Category Archives: Expedition 43

Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific On Time

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SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule

ISS043E190604 (05/13/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:42 p.m. EDT, about 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, marking the end of the company’s sixth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft is returning more than 3,100 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the International Space Station. A boat will take the Dragon spacecraft to a port near Los Angeles, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA within 48 hours. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

The mission was the sixth of 15 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the space station through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Dragon Headed for Splashdown as Crew Gets Back to Work

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NASA mission controllers

NASA mission controllers monitor the release and departure of the SpaceX Dragon from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

Scott Kelly, NASA’s One-Year crew member, flawlessly released the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the grips of the Canadarm2 at 7:04 a.m. EDT this morning. Mission Control in Houston had earlier commanded the station’s 57.7 foot long robotic arm to remove Dragon from the Harmony module and place it in its release position.

After its release, SpaceX controllers in California took control of the cargo craft guiding it beyond the vicinity of the International Space Station with a trio of departure burns. The commercial space freighter is planned to parachute to a Pacific Ocean splashdown at 12:42 p.m. Engineers will be off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., to retrieve the spacecraft, which is filled with more than 3,100 pounds of science and other cargo.

Back inside the space station it’s business as usual as the six-member Expedition 43 crew worked ongoing microgravity science and maintenance of the world’s most advanced orbital laboratory. Commander Terry Virts, who is due to return home in early June, took a refresher course in Crew Medical Officer training and also participated in a hearing assessment. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti conducted fluid physics work that could benefit commercial products on Earth. The cosmonaut trio, including One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, were in the station’s Russian segment working on their to-do list of advanced science and technical tasks.

SpaceX is now gearing up for its seventh Commercial Resupply Services mission, scheduled for launch June 26. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Dragon spacecraft to orbit, allowing the vehicle to deliver the first of two International Docking Adapters to the space station. This mission, SpaceX CRS-7, will begin the process of readying the orbital lab for future Commercial Crew spacecraft.

Dragon Released for Pacific Splashdown

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Dragon is released

Dragon is released and begins its departure while the station is in orbital night. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 7:04 a.m. EDT. The capsule will begin a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station and begin its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 12:42 p.m., about 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California.

NASA TV Provides Live Coverage of SpaceX Dragon Departure

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The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft

ISS043E122200 (04/17/2015) — The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft approaches the International Space Station Apr. 17th, 2015 after launching three days earlier from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida. It carries some 2 tons of science experiments, equipment, and supplies for the Expedition 43 team onboard the station.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 6:45 a.m. EDT. Dragon was detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module earlier this morning. Mission control will maneuver Dragon into place then turn it over to Expedition 43 robotic arm operator Scott Kelly of NASA for release, scheduled for approximately 7:04 a.m.

The Dragon arrived to the space station April 17 after an April 14 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying over 4,300 pounds of supplies and elements to support about 40 of more than 250 scientific investigations the crew members of Expeditions 43 and 44 will conduct.

Release of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm will begin the Dragon’s return to Earth carrying more than 3,100 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization responsible for managing research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station.

The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 12:42 p.m., approximately 155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California.

SpaceX Dragon Set For Thursday Departure

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SpaceX Dragon CRS-6

ISS043E193779 (05/14/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21.

The Expedition 43 crew completed preparations on Wednesday to send SpaceX’s Dragon cargo vehicle back to Earth.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts transferred samples from two of the station’s Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS, or MELFI, freezers for return on Dragon. These included samples from the Cell Shape and Expression, CASIS PCG-3, Nematode Muscles experiments along with human research samples.

After final cargo loading was completed, the crew closed the hatch to Dragon and began preparing it for release tomorrow. Dragon has been grappled by the station’s robotic arm and is set to be released on Thursday, May 21 at 7:04 a.m. EDT.

Full Coverage Times

Station Orbit Boosted Sunday Night; Eye Science on Monday

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Progress 58 Docking

iss042e274677 (02/17/2015) – The Russian Progress 58 cargo craft pictured shortly before docking to the aft end of the Zvezda service module on the International Space Station.

A reboost of the International Space Station using the Russian Progress 58 cargo craft was completed successfully on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CDT. A previous attempt on Friday evening was aborted one second into the burn automatically by the Progress vehicle. Russian flight controllers identified an issue with one of the eight thrusters on the spacecraft that was disabled for Sunday’s backup attempt.

The burn lasted 32 minutes and 3 seconds and began the process of setting up the correct phasing for the early June landing of three members of the Expedition 43 crew while providing the proper trajectory for Thursday’s return of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft for its parachute-assisted landing in the Pacific. The reboost raised the station’s altitude by 1.2 statute miles at apogee and 3 miles at perigee and left the station in an orbit of 252.2 x 247.1 statute miles.

