Final Spacewalk Preps as Life Science Work Ramps Up

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan waves
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan waves as he is photographed during the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on Nov. 15, 2019.

The Expedition 61 astronauts are in final preparations before Friday’s spacewalk to continue repairing the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector. The orbital residents also had time today to set up research hardware for upcoming space biology activities.

Spacewalkers Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano will exit the Quest airlock on Friday after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:50 a.m. EST. The duo will translate to the far side of the station’s starboard truss structure to continue the intricate work to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system. NASA TV begins its live coverage beginning at 5:30 a.m.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will assist the spacewalkers during the excursion from inside the station on Friday. Meir will be on robotics duty maneuvering the Canadarm2 robotic arm while Koch manages their spacesuits.

Even with spacewalk activities dominating the schedule aboard the orbiting lab, the station crew still had time to conduct advanced space research. Meir set up a 3-D bioprinter for a test run today before the device begins manufacturing complex organ-like tissues in space. Koch is readying a variety of life science gear for next week’s operations to study how microgravity affects systems at the cellular level for insights into Earth-bound ailments.

The cosmonauts in the Russian segment of the space station focused primarily on lab maintenance. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka replaced batteries and dust filters. The duo then packed the Progress 72 (72P) resupply ship with trash and repressurized the station with oxygen from the 72P.

Space Biology, Human Research in Middle of Spacewalk Preps

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano is pictured attached to the Canadarm2 robotic arm during the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

The Expedition 61 crew is gearing up for another complex spacewalk this Friday while juggling an array of advanced science duties today. Three new tiny satellites were also deployed from the International Space Station, continuing to expand the opportunities for space research and technology demonstrations.

Spacewalkers Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are finalizing their review of the intricate work necessary to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system. NASA astronaut Jessica Meir is brushing up on the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvers she will use to support the second AMS repair excursion. Live television coverage of this year’s 10th spacewalk begins Friday at 5:30 a.m. EST on NASA TV.

NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch spent the majority of her time today on human research and space biology studies. Koch attached sensors to herself and a worked out on an exercise cycle to measure her aerobic output. She then gathered hardware to begin studying microgravity’s impact on cells for the development of potential therapies for Earth and space-bound ailments.

Morgan installed a new incubator that creates artificial gravity to study cells and plants inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Meir serviced microbe samples for DNA sequencing before installing a science freezer inside Kibo’s Life Sciences Glovebox. Parmitano photographed CubeSats ejected into Earth orbit from Kibo’s satellite deployer this morning.

Radiation checks and cardiology research were the focus over in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab today. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov explored how weightlessness affects the heartbeat and blood flow after exploring advanced Earth photography techniques. Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka collected a variety of radiation detectors and downloaded measurements taken from the U.S. side of the space station.

Agriculture and Disease Studies Ahead of Next Spacewalk

NASA astronauts (from left ) Jessica Meir and Christina Koch
NASA astronauts (from left ) Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are at the robotics workstation controlling the Canadarm2 robotic arm to support the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Today’s biology research aboard the International Space Station is helping scientists improve the health of astronauts in space and people on Earth. The Expedition 61 crew is also deploying a set of tiny satellites on Wednesday while getting ready for another spacewalk on Friday.

Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA fed mice and watered plants today supporting a pair of long-running life science experiments. The rodent research study aims for cellular-level insights into diseases like cancer and diabetes to provide advanced therapies. The botany investigation explores the nutritional and morale-boosting benefits of growing fresh food in space.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan recorded themselves with a 3-D video camera setting up gear that will deploy three small satellites outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The deployer will eject the CubeSats in Earth orbit Wednesday morning to demonstrate technologies developed by several Asian nations.

Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) commander Luca Parmitano are reviewing the tasks they will perform during this Friday’s spacewalk. They are continuing the intricate thermal control system repairs of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the station’s cosmic particle detector. Meir joined the duo at the end of the day and practiced the Canadarm2 robotics maneuvers to necessary support the spacewalkers.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka set up communications gear ahead of next month’s arrival of a Russian resupply ship. The duo also worked on station plumbing tasks before setting atmospheric observation gear.

Advanced Tech, Biology Research in Between Spacewalks

This Wednesday, three small satellites will be deployed from the International Space Station. Here, a set of three CubeSats are ejected from the Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to a robotic arm outside the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory module on June 17, 2019. Image Credit: NASA
This Wednesday, three small satellites will be deployed from the International Space Station. Here, a set of three CubeSats are ejected from the Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to a robotic arm outside the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory module on June 17, 2019. Image Credit: NASA

The Expedition 61 crew is starting the workweek in between spacewalks and running a variety advanced space investigations. A set of small satellites is also being readied for deployment outside the International Space Station by midweek.

NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano are gearing up for another spacewalk set to begin on Friday at 7:05 a.m. EST. Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch spent an hour reviewing robotics procedures for Friday’s spacewalk. Meir then joined Parmitano and Morgan in the afternoon to study details supporting the second Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk.

Morgan started his day setting up small satellites inside a deployer that will be ejected outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module on Wednesday morning. Parmitano practiced robotic rover technology that future space crews could use to explore a planetary surface before landing humans.

Koch tested the operation of a 3D bioprinter today without using actual cells for its potential to manufacture complex human organ tissue shapes in space. She also fed lab mice being monitored for therapeutic insights into Earth-bound ailments.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka collaborated Monday and researched how the human digestion system is impacted by microgravity. The duo then reviewed Soyuz MS-15 crew ship systems before working on a variety of life support maintenance.

Spacewalkers Complete First Excursion to Repair Cosmic Particle Detector

Luca Parmitano of ESA attached to the Canadarm
Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) attached to the Canadarm during the first Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2019

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 1:18 p.m. EST. During the six hour and 39 minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully positioned materials, removed a debris cover on the AMS, and installed handrails in preparation for the subsequent spacewalks.

The duo also completed a number of get-ahead tasks originally planned for the second spacewalk, including the removal of the vertical support beam cover for the area that houses the eight stainless steel tubes that will be cut and spliced together on the upcoming spacewalks.

Today’s work clears the way for Parmitano and Morgan’s next spacewalk in the repair series Friday Nov. 22. The main focus of the second spacewalk will be the access, cut, and label the stainless steel tubes that attach the current cooling system to the AMS. The plan is to bypass the old thermal control system, attach a new one off the side of AMS during the third spacewalk, and then conduct leak checks.

In addition to the overall complexity of the instrument, astronauts have never before cut and reconnected fluid lines, like those that are part of the AMS thermal control system, during a spacewalk. To cut the cooling lines and complete other tasks in this series of spacewalks, scientists, engineers and astronauts on Earth have gone through several iterations of designing, prototyping, experimenting and validating many specialized tools in preparation for the complex work in space.

Space station crew members have conducted 222 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 3 hours and 8 minutes working outside the station. Parmitano has now conducted three spacewalks in his career and Morgan has now logged four spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

Veteran Spacewalkers Begin Complex Work to Repair Cosmic Particle Detector

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA Commander Luca Parmitano
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano work inside the Quest airlock to prepare for their space walk to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 6:39 a.m. EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours. Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will venture outside the International Space Station for the first in a series of complex spacewalks to replace a cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector.

Parmitano is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #11. Morgan is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #18.

During the first spacewalk in the series to repair the AMS, the astronauts will position materials, remove a debris cover on the AMS, and install handrails in preparation for the subsequent spacewalks.

AMS is a joint effort between NASA and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and is led by Principal Investigator Samuel Ting, a Nobel laureate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The AMS team includes some 600 physicists from 56 institutions in 16 countries from Europe, North America and Asia. AMS has been capturing high-energy cosmic rays to help researchers answer fundamental questions about the nature of antimatter, the unseen “dark matter” that makes up most of the mass in the universe, and the even-more-mysterious dark energy that is speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.

NASA TV Broadcasts Particle Detector Spacewalk Repairs on Friday

ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan.
ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan.

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at about 7 a.m. EST Friday, Nov. 15. NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 5:30 a.m.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

The two astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station for the first in a series of complex spacewalks to replace a cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector. The upgraded cooling system will support AMS through the lifetime of the space station.

Parmitano and Morgan have spent dozens of hours training specifically for the AMS repair spacewalks. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will help Parmitano and Morgan suit up for the spacewalks and will maneuver the Canadarm2 robotic arm to help position the spacewalkers around the AMS repair worksite.

These spacewalks are considered the most complex of their kind since the Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. The AMS originally was designed for a three-year mission and, unlike Hubble, was not designed to be serviced once in space. More than 20 unique tools were designed for the intricate repair work, which will include the cutting and splicing of eight cooling tubes to be connected to the new system, and reconnection of a myriad of power and data cables. In addition to the overall complexity, astronauts have never before cut and reconnected fluid lines, like those that are part of the cooling system, during a spacewalk.

