The five-member crew aboard the International Space Station was back at work Thursday researching how living in space affects the human body. Two of today’s experiments looked at how microgravity weakens bones and alters DNA.
Commander Peggy Whitson joined Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet for the OsteoOmics bone loss study. The experiment compares bone loss in the free-floating environment of microgravity versus magnetic levitation on Earth and observes the molecular changes that place. Results may improve the health of crews in space and humans on Earth, possibly counteracting bone loss and preventing bone diseases.
Pesquet later checked samples for the Genes In Space experiment that is based on a winning proposal submitted during a student science competition. That study is testing new technology to track how a space mission alters an astronaut’s DNA and impacts their immune system.
The rest of the crew, including NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Novitskiy, split their time between loading a Russian cargo craft, crew orientation and systems maintenance.
The Expedition 51 quintet studied how long-term space missions affect bone loss and explored new ways to exercise in space today. The crew also reviewed emergency procedures and equipment onboard the International Space Station.
Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet set up samples today for the OsteoOmics bone study that will last four weeks on the station. Doctors are researching the molecular mechanisms that impact the bones of astronauts living in space. The experiment could lead to therapeutic insights improving the health of astronauts in space and humans on Earth.
New Flight Engineer Jack Fischer performed an ultrasound scan of his leg muscles with assistance from Whitson and remote guidance from ground personnel. The ultrasound data is being collected for the Sprint study that is exploring the benefits of high-intensity, low-volume exercise to maintain muscle, bone and heart functions.
Whitson and Fischer then joined veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin for a couple of hours of emergency training. The trio took note of safety gear locations, followed escape paths to the docked Soyuz vehicles and inspected hatches for proper clearances.
The International Space Station raised its orbit today to get ready for a June crew departure. The first of two orbital reboosts comes just a week after two new crew members arrived to begin their mission with Expedition 51.
Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet will return to Earth June 2 ending the Expedition 51 mission. Expedition 52 will begin and veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin will stay behind with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer waiting for the next crew arrival on July 28.
The current orbiting crew of five Expedition 51 crew members continued more biomedical research and eye checks today. The crew underwent a series of ultrasound scans and eye tests to learn how living in space affects vision. The astronauts are subjects of ongoing studies to help NASA plan missions farther out in space for longer periods of time.
One symptom of living in space for long periods is the pressure that builds up behind astronauts’ eyes due to the upward flow of fluids. Doctors are seeking to counteract this flow after some astronauts have reported vision problems during and after their long-term missions.
NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer live-streamed a broadcast from space today using 4K ultra-high-definition technology for the first time. The duo called down to the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas to demonstrate the advanced technology and promote space science and filmmaking.
Expedition 51 worked throughout Wednesday on a variety of microgravity research and spaceship unpacking. The five crew members also conducted vision checks while their newest pair continued getting up to speed on International Space Station systems.
French astronaut Pesquet joined Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy for ultrasound scans and eye exams in the morning. The two crewmates are participating in a study to understand and offset the headward fluid shifts in space that are known to affect vision.
Pesquet got together at the end of the day with Whitson and Jack Fischer for more eye checks with guidance from doctors on the ground. Whitson also studied how astronauts adapt to touchscreen interfaces. Fischer spent a few hours swapping sample cartridges in a high-temperature furnace lab facility.
Veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin continued offloading cargo from the new Soyuz MS-04 crew ship. Pesquet also transferred new science and crew supplies from the Cygnus resupply ship. Yurchikhin and Fischer are continuing to adapt to living and working aboard the station having been in space less than week.
Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson broke the U.S. record today for most cumulative time living in space, surpassing astronaut Jeff Williams’ record of 534 days set during his four spaceflights. She passed Williams’ mark at 1:27 a.m. EDT.
President Donald Trump called the International Space Station Monday morning and congratulated Whitson on her record-breaking career. Whitson and her newest crewmate NASA astronaut Jack Fischer discussed NASA’s research in space and its plans to go to Mars in the 2030’s.
Before today’s presidential call the Expedition 51 crew members joined together to review their roles and responsibilities in the unlikely event of an emergency aboard the International Space Station. If necessary, they could put on safety gear, evacuate the station into their docked Soyuz vehicles and quickly undock for a ride back to Earth.
