Plant Science and Solar Array Photos as Station Nears Milestone

The Aurora and the Starry Night
The aurora and the night sky above Earth’s atmosphere are pictured from the space station. A portion of the station’s solar arrays and a pair of nitrogen/oxygen recharge system tanks are pictured in the foreground.

Botany science and solar array photography were on the Expedition 57 crew’s schedule today including ongoing maintenance of the orbital lab. The research and photo surveys help scientists and engineers understand how life and International Space Station systems adapt to microgravity.

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor is helping NASA and its international partners understand how plants grow in microgravity to promote humans living longer and farther in space. She set up the Veggie plant growth facility today to grow a variety of edible plants such as kale and lettuce inside Europe’s Columbus lab module. Botanists are also exploring how cultivating plants to provide a fresh food supply affects crew morale.

Commander Alexander Gerst started his day familiarizing himself with the botany experiment. The German astronaut from of ESA (European Space Agency) then worked throughout the day photo-documenting the station’s port side solar arrays. The photos will be downloaded so ground specialists can inspect the condition of the arrays for damage sites.

On the Russian side of the space lab, cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev checked on power supply systems inside the Zarya cargo module before moving on to science and life support work. Zarya was the first station module launched into space and will reach its 20th anniversary on Nov. 20.

Station Preps for Japan, US Ship Operations Next Month

The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
The H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is viewed from one of seven windows inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.” The orbital complex was flying at an altitude of about 257 miles off the coast of Canada above the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The International Space Station is getting ready for Japanese and U.S. cargo ship operations next month. In the meantime, the three residents onboard the orbital lab today configured science hardware and checked out safety gear.

Serena Auñón-Chancellor from NASA worked in the Japanese Kibo laboratory today replacing gear inside a Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR). The MSPR provides a workspace that supplies power and video enabling research into a variety of smaller experiments. She spent the majority of the day working on video cable connections and swapping out a computer in the MSPR.

She and Commander Commander Alexander Gerst started Tuesday practicing wearing and using breathing gear connected to an oxygen port in the event of a space emergency. Gerst then helped out with the MSPR work before the duo moved on to packing Japan’s HTV-7 resupply ship.

Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos worked out on a treadmill today to help Russian scientists understand how the human body is impacted by exercise in microgravity. He then spent the afternoon on computer and life support maintenance.

The HTV-7 is being packed before its removal from the Harmony module with the Canadarm2 and released back into Earth. However, the vehicle has one more mission before its fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean. The HTV-7 will also release a small reentry capsule for recovery in the Pacific Ocean by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The recovery mission is a test of the Japanese space agency’s ability to retrieve experiment samples safely and quickly from the station.

An American cargo ship is due to replenish the Expedition 57 crew a few days after the HTV-7 leaves. Northrup Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter will take a three-day trip in space before it is captured with the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Unity module. Cygnus will stay attached to the station for 86 days of cargo operations.

Genetics, Vision and Earth Studies Aboard Station Today

The Northern European countries of Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland
The International Space Station was orbiting 257 miles above the English Channel when this photograph was taken of the Northern European countries of Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland. Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-7, or HTV-7 resupply ship, is pictured at right attached the Harmony module.

Three Expedition 57 crew members are orbiting Earth today researching RNA sequencing and eye health aboard the International Space Station. The trio from the U.S., Germany and Russia also replaced combustion research hardware and activated Earth observation gear.

Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor from NASA is helping scientists identify microbes and understand how their genetics change in space. She extracted and processed microbial samples today from swabbed station surfaces for later genetic sequencing using specialized hardware. Results will also help researchers observe how life adapts to the weightlessness of microgravity.

Auñón-Chancellor then observed and photographed samples for a protein crystal study to help doctors improve the development of disease-treating drugs. She then joined Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) for eye scans with an ultrasound device to learn how long-term missions affect vision.

Gerst started his day in the U.S. Destiny lab module replacing hardware inside the Combustion Integrated Rack that enables gas and flame studies. He later wrapped up the workday photographing how quartz and clay particles sediment in space.

Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos worked inside the Unity module setting up Earth photography gear for the long-running EarthKAM experiment. The study enables school students to remotely operate the station digital camera to photograph and download imagery of Earth landmarks such as coastlines and mountains.

Liquid and Flame Science Work amid Japanese, Russian Maintenance

The Soyuz MS-09 crew ship (foreground) and the Progress 70 resupply ship
Two Russian spacecraft, the Soyuz MS-09 crew ship (foreground) and the Progress 70 resupply ship, are pictured docked to the International Space Station as the orbital complex orbited nearly 257 miles above Ukraine.

Two Expedition 57 astronauts are working to understand what happens to fluids being transported by spacecraft today. Another crew member also worked on combustion science gear as well as Japanese and Russian systems.

Fluid physics and combustion research on the International Space Station helps scientists understand how well-known phenomena on Earth behaves in microgravity. For instance, fluids sloshing around inside fuel tanks can impact how a spaceship steers in space. The way flames burn and create soot in space can also create safety issues for crews.

Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) explored how fluids affect spacecraft maneuvers today. The duo set up a pair of tiny mobile satellites known as SPHERES for the test inside Japan’s Kibo lab module. The SPHERES Tether Slosh experiment is observing what happens when the satellites tow a liquid-filled tank versus a solid mass body with a Kevlar tether.

Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack in the afternoon and replaced manifold bottles that contain gases for flame experiments. The flight engineer also packed items for disposal on a Japanese cargo ship and checked on Russian ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Three Station Crew Explores Space Science After Hague Interview

The three Expedition 57 crew members
The three Expedition 57 crew members are gathered inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world,” for a portrait wearing t-shirts displaying their home in space. From left are Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency). The space station was orbiting nearly 253 miles above the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

The three Expedition 57 crew members living aboard the International Space Station today explored a variety of phenomena impacted by exposure to microgravity. In Houston, NASA astronaut Nick Hague talked about his Soyuz contingency landing after last week’s failed ascent to orbit.

Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor started Wednesday morning relocating samples collected from biology experiments into a Kibo lab module science freezer. The NASA astronaut then spent the rest of the day researching how to grow protein crystals real-time on the space station.

The commander, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), put on his plumber’s cap in the morning for maintenance on the orbital lab’s toilet. The German astronaut then spent the afternoon working on gear inside the Destiny lab module before updating a warning procedures book.

In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev split his time between physics and human research. The flight engineer started the day exploring how forces such as exercising or spacecraft dockings impact the station’s structure. He then participated in a study observing interactions between a space crew and Mission Control in Moscow.

Finally, Hague talked to reporters and answered social media questions on Monday in Houston about his aborted mission to the station. The interviews and question and answer session was broadcast live on NASA TV and Facebook Live. The replay can also be seen on YouTube.

Hague Back in Houston, Station Crew Works Science and Cargo

Celestial view of Earth's atmospheric glow and the Milky Way
The International Space Station was orbiting about 256 miles above South Australia when a camera on board the orbital complex captured this celestial view of Earth’s atmospheric glow and the Milky Way.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague is safe and sound and back in Houston after last week’s mission to the International Space Station was aborted during ascent. Meanwhile, the three orbiting Expedition 57 crew members continue ongoing research, maintenance and cargo packing.

Hague returned to Houston Saturday following his emergency landing shortly after launch in the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft in Kazakhstan on Thursday. He and fellow Soyuz crew member Alexey Ovchinin were flown back to Moscow after medical checks in Kazakhstan then returned home to their families.

Back in space, two astronauts Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Commander Alexander Gerst and worked on a variety of life support and science experiments today. The duo also partnered up for cargo operations inside JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) HTV-7 resupply ship.

Auñón-Chancellor started her day testing the performance of battery life in space for the Zero G Battery Test experiment. Gerst was activating and checking out a life support rack to ensure good carbon dioxide and water management in the device.

Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev worked throughout Monday on life support maintenance in the station’s Russian segment. The Russian flight engineer also ran on a treadmill in the Zvezda service module for an experiment observing how microgravity impacts exercise.

Station Crew Busy With Science After Aborted Launch Ascent

North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea
North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea are pictured as the International Space Station orbited 254 miles above the African continent. Japan’s Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) is pictured at left attached to the Harmony module.

Three Expedition 57 crew members are staying busy aboard the International Space Station after the climb to orbit of two crewmates was aborted Thursday morning. American Nick Hague and Russian Alexey Ovchinin made an emergency landing shortly after launch, but are in excellent shape and back in Russia. The trio in orbit is continuing science and maintenance aboard the orbital laboratory.

NASA astronaut Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Ovchinin are safe and returned to Moscow with mission officials after their aborted mission. The Soyuz MS-10 rocket booster experienced a failure about two minutes after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hague will return to Houston, Texas, on Saturday and Ovchinin will stay in Moscow. Investigations into the cause of the failure are beginning, and the space station international partner agencies are evaluating what changes to the station’s operating plan will need to be adopted.

The three humans still orbiting Earth are safe with plenty of supplies and work to do on orbit. Commander Alexander Gerst and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor started their day measuring how microgravity has impacted their muscles for the Myotones study. They then moved on to researching an ancient technique that may be used for emergency navigation on future space missions.

Serena Auñón-Chancellor is scheduled to talk with two different school groups on Monday and Thursday next week. One of those conversations will involve the flight of Seaman Jr., a plush toy that is part of the National Park Service’s celebration of its the 3,700 mile Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev maintained life support systems in the Russian segment of the space station. He also updated the station’s inventory system and checked on Russian science experiments.

Crew in Good Condition After Booster Failure

Astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin
Astronaut Nick Hague (left) and Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin

.@AstroHague NASA Astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are seen in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. They are in good condition following their safe landing on Earth after a Soyuz booster failure after launch earlier. Latest updates: nasa.gov/live

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin
Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin
NASA astronaut Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Nick Hague

Statement on Soyuz MS-10 Launch Abort

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has shared the following statement on Twitter @JimBridenstine.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in good condition following today’s aborted launch. I’m grateful that everyone is safe. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted. Full statement below:

The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 4:40 a.m. EDT Thursday, October 11 (2:40 p.m. in Baikonur) carrying American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. Shortly after launch, there was an anomaly with the booster and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft.

Search and rescue teams were deployed to the landing site. Hague and Ovchinin are out of the capsule and are reported to be in good condition. They will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia outside of Moscow.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully. NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.