An experimental solar array demonstration was jettisoned while the Expedition 52 crew continued preparing the SpaceX Dragon for its release on Sunday. The three crew members also studied how microgravity impacts their bodies.
Following a week of successful science operations on the experiment for the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA), attempts to retract the array were unsuccessful. The ISS Mission Management Team met Monday morning and made the decision to jettison ROSA directly from its location at the end of the space station’s robotic arm, where it remained fully deployed in a normal configuration.
The original plan called for ROSA to be stored back inside the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon which is detached and burned up in the atmosphere during Dragon reentry. The Operations team executed the jettison procedure that was developed as part of the pre-flight planning process that covered various scenarios. Once jettisoned, ROSA will not present any risk to the International Space Station and will not impact any upcoming visiting vehicle traffic.
ROSA is an experiment to test a new type of solar panel that rolls open in space and is more compact than current rigid panel designs. The ROSA investigation tests deployment and retraction, shape changes when the Earth blocks the sun, and other physical challenges to determine the array’s strength and durability.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is one week away from departing the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson continued packing Dragon this morning with used hardware and research samples for analysis back on Earth. Dragon will be released from the Canadarm2 Sunday at 11:38 a.m. EDT and splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 5-1/2 hours later.
Whitson then joined Flight Engineer Jack Fischer in the afternoon to wrap up the Seedling Growth-3 experiment. The botanical study is exploring how the lack of gravity impacts light sensing and growth in plants. Plant samples from the study will be returned to Earth on Sunday inside the Dragon resupply ship.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, along with Whitson and Fischer, took body measurements today to help scientists understand how living in space affects body size. The crew also collected blood, urine, saliva and breath samples for more insight on astronaut health.
The Expedition 52 trio worked throughout Friday on human research studying cardiac biology and the microbes that live on humans. Tiny satellites inside the International Space Station were also investigated for future remote or autonomous use in space.
NASA astronaut Jack Fisher collected microbe samples from his body and stowed them inside a science freezer for later analysis on Earth. He also activated an ultrasound and scanned his legs for the Vascular Echo study that is exploring how veins and arteries adapt during a spaceflight mission.
Three-time station crew member Peggy Whitson retrieved stem cell samples for observation to determine if living in space speeds up the aging process. Whitson then set up the SPHERES Halo experiment that is exploring the possibility of using satellites to clean up space debris and assemble objects such as space telescopes and habitats.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin worked in the station’s Russian segment maintaining life support systems. The veteran cosmonaut also explored pain sensation in space then wrapped up the work day with Earth photography documenting human and natural impacts across the globe.
Expedition 52 is continuing to explore a new drug therapy today that may keep humans healthier in space. The trio onboard the International Space Station also worked on standard maintenance activities to keep the orbital complex in ship-shape.
Astronauts living on the station exercise a couple of hours every day to offset the muscle and bone loss experienced in microgravity. A new injectable drug is also being explored as a way to maintain strong bones during spaceflight. Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA are testing that drug today on mice for the fifth version of the ongoing Rodent Research experiment. Rodent Research-5 is testing the drugs ability to stop and reverse bone loss in space and may help patients with bone disease on Earth.
Fischer also worked on light plumbing duties and microbe sampling throughout Thursday. Whitson also worked on microbe sampling and set up life science gear ahead of a new experiment to be delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin checked out Russian life support gear and continued unloading new gear delivered last week inside the Progress 67 (67P) resupply ship. The veteran cosmonaut also repressurized the station’s atmosphere using oxygen stored inside the 67P.
The three orbiting crew members living on the International Space Station today explored the effects of microgravity on mice and microbes to understand how living in space impacts humans. Cargo transfers are also underway on the orbital complex after the arrival of the latest resupply ship.
A pair of life science experiments observing mice are being worked today to research how the weightless environment of space impacts bones, muscles and the immunity system. For the Rodent Research-5 study today, NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer observed how drug therapies on mice may offset the negative health impacts of spaceflight. The duo also set up gear for a new study, the Multi-Omics Mouse experiment, which will be launched on the next Space Dragon mission and will evaluate the impacts of space environment and prebiotics on astronauts’ immune function.
The crew also collected saliva samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later microbial analysis on Earth. Station surfaces were also swabbed and air samples were taken to help scientists identify the microbes living on the station and how they may change on orbit.
Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin continued unloading the 3,000 pounds of food, fuel and supplies delivered last week aboard the Progress 67 resupply ship. The veteran station cosmonaut also had some time set aside to update the station’s inventory system and check on Russian science experiments.
