Station Ramps Up for Crew Swap and Spacewalk Preps

The Sun's light glints off the Atlantic Ocean in this photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited 262 miles above.
The Sun’s light glints off the Atlantic Ocean in this photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited 262 miles above.

NASA and SpaceX are preparing for a Commercial Crew swap taking place this month at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) astronauts are staying busy as two cosmonauts gear up for a pair of spacewalks outside the orbiting lab’s Russian segment.

Two Commercial Crew missions are getting ready to trade places on the orbiting lab by the end of April. The four SpaceX-Crew-4 astronauts are in quarantine counting down to liftoff aboard the Dragon Freedom crew ship from Florida at 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23. Commander Kjell Lindgren will lead Pilot Robert Hines and Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti on a ride to the station’s Harmony module where they will dock just over 24 hours later.

The new quartet will replace the SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts who are due to leave the station at the end of April inside the Dragon Endeavor crew ship. Commander Raja Chari, Pilot Tom Marshburn and Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer will splashdown off the coast of Florida after living and working nearly six months in space.

The four Ax-1 crew members continue to focus on their busy slate of space research ahead of their undocking planned for next week. Former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria partnered with Pilot Larry Connors and analyzed human cells for the Aging and Heart Health study. The duo also joined Mission Specialist Eytan Stibbe from Israel taking turns wearing a headset that monitors cognitive performance and brain activity in weightlessness. Mission Specialist Mark Pathy from Canada spent some time in the cupola photographing landmarks on Earth.

Two cosmonauts are ramping up their preparations for a pair of spacewalks set for April 18 and April 28. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev are reviewing procedures they will use to activate the European Robotic Arm outside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module during both excursions. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov spent the day helping the cosmonauts get ready for their spacewalks.

Science, Spacewalks Preps Underway as Crew-4 Targets Launch

Expedition 67 Commander Thomas Marshburn configures hardware for material flammability and fire safety experiment.
Expedition 67 Commander Thomas Marshburn configures hardware for material flammability and fire safety experiment.

It was a very busy day aboard the International Space Station as the 11-person crew focused on human research experiments and spacewalk preparations. Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew astronauts are in quarantine ahead of their planned to launch to the orbiting lab in less than two weeks.

Expedition 67 Commander Tom Marshburn of NASA began his day continuing to explore how living in space affects cellular aging and cardiac cells. Afterward, he moved on and assisted the four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts with their packed schedule of microgravity research. Flight Engineers Kayla Barron of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) collected and stowed their blood samples in the morning for an ongoing muscle biochemical properties study.

Next, Barron serviced a diverse array of research hardware throughout the day including the Life Science Glovebox, a mixed-reality headset, and finally a science freezer. Maurer set up acoustic monitoring hardware before powering up the CIMON mobile artificial intelligence companion for a technology demonstration.

NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari configured a commercial microscope that can be operated on the station and remotely from the ground to streamline imaging and analysis for a variety of space research. Chari then turned his attention to departure preparations for he and his SpaceX Crew-3 crewmates at the end of the month before wrapping up the day with orbital plumbing activities.

Two spacewalks with cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev are currently scheduled for April 18 and 28. Today, the duo was joined by fellow cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov and reviewed the procedures the spacewalkers will use during both excursions to ready the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for the European Robotic Arm (ERA).

The four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts had a full day of space science and commercial and private activities. Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria resumed his cancer research while Pilot Larry Connor continued testing a miniature antenna. Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy were back exploring brain dynamics and transmitting 3D images of humans to space.

The next Commercial Crew mission to the orbiting lab, SpaceX Crew-4, is now targeted to launch on April 23 at 5:26 a.m. EDT. The mission’s four astronauts, including Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Robert Hines, and Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti, have entered their quarantine period to ensure their health and protect the crew aboard the orbiting lab.


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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Busy Science Day Explores Human Research and Space Physics

The 11-person crew aboard the station is comprised of the seven-member Expedition 67 crew and the four-member Axiom Space crew.
The 11-person crew aboard the station is comprised of the seven-member Expedition 67 crew and the four-member Axiom Space crew.

The 11 astronauts and cosmonauts living aboard the International Space Station today worked on a multitude of science experiments that may improve life for humans on and off the Earth. The space research on the orbiting lab ran the gamut of biology, physics and Earth observations.

