Author Archives: Mark Garcia

Cosmonauts Begin Spacewalk

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Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Sergey Ryazanskiy are pictured in the Orlan spacesuits they are wearing during today’s spacewalk. Credit: @SergeyISS

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a planned six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Yurchikhin is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Dragon Installed to Station for Month of Cargo Swaps

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Space Station Configuration

Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, the Progress 67 resupply ship and two Soyuz crew ships.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 9:07 a.m. EDT. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened as soon as later today.

CRS-12 is scheduled to deliver more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station, including a sweet treat for the astronauts: ice cream. The small cups of chocolate, vanilla and birthday cake-flavored ice cream are arriving in freezers that will be reloaded with research samples for return to Earth when the Dragon spacecraft departs the station mid-September.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.

Robotic Arm Reaches Out and Grapples Dragon

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SpaceX Dragon

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Wednesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling over the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured the Dragon spacecraft at 6:52 a.m. EDT using the station’s robotic arm. It then will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.

NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.

Expedition 52 Awaits Wednesday Dragon Arrival, Thursday Spacewalk

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Expedition 52 Crew Portrait

The Expedition 52 crew poses for a unique portrait. Pictured clockwise from top right are, Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Jack Fischer, Peggy Whitson, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.

The SpaceX Dragon is hauling advanced space research for delivery Wednesday morning to the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the seventh station spacewalk this year set to begin Thursday morning.

Dragon is less than 24 hours from its approach and rendezvous with the space station for SpaceX’s third resupply mission this year. Astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will be in the Cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Dragon at 7 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA TV will begin live coverage of Dragon’s arrival at 5:30 a.m.

Dragon will stay open at the station’s Harmony module for a month of cargo swaps. The astronauts will offload new life science studies to improve therapies against Parkinson’s disease and explore ways to grow lung tissue as well as other research. A new pair of external experiments will also be deployed including a cosmic ray study to be installed outside of the Kibo lab module and a nanosatellite technology demonstration.

Two cosmonauts are trying on their Orlan spacesuits today to ensure they are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy will exit the Pirs airlock at 10:45 a.m. for about six hours of science and maintenance work. Thursday’s spacewalk highlight will be when Ryazanskiy manually deploys five nanosatellites, including the first 3D printed CubeSat, into Earth orbit.

Eye Check Day on Station, Dragon Gets Ready For Launch

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The full moon

The full moon is pictured from the International Space Station.

The Expedition 52 crew members pulled out their medical hardware today for a variety of eye checks and other biomedical research. The station residents are also making space and packing up gear for next week’s cargo delivery aboard the SpaceX Dragon.

The crew each participated in a series of eye exams throughout Thursday working with optical coherence tomography (OCT) gear. OCT is a medical imaging technique that captures imagery of the retina using light waves. A pair of cosmonauts then peered into a fundoscope for a more detailed look at the eye’s interior. The regularly scheduled eye checks were conducted with real-time input from doctors on the ground.

SpaceX completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket today at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon cargo craft will be perched atop the Falcon 9 for a targeted launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT.

Once in space, Dragon will conduct a series of orbital maneuvers navigating its way to the station Wednesday morning. Finally, Dragon will reach its capture point ten meters away from the complex. From there, astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon. Next, ground controllers remotely guide Dragon still attached to the Canadarm2 and install it to the Harmony module.

The crew is clearing space on the International Space Station today and packing gear to stow on Dragon after it arrives next week. NASA TV begins its pre-launch coverage Sunday covering Dragon’s science payloads. Monday’s launch coverage begins at noon. NASA TV will also broadcast Dragon’s arrival Wednesday beginning at 5:30 a.m.

Station Boosts Orbit, Dragon Launch Slips a Day

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson works on the Combustion Integrated Rack in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

A docked Russian cargo craft fired its engines today slightly raising the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbital boost sets up next month’s crew swap. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft also received a new target launch date while the crew gets ready for a spacewalk next week.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will return to Earth on Sept. 2 with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapping up their Expedition 52 mission. Fischer and Yurchikhin will each have lived 135 consecutive days in space while Whitson will have 289 days. The next crew, with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, launches Sept. 13 to begin a 167-day mission in space.

