Space Manufacturing, Spacewalk Preps Wrap up Workweek

Expedition 67 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren checks airflow and water absorption capabilities on spacesuit components at the maintenance work area inside the International Space Station's Harmony module on May 20, 2022.
Expedition 67 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren checks airflow and water absorption capabilities on spacesuit components at the maintenance work area inside the International Space Station’s Harmony module on May 20, 2022.

Artificial intelligence, hearing tests, and a microscope setup topped the research agenda aboard the International Space Station on Friday. The seven Expedition 67 crew members also divided their day with ongoing spacewalk preparations, training video recording, and orbital plumbing duties.

The astronauts have been exploring space manufacturing techniques to take advantage of the weightless environment that could advance the production and output of Earth and space industries. The current Intelligent Glass Optics study investigates using artificial intelligence as a way to adapt Earth-bound manufacturing processes for microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) on Friday swapping samples of fiber optic cable for the experiment. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren of NASA then monitored an experiment run drawing fiber inside the MSG for the study potentially benefitting the communications, aerospace, medicine, and astronomy fields.

Watkins then partnered with NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines and filmed station training videos to familiarize future astronauts with life on orbit. Hines later performed pressure checks on a U.S. spacesuit jet pack as part of regularly scheduled maintenance. The jet pack, also known as SAFER (Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue), provides a spacewalker the ability to return to the station in the unlikely event they become untethered from their worksite.

A major characteristic of life on the space station is the continuously operating gear such as thermal, electronics, and life support systems. The Acoustic Diagnostics study is exploring whether station equipment noise levels and the microgravity environment may create possible adverse effects on astronaut hearing. Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Lindgren both participated in that study today wearing acoustic monitors that measure station sound levels. The acoustic data will help researchers understand the station’s sound environment and may inform countermeasures to protect crew hearing.

Lindgren also continued setting up a specialized microscope that uses spatial filtering techniques to observe cellular and tissue structures inside the Kibo laboratory module. Cristoforetti wrapped up her day working on fluid transfer tasks in the Harmony and Tranquility modules.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev continued preparing for a spacewalk that he and Cristoforetti will conduct to outfit the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. He joined Flight Engineer Denis Matveev gathering Orlan spacesuit components and other spacewalking gear ahead of the excursion planned for 10 a.m. EDT on July 21. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov explored advanced Earth photography techniques then spent the rest of the day on plumbing tasks and ventilation maintenance.


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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Nervous System Study and Spacewalk Preps Continue

Expedition 67 astronauts (clockwise from bottom) Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, pose for a fun portrait inside their individual crew quarters.
Expedition 67 astronauts (clockwise from bottom) Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, pose for a fun portrait inside their individual crew quarters.

The International Space Station continues hosting an array of advanced science experiments and spacewalk preparations. The seven Expedition 67 residents also ensured the ongoing operation of research gear and electronics equipment while auditing station office supplies.

The lack of an up and down reference in microgravity may affect the human nervous system potentially impacting how crew members interact with spacecraft instrumentation. NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines continued working on the GRIP experiment in the Columbus laboratory module on Thursday to study how weightlessness influences an astronaut’s ability to grip and manipulate objects. Watkins and Hines took turns conducting the investigation while lying flat on their backs as scientists monitored from the ground. The pair had performed research operations from a seated position earlier in the week.

Watkins then spent the rest of the day working on electronics gear and connections inside the Harmony module. Hines swapped air supply hoses ensuring the proper airflow inside the Quest airlock.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren began his morning in the Kibo laboratory module servicing a specialized microscope that uses spatial filtering techniques to observe cellular and tissue structures. Afterward, Lindgren moved on to a space manufacturing study observing a run of the Intelligent Glass Optics study that incorporates artificial intelligence into its methodology.

Two veteran station crew members, ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti and Roscosmos Commander Oleg Artemyev, resumed their preparations today for an upcoming spacewalk. The duo from Italy and Russia will exit the station Poisk airlock at 10 a.m. on June 21 and spend approximately seven hours continuing to outfit the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev inventoried station supplies, including printing paper, ink cartridges, and batteries, throughout the station’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov configured nanosatellites that will be deployed during the June 21 spacewalk.