Expedition 67 Commander Tom Marshburn set up a glucometer and blood tubes to explore how living in weightlessness affects insulin resistance for the Vascular Aging study. He also continued helping the four Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) astronauts get up to speed with operations aboard the space station.

Flight Engineer Raja Chari of NASA configured Actiwatches that monitor light conditions and an astronaut’s activities to help doctors understand a crew member’s wake-sleep in space. NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron worked inside the Life Science Glovebox and set up the Fluidic Space Optics experiment that could impact the development of space telescopes. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer collected air samples for chemical analysis then set up blood collection hardware for the Myotones muscle biomechanics study.

Veteran astronaut and Ax-1 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria researched how space affects brain activity and increases the risk of cancer. Ax-1 Pilot Larry Connor also explored brain dynamics, then installed a miniature antenna demonstration, and held an educational event with students on Earth.

The two Ax-1 Mission Specialists also had a full schedule researching a variety of space phenomena throughout the orbiting lab on Tuesday. Israeli crew member Eytan Stibbe assisted Connor with the antenna work then focused on the space liquid behavior study that Barron had set up earlier. Mark Pathy from Canada photographed Earth landmarks from inside the cupola then explored holoportation while wearing an augmented reality headset.

The station’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos focused on their contingent of activities throughout the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev worked on cargo activities inside the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship, then joined first time space-flyer Sergey Korsakov and trained for operations of the European Robotic Arm. New cosmonaut Denis Matveev studied advanced Earth photography techniques and worked on maintenance activities.

11 Astronauts Busy with Research, Cargo Work and Spacewalk Preps

The 11-member crew aboard the station is composed of the seven-member Expediton 67 crew and the four-member Axiom Mission 1 crew.
The 11-member crew aboard the station is composed of the seven-member Expediton 67 crew and the four-member Axiom Mission 1 crew.

It was very busy on the International Space Station on Monday with the orbiting lab hosting 11 crew members including the four-member Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) crew. The private astronauts and the seven-member Expedition 67 crew were engaged in a multitude of tasks today such as packing a U.S. cargo ship, researching life science, and preparing for a pair of Russian spacewalks.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron swapped cargo in and out of the U.S. Cygnus space freighter today. The duo replenished the station’s galley with food from Cygnus while stowing trash and other discarded items inside the resupply ship ahead of its departure at the end of May. The astronauts were also joined by NASA Commander Tom Marshburn and ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer during some of the cargo work.

Maurer spent the majority of Monday setting up hardware for the Transparent Alloys physics study and the AstroPi computer that students can program from Earth to understand the space environment. Marshburn helped the four Ax-1 astronauts get up to speed with space station operations and emergency procedures.

Former NASA astronaut and Ax-1 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria is on his fifth space flight and his first as an Axiom Space astronaut. He partnered with Ax-1 Pilot Larry Connor today exploring how living in microgravity affects cellular aging and cardiac cells. The other two Ax-1 astronauts, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe, explored DNA sequencing, brain dynamics, the cardiovascular system, and tested holoportation, or transmitting mixed-reality, 360-degree images of humans to space.

Two cosmonauts continue gearing up for a pair of spacewalks later this month to configure the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for the European Robotic Arm (ERA). Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev had a fitness test, checked their Orlan spacesuits, and installed pressure tanks in the Poisk module as part of standard pre-spacewalk preparations. Russian Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov set up hardware to assist the spacewalkers during the ERA work outside Nauka.


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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Ax-1 Private Astronaut Mission Docks at Station

 The Moon is pictured (bottom left) as the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour approaches the station with four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts. Credit: NASA TV
The Moon is pictured (bottom left) as the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour approaches the station with four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts. Credit: NASA TV

After a journey of almost 21 hours, Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy arrived at the International Space Station at 8:29 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 9. Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the orbital complex while the spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above the central Atlantic Ocean.

Dragon Endeavour’s docking was delayed approximately 45 minutes as the space station teams, including mission controllers at NASA and SpaceX, worked to troubleshoot an issue preventing the crew members on station from receiving views from Dragon’s center line camera of the Harmony’s modules docking port. Mission teams worked to route video using a SpaceX ground station to the crew on the space station allowing Dragon to proceed with docking.