Watch the briefings from this Tuesday for more detail:

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

Final Spacewalk Preps During Biology, Physics Studies

The six-member Expedition 61 crew
The six-member Expedition 61 crew, wearing t-shirts printed with their crew insignia, gathers for a playful portrait inside the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module. From left are, Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan, Oleg Skripochka, Jessica Meir, Christina Koch and Alexander Skvortsov and Commander Luca Parmitano.

The Expedition 61 crew is about to kick off a series of complex spacewalks on Friday to repair the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector. They will have one more spacewalk review today while continuing advanced biology research.

Spacewalkers Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan readied the Quest airlock, their U.S. spacesuits and tools for Friday’s excursion set to begin at 7:05 a.m. EST. The duo then joined Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch for a final procedures review. All four astronauts called down to Mission Control to discuss their readiness with spacewalk experts on the ground. Live NASA TV coverage begins at 5:30 a.m.

Meir and Koch spent the rest of Thursday on space research and lab upkeep. Meir conducted a test run of a 3-D bioprinter before the device will manufacture complex human organ tissue shapes. Koch measured airflow in the station then serviced microbe samples to extract and sequence their DNA.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka focused on their complement of science and maintenance in the station’s Russian segment. Skvortsov updated cargo inventory and explored plasma physics for insights into advanced spacecraft designs. Skripochka collected radiation readings and studied how a crew adapts to piloting in space.

Space Gardening Aboard Station Ahead of Spacewalks

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir dines on fresh Mizuna mustard greens
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir dines on fresh Mizuna mustard greens she harvested aboard the International Space Station.

The Expedition 61 crewmembers started taking turns “weighing in” Wednesday before a slew of space gardening and life science activities. The orbital residents are also nearing the start of a series of spacewalks to repair the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector.

Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion allows for the calculation of mass in space using a variant of the equation — force equals mass times acceleration. Each crewmate attached themselves to a device this morning that applies a known force to the subject. The resulting acceleration provides a value used to calculate an astronaut’s mass.

It is harvest time once again aboard the orbiting lab. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch cut leaves from Mizuna mustard greens grown inside ESA’s (European Space Agency) Columbus lab module. Half of the space crop is destined for crew tasting while the other half was stowed in science freezers for analysis on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan is getting ready for Friday’s spacewalk with ESA Commander Luca Parmitano. Morgan reviewed robotics activities planned for Friday’s excursion and checked spacewalking gear. The duo will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:05 a.m. EST inside the Quest airlock signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 5:30 a.m.

Parmitano focused on science today attaching electrodes to himself after his “weigh-in” to measure any changes to his body fat. Afterward, he collected noise level measurements in Russia’s Zarya module. He then set up samples in the U.S. Destiny lab module to explore how fluids behave in microgravity to improve medical conditions on Earth.

Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka handed over radiation detectors to Meir for deployment in the station’s U.S. segment. He later joined cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and recorded video to share historical space accomplishments with Russian audiences.

Crew Preps for Friday Spacewalk During Continuous Science

Astronauts (from left) Luca Parmitano, Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
Astronauts (from left) Luca Parmitano, Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are pictured at the robotics workstation inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.”

The International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector, in operation since 2011, will get its first repair job during a series of spacewalks set to start this Friday. The Expedition 61 crew is gearing up for the spacewalk while ensuring ongoing advanced space research.

Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will lead at least four excursions into the vacuum of space to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the commander as they cut and reconnect fluid lines on the AMS’ thermal control system. The AMS captures cosmic particles and measures their electrical charge in its search for antimatter and dark matter.

NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage Friday at 5:30 a.m. EST. Parmitano and Morgan will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:05 a.m. signifying the start of their spacewalk.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will support the duo on Friday. Meir will be in charge of the Canadarm2 robotic arm while Koch manages the U.S. spacesuits. All four astronauts gathered today and reviewed robotics procedures for the spacewalk repairs.

Life science and space physics also took up a portion of the crew’s schedule today. Koch checked out hardware on a 3-D bioprinter and watered plants as Meir fed lab mice. Morgan and Parmitano serviced biology and fluids research gear.

In the Russian segment of the station, a pair of cosmonauts packed a resupply ship for its Nov. 29 departure while working science and life support maintenance. Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov researched plasma crystals for an experiment that may inform future spacecraft designs. Oleg Skripochka checked the Zarya module’s power supply system before plumbing work and computer maintenance.