Dragon Departure Delayed as Cosmonauts Cleanup after Spacewalk

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov work outside the Nauka and Prichal modules during a seven-hour, 11-minute spacewalk.
Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov (bottom left to right) work outside the Nauka and Prichal modules during a seven-hour, 11-minute spacewalk.

A U.S. resupply ship will wait at least one extra day to undock from the International Space Station while being packed with critical research samples for return to Earth. Meanwhile, two Expedition 66 cosmonauts are cleaning up following a spacewalk to activate a Russian docking module.

A forecast of inclement weather has caused a postponement of the departure of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon from the Harmony module‘s space-facing port from Friday to Saturday. Undocking is now targeted for Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10:40 a.m. EST. NASA TV coverage, on the NASA app and the agency’s website, will begin Saturday at 10:15 a.m.

The next weather briefing by SpaceX is planned for 12 p.m. Friday. If undocking occurs on Saturday, splashdown would be scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 23 around 4 p.m. The final splashdown site will be selected closer to deorbit and splashdown time.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Thomas Marshburn spent Thursday morning loading biology samples inside the Cargo Dragon for return and analysis on Earth. Barron also joined ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer transferring science freezers filled with more research samples into the U.S. resupply ship.

Life science moved right along throughout Thursday as Maurer and NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei continued studying how a long-term space mission affects an astronaut’s visual function. NASA astronaut Raja Chari collected his blood and urine samples for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis. Chari later worked on the Food Physiology human research study that is exploring how diet and nutrition affect a crew member’s health in space.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov called down to Russian mission controllers in the morning for a post-spacewalk conference. The duo activated the new Prichal docking module successfully integrating it with the orbiting lab’s Russian segment during Thursday’s seven-hour and 11-minute spacewalk. Vande Hei, who assisted the spacewalkers on Thursday, also joined the pair on Friday helping remove U.S. lights and cameras installed on the Orlan spacesuits.


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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Cosmonauts Wrap Up Spacewalk after Russian Module Work

Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov works to configure and activate the Prichal module during a spacewalk on Jan. 19, 2022. Credit: NASA TV
Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov works to configure and activate the Prichal module during a spacewalk on Jan. 19, 2022. Credit: NASA TV

Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos concluded their spacewalk at 2:28 p.m. EST after 7 hours and 11 minutes.

Shkaplerov and Dubrov completed their major objectives for today to ready the new Prichal module for future Russian visiting spacecraft. The cosmonauts installed handrails, rendezvous antennas, a television camera, and docking targets on Prichal, which automatically docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module in November.

This was the first spacewalk this year and the 246th overall in support of space station assembly, maintenance and upgrades. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 64 days, 19 hours, and 37 minutes working outside the station.

This was the third spacewalk in Shkaplerov’s career, who has now spent a total of 21 hours and 39 minutes spacewalking, and the fourth for Dubrov, bringing his total to 29 hours and 49 minutes of spacewalk time.

Additional spacewalks are planned this spring to outfit a European robotic arm on the Nauka laboratory and to activate Nauka’s airlock for future spacewalk activity.


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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Russian Spacewalkers Exit Station to Service Russian Modules

Cosmonauts (from left) Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov are pictured in their Russian Orlan spacesuits for a fit check and leak checks on Jan. 14.
Cosmonauts (from left) Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov are pictured in their Russian Orlan spacesuits for a fit check and leak checks on Jan. 14.

Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos began a spacewalk to ready the new Prichal module for future Russian visiting spacecraft when they opened the hatch of the Poisk docking compartment airlock of the International Space Station at 7:17 a.m. EST.

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

Shkaplerov, designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), is wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, and Dubrov is wearing a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Views from a camera on Shkaplerov’s helmet are designated with the number 22, and Dubrov’s is labeled with the number 16.

The duo’s primary tasks for today’s spacewalk are to install handrails, rendezvous antennas, a television camera, and docking targets on Prichal, which automatically docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module in November.


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 Two Cosmonauts Prep for Station Spacewalk

Cosmonauts (from left) Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov are conducting the first spacewalk of 2022.
Cosmonauts (from left) Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov are conducting the first spacewalk of 2022.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 66 are preparing to exit the International Space Station‘s Poisk module on the space-facing side of the station’s Russian segment for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7 a.m. EST and last approximately seven hours.

During the spacewalk, the cosmonauts will install handrails, rendezvous antennas, a television camera, and docking targets on Prichal, which automatically docked to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module in November.

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three cosmonauts, who will be part of the Expedition 67 crew, is the first scheduled docking to Prichal, planned for March.

Shkaplerov will serve as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) and will wear a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes. Dubrov will wear a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2). This will be the third spacewalk in Shkaplerov’s career and the fourth for Dubrov. The first spacewalk at the station in 2022 also will be 246th spacewalk for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.


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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Dragon, Spacewalk Preps Amidst Space Botany and Biology Research

The station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around that took place on Nov. 8, 2021.
The station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around that took place on Nov. 8, 2021.

