Belated Thanksgiving Meal Ahead of Spacewalk and New Cargo Ships

NASA astronaut and spacewalker Andrew Morgan
NASA astronaut and spacewalker Andrew Morgan is pictured during the second spacewalk on Nov. 22, 2019, to repair the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

The six-member Expedition 61 crew is relaxing today and enjoying a belated Thanksgiving meal after an intense week of biology research and spacewalk preparations. A Russian resupply ship also departed the International Space Station this morning as two more space freighters are poised to replenish the orbiting lab. The ISS Progress 73 cargo ship, loaded with trash, undocked from the Pirs Docking Compartment and was deorbited, burning up over the Pacific Ocean.

The four astronauts and two cosmonauts on the orbiting lab were off-duty today sharing a Thanksgiving meal together after working all day during the U.S. holiday. Most of the fixings that dress a turkey on a dining table on Earth were available aboard the station’s galley including cornbread, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan were busy on Thursday finalizing research operations as they collected blood and cell samples from rodents. Commander Luca Parmitano and Flight Engineer Christina Koch also assisted the duo in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Scientists on Earth will observe the samples to gain insights into afflictions such as cancer and diabetes potentially designing advanced therapies for humans on Earth and in space.

Morgan and Parmitano now turn their attention to Monday’s spacewalk to continue the complex repair job on a cosmic particle detector on the station’s truss. They will be employing complex and innovative repair techniques never performed in space to replace a faulty cooling pump on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. The spacewalkers will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:50 a.m. EST on Monday signifying the start of their venture. NASA TV begins its live broadcast at 5:30 a.m.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka monitored the Progress 73 resupply ship as it undocked at 4:25 a.m. EST Friday completing its four-month mission at the station. It reentered the Earth’s atmosphere a few hours later and burned up safely over the south Pacific.

SpaceX is targeting Dec. 4 for the launch if its 19th commercial cargo mission to the space station. The Dragon space freighter would arrive on Dec. 7 delivering a variety of brand new research gear including Japan’s Hyperspectral Imager Suite, or HISUI.

Russia will follow SpaceX with the launch of its Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft on Dec. 6. The 74P will arrive on Dec. 9 for an automated docking to the Pirs docking compartment.

Thanksgiving Bringing Harvest, Spacewalk Preps and Disease Research

Astronaut and spacewalker Luca Parmitano
Astronaut and spacewalker Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) takes a photograph with a camera protected from the hazards of microgravity by shielding.

The Expedition 61 crew is heading into Thanksgiving with more blood and cell research to improve human health. There will also be a harvest on the U.S. holiday as spacewalk preparations continue.

Rodents living aboard the International Space Station are being observed this week with their blood and cell samples being collected and stowed in science freezers. Doctors are exploring how microgravity affects the cellular level systems of mice to gain insights into afflictions such as cancer and diabetes. Results may inform the development of advanced therapies for Earth-bound and space-caused ailments.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are conducting the advanced biomedical research in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and Commander Luca Parmitano have been assisting the duo while also practicing repair techniques for the next spacewalk on Monday.

Morgan and Parmitano will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:50 a.m. EST on Monday signifying the start of their spacewalk. They will use new tools and techniques never performed in space for the intricate task of replacing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s thermal control system. NASA TV begins its live broadcast at 5:30 a.m.

The crew will be busy on Thanksgiving with more disease therapy studies and a space crop harvest as well. Koch and Meir will be harvesting Mizuna mustard greens and sharing the leaves with the crew for a taste test on Thursday. The rest of the crop will be packed in a lab freezer for later analysis.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka are readying the Progress 73 resupply ship for its undocking on Friday at 5:25 a.m. This will clear the Pirs docking compartment for the Progress 74 cargo craft to arrive Dec. 9 after its launch on Dec. 6. Skvortsov also investigated space cardiology today while Skripochka explored using acoustics to locate micrometeoroid impacts on the station.

Astronauts Research Disease Therapies Ahead of Complex Repair Spacewalk

NASA astronaut and spacewalker Andrew Morgan
Astronaut Andrew Morgan points his camera towards himself to take an out-of-this-world “space-selfie” during the second spacewalk to repair the the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Two Expedition 61 astronauts are getting up to speed with the fine repair techniques they will use next week during the 11th spacewalk of 2019. The International Space Station is also hosting intense biology work this week to improve the health of humans in space and on Earth.

The orbiting lab’s cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), is getting a new thermal control system that requires innovative spacewalking repair techniques. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are studying the careful, deliberate procedures with new tools specifically designed for the job. The AMS, which has exceeded its three-year operational lifespan by five-and-a-half years, was never designed to be repaired in space.