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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Crew Works Space Biology, Preps for Next Spacewalk

Astronaut Jessica Watkins enjoys a personal size pizza during dinner time aboard the space station.
Astronaut Jessica Watkins enjoys a personal size pizza during dinner time aboard the space station.

The Expedition 67 crew continued exploring how humans and plants adapt in microgravity while testing robotic free-flyers on Wednesday. The orbital residents are also preparing for another spacewalk at the International Space Station to continue outfitting a new robotic arm.

NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines partnered together during the morning studying how living in space affects dexterous manipulation. The duo took turns during an hourlong session performing gripping and motion tasks while seated in a specialized chair inside the Columbus laboratory module. Observations may provide scientists a deeper understanding of the human nervous system and help engineers design intelligent spacecraft interfaces.

Afterward, Watkins checked on mizuna greens and radishes growing for the XROOTS space botany study demonstrating soilless agricultural methods, such as hydroponic and aeroponic techniques. Hines later activated a pair of toaster-sized Astrobee robotic free-flyers and watched while they navigated autonomously using smartphone technology inside the Kibo laboratory module.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren opened up the Cell Biology Experiment Facility and serviced components inside the biology research device equipped with an artificial gravity generating incubator. Lindgren then spent the afternoon documenting the amount of food stowed aboard the orbiting lab as part of a regularly scheduled audit.

The next spacewalk is expected to take place on July 21 beginning at 10 a.m. EDT with Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency). The pair spent Wednesday morning studying their spacewalk tasks, maneuvers, and safety procedures. Five-time spacewalker Artemyev will lead Cristoforetti on her first spacewalk to continue configuring the European robotic arm for operations during the planned seven-hour excursion.

Flight Engineer Denis Matveev assisted Artemyev with the spacewalk preparations during the afternoon collecting and inspecting tools planned for the upcoming excursion. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov spent his day working on assorted electronics gear and checking ventilation systems in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.


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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Crew Explores Artificial Intelligence, Human Nervous System on Tuesday

This long-duration photograph from the space station shows the Milky Way above the Earth's horizon with an aurora near the bottom right.
This long-duration photograph from the space station shows the Milky Way above the Earth’s horizon with an aurora near the bottom right.

Space physics and human research dominated the science agenda aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday. The Expedition 67 crew also reconfigured a U.S. airlock and tested a new 3-D printer.

The lack of gravity in space affects a wide variety of physics unlocking new phenomena that researchers study to improve life for humans on and off the Earth. One such study uses artificial intelligence to adapt complex glass manufacturing processes in microgravity possibly benefitting numerous Earth- and space-based industries. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren set up hardware for the Intelligent Glass Optics experiment for operations inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox on Tuesday afternoon. Observations from the investigation may advance professions such as communications, aerospace, medicine, and astronomy.

Lindgren also joined his fellow flight engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) reconfiguring the NanoRacks Bishop airlock on Tuesday. The trio of astronauts worked throughout the day reinstalling hardware and stowing cargo inside Bishop following its trash disposal and robotic maneuvers over the weekend. Ground controllers commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach the airlock from the Tranquility module to jettison a trash container on Saturday. The Canadarm2 then moved Bishop back to Tranquility where it was reattached shortly afterward.

Watkins started her day partnering with NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines for an investigation that explores how weightlessness affects dexterous manipulation. The duo took turns seated in a unique apparatus inside the Columbus laboratory module to help scientists understand how astronauts grip and manipulate objects in space. Insights may inform the design of intelligent spacecraft interfaces and provide a deeper understanding of the human nervous system.

The two flight engineers from Roscosmos, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, collected microbe samples from modules in the station’s Russian segment for analysis on Tuesday. Matveev also documented his meals and drinks for a study exploring space-caused bone loss. Station Commander Oleg Artemyev installed and tested a new 3-D printer inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.


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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Crew Works Multitude of Research Before Fourth of July Weekend

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti replaces centrifuge components inside the Columbus laboratory module's BioLab.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti replaces centrifuge components inside the Columbus laboratory module’s BioLab.

