Station Avoids Satellite Debris After ATV-5 Fires Engines

ISS Configuration as of Nov, 9, 2014
The International Space Station configuration as of Nov, 9, 2014, shows the docked ATV-5 on the aft end of the Zvezda service module.

The International Space Station’s “Georges Lemaitre” Automated Transfer Vehicle fired its engines for 3 minutes, 25 seconds at 6:35 a.m. Central time today in a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) to move well away from a small piece of debris from a spent Chinese satellite (Yaogan 12) launched in November 2011.

The maneuver, which was coordinated with Russian and European flight controllers, raised the station’s altitude by 9/10 of a mile at apogee and 2/10 of a mile at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 262.3 x 252.0 statute miles.

The maneuver substituted for a previously planned reboost of the station that had been planned for Wednesday night which would have been required regardless to place the station at the proper altitude for the upcoming launch of the Expedition 42/43 crew on Nov. 23, U.S. time, on a 4-orbit, 6-hour rendezvous to reach the station.

Without the maneuver, the debris would have passed within 7/10 of a mile of the station at 8:40 a.m. Central time. The three-person crew on the station was informed of the potential conjunction and maneuver plans on Tuesday and was never in any danger.

Expedition 41 Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

Soyuz Landing
The Soyuz TMA-13M carrying the Expedition 41 trio fires its soft-landing engines right on time at 10:58 p.m. EST.

Expedition 41 Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman of NASA, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Commander Maxim Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) landed their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 10:58 p.m. EST. The trio arrived at the International Space Station on May 29, and spent more than five months conducting research and maintenance activites.

Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space. Wiseman, Gerst and Suraev spent 165 days aboard the space station and clocked more than 70 million miles during their time in space.

This was the first mission for both Wiseman and Gerst. Suraev now has spent 334 days in space during two missions, including Expeditions 21 and 22.

The station now is occupied by Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos. They will remain aboard the station to continue research and maintenance until the remainder of the Expedition 42 crew arrives later this month. NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Nov. 23, (U.S. time).

Expedition 41 Lands
Screens at the Mission Control Center in Russia signify a safe landing for the Expedition 41 trio inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz Completes Deorbit Burn, Expedition 41 Headed Home

Expedition 41 crew members Reid Wiseman of NASA, Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Soyuz Commander Maxim Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), are headed back to Earth following the 4-minute, 41-second Soyuz TMA-13M deorbit burn completed at 10:09 p.m. EST.

The three sections of the Soyuz spacecraft will pyrotechnically separate at 10:32 p.m., atmospheric entry interface occurs at 10:35 p.m., parachutes will open at 10:44 p.m. and landing is targeted for 10:58 p.m. northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.

NASA will continue broadcasting on all its television channels and online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv until the crew members are safely removed from the Soyuz.

Expedition 41 Departs from Station in Soyuz

Soyuz Separates from Station
The Soyuz TMA-13M is seen intersecting Earth’s limb several minutes after undocking from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

After spending 165 days aboard the International Space Station, Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst and Maxim Suraev undocked from the station’s Rassvet module at 7:31 p.m. EST to begin their voyage home. Suraev, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft.

They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 41-second deorbit burn at 10:05 p.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 10:58 p.m. northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.

The departure of Wiseman, Gerst and Suraev marks the end of Expedition 41. The Expedition 42 crew members, Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will continue research and maintenance aboard the station.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-13M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 9:45 p.m.

Here is the timeline for the Expedition 41 landing.

Sunday, Nov. 9

EST EVENT

9:45 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 41/Soyuz TMA-13M deorbit burn and landing coverage
10:05 p.m.                  Soyuz TMA-13M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)
10:09 p.m.                  Soyuz deorbit burn complete
10:32 p.m.                  Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
10:35 p.m.                  Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
10:44 p.m.                  Command to open parachute (6.6 miles)
10:58 p.m.                 Expedition 41/Soyuz TMA-13M landing northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan

Soyuz Separates from Station
The International Space Station is seen from the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft shortly after undocking at 7:31 p.m. EST Sunday. Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz Hatches Closed

Soyuz Hatches Closed
Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev closes hatches between the Soyuz and the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

At 4:27 p.m. EST, hatches closed between the International Space Station and Soyuz TMA-13M. Expedition 41 crew members Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst and Soyuz Commander Maxim Suraev are preparing to undock at 7:31 p.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 7:15 p.m.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 10:05 p.m. and will lead to a landing at 10:58 p.m. northeast of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 9:45 p.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Farewell to Expedition 41
(From left) Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst and Max Suraev say goodbye before entering their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV.

Watch NASA TV for Expedition 41 Farewell and Hatch Closure Activities

Soyuz TMA-13M
Night time view of the docked Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft.

Watch NASA TV now for the farewell and hatch closure activities as the Expedition 41 trio gets set to return home tonight inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft… https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Here is a timeline of the Expedition 41 undocking and landing.

Sunday, Nov. 9
EDT EVENT
3:45 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 41 farewell & hatch closure coverage
4:10 p.m. Soyuz TMA-13M/space station hatch closure
7:15 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 41 Soyuz TMA-13M undocking coverage
7:30 p.m. Soyuz undock command sent
7:31 p.m. Soyuz TMA-13M undocks from space station
7:34 p.m. Soyuz manual separation burn
9:45 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 41 Soyuz TMA-13M deorbit burn and landing coverage
10:05 p.m. Soyuz TMA-13M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)
10:09 p.m. Soyuz deorbit burn complete
10:32 p.m. Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
10:35 p.m. Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
10:44 p.m. Command to open parachute (6.6 miles)
10:58 p.m. Expedition 41 Soyuz TMA-13M landing northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.