The International Space Station is gearing up for the departure of a U.S. resupply ship and a Russian spacewalk next week. Meanwhile, the Expedition 66 crew is maintaining its pace of research exploring how microgravity affects variety of biological phenomena.

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle has been docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing docking port since Dec. 22 when it delivered over 6,500 pounds of new science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It is now being readied for departure on Jan. 21 its return to Earth a day later loaded with completed space research and old lab gear for analysis and inspection.

NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Raja Chari took turns Tuesday morning organizing and packing gear inside the Cargo Dragon. Chari then spent the afternoon swapping out science freezer components inside Dragon that will soon house research samples for examination by scientists on Earth.

Barron later collected root and shoot samples from Arabidopsis plants grown on petri plates readying them for stowage and analysis back on the ground. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei worked on another space botany investigation as he photographed and harvested cotton cultures grown on the station to understand how weightlessness affects plant genetics.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn spent Tuesday on several human research and space biology tasks. He wrapped up blood pressure measurements for the Vascular Aging study, set up the Life Science Glovebox for an upcoming experiment, then took a robotics test for a behavioral investigation. Astronaut Matthias Maurer from ESA (European Space Agency) also worked on life science as he collected microbe samples for analysis, swapped particle samples inside the Mochii electron-scanning microscope, then took a cognition test.

Two cosmonauts, station Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov, continue getting ready for a spacewalk on Jan.19. Today, they configured a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits that will be worn in the vacuum of space when they configure the station’s two newest modules, Nauka and Prichal.


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 Starts Week with Space Agriculture, Human Cells and Spacesuits

Pictured from left, are the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module with the Prichal docking module attached.
Pictured from left, are the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module with the Prichal docking module attached.

The Expedition 66 crew kicked off Monday promoting space agriculture and observing how the human cell adapts to weightlessness. Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the first spacewalk of 2022 set to begin next week at the International Space Station.

Growing plants in space is critical to keeping crews healthy as NASA and its international partners plan human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Just like humans living in space, microgravity affects plants and scientists want to learn how to successfully grow crops in space to sustain crews with less support from Earth.

Today, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei harvested the shoots and roots of Arabidopsis plants grown on petri plates inside the Veggie facility. Fellow NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari collected the harvested samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. The APEX-07, or Advanced Plant Experiment-07, study is looking at how microgravity affects genetic expression in plants.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer worked throughout Monday on the Cytoskeleton space biology study. That study takes place in the Kibo laboratory module and uses the Life Science Glovebox to explore how the internal machinery of the human cell is impacted by long-term space missions.

NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron also worked in Kibo and set up the new Mochii electron-scanning microscope to identify trace particles aboard the station. NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn worked on life sciences experiments throughout Monday before inspecting and cleaning hatch seals in the station’s U.S. segment.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov partnered together during the morning on a pair of Russian studies looking at how space affects heart activity and arm muscles. The duo later spent the rest of the day setting up Russian Orlan spacesuits for a spacewalk set to begin on Jan. 19. The two cosmonauts will spend about seven hours in the vacuum of space outfitting the station’s newest modules, Nauka and Prichal.


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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Biology, Agriculture Studies as Astronaut Begins Record-Breaking Spree

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is scheduled to return to Earth on March 30 after 355 days in space.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is scheduled to return to Earth on March 30 after 355 days in space.

Biology and agriculture were the dominant research themes aboard the International Space Station on Thursday. Also, an Expedition 66 Flight Engineer is beginning a set of record-breaking milestones before returning to Earth at the end March.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron started work Thursday morning inside the Kibo laboratory module examining mice for the Rodent Research-18 study. The space biology experiment observes how microgravity affects the visual function and changes the retina. Barron transferred the mice back and forth into the Life Science Glovebox and restocked their habitats with food throughout the day. NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn took over the mice investigation during the afternoon.

Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) started his day with a hearing test for the Acoustics Diagnostics study. The human research investigation seeks to understand how sound levels on the station affect astronauts. Maurer then spent the afternoon setting up AstroPi computer hardware to promote coding and engineering education on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei photographed operations for the Plant Habitat-05 experiment that is studying cotton genetics. Space botany is an important area of study as NASA and its international partners learn to sustain healthy crews on long-term missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

As of Thursday, Vande Hei has lived in space continuously for 273 days, surpassing NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan‘s record of 272 days which was set on April 17, 2020. He will go on to break three more NASA records before the end of his mission at the end of March.

Vande Hei, along with Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov, arrived at the station on April 9, 2021, and are staying on the station for 355 days. Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who has been aboard the station since Oct. 5, 2021, will lead Vande Hei and Dubrov to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship on March 30.


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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Space Biology, Science Hardware Work Keeping Station Crew Busy

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron sets up the Plant Habitat-05 Growth experiment that is studying cotton genetics in microgravity.
NASA astronaut Kayla Barron sets up the Plant Habitat-05 Growth experiment that is studying cotton genetics in microgravity.

