Astronauts Look at Ways to Prevent Space Headaches and Bone Loss

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli
Astronaut Paolo Nespoli checks out a science freezer inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

The crew today researched ways to alleviate headaches and reverse bone loss in space to improve mission performance. Meanwhile, the station’s three newest residents also checked out station emergency gear and systems.

Common ailments that afflict people on Earth such as headaches also affect astronauts in space impacting their mission activities. Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik are jotting down their experiences this week to help doctors understand space headaches. Observations may reduce their effects and improve performance during spaceflight and on Earth.

NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson are studying a new drug for its potential to slow or reverse bone loss in space. They looked at bones in mice today to help determine the efficacy of the new drug.  The lack of gravity causes osteoporosis-like symptoms weakening bones in space possibly impacting crews returning to Earth and experiencing gravity for the first time in months.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy joined his crewmates Nespoli and Bresnik this afternoon familiarizing themselves with the station’s emergency equipment. The new trio explored their new home in space taking note of safety gear locations and escape paths.


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Experienced Trio Brings Station Crew up to Full Speed

Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik
Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik are at work in their new home in space where they will live until mid-December.

Expedition 52 is now up to full speed with six crew members. The latest trio from the United States, Italy and Russia arrived Friday afternoon beginning a 4-1/2 month mission in space.

The new crew is familiarizing itself with International Space Station systems and getting used to life 250 miles above Earth’s surface. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik is starting his second space mission and spent time on Tuesday replacing networking hardware in the Japanese Experiment Module.

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency is on his third spaceflight. Nespoli took part in the Sarcolab-3 study using the Muscle Atrophy Research & Exercise System (MARES) chair in the Columbus module. The data collected for Sarcolab-3 will be used to assess microgravity’s impact on muscle loss in astronauts, focusing specifically on the calf muscle in the leg.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy begins his second mission aboard the station as a flight engineer. He last visited the orbital complex in 2013 with his Expedition 37-38 crewmates. Ryazanskiy conducted routine maintenance across the station’s Russian segment and assisted Nespoli during the Sarcolab-3 experiment session.


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New Crew Docks to Station

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft docked to the International Space Station at 5:54 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying over Germany.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA will welcome Soyuz crew members NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

Watch the hatch opening targeted for 7:40 p.m. and welcome ceremony live on NASA TV beginning at 7 p.m.: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For live coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.


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New Crew Blasts Off to Station

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft with three Expedition 52-53 crew members blasts off on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz MS-05 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 11:41 a.m. EDT Friday, July 28 (9:41 p.m. in Baikonur). About four minutes prior to launch, the space station flew over the launch site and was flying about 250 miles above south central Russia, just over the northeast border of Kazakhstan, at the time of launch. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) are now safely in orbit.

The crew will orbit Earth four times en route to the spacecraft’s arrival and docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 6 p.m. Tune in at 5:15 p.m. to NASA Television or the agency’s website to watch the docking live.

Below is the docking timeline in EDT:

5:15 p.m.         NASA TV: Docking coverage begins

6:00 p.m.         Scheduled time for docking to the Rassvet module

7:00 p.m.         NASA TV: Hatch opening coverage begins

7:40 p.m.         Hatches scheduled to open

The Expedition 52 crew will conduct new science investigations arriving on SpaceX’s 12th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission targeted to launch in August. Investigations the crew will work on include a study developed by the Michael J. Fox Foundation of the pathology of Parkinson’s disease to aid in the development of therapies for patients on Earth. The crew will use the special nature of microgravity in a new lung tissue study to advance understanding of how stem cells work and pave the way for further use of the microgravity environment in stem cell research. Expedition astronauts also will assemble and deploy a microsatellite investigation seeking to validate the concept of using microsatellites in low-Earth orbit to support critical operations, such as providing lower-cost Earth imagery in time-sensitive situations such as tracking severe weather and detecting natural disasters.

For live coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.


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Trio Ready to Begin Space Mission Lasting till Mid-December

Soyuz MS-05 Rocket
The Soyuz MS-05 rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

It is less than one day before three new International Space Station crew members start a 4-1/2 month mission in space. The trio from Russia, United States and Italy will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft Friday at 11:41 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli will dock to the Rassvet module having left Earth just six hours and 19 minutes earlier. After pressure checks the hatches will open and the crew will fly into their new home. They will join their Expedition 52 crewmates Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer.

Meanwhile, space research continues apace as scientists on the ground and the crew observe microgravity’s effects on humans, plants and animals. Research on the station also runs the gamut of physics, technology, earth observations and more, benefitting life on Earth and future crews in space.

All three crew members orbiting Earth today once again explored a lower body suit that has the potential to reverse the headward flow of body fluids in space. Whitson then studied new methods to manage liquid and gas mixtures on spacecraft life support systems. Fischer began setting up gear for an upcoming Japanese plant experiment.


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Crew Tests Lower Body Suit to Protect Vision; Soyuz Rocket Rolls Out Wednesday

Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson looks at the Earth below from inside the seven-windowed cupola.

One of the effects of living in space is the tendency of fluids to shift upward towards an astronaut’s head. This results in the common “puffy face” appearance astronauts experience when they escape Earth’s gravity. However, the more serious effects observed on orbit could include eye and vision damage.

The three Expedition 52 crew members are exploring a unique device that reverses some of these headward fluid shifts and could counter changes to vision in space. Peggy Whitson of NASA tried on the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit today with assistance from Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer joined the commander and conducted brain/ear fluid pressure tests and eye exams on Whitson.

