Crew Inside Rocket and Ready for Liftoff

The Expedition 52-53 crew members
The Expedition 52-53 crew members wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz MS-05 rocket for launch, Friday, July 28, 2017 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 11:41 a.m. EDT Friday (9:41 p.m. in Baikonur). Live launch coverage will begin at 10:45 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The three will join Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA. The Expedition 52 crew members will contribute to more than 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

7:11:12am    4:30              Crew suit up
7:36:12am    4:05              Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
8:11:12am    3:30              Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
8:36:12am    3:05              First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
8:41:12am    3:00              Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad
8:46:12am    2:55              Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
9:06:12am    2:35              Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
9:16:12am    2:25              Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
10:06:12am  1:35               Descent module hardware tested
10:21:12am  1:20               Hatch closed; leak checks begin
10:41:12am  1:00               Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
10:45:00am    :56:12         NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
10:56:12am    :45                Pad service structure components lowered
10:57:14am     :44               Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
11:00:00am     :41:12          NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
11:04:12am      :37               Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
11:07:12am      :34               Emergency escape system armed
11:26:12am      :15               Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
11:31:12am       :10               Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
11:34:12am       :07               Pre-launch operations complete
11:35:12am       :06               Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
11:36:12am       :05               Commander’s controls activated
11:37:07am      :04:05       The ISS flies directly over the Baikonur Cosmodrome
11:37:12am       :04               Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
11:38:12am       :03               Propellant drainback
11:38:27am       :02:45         Booster propellant tank pressurization
11:39:42am       :01:30         Ground propellant feed terminated
11:40:12am       :01:00         Vehicle to internal power
11:40:37am       :00:35         First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
11:40:42am       :00:30         Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
11:40:57am       :00:15         Second umbilical tower separates
11:41:00am       :00:12         Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
11:41:02am       :00:10         Engine turbopumps at flight speed
11:41:07am       :00:05         Engines at maximum thrust
11:41:12am      :00:00         LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-05 TO THE ISS
11:49:57am       +8:45         THIRD STAGE SHUTDOWN; ORBITAL INSERTION

The next update will be after the crew safely reaches orbit.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.


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Trio Ready to Begin Space Mission Lasting till Mid-December

Soyuz MS-05 Rocket
The Soyuz MS-05 rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

It is less than one day before three new International Space Station crew members start a 4-1/2 month mission in space. The trio from Russia, United States and Italy will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft Friday at 11:41 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli will dock to the Rassvet module having left Earth just six hours and 19 minutes earlier. After pressure checks the hatches will open and the crew will fly into their new home. They will join their Expedition 52 crewmates Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer.

Meanwhile, space research continues apace as scientists on the ground and the crew observe microgravity’s effects on humans, plants and animals. Research on the station also runs the gamut of physics, technology, earth observations and more, benefitting life on Earth and future crews in space.

All three crew members orbiting Earth today once again explored a lower body suit that has the potential to reverse the headward flow of body fluids in space. Whitson then studied new methods to manage liquid and gas mixtures on spacecraft life support systems. Fischer began setting up gear for an upcoming Japanese plant experiment.


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Two Days and Counting After Crew Rocket Rolls Out to Pad

The Soyuz MS-05 rocket
The Soyuz MS-05 rocket is vertically raised into launch position two days before its scheduled launch from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft that will launch three new crew members to the International Space Station has rolled out to its launch pad in Kazakhstan. The rocket was carted slowly by train from its processing facility to the pad and vertically raised to its launch position at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy will command the Soyuz when it launches Friday at 11:41 a.m. EDT. He will be flanked by flight engineers Randy Bresnik from NASA and Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency. The trio will take a six-hour, 19-minute ride from Earth to the station’s Rassvet module. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and docking activities live beginning at 10:45 a.m.

The three Expedition 52 crew members living on the space station now are moving right along with ongoing human research. Veteran astronaut Peggy Whitson continued exploring therapies that target only cancer cells. Flight Engineer Jack Fischer swabbed his mouth and body for a study tracking microbes in space. Station Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin worked life support maintenance and sampled the station’s air for a quality check.


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Russian Cargo Craft Departs Space Station

Progress
An unpiloted Russian Progress resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station.