The seven Expedition 67 crew members are going into the weekend with a host of microgravity research and housekeeping activities. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts will also relax on Monday observing the Fourth of July U.S. holiday aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines participated in a robotics test on Friday. The duo practiced simulated robotics maneuvers on a computer for the Behavioral Core Measures space psychology study. The investigation may provide insights into behavioral health and performance issues crews may face separated from family and friends while on missions farther away from Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins set up acoustic monitors in the Kibo laboratory module, the Tranquility module, and the Zvezda service module on Friday. Mission controllers want to ensure station noise levels remain acceptable.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti started Friday checking samples for the Soft Matter Dynamics fluid physics study potentially impacting the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries among others. Cristoforetti also serviced combustion research hardware and installed new software to maintain operations and support ongoing science inside an EXPRESS rack.

In the Russian segment of the orbiting lab, Commander Oleg Artemyev had a hearing test then moved on and set up hardware to measure activity in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev studied ways future crew members might pilot spacecraft and robots on planetary missions. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov collected his blood and saliva samples for an experiment investigating how the immune system adapts to long-term spaceflight.

All seven space station crew members will spend Saturday on housekeeping activities such as disinfecting surfaces, vacuuming dust, and clearing vents for better airflow. Also on Saturday, the NanoRacks Bishop airlock will open up to the vacuum of space for the first time and jettison a trash container toward Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery, but safe disposal. The crew will then relax on Sunday and Monday enjoying a long Fourth of July weekend.

Thursday’s Research Explores Botany, Artificial Intelligence, and Immune System

Expedition 67 crew members are pictured enjoying pizza during dinner time aboard the space station in May of 2022.
Expedition 67 crew members are pictured enjoying pizza during dinner time aboard the space station in May of 2022.

The Expedition 67 crew members tended to plants and explored artificial intelligence aboard the International Space Station today. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts also split their day configuring a U.S. airlock and investigating how microgravity affects the human body.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines worked in the Columbus laboratory module on Thursday afternoon processing radish seeds germinating for the XROOTS space botany study. The investigation uses soilless techniques, such as hydroponics and aeroponics, to nourish and grow plants for producing crops on a larger scale for future space missions.

Hines also joined NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins configuring the NanoRacks Bishop airlock for its first trash disposal task this weekend. The trio prepared the airlock for its depressurization and closed its hatch in the Tranquility module after packing a trash container in Bishop on Wednesday. The container will be jettisoned outside Bishop towards Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery, but safe disposal on Saturday.

Today, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti set up the Microgravity Science Glovebox and serviced components for the Intelligent Glass Optics space physics study. The advanced experiment uses artificial intelligence to adapt Earth-bound manufacturing techniques for the space environment. Results may improve Earth- and space-based technologies such as communications, aerospace, and medicine.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts participated in a series of human research experiments today. Commander Oleg Artemyev attached sensors to himself to collect data about his cardiac activity while working in weightlessness. Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov collected their blood and saliva samples for analysis to understand how the stresses of spaceflight, including radiation exposure and changes in sleep patterns, affect the human immune system.

Crew Works Autonomous Medicine, Garbage Packing on Wednesday

Astronaut Bob Hines monitors an Astrobee robotic free-flyer using smartphone technology to autonomously navigate and maneuver inside the station.
Astronaut Bob Hines monitors an Astrobee robotic free-flyer using smartphone technology to autonomously navigate and maneuver inside the station.

Wednesday’s schedule on the International Space Station encompassed practicing complicated medical procedures in microgravity to preparing to take out the trash 260 miles above the Earth. The Expedition 67 crew members also continued investigating a wide variety of space phenomena to improve life for humans on Earth and in space.

Future astronauts will need to work independently of mission controllers as they travel beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.  As a result, NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines trained to diagnose and treat acute medical conditions without ground support today. Hines practiced ultrasound exams on Lindgren’s bladder and kidneys for the Autonomous Medical Officer Support demonstration, or AMOS. The study aims to help crews become more self-reliant and reduce mission risks as communication delays increase the farther a spacecraft ventures from Earth.

