Eye Checks for Crew as Station Boosts Orbit

Astronaut Scott Kelly
ISS043E059259 (03/28/2015) — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (left) is happy to be aboard the International Space Station after the hatch opening of the Soyuz spacecraft Mar. 28, 2015.

Medical science and training took a significant portion of the Expedition 43 crew’s schedule Thursday. The newest three crew members are getting used to their new home on orbit. Finally, the International Space Station boosted its orbit.

Several crew members participated in eye checks for the Ocular Health study as scientists study how microgravity affects vision during long duration missions. The newest trio to join Expedition 43 trained to prepare for a medical emergency while also familiarizing themselves with station systems.

A docked ISS Progress 58 space freighter fired its engines boosting the space station’s orbit by eight-tenths of a mile. The reboost readies the station to receive the new ISS Progress 59 supply ship when it launches and docks April 28.

Station Boosts Orbit as New Soyuz Crew Awaits Launch

Soyuz TMA-16M Crew Members
201503150001hq (03/15/2015) — Taking a moment on Mar. 15, 2015 during their Soyuz spacecraft training to pose for a photograph in Kazakhstan is Expedition 43 NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and Russian Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, center, and Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The International Space Station raised its orbit on Wednesday evening, placing it in the correct orientation for the docking of a new Soyuz spacecraft and crew next week. Inside the station the multinational Expedition 43 crew stayed focused on long-term microgravity studies and the upkeep of their orbital laboratory.

The ISS Progress 58 spacecraft, docked at the aft end of the Zvezda service module, fired its engines Wednesday afternoon for four minutes, 18 seconds. The orbital boost readies the station for the arrival next Friday of the Soyuz TMA-16M, which will carry to the station Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko.

› Read more about the upcoming Soyuz launch

Meanwhile, Commander Terry Virts put on his high-flying plumber’s cap and replaced hardware on the Waste and Hygiene Compartment. He also participated in the Astro Palate study investigating how food affects the mood of crew members during a spaceflight.

› Read more about the Astro Palate study

After troubleshooting the BioLab earlier in week, Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti began the first of two runs of the TripleLux-B experiment inside the BioLab glovebox. TripleLux-B studies cellular mechanisms that cause impairment of immune functions in microgravity.

› Read more about the TripleLux-B experiment

Station Crew Captures 3-D Water Demonstration

Camera in Water Ball
Watch astronauts put a waterproof camera inside a ball of water in microgravity.

Astronauts on the International Space Station are the “focus” of some of the first 3-D camera footage posted to a new playlist of 3-D videos on the agency’s official YouTube channel.

Read more and watch the videos

The new gallery includes a tour of the space station and astronauts exploring water surface tension in microgravity with both the 3-D camera and a miniature HD camera in a waterproof case inside a volleyball-sized water bubble. Standard two-dimensional versions of both the tour video and the water surface tension video are also available.

Meanwhile, the homebound Expedition 40/41 trio of Soyuz Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst spent Thursday morning reviewing their Soyuz undocking and descent activities ahead of their Nov. 9 landing in Kazakhstan. Their orbiting Expedition 41/42 crewmates Flight Engineers Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova practiced emergency communication and coordination tasks.

› NASA TV coverage schedule of Expedition 41 landing activities

At the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, the Expedition 42/43 crew’s Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency are making final preparations for launch Nov. 23 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz spacecraft that will deliver them for a 5 ½ month mission on the International Space Station.

And for the latest roundup of information on the space station, watch the latest edition of Space to Ground.

> Watch  Space to Ground “Counting Down to Departure”

> View images of the Expedition 42 crew’s launch preparations on Flickr

› Read more about Expedition 41

› Read more about Expedition 42


Medical and Life Science Work as Station Crew Swap Approaches

CubeSat Deployer
ISS040-E-103506 (19 Aug. 2014) — In the grasp of the Japanese robotic arm, the CubeSat deployer is about to release a pair of NanoRacks CubeSat miniature satellites. The Planet Labs Dove satellites that were carried to the International Space Station aboard the Orbital Sciences Cygnus commercial cargo craft are being deployed between Aug. 19 and Aug. 25. The station’s Kibo laboratory is at top right. A blue and white part of Earth and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene.

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore worked throughout Tuesday inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory to remove a Cubesat deployer from the laboratory’s airlock. The deployer experienced problems in August, when some of the mini satellites did not deploy as expected and later deployed spontaneously. Wilmore’s Expedition 41/42 crewmates Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev worked throughout the day on maintenance and a variety of Russian physical and medical science experiments.

› Read more about the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer

The homebound Expedition 40/41 trio, consisting of Soyuz Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman, is counting down to its Nov. 9 departure inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft. They are packing gear to be returned home while they continue science and maintenance on the U.S. side of the International Space Station.

Back on Earth, the new Expedition 42/43 crew is getting ready for its launch to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 23. Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov will be joined by NASA astronaut Terry Virts and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard a Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft to begin a 5-1/2 month mission aboard the orbital laboratory.

› Read more about Expedition 41
› Read more about Expedition 42

Alexander Gerst
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst talks with members of the German Parliament and German space officials gathered in Berlin. Credit: NASA TV

Orbital Sciences Executing Contingency Procedures

The Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket lifted off to start its third resupply mission to the International Space Station, but suffered a catastrophic anomaly shortly after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. EDT.

The Orbital Sciences team is executing its contingency procedures, securing the site and data, including all telemetry from the Antares launch vehicle and Cygnus spacecraft.

Before launch the Orbital team was not tracking any issues.

No injuries have been reported, and Orbital reports that all personnel around the Wallops Flight Facility launch site have been accounted for.

NASA will continue to provide additional updates as it becomes available, as well as the earliest expected time for a news conference.