Following Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, NASA astronaut and station commander Tom Marshburn will pressurize the space in between the Dragon and station hatches and perform a leak check before opening the hatches to welcome the private astronaut crew. Coverage of the Ax-1 mission continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, the agency’s website.

Once aboard the station, the Axiom crew will be welcomed by Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsokov, and Denis Matveev.


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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Dragon Endeavour with Ax-1 Crew Approaches Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on the Ax-1 mission to the space station. Photo Credit: SpaceX
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on the Ax-1 mission to the space station. Photo Credit: SpaceX

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage for the arrival of the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) to the International Space Station. Ax-1 astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy are scheduled to dock about 7:45 a.m. Saturday, April 9, to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.

The NASA, Axiom Space, and SpaceX teams are now conducting integrated operations which begins during the spacecraft’s approach to the International Space Station. NASA maintains mission responsibility during integrated operations, which continues during the crew’s more than one week stay aboard the orbiting laboratory conducting science, education, and commercial activities, and concludes once Dragon exits the area of the space station.

When the Axiom Space Mission 1 (Ax-1) arrives to the International Space Station, it will be the first mission with an entirely private crew to arrive at the orbiting laboratory. It represents both a culmination of NASA’s efforts to foster a commercial market in low-Earth orbit and a beginning of a new era of space exploration that enables more people to fly on more kinds of missions.

The welcome ceremony is expected to start shortly after the Dragon Endeavour hatch opens at about 9:30 a.m. Live mission coverage will end with the conclusion of the ceremony.

The first all private astronaut mission lifted off at 11:17 a.m. EDT Friday, April 8, on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


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 Crew Preps for Spacewalks and Ax-1 Mission

An orbital sunrise is pictured from the space station beaming across Earth's horizon revealing the silhouetted clouds above the South China Sea.
An orbital sunrise is pictured from the space station beaming across Earth’s horizon revealing the silhouetted clouds above the South China Sea.

The seven-member Expedition 67 crew is gearing up for a pair of spacewalks scheduled for later this month while ensuring the International Space Station orbits Earth in tip-top shape. Meanwhile, the first private astronaut mission is less than one day from launching toward the orbital lab.

NASA astronaut Raja Chari is helping two cosmonauts get ready for two spacewalks planned for April to outfit the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Chari shared U.S. spacesuit components including helmet lights and cameras to Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev as they organized their spacewalk tools and configured their Orlan spacesuits. The Russian duo is preparing to exit the space station toward the end of the month to outfit Nauka for the station’s third robotic arm, the European robotic arm.

Artemyev and Matveev started the day with pre-spacewalk muscle examinations before checking their spacesuits located in the Poisk module. The duo then took turns during the afternoon exploring how crew members might pilot spacecraft and robots on future planetary missions.

Station Commander Tom Marshburn and Flight Engineer Kayla Barron, both from NASA, joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer checking water containers in the Tranquility module and the Permanent multipurpose module. Marshburn also worked on an experiment demonstrating advanced ways to keep U.S. spacesuits cool while Maurer and Barron checked components on the station’s advanced resistive exercise device.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on transferring water from the ISS Progress 80 cargo craft into the station. The first time space-flyer also contributed to a study exploring how international crews and mission controllers interact on Earth and in space.

The first private astronaut mission from Axiom Space is on track to launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday at 11:17 a.m. Ax-1 Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, along with Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, would arrive at the space station on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. docking to the Harmony module’s space-facing port to begin their stay aboard the orbital lab.


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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Private Astronauts Near Launch as Crew Works Science, Spacewalks on Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour atop stands at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour atop stands at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX

The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour sitting atop the Falcon 9 rocket has rolled out to launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Endeavour is counting down to a launch this weekend of the first private astronaut mission from Axiom Space to the International Space Station.

The Axiom Space-1 (Ax-1) crew is due to launch aboard Endeavour on Friday at 11:17 a.m. EDT. The Expedition 67 crew will welcome the Ax-1 crew when the hatches open from Endeavour to the station on Saturday around 9:30 a.m. Ax-1 Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, along with Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, will live and work aboard the station for nine days performing contracted science experiments and commercial projects. At the end of their mission, they will undock inside Endeavour, reenter Earth’s atmosphere, and parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Meanwhile, the station’s seven residents continued researching psychology, combustion, and robotics aboard the orbiting lab on Wednesday. The orbital crew is also gearing up for a pair of spacewalks at the end of the month.

NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari participated in a robotics test to evaluate his behavioral health and performance. Results may show how an astronaut could perform when landing on Mars and may also inform the design of future spacecraft and space habitats. NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron took acoustic measurements of the station’s habitable areas then donned a specialized radiation vest testing it for fit and comfort while working.

Commander Tom Marshburn opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and configured the Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction study to investigate material flammability and ways to improve fire safety in space. Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) turned on an Astrobee robotic free-flyer and tested its ability to identify cargo using a radio frequency identification reader, which is similar to bar codes but uses wireless communication without needing a line of sight.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev continued getting their Orlan spacesuits and tools ready for a pair of spacewalks later this month to outfit the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov explored future spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques then worked on Russian life support and electrical systems.


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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Blood Vessels, Vital Signs and Psychology Studies Amidst Spacewalk Preps

The ten-member Expedition 66 crew poses for a portrait aboard the International Space Station in March of 2022.
The ten-member Expedition 66 crew poses for a portrait aboard the International Space Station in March of 2022.

Human research and space physics comprised the majority of the science schedule aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday. The Expedition 67 crew members also worked on U.S. and Russian cargo ships while preparing for two spacewalks.

Vein and artery scans topped the day for Commander Tom Marshburn of NASA as he attached sensors to himself and operated an ultrasound scan to observe how microgravity is affecting his blood vessels and heart. Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) turned on the Bio-Monitor and connected it to a vest he wore that measured and recorded his vital signs while he was going about his daily activities aboard the station.

Maurer also joined NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron and took turns swapping out research furnaces inside the Materials Science Laboratory rack located in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Barron then took a robotics test as part of a monthly psychological assessment to understand how living in space affects a crew member’s behavior and performance.

NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev worked on cargo transfers in their respective cargo ships. Chari organized cargo inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship after a morning of replacing components inside an oxygen generator. Artemyev updated the Russian inventory management system and collected items for disposal inside the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship.

Veteran cosmonaut Artemyev is also getting for the fourth spacewalk of his career currently targeted for April 18. He and first-time space-flyer Denis Matveev are collecting their spacewalk tools and configuring the Poisk module where they will exit in their Orlan spacesuits in less than two weeks. The duo is reviewing the procedures necessary to prepare the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for Europe’s first station robotic arm. Cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov spent the day servicing air conditioning gear in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment.


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 Waits for Private Astronauts during Science and Spacewalk Preps

Japan's Kibo laboratory module is pictured as the space station orbited above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America.
Japan’s Kibo laboratory module is pictured as the space station orbited above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America.

The seven-member Expedition 67 crew will wait an extra day to greet the first private astronauts who are due to launch this weekend to the International Space Station. In the meantime, the orbital residents focused on human research and physics today while gearing up for a pair of spacewalks later this month.

The first private astronaut mission, Axiom Space-1 (Ax-1), is now scheduled to launch no earlier than Friday at 11:17 a.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour, carrying Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, would dock Saturday at 6:45 a.m. to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, will begin its live launch broadcast at 10 a.m.

The four astronauts and three cosmonauts living in space continued their activities today supporting ongoing space science and maintaining space station operations. The crew juggled a variety of microgravity investigations, packed a U.S. cargo ship, and reviewed procedures for two spacewalks to outfit a new Russian module.

NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron opened up the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace on Monday and swapped samples inside the research device that studies thermophysical properties of high temperature materials. Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) imaged his veins and arteries using sensors and an ultrasound device to examine the changes to blood vessels and the heart that take place in weightlessness.

Station Commander Tom Marshburn and Flight Engineer Raja Chari, both from NASA, spent some time in the Cygnus space freighter transferring cargo. Marshburn then updated emergency procedures ahead of the Ax-1 mission and the upcoming SpaceX Crew-3/Crew-4 crew swap. Chari serviced science freezers, checked components on an oxygen generator, then inspected the COLBERT treadmill.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev are getting ready for two spacewalks currently targeted for April 18 and 28. The duo is reviewing procedures to exit the Poisk module in their Orlan spacesuits and prepare Russia’s Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for the European Robotic Arm. Cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov set up the EarthKAM experiment in the Harmony module to allow students on Earth to program the camera and photograph landmarks on the ground.


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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