Category Archives: Expedition 52

Touchdown! Expedition 52 Back on Earth

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Expedition 52 Lands

The Soyuz MS-04 vehicle is pictured the moment it touches down with the Expedition 52 crew inside. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who set multiple U.S. space records during her mission aboard the International Space Station, along with crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, safely landed on Earth Saturday at 9:21 p.m. EDT (7:21 a.m. Kazakhstan time, Sept. 3), southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

While living and working aboard the world’s only orbiting laboratory, Whitson and Fischer contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, welcomed several cargo spacecraft delivering tons of supplies and research experiments, and conducted a combined six spacewalks to perform maintenance and upgrades to the station.

Among their scientific exploits, Whitson and Fischer supported research into the physical changes to astronaut’s eyes caused by prolonged exposure to a microgravity environment. They also conducted a new lung tissue study that explored how stem cells work in the unique microgravity environment of the space station, which may pave the way for future stem cell research in space.

Additional research included an antibody investigation that could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment, and the study of plant physiology and growth in space using an advanced plant habitat. NASA also attached the Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Investigation (ISS CREAM) on the outside of the space station in August, which is now observing cosmic rays coming from across the galaxy.

The crew members received a total of seven cargo deliveries during their mission. A Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle launched to the space station in December 2016 delivering new lithium-ion batteries that were installed using a combination of robotics and spacewalks. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the station in April on the company’s seventh commercial resupply mission. Three SpaceX Dragon spacecraft completed commercial resupply missions to the station in February, June and August. And, Russian ISS Progress cargo spacecraft docked to the station in February and June.

Whitson’s return marks the completion of a 288-day mission that began last November and spanned 122.2 million miles and 4,623 orbits of the Earth – her third long-duration mission on the station. During her latest mission, Whitson performed four spacewalks, bringing her career total to 10. With a total of 665 days in space, Whitson holds the U.S. record and places eighth on the all-time space endurance list.

Fischer, who launched in April, completed 136 days in space, during which he conducted the first and second spacewalks of his career. Yurchikhin, who launched with Fischer, now has a total of 673 days in space, putting him seventh place on the all-time endurance list.

Expedition 53 continues operating the station, with Randy Bresnik of NASA in command, and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) serving as flight engineers. The three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos. Vande Hei, Acaba and Misurkin are scheduled to launch Sept. 12 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram and Twitter at:

https://instagram.com/iss

https://www.twitter.com/Space_Station

Record-Setting NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Prepare for Return to Earth

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Expedition 52 Crew Members

Expedition 52 crew members (from left) Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson prepare the Sokol launch and entry suits they will wear when they undock and land in their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft.

Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates, Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, are scheduled to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth Saturday, Sept. 2. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide complete coverage of their departure and landing.

The trio will undock their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the space station at 5:58 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 9:22 p.m. (7:22 a.m. Sept. 3, Kazakhstan time). NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik has taken over command of the station from Yurchikhin.

The complete schedule of return coverage is as follows (all times EDT):

  • 2:15 p.m. – farewell and hatch closure (hatch closure at 2:40 p.m.)
  • 5:30 p.m. – undocking (undocking at 5:58 p.m.)
  • 8 p.m. – deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn at 8:29 p.m. and landing at 9:22 p.m.)
  • 11 p.m. – replay of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crew members, at: www.nasa.gov/station

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As a result of the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, NASA plans a modified return to Houston of Whitson and Fischer and the science samples landing in the Soyuz spacecraft. The crew will participate in standard post-flight medical evaluations. Working with our International Space Station partners, NASA secured the services of ESA (European Space Agency) to return the crew from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, to Cologne, Germany.  NASA’s G-5 will depart Houston on Saturday to meet the crew and science samples in Cologne. They’re expected to return to Houston on Sunday night.  All necessary facilities onsite at NASA’s Johnson Space Center necessary to support crew and science objectives are being checked out, and readied for the return to Houston.

While living and working aboard the space station, the Expedition 52 crew pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.

Expedition 53 will begin when Whitson, Fischer and Yurchikhin depart with Randy Bresnik of NASA in command, and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), on board. The three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members later this month.

NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch Sept. 12 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Station Crew Ends Week Preparing for Eclipse 2017

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The station crew will have three chances to see the solar eclipse from space. The third pass will offer the most coverage with the sun 84% obscured by the moon.

The Expedition 52 crew wrapped up a busy week on Friday with more science work, cargo unloading and cleanup after a Russian spacewalk on Thursday. They are also busy preparing for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse on Monday with the chance at several unique views of the event.

The crew participated in several studies including Vascular Echo Ultrasound, a Canadian Space Agency investigation that examines changes in blood vessels and the heart while the crew members are in space. They also completed weekly questionnaires for the ESA Space Headaches investigation which collects information that may help in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms and improvement in the well-being and performance of crewmembers in space.

Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy performed cleanup tasks following their Thursday spacewalk which lasted seven hours and 34 minutes. The duo completed a number of tasks including the manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

Station crew members will have their cameras outfitted with special filters on Monday for three chances to photograph the solar eclipse from windows aboard the orbiting laboratory. For more information on their opportunities and what they expect to see, visit NASA’s Solar Eclipse website.

Spacewalk Comes to a Close

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Spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy

At the bottom center, spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy are partially obscured by gear on the outside of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The two spacewalkers exited the Pirs Docking Compartment Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT. Among their accomplishments was manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

One of the satellites, with casings made using 3-D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3-D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist.

They also collected residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station.

Cosmonauts Begin Spacewalk

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Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Sergey Ryazanskiy are pictured in the Orlan spacesuits they are wearing during today’s spacewalk. Credit: @SergeyISS

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a planned six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Yurchikhin is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Dragon Installed to Station for Month of Cargo Swaps

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Space Station Configuration

Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, the Progress 67 resupply ship and two Soyuz crew ships.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 9:07 a.m. EDT. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened as soon as later today.

CRS-12 is scheduled to deliver more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station, including a sweet treat for the astronauts: ice cream. The small cups of chocolate, vanilla and birthday cake-flavored ice cream are arriving in freezers that will be reloaded with research samples for return to Earth when the Dragon spacecraft departs the station mid-September.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.

Robotic Arm Reaches Out and Grapples Dragon

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SpaceX Dragon

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Wednesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling over the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured the Dragon spacecraft at 6:52 a.m. EDT using the station’s robotic arm. It then will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.

NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.

Expedition 52 Awaits Wednesday Dragon Arrival, Thursday Spacewalk

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Expedition 52 Crew Portrait

The Expedition 52 crew poses for a unique portrait. Pictured clockwise from top right are, Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Jack Fischer, Peggy Whitson, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.

The SpaceX Dragon is hauling advanced space research for delivery Wednesday morning to the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the seventh station spacewalk this year set to begin Thursday morning.

Dragon is less than 24 hours from its approach and rendezvous with the space station for SpaceX’s third resupply mission this year. Astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will be in the Cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Dragon at 7 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA TV will begin live coverage of Dragon’s arrival at 5:30 a.m.

Dragon will stay open at the station’s Harmony module for a month of cargo swaps. The astronauts will offload new life science studies to improve therapies against Parkinson’s disease and explore ways to grow lung tissue as well as other research. A new pair of external experiments will also be deployed including a cosmic ray study to be installed outside of the Kibo lab module and a nanosatellite technology demonstration.

Two cosmonauts are trying on their Orlan spacesuits today to ensure they are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy will exit the Pirs airlock at 10:45 a.m. for about six hours of science and maintenance work. Thursday’s spacewalk highlight will be when Ryazanskiy manually deploys five nanosatellites, including the first 3D printed CubeSat, into Earth orbit.

Station Boosts Orbit, Dragon Launch Slips a Day

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson works on the Combustion Integrated Rack in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

A docked Russian cargo craft fired its engines today slightly raising the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbital boost sets up next month’s crew swap. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft also received a new target launch date while the crew gets ready for a spacewalk next week.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will return to Earth on Sept. 2 with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapping up their Expedition 52 mission. Fischer and Yurchikhin will each have lived 135 consecutive days in space while Whitson will have 289 days. The next crew, with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, launches Sept. 13 to begin a 167-day mission in space.

SpaceX announced a one-day launch slip of its Dragon cargo craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon is now targeted to launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. Fischer and astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are training for Dragon’s arrival and capture planned for Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for a spacewalk amidst the cargo mission and crew swap preparations. The experienced Russian spacewalkers, Yurchikhin with eight career spacewalks and Sergey Ryazanskiy with three, performed leak checks, installed batteries and sized up their Orlan spacesuits and ahead of their Aug. 17 spacewalk.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Astronauts Work Muscle Scans and Science Gear Upgrades

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Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer work on station systems inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

From leg muscle scans to observing materials burning at high temperatures, the Expedition 52 crew continued researching what happens when you live in space. The space residents also upgraded electronics gear and installed new science racks.

Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli are barely a week into their 4-1/2 month long mission and are already exploring what space is doing to their bodies. The astronauts took ultrasound scans of their legs today to assess the changes their leg muscles and tendons are undergoing. The data will later be compared to the condition of their muscles before and after their spaceflight mission.

Jack Fischer of NASA installed new electronics gear in a science rack to speed up the communications rate at which data is uploaded and downloaded from the research facility. Station veteran Peggy Whitson swapped out samples exposed to high temperatures inside a specialized furnace. She later installed a pair of NanoRacks research platforms in the Kibo laboratory module. The commercial science devices will support upcoming experiments being delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon mission.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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