Morgan and Parmitano will continue the AMS repair job during their third spacewalk together beginning Monday at 6:50 a.m. EST. This will be the third of four planned spacewalks to ensure the astrophysics device continues searching for evidence of dark matter and antimatter for years to come. NASA TV will start its live broadcast at 5:30 a.m.

The Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) in the Japanese Kibo lab module is seeing a lot of biology research work this week. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are looking at blood and cell samples in the LSG to understand the stresses microgravity imposes on organisms. Doctors are looking for advanced therapeutic insights into Earth-bound diseases such as cancer and diabetes as well as space-caused ailments. Morgan and Parmitano are also on life science duty this week assisting the duo in between spacewalk preparations.

In the Russian segment of the station, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka attached sensors to his legs to observe how his veins are adapting to long-term spaceflight. Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov worked on computer hardware and life support gear.

Disease Therapy Research Ahead of Cargo Traffic and Spacewalks

Astronaut Andrew Morgan of NASA
Astronaut Andrew Morgan, whose U.S. spacesuit is outfitted with a variety of tools and cameras, holds on to a handrail during the second spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. View more spacewalk imagery.

Thanksgiving week starts with the Expedition 61 crew exploring the stresses microgravity imposes on organisms at the cellular level. The International Space Station is also ramping up for cargo traffic and another spacewalk in December.

The astronauts in the U.S. segment of the orbiting lab focused their attention today on identifying the cellular changes caused by weightlessness. Observations may provide doctors with advanced therapeutic insights into diseases afflicting humans on Earth and ailments that affect astronauts in space.

Two more spacewalks are scheduled to service an astrophysics device, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), searching for clues to the origin of the universe. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano will continue the complex work on Monday, Dec. 2 at 6:50 a.m. EST to replace the AMS thermal control system.

Russia’s Progress 73 cargo craft will compete its 121-day mission attached to the Pirs docking compartment this Friday and undock for a fiery disposal above the south Pacific. It will be replaced when the Progress 74 resupply ship launches Dec. 6 and docks to Pirs on Dec. 8.

SpaceX is targeting Dec. 4 for the launch if its 19th commercial cargo mission to the space station. The Dragon space freighter would arrive on Dec. 7 delivering a variety of brand new research gear including Japan’s Hyperspectral Imager Suite, or HISUI.

Astronauts Complete Intricate Tasks During Second Cosmic Repair Spacewalk

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano on the Canadarm2 robotic arm
Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector.

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 1:35 p.m. EST. During the six-hour and 33-minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully cut a total of eight stainless steel tubes, including one that vented the remaining carbon dioxide from the old cooling pump. The crew members also prepared a power cable and installed a mechanical attachment device in advance of installing the new cooling system.

Today’s work clears the way for Parmitano and Morgan’s next spacewalk in the repair series Monday Dec. 2. The plan is to bypass the old thermal control system by attaching a new one off the side of AMS during the third spacewalk, and then conduct leak checks on a fourth spacewalk.

For more on the AMS science and spacewalks, listen to the recent podcasts:

Space station crew members have conducted 223 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 9 hours and 41 minutes working outside the station. Parmitano has now conducted three spacewalks in his career and Morgan has now logged four spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

Spacewalkers Begin Second Excursion to Repair Cosmic Particle Detector

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano is pictured attached to the Canadarm2 robotic arm during the first spacewalk to repair the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:02 a.m. EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours. Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will venture outside the International Space Station for the second in a series of complex spacewalks to replace a cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector.

Parmitano is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #11. Morgan is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #18.

In addition to revitalizing an important piece of scientific equipment, the process of creating the tools and procedures for these spacewalks is preparing teams for the types of spacewalks that may be required on Moon and Mars missions. The tools include plumbing instruments to cut into the cooling lines, new screwdriver bits and devices to capture the fasteners the astronauts remove from AMS. Learn more about the unique tools developed for the spacewalks to repair AMS.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.

Final Spacewalk Preps as Life Science Work Ramps Up

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan waves
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan waves as he is photographed during the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on Nov. 15, 2019.

The Expedition 61 astronauts are in final preparations before Friday’s spacewalk to continue repairing the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector. The orbital residents also had time today to set up research hardware for upcoming space biology activities.

Spacewalkers Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano will exit the Quest airlock on Friday after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:50 a.m. EST. The duo will translate to the far side of the station’s starboard truss structure to continue the intricate work to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system. NASA TV begins its live coverage beginning at 5:30 a.m.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will assist the spacewalkers during the excursion from inside the station on Friday. Meir will be on robotics duty maneuvering the Canadarm2 robotic arm while Koch manages their spacesuits.