The Expedition 52 crew is loading the SpaceX Dragon with cargo for return back to Earth in less than two weeks. BEAM, the experimental habitat, also received a new radiation shield today that was 3D printed aboard the International Space Station.
Dragon is due to leave the International Space Station July 2 after cargo transfers with the resupply ship are complete. The crew offloaded new science experiments, spacewalking gear and station hardware shortly after it arrived on June 5. Dragon will now be packed with used station gear and research samples for analysis by NASA engineers and scientists after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer opened up BEAM today and entered the expandable activity module for a regular checkup. He replaced an older radiation shield with a thicker shield that covers a radiation sensor inside BEAM. Fischer also sampled BEAM’s air and surfaces for microbes.
Veteran astronaut Peggy Whitson of NASA spent Tuesday sampling the air and surfaces for microbes in the station’s U.S. segment. Whitson also spent some time stowing synthetic DNA samples exposed to radiation in a science freezer and began readying rodent research gear for return next month aboard Dragon.
Robotics controllers completed the unloading and set up of the third and final external experiment delivered last week aboard the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship. Inside the International Space Station, the Expedition 52 crew studied a variety of life science including plant growth, bone loss and cardiac biology.
Over the weekend, engineers on the ground remotely operated the Canadarm2 to extract the Roll Out Solar Array from Dragon. The experiment, also known as ROSA, will remain attached to the Canadarm2 over seven days to test the effectiveness of the advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure.
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson set up the Seedling Growth-3 botany study today that is researching how plant cells respond to lighting conditions in microgravity. Fischer also installed samples in a NanoRacks facility for an educational research project that is studying the effects of radiation damage on synthetic DNA.
Whitson measured bone loss in mice for the Rodent Research-5 study. Results may improve the health of astronauts living in space and humans on Earth with bone diseases. Whitson later moved onto the Cardiac Stem Cells experiment that seeks to understand the accelerated aging process that takes place in space.
Traveling about 250 miles over the Philippine Sea, the unpiloted ISS Progress 67 Russian cargo ship docked at 7:37 a.m. EDT to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station.
Russia’s Progress 67 (67P) cargo craft is orbiting Earth and on its way to the International Space Station Friday morning carrying over three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Meanwhile, the three member Expedition 52 crew researched a variety of space science on Thursday while preparing for the arrival of the 67P.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will monitor the automated docking of the 67P to the Zvezda service module Friday at 7:42 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will broadcast live the resupply ship’s approach and rendezvous beginning at 7 a.m. The 67P’s docking will mark four spaceships attached to the space station.
Fischer spent the morning photographing mold and bacteria samples on petri dishes as part of six student-led biology experiments that are taking place inside a NanoRacks module. In the afternoon, he removed protein crystal samples from a science freezer, let them thaw and observed the samples using a specialized microscope.
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson tended to rodents Thursday morning cleaning their habitat facilities and restocking their food. In the afternoon, she moved to human research swapping out samples for the Cardiac Stem Cells study that is exploring why living in space may accelerate the aging process.
Carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 67 cargo craft launched at 5:20 a.m. EDT (3:20 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 258 miles over the south Atlantic southeast of Uruguay.
Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Russian cargo craft will make 34 orbits of Earth during the next two days before docking to the orbiting laboratory at 7:42 a.m. Friday, June 16.
Beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, NASA Television will provide live coverage of Progress 67’s arrival to the space station’s Zvezda Service Module.
Two external experiments have been extracted from the trunk of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship and attached to the outside of the International Space Station. Ground controllers commanded the Canadarm2 to reach inside Dragon, grapple both experiments and install them on EXPRESS logistics carriers.
The first experiment, MUSES, or Multiple User System for Earth Sensing, was removed June 6 the day after Dragon’s arrival. It was installed two days later on the starboard side of the station’s truss structure. MUSES is an Earth-imaging platform that may improve navigation, agriculture and benefit emergency responders and the petroleum industry.
NICER, or Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, was extracted Sunday afternoon and will be installed this evening. It will search for new insights into the physics of neutron stars and help scientists develop a pulsar-based, space navigation system.
A third experiment will be extracted June 17 to test a new advanced solar array. The roll-out solar array, or ROSA, rolls out like a tape measure with solar cells on a flexible blanket. The ROSA, which could power future NASA spaceships and communication satellites, will be stowed back inside Dragon’s trunk after seven days of data collection while attached to the station’s robotic arm.