The International Space Station crew is gearing up for a couple of spacewalks to service and upgrade the orbital laboratory. Meanwhile, the crew is also working long-term life science to improve life on Earth and in future space crews.
The U.S. Quest airlock is getting busy as NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren get their spacesuits and tools ready for a pair of spacewalks set for Oct. 28 and Nov. 26. They are checking their suit electronics and safety systems and also building custom tools.
The first spacewalk is set to last six-hours and 30-minutes after Kelly and Lindgren set their spacesuits to battery power. The duo will exit Quest to place a thermal cover over a dark matter detection experiment, lubricate the 57.7 foot Canadarm2 robotic and route power cables for a future docking port.
The entire crew still continued the work of on-orbit science, the primary purpose of the space station. Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, along with Kelly and Lindgren performed cardiac scans with an ultrasound for the Ocular Health study. Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui set up a mouse habitat inside the Cell Biology Experiment Facility.
In two weeks, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will step outside the U.S. Quest airlock for the first of two maintenance spacewalks. The International Space Station is also being readied to host the next Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo mission set for early December.
Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui has been servicing the two spacesuits Kelly and Lindgren will wear on the two six-hour spacewalks scheduled for Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. The spacewalkers will lubricate the tip of the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. He and Lindgren started their day, though, with eye checks for the ongoing Ocular Health study.
Kelly and Lindgren have also been preparing the Unity module where the Cygnus commercial cargo craft will be attached when it arrives in December after a 14-month hiatus. Kelly installed a Unity power adapter in the Destiny lab module then joined Lindgren to adjust power connectors inside Unity.
The three cosmonauts continued their routine maintenance tasks and science experiments in the station’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov explored crystal magnetism, while Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko studied how a crew member adapts to motion during a spaceflight.
Three crew members from the International Space Station returned to Earth on Friday. The landing in Kazakhstan wrapped up a 168-day mission for one cosmonaut and a brief 10-day visit for two, as well as returned a cache of samples from several NASA human research experiments aboard the station.
Expedition 44 commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency touched down at 8:51 p.m. EDT (00:51 UTC, 6:51 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.
Padalka arrived at the International Space Station on March 27 along with one-year mission crew members NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos. Padalka spent 168 days in space during Expeditions 43 and 44, traveling more than 71 million miles. This completes Padalka’s fifth trip to space for a total of 879 days in space, the most by any human.
Mogensen and Aimbetov spent 10 days in space, delivering a new Soyuz spacecraft that will return Kelly and Kornienko and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov in March. They arrived with Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, who will return to Earth with Kelly and Kornienko in March 2016. It was the first flight to space for both Mogensen and Aimbetov, who made 160 orbits of Earth and traveled more than four million miles during their 10 days in space as visiting crew members. During their short time in orbit, they participated in a number of experiments on behalf of their respective space agencies, focusing on the areas of human research, Earth observation and technology development. They arrived with Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, delivering a new Soyuz spacecraft in which Volkov, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016.
NASA experiments returning on the spacecraft include blood samples for NASA’s Twins Study, a unique research demonstration using Kelly and his twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, to understand the effects of long duration spaceflight and further NASA’s use of personalized medicine in space. Additional samples for the Salivary Markers and Microbiome studies also returned to Earth.
One item, the Skinsuit, was tested in orbit by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen. Some astronauts’ spines have been shown to lengthen as much as 7 cm in weightlessness, which can cause pain. The Skinsuit was demonstrated in microgravity to see if it may help astronauts counteract potential back problems in microgravity. The specially designed overalls simulate gravitational forces from Earth by constricting the body from shoulders to feet.
Testing this clothing item in space may help astronauts with any back pain they experience on long-duration missions. Further, the Skinsuit has potential use for older adults with spine issues and people suffering from low-back pain on Earth. It also could be used as a support item for people with conditions like cerebral palsy, a disorder affecting movement, muscle tone and/or posture.
Samples from one Rodent Research study are returning with this Soyuz flight, as well. These types of experiments examine how microgravity affects animals, providing information relevant to human spaceflight, discoveries in basic biology and knowledge that will have direct impact toward human health on Earth.
Remaining aboard the orbiting laboratory to continue important research and station maintenance during Expedition 45 are Kelly, Kornienko, Volkov, NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
NASA Television is providing live coverage of tonight’s return to Earth of International Space Station Expedition 44 crew member Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. The crew undocked from the station at 5:29 p.m. EDT, and they are on track for landing in their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft at 8:51 p.m., southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Watch on NASA TV at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
At this time, no concerns or issues are being worked. The timeline through landing is:
The Soyuz TMA-16M carrying Expedition 44 crew member Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency undocked from the station at 5:29 p.m. EDT. Padalka spent 168 days aboard the International Space Station during Expeditions 43 and 44 and will complete 2,688 orbits of Earth. Mogensen and Aimbetov spent 10 days in space, eight of them aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Padalka is the commander at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft. They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 42-second deorbit burn at 7:59 p.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 8:51 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
The departure marks the end of Expedition 44. The Expedition 45 crew members remaining aboard to continue research and maintenance are Commander Scott Kelly of NASA, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, Sergey Volkov, and Oleg Kononenko, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 7:30 p.m.
