NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is back in Houston just 24 hours after landing in Kazakhstan completing a 173-day mission in space. He arrived home aboard a NASA aircraft Tuesday morning while his two Expedition 50 crewmates, cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, have returned to Moscow.
Three crew members are staying behind on the International Space Station beginning the Expedition 51 mission. They are waiting for a new pair of residents to arrive in less than two weeks. Commander Peggy Whitson is orbiting Earth and leading the station crew of Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
All three crew members are busy aboard the orbital laboratory today maintaining its systems and performing critical space research. Whitson explored how new lights on the station are affecting crew performance and reconfigured science hardware with help from Pesquet. Novitskiy worked on Russian life support systems and studied ways to improve piloting spacecraft on long-term missions.
Two new Expedition 51 crewmates, veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronaut and first-time space flyer Jack Fischer, will join their orbiting crewmates April 10. The duo will blast off from Kazakhstan and take a six-hour, four-orbit ride to their new home in space aboard the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft.
Two NASA astronauts and a European Space Agency astronaut headed into the weekend with a light day Friday. Meanwhile, the three cosmonauts from Roscosmos packed a Soyuz spacecraft for departure and worked on maintenance and science.
Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who are returning home Monday with Kimbrough, continued packing the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft that will parachute the trio to a landing in Kazakhstan after a 173 days in space.
Ryzhikov, who is on his first mission, will command the Soyuz during its undocking and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Borisenko and Kimbrough are both wrapping up their second visit to space.
Whitson will become station commander for the second time in her career Sunday less than 24 hours before her crewmates undock from the Poisk module. She stays behind with fellow Expedition 50-51 crew members Pesquet and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy.
Three crew members aboard the International Space Station are packing up their gear for a homecoming on Monday. NASA also decided to extend the mission of an astronaut living aboard the station since November.
Two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut will take a ride back to Earth early Monday inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft. Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will have completed a 173-day mission in space when they land Monday at 7:21 a.m. EDT in Kazakhstan. NASA TV will broadcast the departure and landing activities live.
Kimbrough has accumulated six spacewalks over two missions, including the STS-126 mission aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2008. Ryzhikov, who is on his first space mission, will be commanding the Soyuz spacecraft during its landing. Borisenko was last aboard the station in 2011 and is completing his second stint as a station crew member.
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson has been granted a three-month extension to her already record-breaking career aboard the station. She will stay in space until September as a member of Expeditions 50, 51 and 52. NASA managers wanted to ensure the station maintained a six-person crew to maximize research while Russia temporarily reduces its crew to two cosmonauts.
The Expedition 50 crew is checking out U.S. spacesuits today and testing tiny internal satellites for research. Three crew members are also packing up for a ride back to Earth on Monday.
Commander Shane Kimbrough worked on a pair of spacesuits today following the completion of two spacewalks last month. He sampled and tested the cooling water that flows through the suits to keep astronauts cool in the extreme environment of outer space.
Kimbrough is winding down his stay in space with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko. The trio this week is packing the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft with science samples, personal items and other cargo for a landing in Kazakhstan after 173 days in space. NASA TV will broadcast the crew departure activities live with landing scheduled for Monday at 7:20 a.m. EDT.
Three Expedition 50 crew members are getting ready to end their stay aboard the International Space Station and return to Earth April 10. Two Expedition 51 crew members, who will replace them, are in Russia finalizing their mission preparations before they launch April 20.
Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko have been living in space since October 19. The trio will enter the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft on Monday and undock from the Poisk module at 4 a.m. EDT. They will land in Kazakhstan at 7:20 a.m. ending their mission after 173 days in space. The crew departure and Soyuz landing will be televised live on NASA TV.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will take over command of the station the day before Kimbrough and his crewmates leave. Staying behind with Whitson will be European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos. This will be Whitson’s second stint as commander of the orbital laboratory having last led the Expedition 16 crew in 2008.
Back in Russia, two Expedition 51 crewmates, Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, have completed their final qualification exams. They will fly to Kazakhstan on Wednesday for ceremonial duties, check out their Soyuz MS-04 rocket and wrap up mission training before launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The crew researched the effects of living in space and set up a specialized microscope for a physics experiment today. Two astronauts are also getting ready for a Thursday spacewalk to continue setting up the International Space Station for commercial crew vehicles.
Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet used a tape measure this morning and measured their arms, legs, hips, waist and chest. Researchers are studying how microgravity impacts body size and shape and are comparing crew measurements before, during and after a space mission.
Whitson later began setting up gear for the ACE-T-1 (Advanced Colloids Experiment Temperature Control-1) physics study. She opened up the Fluids Integrated Rack and reconfigured the Light Microscopy Module to research tiny suspended particles designed by scientists and observe how they form organized structures within water.
Commander Shane Kimbrough is getting ready for another spacewalk on Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT. This time he’ll go outside with Whitson to finish cable connections at the Harmony module where the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) was robotically attached on Sunday. The PMA-3 relocation gets the adapter ready for the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future cargo mission.
The Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) was robotically removed Sunday from the Tranquility module and attached to the Harmony module after being prepared during a successful spacewalk Friday. A second spacewalk is scheduled for Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT to finalize the PMA-3 cable connections on Harmony.
Download hi-res video of briefing animations depicting the activities of all three spacewalks.
Commander Shane Kimbrough disconnected cables from PMA-3 while still attached to Tranquility during a spacewalk on Friday. That work allowed ground controllers to use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to remotely grapple and remove PMA-3 from Tranquility and attach it to Harmony.
The relocation readies the PMA-3 for the future installation of the new International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) set to be delivered on a future cargo mission. The IDA-3 will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings and provide the pressurized interface between the station and the adapter.
Thursday’s spacewalk will see Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson complete the PMA-3 attachment work on the Harmony’s space-facing port. The duo will also install computer relay boxes containing software upgrades to enable future commercial crew vehicle dockings at the International Space Station.
Two astronauts are getting the Quest airlock and their equipment ready for a Friday morning spacewalk. The cosmonauts continued their human research program today exploring the various affects of living in space.
Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will exit the Quest airlock Friday at 8 a.m. EDT to begin setting up the International Space Station for future commercial crew missions. The duo will work outside for about 6.5 hours on the first of three spacewalks scheduled to take place over the next two weeks.
Friday’s major tasks include disconnecting cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 ahead of its relocation from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module on Sunday. The latching end of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator will also be lubricated and computer relay boxes with commercial crew software upgrades will be replaced. NASA TV will cover the spacewalk activities live beginning Friday at 6:30 a.m.
Cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy collected their blood, saliva and urine samples today for a metabolism study and an immunity experiment. Researchers will analyze these samples to learn how microgravity affects humans and provide countermeasures to keep crew members healthy.
The astronauts took a break from spacewalk preparations today and checked out an expandable module and worked on science freezers. The crew also continued its human research program exploring space nutrition and the effects of microgravity on metabolism and the immune system.
Thomas Pesquet opened the hatches to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) today for a status check. The European Space Agency astronaut sampled BEAM’s air and surfaces for microbes and installed impact sensors. He also used a digital camera with a fish-eye lens to capture 360-degree imagery of the inside of BEAM.
Veteran NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson serviced three science freezers ensuring biological samples can be preserved for return on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon mission. She also brushed up on robotics skills necessary for Friday’s spacewalk.
Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy logged his meals again today before collecting saliva samples for an immunity study. Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko researched how living in space long term affects metabolism and a crew member’s psychophysiological state.
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Three astronauts are preparing for a Friday morning spacewalk to upgrade and maintain the International Space Station’s external systems. The three cosmonauts stayed focused today on their set of Russian space experiments and life support work.
Friday’s spacewalk will see Kimbrough and Pesquet begin setting up the station for future commercial crew missions. They will prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 for removal from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module. The astronauts will also replace computer relay boxes with software upgrades for future dockings of commercial crew vehicles.
In the midst of the spacewalk work today, Pesquet received a call from the French President Francois Hollande who toured an observatory with school children outside Lyon, France. Kimbrough and Whitson answered questions submitted by social media fans on Facebook Live Tuesday morning
Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Andrey Borisenko documented what they ate for breakfast and lunch today for a pair of nutrition studies. The experiments are researching how diet affects a crew member’s metabolism and bone structure while living in space. Flight Engineer Sergey Ryzhikov spent the day checking Russian life support gear and sampling drinking water.
Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/