Life Science, Robotics on Station Today; Starliner Nears Launch

NASA astronauts (from left) Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Kayla Barron, and Jessica Watkins work inside the Columbus laboratory module on May 2, 2022.
NASA astronauts (from left) Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Kayla Barron, and Jessica Watkins work inside the Columbus laboratory module on May 2, 2022.

Human research, space botany, and robotics were the main research themes for the Expedition 67 crew aboard the International Space Station on Thursday. Meanwhile, mission managers conducted a Flight Readiness Review ahead of the launch of Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission scheduled for next week.

The orbiting lab’s four astronauts, including Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Samantha Cristoforetti, kicked off the day with a quick health check. The quartet used the EveryWear app on an iPad that collects and downloads medical data for review by doctors on Earth. A variety of hardware such as a smart shirt that records cardiac activity, a wireless sensor that monitors heart rate, and a tonometer that measures pressure in eyes and blood vessels, contributes to the data that EveryWear collects.

Lindgren, Hines, and Watkins also took turns collecting and stowing their blood and urine samples for later analysis. Cristoforetti spent most of her morning on the Acoustic Diagnostics experiment that explores how the station’s noise levels affect a crew member’s hearing.

Lindgren also worked on the XROOTS botany study that investigates using hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants in microgravity. Afterward, he joined Hines and reviewed procedures for operating the Astrobee robotic free-flying assistants. Watkins and Cristoforetti worked on orbital plumbing tasks and cupola window maintenance respectively.

The station’s three cosmonauts, Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, continued their complement of science and maintenance tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

NASA and Boeing mission managers completed a Flight Readiness Review on Wednesday and are proceeding toward the launch of the OFT-2 mission at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19. Boeing’s unpiloted Starliner will lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and automatically dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 24 hours later. It will stay at the station for cargo and test operations for five to 10 days before parachuting back to Earth.


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 Train for Starliner Mission, Crew Keeps Up Human Research

The Boeing Starliner spacecraft is lifted from the ground for placement atop the Atlas-V rocket ahead of its launch to the space station. Credit: United Launch Alliance
The Boeing Starliner spacecraft is lifted from the ground for placement atop the Atlas-V rocket ahead of its launch to the space station. Credit: United Launch Alliance

The Expedition 67 crew is ramping up for the arrival of Boeing’s new Starliner crew ship due to launch next week to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the orbital residents continued their ongoing human research, cleaned spacesuits, and maintained lab hardware.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines trained on Wednesday for next week’s launch and docking of the Starliner spacecraft on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2). Both astronauts spent part of the day familiarizing themselves with the OFT-2 mission and Boeing’s Starliner vehicle systems. The duo also reviewed Starliner’s post-docking procedures including leak and pressurization checks, entering the vehicle, and cargo operations.

Boeing rolled out its Starliner vehicle to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) launch facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday. It was attached atop the Atlas-V rocket from ULA later that day. The Starliner crew ship and its rocket now stand vertical at the launch pad counting down to a liftoff targeted for 6:54 p.m. EDT on May 19. The unpiloted Starliner vehicle will automatically dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 24 hours later where it will stay for cargo and test operations for five to 10 days.

Flight Readiness Review Begins for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2

Lindgren ended his day disconnecting and stowing spacesuit components in the U.S. Quest airlock. ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti started the spacesuit work Wednesday morning swapping and resizing spacesuit components and cleaning suit cooling loops.

Hines and NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins focused their science activities on human research throughout the work day. Hines began his morning attaching sensors to himself to record data for the Cerebral Autoregulation study that examines how microgravity affects brain structure. Watkins processed blood and urine samples for later analysis and also conducted a regularly scheduled hearing test.

Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev partnered together replacing life support gear in the station’s Russian segment. Artemyev also serviced broadband communications equipment and packed obsolete hardware for disposal inside the ISS Progress 80 resupply ship. Matveev completed a 24-hour session that recorded his heart activity while wearing electrodes. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on ventilation systems and video gear and synchronized a camera to station time which is set to Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT.


