Veteran Astronauts Exit Station to Begin Spacewalk

Astronaut Ricky Arnold
Astronaut Ricky Arnold is pictured in March 2009 during a spacewalk at the space station when he was a member of the STS-119 crew aboard space shuttle Discovery.

Expedition 55 Flight Engineers Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA switched their spacesuits to battery power at 9:33 a.m. EDT, signifying the official start of today’s planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

Watch the spacewalk live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Feustel is wearing the suit bearing the red stripes, and Arnold’s suit has no stripes. Views from a camera on Feustel’s helmet are designated with the number 17, and Arnold’s is labeled with the number 18. Feustel is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the seventh of his career. Arnold, embarking on his third spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Once outside the airlock, Feustel’s first task will be to install the wireless communications antenna on the Tranquility module, while Arnold will begin the process of removing a set of hoses from the cooling system.

Once they have completed those activities, they will work together to replace a camera system on the port truss.

Watch NASA TV Now as Spacewalkers Prepare to Exit Station

Astronauts Drew Feustel and John Grunsfeld
Astronauts Drew Feustel (top) and John Grunsfeld perform maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope from the payload bay of space shuttle Atlantis in May of 2009.

NASA Television has begun coverage of today’s spacewalk, as Expedition 55 Flight Engineers Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA prepare to work outside the International Space Station for approximately 6.5 hours. Today’s spacewalk was originally scheduled to begin at 8:10 a.m. However, suit leak checks took longer than anticipated and has put them approximately 60-90 minutes behind the original timeline.

The objective of today’s spacewalk will be to will install wireless communications antennas on the Tranquility module, replace a camera system on the port truss and remove suspect hoses from a cooling system.

The wireless communications equipment will enhance payload data processing for the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) experiment being flown to the station on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. The experiment will measure the temperature of plants on Earth to better understand how much water they need and how they respond to stress.

Follow along on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Keep up with station and crew activities via Twitter @space_station. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Veteran Astronauts to Conduct Spacewalk Thursday Morning

Astronaut Ricky Arnold
Astronaut Ricky Arnold is pictured during a spacewalk in March of 2009 at the International Space Station. Arnold was visiting the station as an STS-119 mission specialist aboard space shuttle Discovery.

Veteran NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold will head outside the International Space Station at approximately 8 a.m. EDT Thursday to begin a 6.5-hour spacewalk. Live coverage will be available on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 6:30 a.m.

During Thursday’s spacewalk, Feustel and Arnold will install wireless communications antennas on the Tranquility module, replace a camera system on the port truss and remove suspect hoses from a cooling system.

This will be the 209th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates on the station and crew activities. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Cargo Ship Departs, Emergency Reviews Day Before Spacewalk Begins

Russia's Progress 68 resupply ship
Russia’s Progress 68 resupply ship is pictured docked to the Pirs docking compartment as the International Space Station orbited over the Atlantic Ocean south of the island of Bermuda.

A Russian cargo craft departed the International Space Station this morning after completing a six-month stay at the Pirs docking compartment. Meanwhile, the Expedition 55 crew is less than a day away from beginning the fourth spacewalk this the year for orbital lab maintenance.

Russia’s Progress 68 (68P) resupply ship flawlessly undocked from Pirs this morning at 9:50 a.m. EDT. It will orbit Earth for a month where Russian ground controllers will conduct a series of engineering tests on the 68P. The cargo ship will then reenter the atmosphere April 25 loaded with trash and discarded items for a fiery but safe demise over the Pacific Ocean.

While a pair of astronauts are finalizing spacewalk preparations today, the six Expedition 55 crew members spent an hour today reviewing emergency roles and responsibilities. The four astronauts and two cosmonauts practiced communication procedures with each other and mission controllers on the ground. The crew also checked the location of safety gear and followed escape routes to their Soyuz vehicles in the unlikely event a crisis would require evacuating the station.

Finally, spacewalkers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel have their tools and suits ready for Thursday’s excursion to install antennas and replace a camera assembly outside the space station. The duo wrapped up final reviews today with Flight Engineers Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai who will assist the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits. The spacewalk is expected to start at 8:10 a.m. tomorrow with NASA TV beginning its live coverage at 6:30 a.m.