The six-member Expedition 43 crew started its work week with medical science. The crew practiced using a tonometer on an eye simulator with help from doctors on the ground. Similarly, One-Year crew member Scott Kelly explored how microgravity shifts fluids to the upper body impacting a crew member’s vision and eye structure.

Station to Raise Orbit before June Expedition 43 Undocking

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Astronaut Terry Virts and Scott Kelly

Astronaut Terry Virts and Scott Kelly were inside the Quest airlock Friday morning talking to reporters from The Weather Channel and Time Magazine . Credit: NASA TV

The six-member Expedition 43 crew ends its work week with a wide variety of science exploring life in space benefiting both crews in space and humans on Earth. Meanwhile, one space freighter is preparing to fire its thrusters to lift the station’s orbit as another is being packed and readied for splashdown.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko participated in the Fine Motor Skills experiment which monitors different phases of a crew member’s microgravity adaptation and recovery back on Earth. Commander Terry Virts took samples of air and surface microbes for the Microbial Observatory-1 study which will be analyzed by scientists on the ground.

Samantha Cristoforetti studied the physics of where fluids and gases meet in Japan’s Kibo lab module. Flight Engineer Gennady Padalka worked on video gear and tested magnetometers in the station’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov studied chemical reactions in the Earth’s atmosphere, checked Russian docking systems and photographed windows in the Pirs and Poisk modules.

The ISS Progress 58 resupply ship docked to the Zvezda service module will fire its engines Friday night. The orbital boost will place the International Space Station at the correct altitude for the undocking of Expedition 43 in early June. The SpaceX Dragon loaded with science and gear will be released from the grips of the Canadarm2 May 21 at 7:05 a.m. EDT for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later.

Visiting Vehicle Activities and Maintenance Keep Crew Busy

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Astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts

ISS043E181459 (05/07/2015) — NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Terry Virts (right) work on a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) inside the station’s Japanese Experiment Module.

Expedition 43 is packing the SpaceX Dragon space freighter readying the vehicle for its return home and splashdown May 21. The docked ISS Progress 58 resupply ship will fire its thrusters Friday night placing the International Space Station at the correct orbit for next month’s Soyuz undocking.

The six-member crew also worked a variety of onboard maintenance ensuring crew safety and the upkeep of station hardware. One-Year crew member Scott Kelly worked on science gear in Japan’s Kibo lab module. Commander Terry Virts worked on replacing a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly blower fan. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti routed cables and configured valves to prepare the Permanent Multipurpose Module for its relocation later this month.

On the Russian side of the orbital lab, Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov photographed the condition of the Zvezda service module windows. Flight Engineer Gennady Padalka partnered up with One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko to study acoustic techniques for immediately locating micrometeoroid impacts on the station’s exterior. The trio also continued the maintenance of the Russian station systems.

The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is scheduled for early June. NASA and its international partners set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) findings on the loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact date has not yet been established and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Landing Delayed, Life Science and Dragon Packing for Expedition 43

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Samantha Cristoforetti

ISS043E160082 (05/03/2015) — ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti enjoys her first drink from the new ISSpresso machine. The espresso device allows crews to make tea, coffee, broth, or other hot beverages they might enjoy.

The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is scheduled for early June. NASA and its international partners set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) findings on the loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact date has not yet been established and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Full Release

The six-member Expedition 43 crew worked Tuesday on a wide variety of tasks. The International Space Station residents explored life sciences, trained for a robotics experiment, conducted maintenance and prepared for next week’s departure of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Astronaut Scott Kelly worked on an experiment which observes how a crew member’s fine motor skills adapt over a six-month and a year-long mission in space. He then moved on to training for the Robotics Refueling Mission.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked on the Rodent Research experiment during the afternoon. Commander Terry Virts worked on cargo transfers to the Dragon space freighter which is getting ready for its May 21 departure and splashdown.

The three cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko, worked in the Russian segment. The trio cleaned dust filters, changed out a smoke detector and downloaded results from a microbial air sampling.

Crew Begins Week With Science and Samples For Dragon Return

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Kelly captures image of storm clouds

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly captured this image of storm clouds that moved across the American Midwest on May 10, 2015.

The crew of Expedition 43 spent much of the day on Monday working on experiments that will be coming home on SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle later this month.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts studied the effects of microgravity on living organisms for the Rodent Research experiment. They are looking at mice and how their body systems change in space. The results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti configured one of the station’s Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubators (MERLIN) for return on Dragon. She also transferred a number of other items into the unmanned cargo craft. Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station on May 21.

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