SpaceX announced a one-day launch slip of its Dragon cargo craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon is now targeted to launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. Fischer and astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are training for Dragon’s arrival and capture planned for Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for a spacewalk amidst the cargo mission and crew swap preparations. The experienced Russian spacewalkers, Yurchikhin with eight career spacewalks and Sergey Ryazanskiy with three, performed leak checks, installed batteries and sized up their Orlan spacesuits and ahead of their Aug. 17 spacewalk.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Week Starts With Life Science and Spacewalk Preps

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Astronaut Paolo Nespoli

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli is strapped into the Muscle Atrophy Resistive Exercise System for the Sarcolab muscle study.

The fully staffed International Space Station stepped up its life science research today studying a host of space phenomena. Two cosmonauts are also preparing for the 202nd spacewalk at the station late next week.

Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli continued observing how living in space affects their muscles. The duo used electrodes and an ultrasound device to measure leg muscle performance during an exercise session.

Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer checked out a variety of rodent research gear today. Whitson is getting a biology facility ready for a new experiment to be delivered next week on the SpaceX Dragon. Fischer looked at mice to help researchers determine the effectiveness of a new drug that may slow or reverse muscle and bone loss in space.

The next spacewalk is targeted for Aug. 17. Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy are reviewing their external tasks and work areas for a spacewalk expected to last a little over six hours. They’ll perform science and maintenance tasks and deploy tiny satellites during their orbital excursion.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Astronauts Work Muscle Scans and Science Gear Upgrades

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Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer work on station systems inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

From leg muscle scans to observing materials burning at high temperatures, the Expedition 52 crew continued researching what happens when you live in space. The space residents also upgraded electronics gear and installed new science racks.

Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli are barely a week into their 4-1/2 month long mission and are already exploring what space is doing to their bodies. The astronauts took ultrasound scans of their legs today to assess the changes their leg muscles and tendons are undergoing. The data will later be compared to the condition of their muscles before and after their spaceflight mission.

Jack Fischer of NASA installed new electronics gear in a science rack to speed up the communications rate at which data is uploaded and downloaded from the research facility. Station veteran Peggy Whitson swapped out samples exposed to high temperatures inside a specialized furnace. She later installed a pair of NanoRacks research platforms in the Kibo laboratory module. The commercial science devices will support upcoming experiments being delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon mission.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Astronauts Look at Ways to Prevent Space Headaches and Bone Loss

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Astronaut Paolo Nespoli

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli checks out a science freezer inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

The crew today researched ways to alleviate headaches and reverse bone loss in space to improve mission performance. Meanwhile, the station’s three newest residents also checked out station emergency gear and systems.

Common ailments that afflict people on Earth such as headaches also affect astronauts in space impacting their mission activities. Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik are jotting down their experiences this week to help doctors understand space headaches. Observations may reduce their effects and improve performance during spaceflight and on Earth.

NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson are studying a new drug for its potential to slow or reverse bone loss in space. They looked at bones in mice today to help determine the efficacy of the new drug.  The lack of gravity causes osteoporosis-like symptoms weakening bones in space possibly impacting crews returning to Earth and experiencing gravity for the first time in months.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy joined his crewmates Nespoli and Bresnik this afternoon familiarizing themselves with the station’s emergency equipment. The new trio explored their new home in space taking note of safety gear locations and escape paths.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Experienced Trio Brings Station Crew up to Full Speed

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Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik

Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik are at work in their new home in space where they will live until mid-December.

Expedition 52 is now up to full speed with six crew members. The latest trio from the United States, Italy and Russia arrived Friday afternoon beginning a 4-1/2 month mission in space.

The new crew is familiarizing itself with International Space Station systems and getting used to life 250 miles above Earth’s surface. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik is starting his second space mission and spent time on Tuesday replacing networking hardware in the Japanese Experiment Module.

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency is on his third spaceflight. Nespoli took part in the Sarcolab-3 study using the Muscle Atrophy Research & Exercise System (MARES) chair in the Columbus module. The data collected for Sarcolab-3 will be used to assess microgravity’s impact on muscle loss in astronauts, focusing specifically on the calf muscle in the leg.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy begins his second mission aboard the station as a flight engineer. He last visited the orbital complex in 2013 with his Expedition 37-38 crewmates. Ryazanskiy conducted routine maintenance across the station’s Russian segment and assisted Nespoli during the Sarcolab-3 experiment session.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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