Orbital Trio Presses on With Year-Long Science and Dragon Preps

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly
ISS043E279114 (05/30/2015) — NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly works aboard the International Space Station on May 30, 2015 on a number of science experiments and maintenance of the stations equipment.

The three residents aboard the International Space Station conducted advanced microgravity science and trained for the arrival of the seventh SpaceX Dragon mission scheduled for the end of the month.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko partnered up for the Fine Motor Skills study, part of a suite of yearlong studies planned for the pair. That experiment explores how astronauts operate and repair interactive, touch-based and sensitive technologies in space. Kornienko later studied the possibility of using 3-D manuals, or virtual manuals, to improve training techniques on science hardware.

Kelly joined Commander Gennady Padalka in the afternoon for rendezvous training as they prepare for the next SpaceX Dragon launch scheduled for June 26. The duo will be in the cupola monitoring Dragon and waiting to capture it with the Canadarm2 when it arrives June 29.

Crew Enters Soyuz, Hatch Closed

Expedition 43 Says Goodbye
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly takes a final portrait of Expedition 43 crew members (clockwise from top) Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov before they enter their Soyuz spacecraft and close the hatches. Credit: NASA TV

At 3:04 a.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-15M spacecraft. Expedition 43 crew members Terry Virts of NASA, Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos are preparing to undock at 6:20 a.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 6 a.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 8:51 a.m. and will lead to a landing at 9:43 a.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 8:30 a.m.

Crew Gets a Breather Before SpaceX Departure

SpaceX Dragon CRS-6
ISS043E190604 (05/13/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21.

The USOS crewmembers worked a reduced day today as they prepare to sleep shift in preparation for SpaceX-6 departure on Thursday.

The crew performed a checkout of the Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS) UHF Communication Unit (CUCU) that the crew will use to communicate with the Dragon capsule while it is flying free in the vicinity of the station. They also continued loading the final cargo items onto Dragon which will return about 3,100 pounds of experiment samples and other hardware.

One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko took samples for the Fluid Shifts experiment, an investigation into the suspected cause of astronaut vision changes while in microgravity. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also performed eye scans on NASA astronaut Terry Virts for an astronaut vision study known as Ocular Health which tests microgravity-induced visual impairment, as well as changes believed to arise from elevated intracranial pressure, to characterize how living in microgravity can affect the visual, vascular and central nervous systems. The investigation also measures how long it takes for crew members to return to normal after they return to Earth.

Crew Studying Microgravity Effects on Life as SpaceX Preps for Launch

The huge Typhoon Maysak "Eye"
This close up of the huge Typhoon Maysak “eye” of the category 5 (hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale) was captured by astronauts on board the International Space Station Mar. 31, 2015.

More life science work took place Thursday aboard the International Space Station as scientists study the effects of living in space during a long term space mission. Back on Earth, SpaceX is counting down to a Monday launch of its Dragon space freighter.

More eye checks took place Thursday as the crew in the U.S. segment of the orbital lab participated in a series of week-long Ocular Health activities. The crew also conducted artery scans using an Ultrasound for the Cardio Ox inflammatory stress study. The space station residents are also getting ready for the Rodent Research experiment setting up gear inside the Destiny lab module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox.

The station cosmonauts participated in their array of Russian science and maintenance on their side of the orbital laboratory. The veteran cosmonaut trio explored the micro-vibrations the station experiences and tested new photography techniques for Earth observation studies.

Mission managers are finalizing preparations for the April 13 launch of the sixth SpaceX Dragon Commercial Resupply Services mission to the space station. SpaceX will perform a hot-fire test this weekend of its Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket for a two day trip to the station where it will be captured by the Canadarm2 and installed on the Harmony module.

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.

Communicating the Benefits of Space, Science and Technology

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From the earliest days of civilization, humans have always used art as a way to communicate, commemorate, and challenge. As civilization has evolved so has the sophistication of visual arts. From crude drawings on stone and primitive paper, to the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the magic of moving pictures and television, and now video recording capabilities that are unmatched.

The beauty of art is that it connects with the viewer in a way that the written word can’t. A single motion, a paint stroke, a symbol can embody an event, a generation, even an entire period of history. So as civilization currently sits on the cutting edge of technology development, how can humans use art to communicate this progress?

The Humans In Space Art Video challenge was designed to give college students and early career professionals an opportunity to answer this question. The video challenge invites students to submit a video no longer than 3 minutes that answers the question, how will space, science and technology benefit humanity? Video entries can incorporate all forms of creative communication (e.g. visual, musical, animation and dance). Entries must be submitted online by November 15, 2014.

The video challenge is an outreach effort sponsored by CASIS, NASA’s International Space Station Program and the Humans in Space Art program. The International Space Station (ISS) is one of humankind’s greatest engineering feats and embodies the technological advancement and innovation of human civilization. The ISS inspired this year’s contest theme and the challenge allows contestants to creatively capture their thoughts about how current/future research and technology development will benefit and advance humanity.

Currently, humans are living and working on the ISS. Thousands of hours have been dedicated to space research on the International Space Station with the purpose of gaining necessary insight for future space exploration initiatives as well as providing solutions and insights into Earth-based challenges.

CASIS, the nonprofit organization that manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the ISS, has arranged for the first place winner of the video challenge to receive a monetary award and as a grand prize, the winning video will also take a trip into orbit on the space station!

To learn more about the video challenge, visit: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/humansinspaceart/challenge/

 

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