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Med Studies as Departing Trio Trains for Landing

Station Trio Peers out from Cupola
(From left) Expedition 40/41 crew members Alexander Gerst, Reid Wiseman and Max Suraev peer out of the cupola.

The homebound Expedition 40/41 trio of Soyuz Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst spent Thursday morning reviewing their Soyuz undocking and descent activities ahead of their Nov. 9 landing in Kazakhstan. Their orbiting Expedition 41/42 crewmates Flight Engineers Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova practiced emergency communication and coordination tasks.

› NASA TV coverage schedule of Expedition 41 landing activities

The crew also had time set aside for a variety of medical and physical science. Gerst conducted Ultrasound eye scans on Wilmore. Reid strapped on sensors and exercised for the Sprint study. Serova collected data for the Matryeshka radiation detection experiment. Suraev and Samokutyaev worked on cargo transfers and Soyuz preparations.

› Read more about Ocular Health
› Read more about Sprint
› Read more about Matryeshka

Expedition 42/43 crew members Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov are due to liftoff Nov. 23 aboard a Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft for a six hour ride to their new home in space. They were in Star City, Russia, for a news conference before going to Moscow for traditional pre-launch ceremonies.

› Read more about Expedition 41
› Read more about Expedition 42

Artery Scans and Eye Checks as Soyuz Readied for Landing

Alexander Gerst
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst works in the Columbus lab preparing the Biolab for future experiment work.

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst scanned his arteries then measured his body shape and size Wednesday. Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore joined Gerst for the scanning activities using an Ultrasound for the Cardio Ox experiment. NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman assisted Gerst with the Body Measures study.

› Read more about Cardio Ox
› Read more about Body Measures

Wiseman also scanned Wilmore’s retinas for the Ocular Health study. Gerst continued more work on the Aquatic Habitat in Japan’s Kibo lab module for the Zebrafish Muscle experiment.

› Read more about Ocular Health
› Read more about Zebrafish Muscle

In the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory, Commander Max Suraev continued packing gear inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft that he, Wiseman and Gerst will use to return to Earth on Nov. 9. Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev assisted Suraev’s departure effort, checking the Iridium phones used in the Soyuz for emergency communications. Elena Serova participated in a psychophysiological evaluation, then inventoried gear in the Zarya module and Pirs docking compartment.

The next trio to launch to the station is getting ready for a news conference to be held Thursday in Star City, Russia, before going to Moscow for traditional pre-launch ceremonies. Expedition 42/43 crew members Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov are due to liftoff Nov. 23 aboard their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft for a six hour ride to their new home in space.

› Read more about Expedition 41
› Read more about Expedition 42

Medical and Life Science Work as Station Crew Swap Approaches

CubeSat Deployer
ISS040-E-103506 (19 Aug. 2014) — In the grasp of the Japanese robotic arm, the CubeSat deployer is about to release a pair of NanoRacks CubeSat miniature satellites. The Planet Labs Dove satellites that were carried to the International Space Station aboard the Orbital Sciences Cygnus commercial cargo craft are being deployed between Aug. 19 and Aug. 25. The station’s Kibo laboratory is at top right. A blue and white part of Earth and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene.

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore worked throughout Tuesday inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory to remove a Cubesat deployer from the laboratory’s airlock. The deployer experienced problems in August, when some of the mini satellites did not deploy as expected and later deployed spontaneously. Wilmore’s Expedition 41/42 crewmates Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev worked throughout the day on maintenance and a variety of Russian physical and medical science experiments.

› Read more about the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer

The homebound Expedition 40/41 trio, consisting of Soyuz Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman, is counting down to its Nov. 9 departure inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. They are packing gear to be returned home while they continue science and maintenance on the U.S. side of the International Space Station.

Back on Earth, the new Expedition 42/43 crew is getting ready for its launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 23. Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov will be joined by NASA astronaut Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard a Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft to begin a 5-1/2 month mission aboard the orbital laboratory.

› Read more about Expedition 41
› Read more about Expedition 42

Alexander Gerst
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst talks with members of the German Parliament and German space officials gathered in Berlin. Credit: NASA TV

Station Trio Prepares for Departure amid Ongoing Science

Max Suraev and Alexander Gerst
Expedition 41 crew members Max Suraev and Alexander Gerst check procedures in the Destiny laboratory.

Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst are in their final week aboard the International Space Station. All three homebound crew members spent time on Monday preparing for their departure. Expedition 41 will end Nov. 9 when it undocks inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft at 7:29 p.m. EST.

Gerst also drew his blood samples for stowage in a science freezer and he also worked on the Zebrafish Muscle experiment in the Kibo laboratory. Wiseman worked on plumbing tasks, then set up cameras for the Sally Ride EarthKAM experiment.

› Read more about Zebrafish Muscle
› Read more about Sally Ride EarthKAM

Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, who is staying in space until March, checked for leaks and worked on a fan in a U.S. spacesuit. His Expedition 41/42 crewmate Elena Serova sampled the station’s air and surfaces for microbes. Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev transferred cargo from the ISS Progress 57 spacecraft then assisted Wiseman with the EarthKAM study.

Fourteen years ago on Nov. 2 the first International Space Station crew, Expedition 1, docked to the young orbital laboratory in their Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft. The space station at the time consisted of just three modules — the Unity node, the Zarya cargo module and the Zvezda service module. Commander William Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko returned home aboard space shuttle Discovery after 141 days in space.

› Read more about the first station crew

Reid Wiseman
Astronaut Reid Wiseman talks to reporters from CBS Radio Network and Baltimore’s WJZ-TV