With Christmas Around the Corner Crew Researching Why Cells Change in Space

Expedition 54 Crew Portrait
The Expedition 54 crew members (from left) are NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei, Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai.

Six Expedition 54 crew members will spend Christmas orbiting Earth sharing a traditional meal and opening goodies delivered on recent cargo missions to the International Space Station. Veteran crew member Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos is spending his third holiday season in space.

Meanwhile, advanced space science is taking place seven days a week on the orbital lab as the astronauts explore a variety of phenomena that can only be revealed in the microgravity environment. Human research is especially important as doctors learn how to keep space travelers healthy and strong during spaceflight.

The station’s newest Flight Engineers, Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of JAXA, collected and stored their blood samples this morning for the Cell-Free Epigenome experiment. The samples will be analyzed later on the ground for cellular changes that take place in crew members while living in space.

Astronaut Joe Acaba of NASA is testing new research hardware today for its ability to maintain cell cultures and enable cellular experiment work. Acaba swapped out gear inside the Bioculture System that is being validated as a long-term biological research facility.

Crew From U.S., Russia and Japan Expands Space Population to Six

The newly-expanded Expedition 54 crew
The newly-expanded Expedition 54 crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for ceremonila congratulations from family and mission officials. Credit: NASA TV

NASA’s Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency joined Expedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and crewmates Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA aboard the International Space Station when the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 5:55 a.m. EST. The welcoming ceremony will begin shortly.

The crew members will spend about six months conducting approximately 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development — research that impacts life on Earth.

Vande Hei, Acaba and Misurkin are scheduled to remain aboard the station until February 2018, and Tingle, Shkaplerov and Kanai are scheduled to return to Earth next June.

This crew continues the long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research in the unique microgravity environment. Highlights of upcoming investigations include demonstrating the benefits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment, a new study looking at structures that are vital to the design of advanced optical materials and electronic devices and examining a drug compound and drug delivery system designed to combat muscular breakdown in space or during other prolonged periods of disuse, such as extended bed rest on Earth.

For live coverage and more information about the mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss, on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research. Follow Twitter updates from NASA astronauts Joe Acaba, Mark Vande Hei, and Scott Tingle as well as from Anton Shkaplerov and Norishige Kanai.

Space Travelers Arrive at Station after Two-Day Trip

Expedition 54 Crew Members
Expedition 54 crew members (from left) Norishige Kanai, Anton Shkaplerov and Scott Tingle pose in front of the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft that would launch them into a space a few days later.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA’s Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency docked to the International Space Station at 3:39 a.m. EST while both spacecraft were flying about 250 miles over the southern coast of Italy commonly referred to as the “boot.”

Aboard the space station, Expedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and his crewmates, Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

Watch the hatch opening targeted for 5:35 a.m. and welcome ceremony to follow live on NASA TV beginning at 5 a.m. on the agency’s website.

For live coverage and more information about the mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

 

New Crew Arriving Early Tuesday to Join the Station

Expedition 54 Blasts Off
Three Expedition 54 crew members blasted off Sunday at 2:21 a.m. EST on a two-day trip the space station. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsly

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA’s Scott Tingle, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station’s Rassvet module at 3:43 a.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 19. Coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed at 5 a.m. for coverage of the opening of hatches between the spacecraft and station, expected to occur at approximately 6:35 a.m.

The arrival of Tingle, Shkaplerov and Kanai will restore the station’s crew complement to six. They will joinExpedition 54 Commander Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and his crewmates, Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA. The crew members will spend more than four months conducting approximately 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

For live coverage and more information about the mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/station. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Dragon Attached to Station for Month of Cargo Transfers

Dec. 17, 2017: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 17, 2017: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon space freighter, the Progress 67 and 68 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-06 crew ship.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:26 a.m. EST.

The 13th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-13) delivered more than 4,800 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station. Among the research materials flying inside Dragon’s pressurized area, one investigation will demonstrate the benefits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in a microgravity environment. Designed by the company Made in Space, and sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the investigation will attempt to pull fiber optic wire from ZBLAN, a heavy metal fluoride glass commonly used to make fiber optic glass. Results from this investigation could lead to the production of higher-quality fiber optic products for use in space and on Earth.

Dragon is scheduled to depart the station in January 2018 and return to Earth with more than 3,600 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.

Expedition 54-55 Flight Engineers Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are on their way to the space station after a launch earlier today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:21 a.m. EST Sunday, Dec. 17 (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time). The trio will orbit the Earth for approximately two days before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

For more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

Astronauts Capture Dragon Loaded With New Science

Dragon Capture
The Dragon resupply ship is pictured just 10 meters away from the space station’s Canadarm2.

