Two NASA astronauts are getting ready to go on their mission’s third spacewalk on Friday. In the midst of those preparations, the Expedition 53 crew also worked on science gear exploring a wide variety of space phenomena.
Commander Randy Bresnik is preparing to go on the third spacewalk this month with NASA astronaut Joe Acaba. Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Mark Vande Hei will assist the spacewalking duo in and out of their spacesuits on Friday.
The spacewalkers will replace a camera light on the Canadarm2’s newly-installed Latching End Effector and install a high-definition camera on the starboard truss. Other tasks include the replacement of a fuse on Dextre’s payload platform and the removal of thermal insulation on two electrical spare parts housed on stowage platforms.
Bresnik started his day working on a specialized camera that photograph’s meteors entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Acaba finally wrapped up the day configuring a microscope inside the Fluids Integrated Rack.
Nespoli, from the European Space Agency, set up the new Mini-Exercise Device-2 (MED-2) for a workout session today. Researchers are exploring the MED-2 for its ability to provide effective workouts while maximizing space aboard a spacecraft.
Two astronauts are getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin Thursday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. This will be the first of three spacewalks taking place this month for maintenance at the International Space Station.
The first spacewalk will focus on the removal and replacement of one of the Canadarm2’s latching end effectors (LEE). The second and third spacewalks will concentrate on the lubrication of the LEE and the installation of a pair of external cameras. You can watch all three spacewalks live on NASA TV beginning at 6:30 a.m. here… https://www.nasa.gov/live
Ground controllers are remotely maneuvering the Canadarm2 to the correct worksite today to allow the spacewalkers access to its LEE. The three astronauts are also installing rechargeable batteries on their spacesuits and reviewing their tasks with specialists in Mission Control.
Dragon launched to the space station Aug. 14 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s twelfth commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA.
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NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA, along with Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, undocked from the International Space Station at 5:58 p.m. EDT to begin their voyage home. Whitson spent 288 days in space on this mission, and Fischer and Yurchikhin each completed 136 days in space.
The deborbit burn is targeted for 8:29 p.m., and will lead to a landing at 9:22 p.m. NASA Television coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 8 p.m.
At 2:41 p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Soyuz and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. Expedition 52 crewmates Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz at 5:58 p.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 5:30 p.m.
A pair of Expedition 52 astronauts checked out new, smaller exercise gear today. The crew also worked on a variety of human research while a new cosmic ray detector has begun scanning outer space.
The space station’s two newest astronauts, Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik, joined forces today to measure the effectiveness of the new Mini-Exercise Device-2 (MED2). The MED2 is smaller and less bulky than other space exercise equipment providing more habitability room on a spacecraft. The duo worked out on MED2 and took photographs to demonstrate its ability to provide motion and resistance during an exercise session.
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer scanned his leg artery with an ultrasound device after a short exercise during the afternoon. The Vascular Echo study is examining how blood vessels and the heart adapt to microgravity. Astronaut Peggy Whitson spent her afternoon swapping cell cultures inside the Advanced Space Experiment Processor.
The Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Investigation, or CREAM, is now observing cosmic rays coming from across the galaxy. CREAM was attached to the outside of the Kibo lab module on Tuesday after a handoff from the Canadian robotic arm to the Japanese robotic arm. CREAM was delivered aboard the SpaceX Dragon and will help determine the origin of the cosmic rays and measure their features across the energy spectrum.
Overnight, robotics controllers extracted a new astrophysics experiment from the trunk of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. The Canadarm2 will hand off the new astronomy gear to the Japanese robotic arm which will then install it outside the Kibo laboratory module.
Dubbed CREAM, short for Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Investigation, it will observe a variety of cosmic rays and measure their charges. The experiment is an extension of what started as high-altitude, long-duration balloon flights over Antarctica. The orbital data is expected to be several orders of magnitude greater than that collected in Earth’s atmosphere.
The six Expedition 52 crew members had a once-in-a-lifetime experience Monday as they witnessed the solar eclipse from space. The orbiting crewmates employed a multitude of cameras to photograph the eclipse. They captured stunning views of the moon’s shadow against the Earth with a high definition camcorder as the eclipse darkened a coast-to-coast swath of the United States.
The Expedition 52 crew members pulled out their medical hardware today for a variety of eye checks and other biomedical research. The station residents are also making space and packing up gear for next week’s cargo delivery aboard the SpaceX Dragon.
The crew each participated in a series of eye exams throughout Thursday working with optical coherence tomography (OCT) gear. OCT is a medical imaging technique that captures imagery of the retina using light waves. A pair of cosmonauts then peered into a fundoscope for a more detailed look at the eye’s interior. The regularly scheduled eye checks were conducted with real-time input from doctors on the ground.
SpaceX completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket today at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon cargo craft will be perched atop the Falcon 9 for a targeted launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT.
Once in space, Dragon will conduct a series of orbital maneuvers navigating its way to the station Wednesday morning. Finally, Dragon will reach its capture point ten meters away from the complex. From there, astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon. Next, ground controllers remotely guide Dragon still attached to the Canadarm2 and install it to the Harmony module.
The crew is clearing space on the International Space Station today and packing gear to stow on Dragon after it arrives next week. NASA TV begins its pre-launch coverage Sunday covering Dragon’s science payloads. Monday’s launch coverage begins at noon. NASA TV will also broadcast Dragon’s arrival Wednesday beginning at 5:30 a.m.
The fully staffed International Space Station stepped up its life science research today studying a host of space phenomena. Two cosmonauts are also preparing for the 202nd spacewalk at the station late next week.
Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer checked out a variety of rodent research gear today. Whitson is getting a biology facility ready for a new experiment to be delivered next week on the SpaceX Dragon. Fischer looked at mice to help researchers determine the effectiveness of a new drug that may slow or reverse muscle and bone loss in space.
The next spacewalk is targeted for Aug. 17. Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy are reviewing their external tasks and work areas for a spacewalk expected to last a little over six hours. They’ll perform science and maintenance tasks and deploy tiny satellites during their orbital excursion.
From leg muscle scans to observing materials burning at high temperatures, the Expedition 52 crew continued researching what happens when you live in space. The space residents also upgraded electronics gear and installed new science racks.
Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli are barely a week into their 4-1/2 month long mission and are already exploring what space is doing to their bodies. The astronauts took ultrasound scans of their legs today to assess the changes their leg muscles and tendons are undergoing. The data will later be compared to the condition of their muscles before and after their spaceflight mission.
Jack Fischer of NASA installed new electronics gear in a science rack to speed up the communications rate at which data is uploaded and downloaded from the research facility. Station veteran Peggy Whitson swapped out samples exposed to high temperatures inside a specialized furnace. She later installed a pair of NanoRacks research platforms in the Kibo laboratory module. The commercial science devices will support upcoming experiments being delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon mission.