The crew is also unloading gear today from two new spaceships that arrived last week. Veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin has been transferring cargo from the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft he piloted to a docking last Thursday. Whitson and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet are working to offload new science experiments and crew supplies that arrived Saturday morning aboard the Cygnus resupply ship.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 8:39 a.m. EDT. Crew will ingress the spacecraft later today. The spacecraft will spend about three months on station before it is released in July for a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, disposing of several thousand pounds of trash.
The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 7,600 pounds of research and supplies to support Expedition 51 and 52. Some of the research on board includes:
In microgravity, cancer cells grow in 3-D, spheroid structures that closely resemble their form in the human body, enabling better tests for drug the efficacy. The ADCs in Microgravity investigation tests drugs designed as targeted cancer therapies called antibody-drug conjugates, developed by Oncolinx.
The Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) investigation originally was operated successfully aboard the station in 2002. Updated software, data acquisition, high definition video and communication interfaces will help advance understanding of the processes involved in semiconductor crystal growth. Investigations such as the CLYC Crystal Growth experiment will be conducted in the SUBSA Furnace and inserts. High-quality crystals are essential to a variety of applications, and a microgravity environment can produce better quality crystals.
The Thermal Protection Material Flight Test and Reentry Data Collection (RED-Data2) investigation studies a new type of recording device that rides alongside a spacecraft as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere, recording data about the extreme conditions it encounters. Scientists, so far, have been unable to monitor those conditions on a large scale, and a better understanding could lead to more accurate spacecraft breakup predictions, better spacecraft designs, and materials capable of better resisting the extreme heat and pressure during the return to Earth.
Prior to re-entry in late July, the Cygnus spacecraft will also host the third Spacecraft Fire Experiment, or SAFFIRE, to study how fire burns in microgravity. Data from these experiments will help inform the development of future crew spacecraft.
Using the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2, Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Commander Peggy Whitson successfully captured Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 6:05 a.m. EDT. The space station crew and robotic ground controllers will position Cygnus for installation to the orbiting laboratory’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module.
NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 7:30 a.m., and installation of the Cygnus spacecraft to the space station is expected to be completed later this morning.
Learn more about the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission by going to the mission home page at: http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.
An Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft carrying more than 7,600 pounds of supplies, science and research investigations is set to arrive to the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The uncrewed cargo ship launched at 11:11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 18 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to begin its four-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.
Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s robotic Canadarm2 to capture Cygnus at approximately 6:05 a.m. on Saturday, April 22. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. Installation coverage will resume at 7:30 a.m.
Coverage will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency’s website at: www.nasa.gov/live.
The mission is Orbital ATK’s seventh contracted commercial resupply services (CRS) mission, and its third launch atop an Atlas V rocket from Florida. Future missions under Orbital ATK’s CRS-1 contract with NASA are expected to resume from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The Expedition 51 crew is waiting for a space delivery mission after welcoming two new crewmates Thursday. Two astronauts are training for a resupply ship’s arrival as two other crew members are getting used to their new home in space.
The Cygnus cargo craft will arrive at the International Space Station early Saturday after a four-day trip to deliver new science experiments and crew supplies. Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet with assistance from Commander Peggy Whitson will maneuver the Canadarm2 to reach out and capture Cygnus after its final approach. Finally, ground controllers will give the crew a break and remotely control the 57.7 foot robotic arm and install Cygnus to the Harmony module.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer is adapting to living in weightlessness for the first time, while his crewmate cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin is beginning his fifth mission in space. The pair joined Expedition 51 Thursday morning just six-hours, 10-minutes after blasting off from Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-04 spaceship. They will stay in space until September before returning back to Earth with record-setting astronaut Whitson.
Two new crew members are aboard the International Space Station. The hatches on the space station and Soyuz MS-04 opened at 11:25 a.m. EDT, marking the arrival to the orbiting laboratory for NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Along with Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), the arriving crew members will contribute to more than 250 research experiments ongoing aboard the space station, in diverse fields such as biology, Earth Science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.
To learn more about the International Space Station, visit: