Crew Checks Science Hardware as Station Raises Orbit

Expedition 42 crew members
Expedition 42 crew members pose for a final crew portrait before they split up March 11, 2015. Cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore returned to Earth a few hours later in the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft.

The Expedition 43 crew members worked on science hardware Wednesday. Back on Earth, Russian flight controllers are planning to fire the thrusters of a docked cargo craft to raise the International Space Station’s orbit.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti completed the activation and testing of the new Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES). She also inspected cables and connectors on a science freezer for corrosion.

› Read more about the MARES
› Read more about the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS

Commander Terry Virts configured hardware and reviewed procedures for the Advanced Colloids Experiment Microscopy-3 (ACE M-3). Virts also conducted an annual certification review of the Microgravity Science Glovebox, inspecting and cleaning up around the rack.

› Read more about the ACE M-3 study
› Read more about the Microgravity Science Glovebox

Expedition 43 Trio Rests After Sending Crewmates Home With Science

The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft
The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov are resting today after sending their Expedition 42 crewmates back to Earth last night. Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore handed the controls of the International Space Station to Virts in a Change of Command Ceremony Tuesday morning.

Wilmore, Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova completed their mission after landing in Kazakhstan about 10:07 p.m. EDT Wednesday. They entered their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft then undocked from the Poisk module at 6:44 p.m. when Expedition 43 officially began.

Some of the return cargo flown aboard this Soyuz was used as part of research investigations aboard the International Space Station. Researchers on the ground are waiting on the return of 17 area dosimeters from one such study, the Area Passive Dosimeter for Life-Science Experiments in Space (Area PADLES). These area dosimeters continuously monitored radiation throughout Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module. The dosimeters gathered information about space radiation to help manage exposure and provide protection to crew members.

Researchers may use data from Area PADLES to design new radiation monitoring equipment for astronauts and people who work in medical or industrial areas with potential radiation exposure. This knowledge also may help develop better protective measures for the life sciences studies that occur within Kibo. Futhermore, the results from this research could improve design for future spacecraft structures that will shield internal occupants from radiation.

› Read more about Area PADLES.

Russian scientists are expecting the return of two incubation containers with planarian worms aboard this Soyuz spacecraft. The Effect of Weightlessness on Processes of Regeneration by Electrophysiological and Morphological Factors (Regeneratsiya-Planaria (Regeneration-Girardia)) investigation is an assessment of the impact of microgravity on the structural and functional regeneration of amputated organs and tissues of planarian worms.

Planarian worms, known for their regenerative processes, can be cut into pieces and each piece can grow back into a complete organism. Study of these organisms in microgravity may have implications for human health and disease, including development of methods for repairing damaged tissue from injury or physical impairment.

› Read more about Regeneration-Girardia
› Read more about model organisms in space station research.

Expedition 42 Returns Home After 167 Days in Space

Expedition 42 Lands
The three Expedition 42 crew members were extracted from the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft in below freezing temperatures with snow and foggy conditions. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA, and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency landed their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at approximately 10:07 p.m. EDT. Russian recovery teams are helping the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

The trio arrived at the International Space Station on Nov. 23, 2014, and spent more than five months conducting research and technology demonstrations. Wilmore, Samokutyaev and Serova spent 167 days aboard the space station and clocked almost 71 million miles during their time in space.

Wilmore now has logged 178 days in space during two missions, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-129 in 2009. Samokutyaev now has spent 331 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 27/28 in 2011. This was Serova’s first flight into space.

The station now is occupied by Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA and Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency. They will remain aboard the station to continue research and maintenance until the remainder of the Expedition 43 crew arrives later this month.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, March 27 U.S. time (March 28 Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year aboard the complex collecting valuable biomedical data that will inform future deep space, long-duration missions.

Some of the return cargo flown aboard this Soyuz was used as part of research investigations aboard the International Space Station. Researchers on the ground are waiting on the return of 17 area dosimeters from one such study, the Area Passive Dosimeter for Life-Science Experiments in Space (Area PADLES). These area dosimeters continuously monitored radiation throughout Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module. The dosimeters gathered information about space radiation to help manage exposure and provide protection to crew members.

Researchers may use data from Area PADLES to design new radiation monitoring equipment for astronauts and people who work in medical or industrial areas with potential radiation exposure. This knowledge also may help develop better protective measures for the life sciences studies that occur within Kibo. Futhermore, the results from this research could improve design for future spacecraft structures that will shield internal occupants from radiation.

› Read more about Area PADLES.

Russian scientists are expecting the return of two incubation containers with planarian worms aboard this Soyuz spacecraft. The Effect of Weightlessness on Processes of Regeneration by Electrophysiological and Morphological Factors (Regeneratsiya-Planaria (Regeneration-Girardia)) investigation is an assessment of the impact of microgravity on the structural and functional regeneration of amputated organs and tissues of planarian worms.

Planarian worms, known for their regenerative processes, can be cut into pieces and each piece can grow back into a complete organism. Study of these organisms in microgravity may have implications for human health and disease, including development of methods for repairing damaged tissue from injury or physical impairment.

› Read more about Regeneration-Girardia
› Read more about model organisms in space station research.

Expedition 42 Trio Undocks for Voyage Home

Soyuz TMA-14M Undocks
The Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft undocks with the Expedition 42 trio and backs away from the Poisk module of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

After spending 167 days aboard the International Space Station, Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova undocked from the station at 6:44 p.m. EDT to begin their voyage home. Samokutyaev, the Soyuz commander, is at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft.

They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 41-second deorbit burn at 9:16 p.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 10:07 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The departure of Wilmore, Samokutyaev and Serova marks the end of Expedition 42. The Expedition 43 crew members, Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos will continue research and maintenance aboard the station and will be joined on March 27 by three additional crew members, NASA’s Scott Kelly and Roscosmos’ Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 9 p.m.

Here is the timeline for Expedition 42’s landing.

Wednesday, March 11

EST                            EVENT

9:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn and landing coverage

9:16 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)

9:20 p.m.                    Soyuz deorbit burn complete

9:42 p.m.                    Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)

9:45 p.m.                    Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)

9:53 p.m.                    Command to open parachute (6.5 miles)

10:07 p.m.                 Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Expedition 42 Trio Enters Soyuz and Closes Hatches

Expedition 42 crew
The Expedition 42 trio of station Commander Barry Wilmore, Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova says goodbye to their station crewmates before entering their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

At 3:34 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-14M spacecraft. Expedition 42 crew members Barry Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos are preparing to undock at 6:44 p.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 6:15 p.m.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 9:16 p.m. and will lead to a landing at 10:07 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 9 p.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Homecoming Day for Expedition 42 Trio

Expedition 42 Trio
JSC2014-E-079951 (19 June 2014) — NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore (left), Expedition 41 flight engineer and Expedition 42 commander; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, both Expedition 41/42 flight engineers, attired in Russian Sokol launch and entry suits, take a break from training in Star City, Russia to pose for a portrait. Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

Today is homecoming day for International Space Station Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) as they prepare for landing in their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft at 10:07 p.m. EDT this evening, southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

At this time, there are no concerns or issues being worked.

Wilmore handed over command of the orbiting complex to fellow NASA astronaut Terry Virts in a ceremony on Tuesday, March 10. When the Soyuz undocks, Expedition 43 formally will begin.

NASA Television coverage times for Soyuz activities are listed below. These activities also will stream online at https://www.nasa.gov/ntv.

Here is a timeline of the Expedition 42 undocking and landing.

Wednesday, March 11

EDT                            EVENT

3:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 farewell & hatch closure coverage

3:25 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M/space station hatch closure

6:15 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M undocking coverage

6:42 p.m.                    Soyuz undock command sent

6:44 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M undocks from space station

6:47 p.m.                    Soyuz manual separation burn

9:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn and landing coverage

9:16 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-14M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 41 seconds duration)

9:20 p.m.                    Soyuz deorbit burn complete

9:42 p.m.                    Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)

9:45 p.m.                    Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)

9:53 p.m.                    Command to open parachute (6.6 miles)

10:07 p.m.                 Expedition 42 Soyuz TMA-14M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Wilmore Hands Over Station Command to Virts

Expedition 42 Change of Command
Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore (right foreground) hands over station command to NASA astronaut Terry Virts. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore handed over control of the International Space Station to NASA astronaut Terry Virts in a Change of Command Ceremony today. Virts will lead Expedition 43 when Wilmore and Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova undock Wednesday at 6:44 p.m. EDT in their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft.

› Check out the NASA TV of Expedition 42 undocking activities

Back on Earth, a new Expedition 43 trio is relaxing as they count down to their March 27 launch. Riding with Soyuz TMA-16M Commander Gennady Padalka are One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko who will live in space until March 2016. Padalka will stay in space till September.

Meanwhile inside the station, Virts continues installing cables so future commercial crew vehicles can communicate with a pair of International Docking Adapters to be installed later this year. He and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti also reviewed their emergency roles and responsibilities and practiced communication and coordination.

Homebound Trio Packing Up Before Tuesday’s Change of Command

Earth View with Solar Array and Radiator
ISS042E292504 (03/01/2015) — U.S. astronaut Terry Virts observed this scene from the International Space Station on Mar. 1, 2015. He sent this image via Twitter with the remark, “The camera doesn’t do it justice – floating in space, looking down on creation, seeing new color shades”.

Expedition 42 crew members Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova are two days away from ending their stay aboard the International Space Station. The trio is packing gear and cleaning crew quarters as they prepare to undock in their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft Wednesday at 6:44 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 10:07 p.m.

› Check out the live NASA TV coverage schedule of Expedition 42 undocking activities

Wilmore, the commander of Expedition 42, will handover control of the orbital laboratory Tuesday to NASA astronaut Terry Virts who will command Expedition 43. The Change of Command Ceremony will take place live on NASA TV at 10:25 a.m.

Meanwhile, advanced microgravity science and laboratory maintenance is ongoing aboard the space station. Among the experiments, the crew studied body size and shape in space for suit sizing and looked at airway inflammation in astronauts. Ethernet cables were also installed in the Harmony module that will enable future commercial crew vehicles to communicate with a pair of upcoming International Docking Adapters.

› Read more about the Body Measures experiment
› Read more about the Airway Monitoring study

Science and Microbe Checks as Expedition 42 Trio Preps for Departure

Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos are in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow as part of traditional pre-launch ceremonies, Friday, March 6, 2015. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Astronauts Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti were in the U.S. Quest airlock conducting airflow monitor tests, measurements and calibrations. The tests were part of the Airway Monitoring experiment that is looking for possible indicators of airway inflammation in astronauts during spaceflight.

› Read more about the Airway Monitoring experiment

Their crewmate Anton Shkaplerov worked in the Zarya cargo module sampling equipment surfaces for microbial analysis. He also photographed the condition of the surfaces inside the Zarya module.

Their homebound crewmates Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore, Soyuz TMA-14M Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova practiced a Soyuz descent drill ahead of their March 11 departure and landing in Kazakhstan.

The next trio of space station to crewmates to launch to the International Space Station conducted a news conference Friday then laid flowers at the Kremlin Wall at the Red Square in Moscow. One Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko along with Soyuz TMA-16M Commander Gennady Padalka are set to launch March 27 to join their Expedition 43 crewmates.

Cubesat Deployment Compete; One-Year Crew Preps for Launch

Kornienko, Padalka and Kelly
(From left) Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka and NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly pose for a photograph outside a Soyuz simulator during the second day of qualification exams at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The Expedition 42 crew completed the deployment of numerous nanosatellites while also preparing for the departure of a Soyuz crew. The six-member crew also worked on advanced microgravity research and the upkeep of their orbital laboratory and home.

The final pair of Cubesats was deployed overnight completing the launch of a total of 16 nanosatellites from outside the Kibo lab module. The Cubesats were launched from the International Space Station to perform a variety of research.

Commander Barry Wilmore and his Soyuz crewmates Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova are counting down to their departure March 11. Staying behind will be new Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov.

They will be waiting for new Expedition 43 crew mates Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka who are scheduled to lift off March 27. Kelly and Kornienko are in Star City, Russia, completing final mission preparations and will stay aboard the station until March 2016.