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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Human Research Underway as Station Awaits Boeing Starliner Mission

A portion of the station is silhouetted as it orbited 268 miles above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile.
A portion of the space station is silhouetted as it orbited 268 miles above the Pacific Ocean.

Human research took precedence aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday as the seven-member Expedition 67 crew explored how living in space affects the human body. Meanwhile, Boeing’s first crew ship to visit the orbiting lab is targeted to launch late next week.

Exercise research and a central nervous system study were the main experiments today helping doctors learn how to keep astronauts healthy and successful during long-term space missions. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, took turns pedaling on an exercise cycle in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module throughout the day. The trio spent nearly an hour each working out while attached to sensors providing scientists insights into the aerobic capacity of a crew member in living and working weightlessness.

Lindgren later worked in the Tranquility module replacing components on the advanced resistive exercise device that simulates free-weight training on Earth. At the end of the day, he switched to a space botany study investigating hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants without soil.

Hines and Watkins also swapped a virtual reality headset in the Columbus laboratory module as they explored how the human brain adapts to the lack of up and down references in microgravity. Observations will help researchers understand how the lack of gravity affects the way astronauts reach for and grasp objects.

The three cosmonauts spent the majority of their time today working in the station’s Russian segment. Commander Oleg Artemyev partnered with Flight Engineer Denis Matveev servicing a variety of communications and life support hardware. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on ventilation systems and an oxygen generator while also maintaining a pair of Russian laptop computers.

The next spacecraft to visit the space station, Boeing’s Starliner crew ship, is targeted to launch at 6:54 p.m. EDT on May 19 atop an Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance. The unpiloted commercial crew vehicle will liftoff as part of Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It would dock to the Harmony module’s forward-facing port the next day and depart five to 10 days after that for a parachuted return to Earth.


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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Expedition 67 Crew Takes a Day Off After Colleagues Arrive Home Safely

The Expedition 67 crew. From left to right: NASA astronaut Bob Hines; ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti; Roscosmos cosmonauts Denis Matveev, Oleg Artemyev, and Sergey Korsakov; NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren.
The Expedition 67 crew. From left to right: NASA astronaut Bob Hines; ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti; Roscosmos cosmonauts Denis Matveev, Oleg Artemyev, and Sergey Korsakov; NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren.

The seven Expedition 67 crew members are enjoying an off-duty day today following the change of command of the station and the departure of the SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts last week.

After a weekend that included housekeeping tasks and station maintenance, Expedition 67 Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren performed a filter check on the Photocatalyst experiment on Monday. The Photocatalyst investigation, which was brought to the station by the Ax-1 mission, analyzes the photocatalyst’s effect onboard the International Space Station and its ability to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cabin air. This could improve conditions for crew members on future spaceflight missions, including long-duration missions.

Flight Engineer Bob Hines performed checks on the Cold Atom Lab. The Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) produces clouds of atoms that are chilled to about one ten billionth of a degree above absolute zero — much colder than the average temperature of deep space. At these low temperatures, atoms have almost no motion, allowing scientists to study fundamental behaviors and quantum characteristics that are difficult or impossible to probe at higher temperatures. In microgravity, researchers may be able to achieve even colder temperatures than what is possible on the ground and observe these cold atom clouds for longer periods of time.

Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins performed equipment maintenance and prepared to work on the GRASP experiment with Bob Hines on Tuesday, while ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked on a nutritional assessment.

In the station’s Russian segment, ISS Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineers Sergey Korsakov and Denis Matveev worked on equipment inspections and maintenance, prepared for a computer scan, and downlinked exercise data from the station.


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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Station Crew Gets Back to Work After Crew-3 Mission Ends

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are pictured inside the Dragon Endurance vehicle after returning to Earth. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are pictured inside the Dragon Endurance vehicle after returning to Earth. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The Expedition 67 crew was back to normal on Friday following the departure of four commercial crew astronauts early Thursday morning. The seven International Space Station astronauts and cosmonauts will live and work in space together until late summer.

The SpaceX Crew-3 mission ended at 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday when the Dragon Endurance crew ship splashed down off the coast of Tampa, Florida. Nearly 24 hours earlier, Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari with Pilot Tom Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer undocked from the Harmony module’s forward port inside Dragon.

After saying farewell to the Crew-3 astronauts early Thursday, the orbiting lab’s four newest astronauts, who arrived the week before aboard the Dragon Freedom spaceship, closed the station’s hatches, went to bed about two hours later, and took the rest of the day off.

On Friday, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren, who is one week into his second spaceflight, stowed emergency gear and checked out hydroponic hardware for the XROOTS space botany study. ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti, who is also on her second mission, spent her day maintaining orbital plumbing systems.

First time space-flyers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins partnered once again in the Columbus laboratory module studying how the central nervous system adapts to weightlessness. Hines and Watkins were both selected as members of the 2017 class of astronaut candidates in August of the same year.

The station’s new commander, Oleg Artemyev, started his day installing video gear before continuing his weeklong research on ways to maximize the effectiveness of a space workout. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov also participated on the space exercise study before working on networking equipment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev checked out systems inside the Rassvet and Zarya modules before performing Russian orbital maintenance tasks.


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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Crew-3 Astronauts Splashdown Ending Six-Month Mission

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship lands in the Gulf of Mexico for a nighttime splashdown with four commercial crew astronauts inside.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship returns to Earth in the Gulf of Mexico for a nighttime splashdown with four commercial crew astronauts inside.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer splashed down safely in the SpaceX Dragon Endurance in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, at 12:43 a.m. EDT after 177 days in space.

Teams on the Shannon recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing 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 Dragon onto the main deck of Shannon 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 board a plane for Houston.


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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NASA TV is Live as Crew-3 Gets Ready for Earth Return

The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check on April 21, 2022.
The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check on April 21, 2022.

Watch the agency’s live coverage as NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft are nearing the final stages of return before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 12:43 a.m. EDT. Weather conditions remain within the splashdown weather criteria and are “Go” at the primary targeted site off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

Here are the upcoming approximate milestones (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 5

11:47 p.m. – Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule.
11:48 p.m. – Trunk jettison
11:53 p.m. – Deorbit burn

FRIDAY, MAY 6

12:01 a.m. – Deorbit burn complete
12:04 a.m. – Nosecone closed
12:27 a.m. – Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
12:39 a.m. – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour.
12:40 a.m. – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Dragon is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
12:43 a.m. – Dragon splashdown


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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Crew-3: Dragon Undocks from the International Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m.
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen just after undocking from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m. Credit: NASA TV.

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer inside undocked from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 1:20 a.m. EDT to complete a nearly six-month science mission.

The return timeline with approximate times (all times Eastern):

Thursday, May 5

11:48 p.m.    Trunk jettison

11:53 p.m.    Deorbit burn

FRIDAY, MAY 6

12:04 a.m.    Nosecone closed

12:43 a.m.    Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Endurance splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-3 astronauts are recovered off the coast of Florida.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission launched Nov. 10 on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station Nov. 11.


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 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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Crew-3: Dragon Hatch Closed, Undocking Coverage Resumes at 12:45 a.m.

 The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is shown after the hatch closed between it and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.
The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is shown after the hatch closed between it and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

At 11:20 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 4, the hatch closed between the Dragon Endurance spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer.

NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 12:45 a.m. Thursday, May 5, for undocking scheduled at 1:05 a.m. and continue coverage through their splashdown off the coast of Florida at about 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6.


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 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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NASA TV Coverage is Live for Dragon Hatch Closure

The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check aboard the International Space Station's Harmony module on April 21, 2022.
The four commercial crew astronauts representing the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are pictured in their Dragon spacesuits for a fit check aboard the International Space Station’s Harmony module on April 21, 2022.

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV, the NASA app and the agency’s website as hatch closure and undocking preparations are underway for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer are in the process of boarding the Dragon for departure from the International Space Station.

Crew-3 is targeting a return to Earth about 12:43 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 1:05 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, to begin the journey home.

Dragon will autonomously undock, depart the space station, and splash down at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Endurance also will return important and time-sensitive research to Earth.


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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