Expedition 55 Focuses on Spacewalk and Dragon Delivery

Spacewalker Drew Feustel
NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel is pictured during a spacewalk in May of 2011 at the International Space Station. Feustel was a mission specialist for STS-134 who last visited the station aboard space shuttle Endeavour.

The Expedition 55 crew is ramping up for Thursday’s spacewalk and training for next week’s arrival of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.

Just four days after moving into their new home NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are getting their suits and gear ready for a spacewalk on Thursday. The duo filled spacesuit tanks and cooling garments with water and reviewed checklists and warning systems today.

They will work outside for about 6.5 hours to install communications antennas on the Tranquility module. The pair will also replace a camera assembly on the Port 1 truss structure. Arnold and Feustel are expected to set their spacesuits to battery power at 8:10 a.m. signifying the official start of Thursday’s spacewalk. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacewalk at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Norishige Kanai and Scott Tingle continue training for next week’s capture of the Dragon cargo craft with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Kanai will be at the robotics controls inside the cupola as Tingle monitors Dragon’s approach and rendezvous.

Dragon is set to launch Monday at 4:30 p.m. and arrive Wednesday just ten meters away from the station where Kanai will robotically capture it at 7 a.m. The commercial cargo craft will deliver over 5,800 pounds of crew supplies, science gear, spacewalking equipment and other station hardware. NASA TV will broadcast both events live.

The Progress 68 (68P) cargo craft will undock from the Pirs docking compartment Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. loaded with trash and old gear. It will reenter Earth’s atmosphere April 25 for a fiery demise over the Pacific Ocean. The 68P has been attached to the station since Oct. 16.

New Station Astronauts March into Spacewalk Preparations

NASA Astronaut Scott Tingle
NASA astronaut Scott Tingle is inside the International Space Station’s window to the world, the seven-windowed cupola, where astronauts operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture visiting vehicles such as the SpaceX Dragon, the Orbital ATK Cygnus and Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle.

Three new Expedition 55 crew members are beginning their first full workweek aboard the International Space Station. They and the rest of the crew are getting ready for a spacewalk on Thursday and next week’s arrival of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are preparing for a spacewalk just six days after arriving at their new home in space. The duo reviewed their spacewalk procedures today with fellow astronauts Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai. The veteran spacewalkers will install communications antennas and replace a camera assembly during the excursion set to begin Thursday at 8:10 a.m. EDT. NASA TV broadcast the spacewalk activities live beginning at 7 a.m.

Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov has been packing a Russian resupply ship with trash and old gear readying it for its departure on Wednesday. The Progress 68 (68P) cargo craft will undock from the Pirs docking compartment Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. It will reenter Earth’s atmosphere April 25 for a fiery demise over the Pacific Ocean. The 68P has been attached to the station since Oct. 16.

The next cargo craft due to resupply the station is the SpaceX Dragon. After its launch April 2 at 4:30 p.m. Dragon will take a two-day flight to the station. The commercial cargo craft will be robotically captured and installed next Wednesday at 6 a.m. to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

Kanai and Tingle will be at the robotics controls inside the cupola when they capture Dragon with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The duo practiced the Dragon rendezvous and capture procedures today. The crew has also been configuring the orbital lab for the new science experiments Dragon is delivering next week.

Expedition 55 at Full Staff After New Trio Boards Station

Expedition 55 Crew Greeting Creremony
The newest Expedition 55 crew members (front row from left) Ricky Arnold, Oleg Artemyev and Drew Feustel gather in the Zvezda service module and speak to family and colleagues back on Earth. Behind them are (from left) Norishige Kanai, Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Scott Tingle. Credit: NASA TV

Three new Expedition 55 crew members were welcomed aboard the International Space Station today. The hatches between the two spacecraft opened at 5:48 p.m. EDT, marking the arrival of Expedition 55 Flight Engineers Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos.

The trio joined Scott Tingle of NASA, Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Momentarily, crew will speak to their family and friends from Baiknour in a welcoming ceremony that will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

New Crew Midway to Station Before Spacewalk and Cargo Ops

Soyuz MS-08 Launch
The Soyuz MS-08 rocket is pictured blasting off Wednesday carrying three Expedition 55-56 crew members to outer space.