Even with spacewalk activities dominating the schedule aboard the orbiting lab, the station crew still had time to conduct advanced space research. Meir set up a 3-D bioprinter for a test run today before the device begins manufacturing complex organ-like tissues in space. Koch is readying a variety of life science gear for next week’s operations to study how microgravity affects systems at the cellular level for insights into Earth-bound ailments.

The cosmonauts in the Russian segment of the space station focused primarily on lab maintenance. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka replaced batteries and dust filters. The duo then packed the Progress 72 (72P) resupply ship with trash and repressurized the station with oxygen from the 72P.

Space Biology, Human Research in Middle of Spacewalk Preps

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano is pictured attached to the Canadarm2 robotic arm during the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

The Expedition 61 crew is gearing up for another complex spacewalk this Friday while juggling an array of advanced science duties today. Three new tiny satellites were also deployed from the International Space Station, continuing to expand the opportunities for space research and technology demonstrations.

Spacewalkers Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are finalizing their review of the intricate work necessary to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system. NASA astronaut Jessica Meir is brushing up on the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvers she will use to support the second AMS repair excursion. Live television coverage of this year’s 10th spacewalk begins Friday at 5:30 a.m. EST on NASA TV.

NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch spent the majority of her time today on human research and space biology studies. Koch attached sensors to herself and a worked out on an exercise cycle to measure her aerobic output. She then gathered hardware to begin studying microgravity’s impact on cells for the development of potential therapies for Earth and space-bound ailments.

Morgan installed a new incubator that creates artificial gravity to study cells and plants inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Meir serviced microbe samples for DNA sequencing before installing a science freezer inside Kibo’s Life Sciences Glovebox. Parmitano photographed CubeSats ejected into Earth orbit from Kibo’s satellite deployer this morning.

Radiation checks and cardiology research were the focus over in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab today. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov explored how weightlessness affects the heartbeat and blood flow after exploring advanced Earth photography techniques. Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka collected a variety of radiation detectors and downloaded measurements taken from the U.S. side of the space station.

Agriculture and Disease Studies Ahead of Next Spacewalk

NASA astronauts (from left ) Jessica Meir and Christina Koch
NASA astronauts (from left ) Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are at the robotics workstation controlling the Canadarm2 robotic arm to support the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Today’s biology research aboard the International Space Station is helping scientists improve the health of astronauts in space and people on Earth. The Expedition 61 crew is also deploying a set of tiny satellites on Wednesday while getting ready for another spacewalk on Friday.

Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA fed mice and watered plants today supporting a pair of long-running life science experiments. The rodent research study aims for cellular-level insights into diseases like cancer and diabetes to provide advanced therapies. The botany investigation explores the nutritional and morale-boosting benefits of growing fresh food in space.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan recorded themselves with a 3-D video camera setting up gear that will deploy three small satellites outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The deployer will eject the CubeSats in Earth orbit Wednesday morning to demonstrate technologies developed by several Asian nations.

Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) commander Luca Parmitano are reviewing the tasks they will perform during this Friday’s spacewalk. They are continuing the intricate thermal control system repairs of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the station’s cosmic particle detector. Meir joined the duo at the end of the day and practiced the Canadarm2 robotics maneuvers to necessary support the spacewalkers.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka set up communications gear ahead of next month’s arrival of a Russian resupply ship. The duo also worked on station plumbing tasks before setting atmospheric observation gear.

Spacewalkers Complete First Excursion to Repair Cosmic Particle Detector

Luca Parmitano of ESA attached to the Canadarm
Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) attached to the Canadarm during the first Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2019

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 1:18 p.m. EST. During the six hour and 39 minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully positioned materials, removed a debris cover on the AMS, and installed handrails in preparation for the subsequent spacewalks.

The duo also completed a number of get-ahead tasks originally planned for the second spacewalk, including the removal of the vertical support beam cover for the area that houses the eight stainless steel tubes that will be cut and spliced together on the upcoming spacewalks.

Today’s work clears the way for Parmitano and Morgan’s next spacewalk in the repair series Friday Nov. 22. The main focus of the second spacewalk will be the access, cut, and label the stainless steel tubes that attach the current cooling system to the AMS. The plan is to bypass the old thermal control system, attach a new one off the side of AMS during the third spacewalk, and then conduct leak checks.

In addition to the overall complexity of the instrument, astronauts have never before cut and reconnected fluid lines, like those that are part of the AMS thermal control system, during a spacewalk. To cut the cooling lines and complete other tasks in this series of spacewalks, scientists, engineers and astronauts on Earth have gone through several iterations of designing, prototyping, experimenting and validating many specialized tools in preparation for the complex work in space.

Space station crew members have conducted 222 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 3 hours and 8 minutes working outside the station. Parmitano has now conducted three spacewalks in his career and Morgan has now logged four spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.