Back on Earth, three new Expedition 52-53 crew members will see their Soyuz MS-05 rocket roll out to its launch pad Wednesday. The trio from the United States, Russia and Italy will blast off inside the Soyuz rocket Friday at 11:41 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy from Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency will live on the orbital complex until mid-December.


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Launch Preps in Kazakhstan; Cancer Therapies Researched on Station

Expedition 52-53 crew with Soyuz rocket
Expedition 52-53 crew members (from left) Paolo Nespoli, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Randy Bresnik, stand in front of the Soyuz rocket that will launch them to space. Credit: Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

A new International Space Station crew is less than a week away from beginning a 4-1/2 month mission living and working in space. The trio from the United States, Russia and Italy is in Kazakhstan counting down to a Friday launch at 11:41 a.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy will command the Soyuz vehicle during the six-hour, 19-minute ride from Earth to the station’s Rassvet module. He will be flanked by crewmates Randy Bresnik of NASA and astronaut Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency. NASA TV will cover the launch and docking activities live.

Meanwhile, the Expedition 52 crew orbiting Earth now explored how microgravity impacts cancer therapies. The trio also worked on various maintenance tasks throughout the orbital lab.

New space research aboard the station is providing insights that may accelerate development of drugs that target only cancer cells. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson peered at cells today through a microscope for the cancer study that started in April this year. Results may create more effective treatments for cancer patients on Earth.

Jack Fischer of NASA moved a variety of science gear around and cleaned a mouse habitat. He also swapped out a hard drive for an experiment that measures the composition of meteors orbiting and entering Earth’s atmosphere.


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Crew Conducts Research to Mitigate the Human Body’s Response to Spaceflight

Sprint investigation
Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer assess spaceflight-induced changes in muscle volume with the Sprint study.

The crew of Expedition 52 wrapped up an intensive week of research on Friday, concentrating on studies in the field of human health and performance.

On Thursday, the crew conducted their second ultrasound for the Sprint investigation, which studies the use of high-intensity, low-volume exercise training to minimize the loss of muscle, bone and cardiovascular fitness during long-duration space excursions. Using meticulous thigh and calf scans through remote guidance from the ground team, these results will help determine what changes astronauts are experiencing in microgravity and how best to manage those fluctuations for future missions.

Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer today will gather and transfer Fluid Shifts hardware to the station’s Russian segment in preparation for Fluid Shifts Chibis (Lower Body Negative Pressure) operations that begin on Monday. Fluid Shifts investigates the causes for lasting physical changes to astronaut’s eyes—a side effect of human space exploration in a microgravity environment. It’s theorized that the headward fluid shift in space-faring explorers contributes to these changes. In response, a lower body negative pressure device is being evaluated to see if it can perhaps reverse this fluid shift. As an added bonus, what investigators glean from this study may contribute to the development of countermeasures against lasting changes in vision and prevention of eye damage.

The Expedition 52-53 crew that will lift off to the International Space Station within a week is finalizing preparations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, along with astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli, are slated to launch July 28 at 11:41 a.m. EDT for a six-hour journey to the orbiting laboratory. NASA TV will cover all the activities, so tune in.


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All About the Human, and New Crew at Launch Site

Expedition 52-53 crew
Expedition 52-53 crew members Paolo Nespoli (left), Sergey Ryazanskiy (center) and Randy Bresnik (right) arrive at their launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on July 16. Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 52 astronauts furthered investigative data for NASA’s Human Research Program, collecting in-flight data and blood and urine samples over the weekend.

Today, the crew will take additional samples for the Biochem Profile, Repository and Cardio Ox investigations. An ultrasound was also used for the Cardio Ox study, which seeks to determine whether biological markers of oxidative and inflammatory stress are elevated during and after spaceflight, and whether this could result in an increased, long-term risk of the hardening of the arteries for space-faring explorers.

Also on tap is the Mag 3D cell culturing experiment. The crew will fixate the BioCells and insert them into the Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The orbiting laboratory provides a way to manipulate and culture cells in 2D and 3D in space and on the ground, which can help isolate the effects of gravity in experiments and enable biological research previously deemed unfeasible in space.

The next crew to lift off to the International Space Station has arrived at its launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The experienced space travelers from Roscosmos, NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are due to blast off inside the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft July 28 for a six-hour ride to the space station’s Rassvet module. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, with astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli, are scheduled to live and work in space until mid-December.


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New Science Gear Installed, Cargo Craft Packed for Disposal

Flight Engineer Jack Fischer
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer evaluates scientific hardware aboard the International Space Station.

Expedition 52 worked throughout Thursday installing new science gear to improve the research capabilities of the International Space Station. A cargo craft is also being loaded with trash and obsolete gear for disposal next week.

New network connections were installed on the main window of the Destiny lab module today. Flight Engineer Jack Fischer installed new equipment in the Window Observational Research Facility, or WORF, which hosts a variety of Earth sensing payloads to study the planet through a large window on the bottom of the Destiny Laboratory.

Peggy Whitson of NASA installed a carbon dioxide controller inside an incubator. The incubator is part of the Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL) located in Destiny. SABL enables space research that provides insights benefiting pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agricultural industries.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin is getting the Russian Progress 66 (66P) cargo craft ready to take out the trash next week. The 66P will undock July 20 from the Pirs docking compartment packed with old and discarded items and burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.


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