Station Nears Crew Departure and First Private Astronaut Mission

Astronaut Matthias Maurer is pictured during a spacewalk to install thermal gear and electronics components on the space station as it orbited 268 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
Astronaut Matthias Maurer is pictured during a spacewalk to install thermal gear and electronics components on the space station as it orbited 268 miles above the Pacific Ocean.

The Expedition 66 crew is turning its attention to the departure of three crew members late next week following the completion of a pair of spacewalks. The International Space Station is also gearing up to welcome the first private astronaut mission aboard a SpaceX Dragon vehicle in early April.

Two astronauts had medical checkups and a light duty day today following Wednesday’s spacewalk to install thermal gear and electronics components on the orbiting lab. Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer spent a few moments Thursday morning getting blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate and breathing checks. The duo spent six hours and 54 minutes on Wednesday working outside the orbital lab readying it for a third roll-out solar array and connecting cables to the Bartolomeo science platform on the Columbus laboratory module. They were joined Thursday afternoon by NASA astronauts Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn for a conference with spacewalk specialists on the ground.

The four astronauts also called down to mission controllers and discussed the upcoming private astronaut mission from Axiom currently targeted for launch no earlier than April 3. NASA, SpaceX, and Axiom mission managers will hold a media teleconference one hour after NASA’s Flight Readiness Review, or approximately Friday at 6 p.m. EDT following their flight readiness review. Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria will command the Axiom-1 mission with Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour vehicle.

In the meantime, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei is nearing his return to Earth with cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov on March 30. The trio will enter the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship, undock from the Rassvet module, and parachute to landing in Kazakhstan. Vande Hei will land with a NASA-record breaking 355 days in space surpassing former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s single spaceflight record of 340 days.

Shkaplerov continued packing the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship while Dubrov helped the station’s three newest crew members get familiar with space station systems. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev with first time space-flyers Sergey Korsakov and Denis Matveev are in the first week of six-and-a-half month mission that began on March 18 when they arrived aboard the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship.


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

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Astronauts Complete Spacewalk to Install Station Upgrades

Astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer are pictured replacing an external high-definition camera during a 6-hour 54-minute spacewalk today. Credit: NASA TV.
Astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer are pictured replacing an external high-definition camera during a 6-hour 54-minute spacewalk today. Credit: NASA TV.

Expedition 66 Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) concluded their spacewalk at 3:26 p.m. EDT after 6 hours and 54 minutes in preparation for upcoming solar array installation.

Maurer and Chari completed their major objective for today to install hoses on a Radiator Beam Valve Module that routes ammonia through the station’s heat-rejecting radiators to keep systems at the proper temperature. The crew members also installed a power and data cable on the Columbus module’s Bartolomeo science platform, replaced an external camera on the station’s truss, and conducted other upgrades to station hardware. The pair deferred a few secondary tasks, such as torque resets and cable routing, to a future spacewalk.

It was the 248th spacewalk in support of space station assembly, upgrades and maintenance, and was the second in Chari’s career and the first for Maurer. Chari and Maurer are in the midst of a planned six-month science mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.


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

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Astronauts Begin Spacewalk to Install Station Upgrades

Expedition 66 Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) began a spacewalk at 8:32 a.m. EDT to install hoses on a Radiator Beam Valve Module to support temperature regulation on the International Space Station.

Expedition 66 Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) began a spacewalk at 8:32 a.m. EDT to install hoses on a Radiator Beam Valve Module to support temperature regulation on the International Space Station.

Chari, designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), is wearing a suit with red stripes. Maurer, designated extravehicular crewmember 2 (EV 2), is in an unmarked suit. Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Maurer and Chari’s primary task will be to install thermal system and electronics components on the outside of the space station.


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

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NASA TV is Live as Two Astronauts Prep for Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer will exit the station for a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Spacewalkers Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer will exit the station for a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronaut Raja Chari and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer is now underway and also is available on the NASA app, the Space Station blog and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 66 are preparing to exit the International Space Station‘s Quest airlock for a spacewalk expected to begin about 8:50 a.m. EDT and last approximately six and a half hours.