The orbiting lab’s four astronauts are also preparing to take out the trash this weekend requiring procedures more complicated than packing garbage on Earth. Astronauts Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) finished loading trash containers in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock today. They were assisted by Lindgren and Hines as they closed the hatch to Bishop and depressurized the airlock. The trash container will be jettisoned towards Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery, but safe disposal on Saturday.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos studied ways future crew members might pilot spacecraft or control robots on planetary missions for a long-running Russian investigation. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev continued configuring nanosatellites for a future deployment and worked inside the ISS Progress 80 resupply ship on cargo operations. Cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov spent his day on electronics and computer maintenance before studying international crew dynamics and collecting radiation readings.

NASA, SpaceX Target New Launch Date for Commercial Cargo Mission

The pressurized capsule of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship with its nose cone open is pictured as the vehicle departs the International Space Station on Jan. 23, 2022.
The pressurized capsule of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship with its nose cone open is pictured as the vehicle departs the International Space Station on Jan. 23, 2022.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than Thursday, July 14, for launch of the CRS-25 commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The new target launch date supports ongoing Dragon spacecraft inspections as well as repair and replacement of any components that could have degraded by exposure to mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) vapor found during testing in early June. In order to allow a more detailed off-vehicle inspection of the parachutes, the SpaceX team made the decision to replace the main parachutes on this spacecraft.

The new date also allows for launch of the uncrewed cargo mission for the earliest possible rendezvous opportunity with the International Space Station following the upcoming high-beta angle period when the sun angle with space station’s orbital plane causes problems with thermal and power generation at the microgravity laboratory in the planned docking attitude for visiting spacecraft.


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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Cygnus Leaves Station as Crew Maintains Research and Operations

Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti share a light moment during an interview with officials on Earth.
Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti share a light moment during an interview with officials on Earth.

The Expedition 67 crew said farewell to a U.S. cargo craft on Tuesday morning and is planning for the arrival of another resupply ship in mid-July. The seven International Space Station residents also split their day with a host of scientific and operational activities.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter completed its four-month cargo mission attached to the Unity module after the Canadarm2 robotic arm released it into Earth orbit at 7:07 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning. The trash-filled commercial cargo craft will descend into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up safely above the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday. Cygnus delivered over 8,300 pounds of science and supplies when it arrived for capture and installation to Unity on Feb. 21, 2022.

The next resupply mission to visit the station is targeted for launch no earlier than July 14. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft will be loaded with numerous new science experiments to investigate phenomena such as space-caused rapid aging, metabolic interactions in soil microbes, and cell-free production of proteins.

The station’s newest U.S. component, the NanoRacks Bishop airlock, was configured on Tuesday by NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines. The duo removed cargo stowed inside the airlock and replaced it with a trash container that will be deployed this weekend outside the airlock to burn up harmlessly in Earth’s atmosphere. Bishop was delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft on Dec. 6, 2020, and installed on the Tranquility module on Dec. 19.

Lindgren and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins also took turns conducting a test simulating robotics maneuvers for the Behavioral Core Measures space psychology study. Watkins then joined Hines as they continued to film station operation videos to train future crew members on the ground.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti swapped samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, an advanced research device that enables high-temperature thermophysics studies. Afterward, she conducted public affairs activities for ESA.

In the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev worked on electrical and computer systems. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev configured nanosatellites for an upcoming deployment and serviced life support hardware. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov filmed his portion of station activities then explored advanced Earth photography techniques.


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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Cygnus Completes Station Mission After Four Months

June 28, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom, and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.
June 28, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.

At 7:07 a.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft from the Canadarm2 robotic arm after earlier detaching Cygnus from the nadir port of the International Space Station’s Unity module. At the time of release, the station was flying about 260 miles over the Pacific Ocean.

The Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the space station more than three months after arriving at the microgravity laboratory to deliver about 8,300 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo for NASA.

Following a deorbit engine firing on Wednesday, June 29, Cygnus will begin a planned destructive re-entry, in which the spacecraft – filled with trash packed by the station crew – will safely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus arrived at the space station Feb. 21, following a launch on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the company’s 17th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA. Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft after the late NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers.

On Saturday, June 25, Cygnus completed its first limited reboost of the International Space Station. Cygnus’ gimbaled delta velocity engine was used to adjust the space station’s orbit through a reboost of the altitude of the space station. This Cygnus mission is the first to feature this enhanced capability as a standard service for NASA, following a test of the maneuver which was performed in 2018 during Cygnus’s ninth resupply mission.


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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