At 2:17 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-16M spacecraft. Expedition 44 crew member Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are preparing to undock at 5:29 p.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 5 p.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
The deorbit burn is targeted for 7:59 p.m. and will lead to a landing at 8:51 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 7:30 p.m.
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Today is homecoming day for International Space Station Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. They are preparing to return to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft at 8:51 p.m. EDT, southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
At this time, the crew’s return is on track, and the space station teams are not working any issues. The Soyuz hatch is scheduled to be closed at 2 p.m. EDT.
Padalka handed over command of the orbiting laboratory to NASA astronaut Scott Kelly in a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 5. Expedition 45 formally begins when the Soyuz undocks.
NASA Television coverage times for Soyuz activities are listed below. These activities also will stream online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
Here is a timeline of the Expedition 44 undocking and landing.
1:45 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 44 farewell & hatch closure coverage 2:00 p.m. Soyuz TMA-16M/space station hatch closure 5:00 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M undocking coverage 5:27 p.m. Soyuz undock command sent
5:29 p.m. Soyuz TMA-16M undocks from space station
5:32 p.m. Soyuz manual separation burn 7:30 p.m. NASA TV: Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn and landing coverage 7:59 p.m. Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 42 seconds duration)
8:26 p.m. Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
8:28 p.m. Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
8:37 p.m. Command to open parachute (6.7 miles) 8:51 p.m. Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan
Join the conversation on Twitter @space_station and following hashtag #ISS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.
Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka is packing gear inside the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft for his return home Friday with two first time space visitors. Padalka will be completing his fifth mission for a record 879 cumulative days in space.
Padalka will be flanked by visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen from Europe and cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazakhstan inside their Soyuz when they undock Friday at 5:29 p.m. EDT (21:29 UTC). They will land in Kazakhstan about three-and-a-half hours later. NASA Television will cover all the activities live, including the crew farewell, beginning at 1:45 p.m. (17:45 UTC).
The rest of the crew, which will officially become Expedition 45 when Padalka undocks, continued normal science and maintenance tasks. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly worked with a pair of tiny bowling ball-sized satellites outfitted with special gear to study fluid physics. He was later joined by cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko to review procedures and hardware they would use in the event of a medical emergency in space.
Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren worked on plumbing tasks before videotaping crew activities with an IMAX camera. Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui conducted a variety of life science experiments. Finally, cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko worked maintenance on Russian hardware before moving on to Russian science.
The nine-member International Space Station crew participated in a wide variety of advanced microgravity science throughout the orbital laboratory. Three of those crew members are also getting ready to return to Earth at the end of the week.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is now the station commander, worked in the Japanese Kibo laboratory to set up gear that will deploy two small satellites outside the lab module next week. Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren spent the afternoon troubleshooting the humanoid Robonaut 2 which could assist future crews with routine or dangerous tasks.
The homebound trio including Gennady Padalka, the world’s most experienced orbital crew member, and first time space visitors Andreas Mogensen and Aidyn Aimbetov are getting ready to leave the space station Friday evening. They will undock in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft Friday at 5:29 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan just three-and-a-half hours later.
Padalka continued ongoing Russian science studying plasma physics while Mogensen, from the European Space Agency, worked in the Columbus lab module on exercise gear. Aimbetov, representing Kazakhstan, participated in various tasks for his space agency, Kazcosmos.
Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka handed command of the International Space Station to astronaut Scott Kelly Saturday. The following day a docked Russian resupply ship fired its engines raising the orbital laboratory’s altitude to prepare for upcoming Soyuz and Progress missions.
Visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen and Aidyn Aimbetov joined Padalka for a Soyuz descent drill as they prepare for Friday evening’s landing inside the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft. When Padalka lands he will have accumulated 879 days in space over five missions, four on the space station and one on Russia’s Mir, a world record. This is the first mission for Mogensen and Aimbetov.
Meanwhile, the international crew of nine has been conducting advanced microgravity science to benefit life on Earth and future crews. NASA astronauts Kelly and Kjell Lindgren tested the humanoid Robonaut. Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui checked out rodent research gear. New Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov worked with Mogensen on the Muscle Atrophy Research Exercise System.