Chari and Maurer will install hoses on a Radiator Beam Valve Module that routes ammonia through the station’s heat-rejecting radiators to keep systems at the proper temperature. The crew members will also install a power and data cable on the Columbus module’s Bartolomeo science platform, replace an external camera on the station’s truss, and conduct other upgrades to station hardware.

Chari will serve as extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1) and will wear a suit with red stripes. Maurer will serve as extravehicular crewmember 2 (EV 2) and will wear an unmarked suit. The spacewalk will be the second of Chari’s career and the first for Maurer. Astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron will assist the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits and monitor their external activities. Additionally, Barron and Marshburn will be on robotics duty commanding the Canadarm2 robotics arm to assist during the excursion.


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

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Station Go for Spacewalk Ahead of Upcoming Crew Departure

(From left) Astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer will exit the space station on Wednesday for a 6.5-hour maintenance spacewalk.
(From left) Astronauts Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer will exit the space station on Wednesday for a 6.5-hour maintenance spacewalk.

Mission managers have given the go for two astronauts to exit the International Space Station on Wednesday for a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. Meanwhile, three Expedition 66 crew members are getting ready for their return to Earth at the end of the month.

Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) began Tuesday morning with standard medical checkups the day before their spacewalk. The duo had an ear exam and measured heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, and temperature. Afterward, Chari and Maurer staged their U.S. spacesuits and readied their spacewalking tools inside the U.S. Quest airlock.

During the afternoon, the spacewalking pair were joined by NASA astronauts Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn for a procedures review with engineers on the ground. Barron and Marshburn will also be on robotics duty commanding the Canadarm2 robotics arm to assist the spacewalkers during Wednesday’s excursion. Chari and Maurer set their spacesuits to battery power at 8:50 a.m. EDT signifying the start of their spacewalk. Their main objective is to install thermal system and electronics components on the outside of the space station. Live NASA TV coverage begins at 7:30 a.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The next major event at the orbital lab will be on March 30 when NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei returns to Earth with Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov. The trio will undock from the Rassvet module inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan about three-and-a-half hours later. The two cosmonauts practiced Soyuz descent procedures and loaded cargo and personal items inside the vehicle. Vande Hei, who will land with a NASA-record breaking 355 continuous days in space, focused mainly on science today studying space archeology and glass optics.

The station’s three newest crew members are in their first full week on the orbiting lab and continue their station familiarization activities. Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, on his third space station mission, and first time space-flyers Sergey Korsakov and Denis Matveev will spend the next few days getting used to life on orbit.


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

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Expanded Station Crew Busy with Spacewalk Preps, Space Research

The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship (upper left) with three cosmonauts aboard approaches the space station for a docking on March 18.
The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship (upper left) with three cosmonauts aboard approaches the space station for a docking on March 18.

The International Space Station is hosting 10 individuals after the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship arrived Friday carrying three new crew members. As the new crewmates adjust to life on the station, the rest of the Expedition 66 crew is getting ready for a spacewalk and continuing microgravity research this week.

The station’s three newest crew members are getting used to life on orbit as they begin a six-and-a-half-month mission in Earth orbit. Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsakov, and Denis Matveev docked to the station’s Prichal module on Friday less than three-and-a-half hours after launching from Kazakhstan. Artemyev is starting his third mission at the orbiting lab having last visited in 2018 when he was an Expedition 55-56 Flight Engineer. Korsakov and Matveev are on their first space flight and will spend the next few days getting up to speed with station systems and safety procedures.

Two astronauts are getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin on Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. EDT. NASA astronaut Raja Chari and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer will spend about six-and-a-half hours installing new thermal system and electronics components on the station’s U.S. segment. The duo spent Monday organizing their spacewalk tools and attaching checklists to their U.S. spacesuit cuffs.

NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Kayla Barron were on science duty on Monday working on a pair of different experiments. Vande Hei explored how microbes grow in space to keeps crews healthy and spacecraft systems safe. Barron serviced samples for the Hicari crystal growth study that seeks to improve the development of solar cells and semiconductor-based electronics.

