2021. Cygnus will depart from the space station on Nov. 20, 2021.

The Expedition 66 crew focused on science, training, and exercise aboard the International Space Station on Friday and prepared for the Cygnus departure tomorrow.

NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron continued the GRIP experiment that they began earlier this week. The experiment studies how long-duration spaceflight affects crews’ ability to regulate grip force and upper limbs trajectories when manipulating objects during different movements. The pair set up hardware and completed GRIP science tasks in the supine position while donning noise-canceling headphones. Chari performed the GRIP science tasks in the seated position as well.

Additionally, NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Barron completed a robotics research session for the Behavioral Core Measures experiment. The study aims to accurately assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions during extended spaceflight. Marshburn and Barron set up the appropriate robotics hardware and performed the BCM testing. Crews are expected to complete the session at least once per month, starting two weeks after they arrive aboard the space station.

For medical training, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos reviewed rescuer roles for a situation requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Emergency medical equipment was deployed during the session. The trio practiced CPR positioning to ensure they could perform the procedure in space if necessary.

Focusing on fitness, crews also squeezed in a workout today. The astronauts completed cardio exercises on a stationary bicycle and treadmill fastened to the space station and resistive exercises using equipment that enables them to lift weights in weightlessness. Crews workout on average two hours per day in space. Routine exercise helps astronauts counter the bone and muscle loss that accompanies living and working in microgravity.

Meanwhile, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer transferred data from a fiber-optic monitor called Lumina. The device tracks radiation levels aboard the space station in real-time. Maurer completed the data transfer with an iPad-based application that gathers medical data from astronauts.

Looking ahead, Barron, Chari, Marshburn, and Vande Hei made final preparations to the Cygnus cargo ship, which is slated to depart from the space station on Saturday at 11 a.m. EST. Cygnus arrived at the space station in August carrying more than  8,200 pounds of cargo. Flight controllers will remotely decouple Cygnus from the space station by forwarding commands to the Canadarm2 robotic arm from Earth. Live coverage of the spacecraft’s departure will begin at 10:45 a.m. on NASA TV.

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Crew Packs Cargo Ship for Departure and Preps for Spacewalk

A pair of U.S. spacesuits that will be worn by NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are pictured in the station's Quest airlock.
A pair of U.S. spacesuits that will be worn by NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are pictured in the station’s Quest airlock.

The Expedition 66 crew is turning its attention to the U.S. Cygnus space freighter as it nears departure this weekend after 100 days berthed to the station’s Unity module. The astronauts are also preparing for a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system on the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Mark Vande Hei spent Wednesday afternoon packing Cygnus with trash and obsolete gear. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer continued the cargo loading on Thursday. He will be at the robotics workstation monitoring its departure on Saturday at 11 a.m. EST. Robotics controllers remotely operating the Canadarm2 robotic arm from Earth will command Cygnus’ release live on NASA TV starting at 10:45 a.m.

Cygnus will have one more mission as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery, but safe destruction above the Pacific Ocean. The Kentucky Re-entry Probe Experiment will deploy three capsules from Cygnus to collect and transmit thermal data from sensors embedded in heat shields. The data may help validate thermal protection systems in space and heat shield materials on Earth.

Meanwhile, Marshburn and NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron are due to exit the U.S. Quest airlock soon to swap the S-Band Antenna System with a spare already attached outside the station. Maurer will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 assisting the duo during the planned six-and-a-half hour spacewalk.

Marshburn and Barron were joined by NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Mark Vande Hei inside Quest on Thursday as they tried on their U.S. spacesuits for a fit check. Chari and Vande Hei will be on duty monitoring the two astronauts during the spacewalk and helping them in and out of their spacesuits. A news conference to discuss the spacewalk activities has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 29.

Science was back on track Thursday with the crew exploring human research, botany, and space physics. Chari and Barron tested how astronauts perceive up and down movements and grip and manipulate objects In microgravity. Vande Hei cleaned up debris around chile peppers growing inside the Advanced Plant Habitat. Finally, station Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos swapped samples inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for a physics study seeking to improve the production of higher quality semiconductor crystals.

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Crew Operations Aboard Space Station Return to Normal

From left are, Expedition 66 crew members Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos; Thomas Marshburn of NASA; Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos; Raja Chari, Mark Vande Hei and Kayla Barron, all from NASA; and Matthias Maurer from ESA (European Space Agency).
From left are, Expedition 66 crew members Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos; Thomas Marshburn of NASA; Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos; Raja Chari, Mark Vande Hei and Kayla Barron, all from NASA; and Matthias Maurer from ESA (European Space Agency).

NASA and U.S. Space Command continue to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test. The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed normal operations. The largest risk from the debris was in the first 24 hours and telemetry from the space station indicates no issues during that time. About 1:20 a.m. EST today, radial hatches extending from the space station’s center, including Kibo, Columbus, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and Quest Joint Airlock, were reopened.

Following the incident, crew members were awoken, notified of the debris and asked to close specific hatches based on the space station’s safe haven procedures. Hatches between the U.S. and Russian segments also were closed initially, but were later opened when the higher risk period passed. Crew members’ daily tasks were adjusted during this time to accommodate the hatch closure. After closing the hatches, the crew then entered their Soyuz and Crew Dragon spacecraft for approximately two hours, from 2 a.m. – 4 a.m. EST. No debris avoidance maneuver was performed.

Space debris is tracked by Space Command and conjunction analysis is performed by NASA, with mitigations available for debris clouds and individual conjunction threats (such as debris avoidance maneuvers). If orbital debris were to strike the station and cause an air leak, the crew would close hatches to the affected module. If crew members do not have time to close the affected module, they would enter their respective spacecraft and, if necessary, undock from the space station to return to Earth.

This debris cloud that was just created has increased the risk to the station. The cataloging of the total number of identifiable pieces of debris is ongoing. Once the debris cloud is dispersed and items are tracked and catalogued, NASA will receive notifications of potential conjunction threats to the station and perform maneuvers as necessary. In addition, NASA will continue to perform visual inspections and review telemetry data to ensure vehicle health.

Teams are assessing the risk levels to conduct various mission activities. Any changes to launches, spacewalks, and other events will be updated as needed.

The Station Crew Welcomed Four New Members

The Expedition 66 crew poses for a photo after SpaceX Crew-3's arrival to station.
The Expedition 66 crew poses for a photo after SpaceX Crew-3’s arrival to station. Credit: NASA TV

Running more than 30 minutes ahead of schedule, the SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts docked to the International Space Station at 6:32 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 11, less than 24 hours after launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer opened the hatch of their Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance at 8:25 p.m. and participated in a welcome ceremony with their new Expedition 66 crewmates at 9 p.m.

On board to welcome them were fellow astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. Joining the welcome ceremony from Earth were Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations, NASA and Josef Aschbacher, ESA director-general.

The newest crew to the microgravity laboratory is the agency’s third crew rotation mission with SpaceX and will remain on board until April 2022 as a part of Expedition 66.

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.