Astronauts Studying Immune System to Keep Crews Healthy

The Red Sea and the Nile River
The Red Sea and the Nile River at right were photographed from the International Space Station.

The Expedition 46 crew members participated in immunology research today helping scientists learn to keep astronauts healthy on longer and farther space missions. The crew also continued more vision checks and explored heart health.

Commander Scott Kelly, British astronaut Time Peake and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko each participated in a different experiment looking at the immune system of space residents.

Kelly collected body samples looking for microbes that could potentially cause infections or allergies and stowed them in a science freezer for analysis. Peake took a saliva sample for an experiment that is researching biomarkers for immune dysfunction in space. Kornienko explored how radiation and other unique factors of living in space could affect a crew member’s immune system.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra also joined Kelly and Kornienko for eye exams for an experiment studying vision impairment reported by some International Space Station astronauts. Kopra and Peake also partnered up for ultrasound scans of their arteries with guidance from doctors on the ground. The ongoing Cardio Ox study looks at an astronaut’s carotid and brachial arteries before, during and after a space mission.

Crew Starts Week with Spacesuit Work and Vision Checks

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly
Astronauts Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly received a call from former President George H. W. Bush on Friday. Watch the video…

The Expedition 46 crew members kicked off their work week today with a series of physics experiments and life science studies. The crew also worked on U.S. and Russian spacesuits and continued packing trash inside the Orbital ATK resupply ship.

British astronaut Tim Peake wrapped up maintenance work on the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace which will study the thermophysical properties of various materials. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra tested the flammability of different textiles inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the BASS-M experiment.

Peake also explored crew immunology to potentially improve astronaut health and life on Earth. Kopra continued taking out the trash today loading the Cygnus spacecraft before its release on Feb. 19 for disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

Peake then joined Commander Scott Kelly in the Quest airlock to get a U.S. spacesuit ready for gear replacement work on Wednesday. Kelly also partnered up with cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko for vision tests and blood pressure checks for the Ocular Health study.

Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko is recharging Russian Orlan spacesuit batteries after completing a spacewalk last week. His fellow cosmonaut Sergey Volkov also helped stow spacewalk tools.

Life Science Studies for Crew at End of Week

Astronaut Tim Kopra
Astronaut Tim Kopra works on a combustion experiment inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox.

The Expedition 46 crew members are wrapping up their work week on different types of research including botany, bone loss and pilot testing. The crew also checked for pressure leaks, worked on life support gear and continued cleaning up after a spacewalk.

Plants are being grown on the International Space Station so future crews can learn to become self-sustainable as they go farther out in space. Commander Scott Kelly took photos of the botany work today as part of the Veggie experiment.

The commander started his day in Japan’s Kibo lab module with British astronaut Tim Peake stowing a Cyclops satellite deployer and checking for leaks in the airlock. Kelly also joined Flight Engineer Tim Kopra cleaning up after installing the refurbished Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly the day before.

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko participated in a couple of experiments today looking at bone loss and pilot performance in space. He also checked for pressure leaks before the Progress 61 supply ship undocks March 29. His fellow cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Yuri Malenchenko are still stowing tools and gear after Wednesday’s spacewalk.


Spacewalkers Clean Up as Crew Works on Life Support Gear

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly
Astronauts Tim Kopra (foreground) and Scott Kelly work on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly inside the Tranquility module. Credit: NASA TV

Two cosmonauts are cleaning up today after a successful spacewalk on Wednesday. The other crew members are working on life support gear and taking out the trash.

Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov completed the third spacewalk of Expedition 46 after installing hardware and science gear and conducting experiments. Today the duo are cleaning and recharging their Orlan spacesuits and stowing their tools.

British astronaut Tim Peake helped Malenchenko and Volkov as he stowed the U.S. gear used on the suits. Peake later videotaped himself reading a children’s storybook and performing science demonstrations for students.

Commander Scott Kelly and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra partnered together to swap parts inside the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA). Kelly then packed trash inside the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft due to leave the International Space Station on Feb. 19. Kopra later wrapped up the CDRA maintenance work.

Second Spacewalk of Year Complete

Spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov
Spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov work outside the Pirs docking compartment on gear installation and science experiments. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 46 Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos successfully concluded their spacewalk at 12:40 p.m. EST.

The cosmonauts installed and retrieved a number of science experiments and conducted extensive photography of the external surfaces of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

The 4 hour and 45 minute spacewalk was the sixth for Malenchenko and the fourth for Volkov. Space station crew members have conducted 193 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,204 hours and 48 minutes working outside the station.

Stay up-to-date on the latest International Space Station news at …

Spacewalk Begins for Gear and Science Work

Spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov
Today’s spacewalkers are cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov.

Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos began a planned 5.5-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 7:55 a.m. EST.

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Malenchenko is designated as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1). Volkov is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Prior to the start of today’s spacewalk, Malenchenko has spent 30 hours and five minutes outside the space station in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Volkov has previously accumulated 18 hours and 35 minutes.

Among their tasks today, the pair is scheduled to retrieve the EXPOSE-R Experiment, a collection of biological and biochemical samples placed in the harsh environment of space. The EXPOSE program is part of ESA’s (European Space Agency) research into astrobiology, or the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe.

NASA Television is broadcasting the spacewalk. Watch live:

Watch NASA TV Now for Spacewalk Coverage

Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov
Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov works outside the International Space Station in August 2011 during Expedition 28.

Expedition 46 Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos will begin today’s spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at 8:10 a.m. EST.  Watch live NASA TV coverage here:

The two cosmonauts will exit the station’s Pirs airlock for 5.5 hours to deploy and retrieve several experiment packages on the Zvezda and Poisk modules and install device gap spanners, which will be placed on the hull of the station to facilitate the movement of crew members on future spacewalks.

This will be the 193rd spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the sixth spacewalk for Malenchenko and the fourth spacewalk for Volkov. Malenchenko will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) and Volkov will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2). Both will wear Russian Orlan spacesuits bearing blue stripes.

Follow @space_station on Twitter and #spacewalk for updates online. For more information about the International Space Station, including current residents, visit:

Cosmonauts Finalize Preps Before Wednesday Spacewalk

Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov
Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov is pictured during a spacewalk in August 2011 when he was a Flight Engineer for Expedition 28.

Two cosmonauts are getting ready for a spacewalk to install hardware and science experiments outside the International Space Station’s Russian segment. Meanwhile, the other four crew members are working on research hardware, water testing and trash stowage.

Veteran flight engineers and spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov are finalizing their reviews and preparations for the second Expedition 46 spacewalk in less than a month. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the Russian spacewalk set to begin tomorrow at 8:10 a.m. EST. They are scheduled to work outside in their Russian Orlan spacesuits for about 5 hours and 30 minutes on scheduled maintenance tasks.

Commander Scott Kelly set up a portable 3D printer today inside the Destiny laboratory module. The test fabrications on the device may precede the installation of a full-sized 3D printer in the future. Kelly also replaced fuel gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

European astronaut Tim Peake collected and tested samples from water dispensers in the U.S. and Russian segments of the orbital lab. The samples will also be returned to Earth inside a Soyuz spacecraft for further analysis. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra continued stowing trash inside the Orbital ATK cargo craft while also checking the status of pistol grip tools used during spacewalks.

Spacesuit Checks and Fire Science on Space Station Today

British Astronaut Tim Peake
British Astronaut Tim Peake works to install gear inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module.

A pair of cosmonauts is getting ready for the 193rd International Space Station spacewalk beginning Wednesday at 8:10 a.m. EST. The other four Expedition 46 crew members worked on science, cargo transfers and maintenance today.

Spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov got into their Russian Orlan spacesuits today testing their systems and practicing their movements. NASA TV will cover the spacewalk activities Wednesday starting at 7:30 a.m. The duo will install hardware and science experiments and photograph the external condition of the space station.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra was back at work studying how materials burn in microgravity potentially improving fire safety on Earth and in space. British astronaut Tim Peake retracted a small satellite deployer back in the Kibo lab module and performed some maintenance work on the BioLab incubator.

Commander Scott Kelly packed trash and discarded gear inside the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft scheduled to depart Feb. 19. Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko performed a series of interactive tasks on a tablet for the Fine Motor Skills investigation. Kelly and Peake also participated in the study that observes how astronauts work on touch-based, sensitive and detailed tasks on long duration space missions.

Day of Remembrance as Spacewalk Preps and Cygnus Work Move On

Astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra
Astronauts Tim Kopra (left) and Scott Kelly talk to the Military Times this morning from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Today, NASA remembers the sacrifice of the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Columbia and Challenger. Mission Control Center in Houston and the crew aboard the International Space Station observed a moment of silence and Commander Scott Kelly sent down a few words memorializing the lost astronauts.

The six residents aboard the space station kept up their pace with spacewalk preparations, Cygnus cargo transfers and advanced space science. The orbital laboratory also completed two of a series of reboosts on Wednesday ahead of a crew swap and a cargo delivery planned for March.

Cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov checked out their Russian Orlan spacesuits and tools before next week’s spacewalk. The duo will install hardware and science experiments on the station’s Russian segment. NASA TV will broadcast the spacewalk live beginning Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. EST.

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake worked throughout the day transferring cargo from the Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter. The Cygnus is due to leave the station’s Unity module Feb. 19 and burn up over the Pacific Ocean the next day.