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn spent the day on a variety of orbital plumbing and life support maintenance tasks. He also joined Chari for a conference with mission controllers as they plan to return to Earth with Barron and Maurer aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance next month.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov continued evaluating a specialized suit, the lower body negative pressure suit, for its ability to counteract the effects of weightlessness on the human body. Doctors are studying the suit’s ability to offset space-caused head and eye pressure by drawing fluids toward the legs and feet while expanding veins and tissues.


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

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Soyuz Trio Docks to Station, NASA Astronaut Nears Departure

The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship with three cosmonauts aboard approaches the Prichal module for a docking in this view from the space station. Credit: NASA TV
The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship with three cosmonauts aboard approaches the Prichal module for a docking in this view from the space station. Credit: NASA TV

Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov on the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft docked to the International Space Station at 3:12 p.m. EDT while the station was traveling 260 miles over eastern Kazakhstan. Coverage of hatch opening will air at 5:15 p.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Once on station, the trio will join Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, as well as NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer.

On March 30, a Soyuz spacecraft will return as scheduled carrying NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov back to Earth. Upon their return, Vande Hei will hold the American record for the longest single human spaceflight mission of 355 days.


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

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Russian Trio Launches on Express Trip to Station

The Soyuz MS-21 rocket lifts off on time from Kazakhstan carrying three cosmonauts to the space station.
The Soyuz MS-21 rocket lifts off on time from Kazakhstan carrying three cosmonauts to the space station.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov are safely in orbit on the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft after launching at 11:55 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (8:55 p.m. Baikonur time).

The Soyuz will dock to the station’s Prichal module at 3:05 p.m. About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open.

NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 2:15 p.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app and the agency’s website.


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

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Russian Crew Launching on Soyuz Rocket Today

Soyuz MS-21 crew members (from left) Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev, and Denis Matveev pose for a portrait at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.
Soyuz MS-21 crew members (from left) Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev, and Denis Matveev pose for a portrait at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.

NASA TV coverage now is underway for the launch of a crewed Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov. The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:55 a.m. EDT (8:55 p.m. Baikonur time). Launch and docking activities will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

After a three-hour and 10-minute flight, the Soyuz will dock to the station’s Prichal module at 3:05 p.m. About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open.

Once on station, the trio will join Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, as well as NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer.

Coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Friday, March 18

11:15 a.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 11:55 a.m. launch

2:15 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 3:05 p.m. docking

5:15 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for hatch opening


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

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

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Station Gets Ready for New Crew and Next Spacewalk

Astronaut Tom Marshburn of NASA (center) assists NASA astronaut Raja Chari (from left) and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer during their U.S. spacesuit fit check.
Astronaut Tom Marshburn of NASA (center) assists NASA astronaut Raja Chari (from left) and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer during their U.S. spacesuit fit check.

A new trio awaits its launch to join the Expedition 66 crew on Friday while two astronauts are preparing for next week’s spacewalk. Human research rounded out the science schedule aboard the International Space Station on Thursday.

Three cosmonauts are counting down to their lift off aboard the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship at 11:55 a.m. EDT on Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev will lead first-time space-flyers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov on a three-hour and 10-minute ride to the Prichal module where they will dock beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission aboard the station. NASA TV, on the app and the website, will begin its live mission coverage of the crew launch and docking activities at 11:15 a.m. on Friday.

Meanwhile, a second spacewalk is scheduled for Wednesday, March 23, for more upgrades at the orbiting lab. Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) will set their spacesuits to battery power at 8:50 a.m. signifying the start of their spacewalk. The duo will spend about six-and-a-half-hours installing new thermal system and electronics components. NASA TV will begin its live spacewalk coverage at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The spacewalking pair was joined Thursday afternoon by NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn reviewing robotics procedures necessary to support the astronauts during next week’s external maintenance job. Chari and Maurer also spent Thursday organizing their spacewalking tools and resizing their U.S. spacesuits.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei worked inside the Kibo laboratory module setting up a small satellite deployer. In the afternoon, Vande Hei studied the effectiveness of detergents in microgravity then strapped sensors to himself to measure his performance during an exercise study.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov continued evaluating a specialized suit, the lower body negative pressure suit, for its ability to counteract the effects of weightlessness on the human body. Doctors are studying the suit’s ability to offset space-caused head and eye pressure by drawing fluids toward the legs and feet while expanding veins and tissues.