Three new Expedition 55 crew members are set to begin their mission aboard the International Space Station when they dock to the Poisk module Friday at 3:41 p.m. EDT. Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold, Drew Feustel and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev are midway through their flight inside the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft that launched Wednesday at 1:44 p.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineers Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai will greet their new crewmates when the hatches to the new Soyuz spacecraft open Friday around 5:45 p.m. The current station crew has been living onboard the orbital complex since Dec. 19.

NASA TV will cover the rendezvous and docking activities live beginning Friday at 3 p.m. The hatch opening and welcome ceremony broadcast will start at 5 p.m.

As they wait for their new crewmates, Tingle and Kanai are getting a pair of U.S. spacesuits ready for next Thursday’s spacewalk to install new communications gear. Commander Shkaplerov is loading a Russian resupply ship with trash and obsolete gear ahead of its undocking on Wednesday.

New Crew Blasts Off to Join Station on Friday

The Soyuz Rocket Launches
The Soyuz MS-08 rocket launches on time with three new Expedition 55-56 crew members heading to their new home in space: Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz MS-08 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 1:44 p.m. EDT (11:44 p.m. Kazakhstan time). NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos are safely in orbit on their way to the International Space Station.

The trio will orbit Earth for approximately two days before docking to the space station’s Poisk module at 3:41 p.m. Friday, March 23. Coverage of docking will begin at 3 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed at 5 p.m. by coverage of the opening of hatches between the spacecraft and station.

The arrival Friday of Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev will restore the station’s crew complement to six as they join Scott Tingle of NASA, Expedition 55 Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The crew members will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

This crew continues the long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the space station. Highlights of upcoming investigations include: a new facility to test materials, coatings and components of other large experiments in the harsh environment of space; a study on the effects of microgravity on bone marrow and blood cells produced in bone marrow; and a newly-developed passive nutrient delivery system for the Veggie plant growth facility.

Arnold, a former educator, will continue NASA’s Year of Education on Station, an initiative to engage students and educators in human spaceflight and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Countdown Under Way as Crew Preps for Launch Today

The Expedition 55-56 crew
The Expedition 55-56 crew poses for a picture at the conclusion of a press conference, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 a the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are making final preparations for their journey to the International Space Station. At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos are set to launch in the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft at 1:44 p.m. EDT (11:44 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The three will join Expedition 55 commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

EDT              L-Hr/M/Sec    Event

10:39:25am   3:05              First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
10:44:25am   3:00              Crew walkout from 254 and board bus for the launch pad
10:49:25am   2:55              Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
11:09:25am    2:35              Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
12:19:25pm    2:25              Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
12:09:25pm   1:35              Descent module hardware tested
12:24:25pm    1:20              Hatch closed; leak checks begin
12:44:25pm    1:00              Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
12:45:00pm    :59:25         NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
12:59:25pm      :45              Pad service structure components lowered
1:00:25pm       :44              Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
1:05:00pm   :39:25           NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
1:07:25pm       :37              Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
1:10:25pm       :34              Emergency escape system armed
1:29:25pm       :15              Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
1:34:25pm       :10              Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
1:37:25pm       :07              Pre-launch operations complete
1:38:25pm       :06              Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
1:39:25pm       :05              Commander’s controls activated
1:40:25pm       :04              Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
1:41:25pm       :03              Propellant drainback
1:41:40pm       :02:45         Booster propellant tank pressurization
1:42:55pm       :01:30         Ground propellant feed terminated
1:43:25pm       :01:00         Vehicle to internal power
1:43:50pm       :00:35         First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
1:43:55pm       :00:30         Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
1:44:10pm       :00:15         Second umbilical tower separates
1:44:13pm       :00:12         Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
1:44:15pm       :00:10         Engine turbopumps at flight speed
1:44:20pm     :00:05          Engines at maximum thrust

1:44:25pm      :00:00         LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-08 TO THE ISS
(At the time of launch, the space station will be over the south Atlantic, east of Argentina; altitude of about 257 statute miles)

1:53:10pm        +8:45        THIRD STAGE SHUTDOWN; SOYUZ ORBITAL INSERTION

The next update will be after the crew safely reaches orbit.

After a two-day flight, the new crew members will dock to the station’s Poisk docking module at 3:41 p.m. Friday, March 25. About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and the new residents will begin their mission.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.