While the International Space Station was traveling overhead between  Australia and Papua New Guinea, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba captured the Dragon spacecraft at 5:57 a.m. EST using the space station’s robotic arm. Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation the spacecraft on the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 7:30 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

Dragon is carrying a Space Debris Sensor (SDS) that will measure the orbital debris environment around the space station for two to three years. Once mounted on the exterior of the station, this one-square-meter sensor will provide near-real-time debris impact detection and recording. Research from this investigation could help lower the risks posed by orbital debris to human life and critical hardware.

Also on board is NASA’s Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor, or TSIS-1, that will measure the Sun’s energy input to Earth. TSIS-1 measurements will be three times more accurate than previous capabilities, enabling scientists to study the Sun’s natural influence on Earth’s ozone, atmospheric circulation, clouds and ecosystems. These observations are essential for a scientific understanding of the effects of solar variability on the Earth system.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-13 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex.

New Crew Launches on Two Day Trip to Station

New Crew Launches on Two-Day Trip to Station
Three Expedition 54 crew members launched aboard the Soyuz MS-07 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The Soyuz MS-07 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 2:21 a.m. EST Sunday, Dec. 17 (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time). At the time of launch, the space station flew over south central Kazakhstan, northeast of Baikonur at an altitude of about 260 statute miles. Expedition 54-55 Flight Engineers Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are now safely in orbit.

The trio will orbit the Earth for approximately two days before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

While the crew continue on their journey, flight control teams for the space station and SpaceX Dragon are proceeding toward rendezvous and grapple of the Dragon cargo spacecraft this morning. NASA Television coverage will resume at 4:30 a.m. for Dragon arrival. Capture is expected around 6 a.m. Installation of the Dragon to the Harmony module will begin a couple hours later. NASA TV coverage of installation is set to begin at 7:30 a.m.

The Dragon launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday, Dec. 15, carrying more than 4,800 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the space station.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-13 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex.

For live coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/.

Touchdown! Veteran Space Travelers Back on Earth

Soyuz Spacecraft Lands
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 53 crewmates Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli is pictured seconds from landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan in below freezing weather. Credit: NASA TV

Three crew members who have been living and working aboard the International Space Station have landed in Kazakhstan.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos landed at 3:37 a.m. EST (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. It is a frigid 10 degrees Fahrenheit on the ground, with the wind chill making it feel like 5 degrees below zero.

Together, the Expedition 53 crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, as well as Earth and other physical sciences aboard the orbiting laboratory. Their time aboard marked the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment of the International Space Station from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the station.

During his time aboard the orbital complex, Bresnik ventured outside the space station for three spacewalks. Along with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, Bresnik lead a trio of spacewalks to replace one of two latching end effectors on the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. They also lubricated the newly replaced Canadarm2 end effector and replaced cameras on the left side of the station’s truss and the right side of the station’s U.S. Destiny laboratory.

Ryazanskiy conducted one spacewalk with fellow cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin in August to deploy several nanosatellites, collect research samples and perform structural maintenance.

Bresnik now has spent 150 days in space on two flights. Ryazanskiy now has 306 days in space on two flights. Nespoli has logged 313 days in space on his three flights.

The Expedition 54 crew continues operating the station, with Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos in command. Along with crewmates Mark Vende Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), are scheduled to launch Sunday, Dec. 17 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. NASA Television will broadcast the launch and docking.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station

Expedition 53 Leaves Station, Begins Ride Home

Soyuz MS-05 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft carrying three Expedition 53 crew members backs away from the International Space Station after undocking from the Rassvet module.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST to begin their trip home.

Deorbit burn is scheduled for approximately 2:45, with landing in Kazakhstan targeted for 3:37 (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time). NASA TV coverage will resume at 2:15 for deorbit burn and landing coverage.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 54 began aboard the space station under the command of Roscosmos’ Alexander Misurkin. Along with his crewmates Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Sunday, Dec. 17, Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Crew Says Goodbye and Closes the Hatch to Ride Home

Expedition 53 Crew Farewell
Cosmonauts (from left) Sergey Ryazanskiy and Alexander Misurkin trade hugs and farewells. Ryazanskiy is departing the station with astronauts Randy Bresnik of NASA and Paolo Nespoli of ESA in the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.

At 9:02 p.m. EST, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 12:14 a.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 11:45 p.m.

Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 3:37 a.m. (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time) and will conclude a 139-day mission aboard the space station, in which they logged 2,224 orbits of the Earth.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.