Space biology work and science hardware maintenance and were the main research goals for the Expedition 66 crew aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The orbital residents also checked out life support gear and worked on cargo transfers.

Three NASA astronauts, Mark Vande Hei, Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron, joined each other in the Kibo laboratory module during the afternoon and set up external research components. Vande Hei installed the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) in Kibo’s airlock that will later be placed outside in the vacuum of space. Marshburn and Barron assisted with the MPEP installation work ahead of tiny satellites, or CubeSats, being deployed from the device into Earth orbit.

Marshburn then joined NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari for vein scans in the Columbus laboratory module. Chari once again led the biomedical activities as crew medical officer using the Ultrasound 2 device to scan Marshburn’s neck, shoulder, and leg veins. Doctors on Earth monitor the health checks in real time to gain insight into how long-term microgravity affects the human body.

Barron also tended to the oxygen generation system before analyzing microbe samples collected from inside BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) installed the ANITA-2 cabin air analyzer then inspected the Muscle Atrophy Research Exercise System ahead of upcoming new component work.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov worked throughout Wednesday in the station’s Russian segment on electronics maintenance on cargo transfers from the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship. Shkaplerov also spent some time on a study researching how international crews and mission controllers relate during a long-duration spaceflight. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov spent most of the day installing payload interface controller units while also finding time for immunity system research work.


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 Kicks off 2022 with Biology, Botany and Spacewalk Preps

Clockwise from bottom, astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, Thomas Marshburn and Matthias Maurer are pictured during a playful portrait aboard the station.
Clockwise from bottom, astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, Thomas Marshburn and Matthias Maurer are pictured during a playful portrait aboard the station.

The five astronauts and two cosmonauts of Expedition 66 started the first work week of 2022 researching microgravity science, reviewing Crew Dragon emergency procedures and ramping up for a spacewalk.

Biology and botany are critical research subjects on the orbiting lab as NASA and its international partners plan human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Robotics is also important as scientists and engineers explore a variety of ways to assist space crews.

NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari swabbed bacteria samples today and began sequencing their DNA with the BioMole Facility to understand the microbial environment on the station. Thomas Marshburn of NASA photographed operations for the Plant Habitat-05 experiment that is studying cotton genetics. Finally, NASA astronaut Kayla Barron set up an AstroBee robotic free flyer with an experimental audio sensor that may possibly identify early indications of space hardware failure.

The three NASA astronauts also joined ESA (European Space Agency) Matthias Maurer and reviewed their procedures for a variety of emergency scenarios aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. The quartet trained on a computer for unlikely events such as a fire, a depressurization, and an emergency undocking in the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The station’s other NASA astronaut, Mark Vande Hei, had Monday morning off before going into the afternoon working on experimental gear that may maintain safe temperatures in U.S. spacesuits. Vande Hei, along with cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, are due to depart the station in the spring after nearly a year in space.

The next spacewalk at the International Space Station is targeted for Jan. 19 to outfit the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Cosmonauts Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov started Monday morning inspecting the spacewalking tools they will use to configure and finish connecting Nauka to the station’s Russian segment.


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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Last Week of 2021 Sees New Space Research Kick Off

The Soyuz MS-19 crew ship is pictured docked to the Rassvet module as the International Space Station orbited 260 miles above southeast Asia.
The Soyuz MS-19 crew ship is pictured docked to the Rassvet module as the International Space Station orbited 260 miles above southeast Asia.

The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is going into the final week of 2021 with a host of science experiments exploring numerous space phenomena benefitting astronauts in space and humans on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Kayla Barron worked on a pair of space farming studies during Monday afternoon exploring a variety of plant characteristics. Vande Hei set up components for the MVP (Multi Variable Platform) Plant-01 experiment inside the Harmony module. That study is investigating how a plant’s molecular mechanisms and regulatory networks adapt to weightlessness. Barron worked inside the Kibo laboratory module and configured the Plant Habitat-05 investigation which will observe the regenerative capacity of a variety of cotton genotypes.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn started Monday morning transferring research samples to science freezers in the Kibo lab. Chari then moved on and updated emergency checklists while also collecting and stowing his blood and urine samples for later analysis. Marshburn serviced the station’s oxygen generation system then unpacked medical gear from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle.

Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) spent his day working throughout the orbiting lab on a variety of research gear. Maurer first swapped science freezers inside the Unity module. Next, he installed the BioSentinel radiation exposure study in the Kibo lab. Finally, the astronaut from Germany worked in the Columbus laboratory module thawing research samples for the Cytoskeleton experiment before uninstalling the Kubik incubator.

The station’s commander, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, recharged computer tablets inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship while also working on Russian life support maintenance throughout the day. Russian Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov checked out electronics gear in the morning before joining Shkaplerov in the afternoon and replacing components on the Zvezda service module’s treadmill.


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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