Starliner Launching Thursday, Crew Works Science and Medical Training

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

UPDATE (7 p.m. EDT): During Wednesday evening’s daily planning conference, the International Space Station crew was notified of a possible conjunction with orbital debris late Thursday, May 19. Flight control teams in Houston are assessing options for a potential debris avoidance maneuver on Thursday, pending additional tracking data on the debris expected overnight. Initial plans for an avoidance maneuver would not impact the launch of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 mission, scheduled to liftoff at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19, but might slightly alter the timing of some of the rendezvous maneuvers leading to Starliner’s docking to the station. The crew began its sleep shift as scheduled and will resume preparations for the Friday arrival of OFT-2 when it awakens about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Boeing’s Starliner crew ship sits atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance counting down to its launch from Florida to the International Space Station on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew concentrated on medical training, exercise systems maintenance, and a variety of advanced space science on Wednesday.

Two NASA astronauts continued preparing for the arrival of Boeing’s uncrewed Starliner spaceship on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines reviewed Starliner systems and approach and rendezvous procedures ahead of the spacecraft’s automated docking to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday. The uncrewed spacecraft is targeted to launch at 6:54 p.m. on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The duo will be on duty Friday monitoring Starliner during its three-and-a-half hours of automated approach maneuvers.

Lindgren started his day servicing the advanced resistive exercise device which mimics free weight exercises in microgravity. Hines collected and stowed his urine samples in a science freezer for later analysis to understand the long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body.

Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) worked on a variety of orbital plumbing tasks during Wednesday morning. Watkins also wrapped up a blood pressure measurement session and prepared the health data for downlinking to doctors on Earth. Cristoforetti trained on a computer to increase her proficiency when commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The quartet also joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov, for a medical emergency training session on Wednesday. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation, reviewed medical hardware, and discussed coordination of care in the event of an emergency on the space station.

Artemyev, the commander of the orbiting lab, also tested using ultrasound sensors for more accurate Earth photography sessions. The veteran cosmonaut then studied ways to improve international coordination between space crews and mission controllers. Matveev joined Artemyev participating in the photography tests and the crew coordination study. Korsakov inventoried and stowed medical gear and also inspected and photographed windows in the Zvezda service module.

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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