The unpiloted Russian Progress 66 cargo craft departed the International Space Station today after a five-month stay. Loaded with trash and other items no longer needed by the Expedition 52 crew, the Progress automatically undocked from the Pirs Docking Compartment on the Earth-facing side of the Russian segment of the complex at 1:46 p.m. EDT. With its mission completed, the cargo craft, which first arrived at the complex on Feb. 24, used its engines to conduct a separation maneuver, allowing it to move to a safe distance away from the station.  

The Progress’ engines will execute a deorbit burn at 4:58 p.m. to enable it to drop out of orbit for its entry back to Earth where it will burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.  

The next Russian Progress resupply ship is scheduled to launch to the station in mid-October.


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In Orbit Today: Improving Longer-Duration Space Travel and Cancer Treatments

solar arrays
This angled image of space station solar arrays frames the Earth scene.

The Expedition 52 crew embarked on tasks Wednesday to further NASA’s eventual journey to Mars and aid researchers in understanding how to stimulate cancer-fighting drugs to target cancer cells—and cancer cells alone—in the human body.

The astronauts lent their opinions to a food questionnaire designed to explore if the current food available in the spaceflight food system would be acceptable for even longer-duration missions, like a Martian sojourn. Their input will help develop strategies to improve futuristic food systems in support of crew health and performance.

Of even greater magnitude to Earthlings approximately 240 miles below the orbiting laboratory is the work being performed with the Efficacy and Metabolism of Azonafide Antibody-Drug Conjugates in Microgravity (ADCs in Microgravity) investigation. The crew retrieved a BioCell Habitat, inoculation kits and ADC samples from a Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI), set up hardware inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) and inoculated the Multiwall BioCells using syringes. Later, the astronauts will repeat these steps with a second BioCell Habitat, which begins an 11-day experiment stretch. In the zero-g environment of space, cancer cells grow in spheroid structures that closely resemble how they form in the human body. This study may speed up the development of targeted therapies for cancer patients, increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment and while reducing unwanted side effects.

Expedition 52 is taking out the trash midday tomorrow when Russia’s Progress 66 (66P) uncrewed cargo craft departs the International Space Station for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean. The 66P is loaded with garbage and obsolete gear and will undock from the Pirs docking compartment Thursday at 1:46 p.m. EDT. The Russian resupply ship will orbit Earth for a few more hours before reentering Earth’s atmosphere harmlessly over the Pacific. NASA TV will not be covering the undocking activities.


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Full Day of Bone Loss Therapy and Life Support Work for Crew

Crew Members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer
Expeditin 52 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Jack Fischer are seen working inside the Zvezda service module.

A pair of Expedition 52 astronauts from NASA aboard the International Space Station today explored how microgravity causes bone loss in space. The commander from Roscosmos also worked on life support maintenance tasks throughout Wednesday.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer studied a new drug therapy to determine its potential to prevent bone loss. The duo worked inside the Destiny lab module and used a bone densitometer to measure bone minerals in mice living in the Rodent Research habitat. The new drug may slow or reverse bone loss in astronauts during spaceflight and possibly help patients on Earth suffering bone loss syndromes.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin was on the opposite side of the station today doing plumbing work and transferring water from the new Progress 67 cargo craft into the Zvezda service module. The veteran cosmonaut also replaced water hoses and worked on air purification gear.


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Crew Starts Human, Botany Studies Before Next Cargo Mission

The Progress 67 rocket rolls out Sunday to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The Expedition 52 crew of two NASA astronauts and one Roscosmos cosmonaut is in its second week aboard the International Space Station. Also, as one station resupply ship completed its mission in space on Sunday another rolled out to its pad for a launch this week.

Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson started Monday measuring her shoulders, back, chest and hips for the Body Measures experiment. Scientists are researching how living in space changes body shape and size which may influence the design of future crew suits.

Jack Fischer of NASA studied how plants sense light and grow in space for the Seedling Growth-3 experiment. He also worked on removing and replacing a bolt that jammed after the last SpaceX Dragon cargo craft left the station back in March. The maintenance work is being done ahead of the departure of the newest Dragon which arrived June 5. Dragon will remain attached to the Harmony module until July 2.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft deorbited into Earth’s atmosphere Sunday at 1:12 p.m. EST after its release from the station a week earlier. The same day, Russia’s Progress 67 (67P) cargo ship rolled out to its launch pad in Kazakhstan where it will liftoff Wednesday at 5:20 a.m. EDT. The 67P will dock Friday at 7:42 a.m. to the Zvezda service module’s aft port.


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Bone and Muscle Studies, Spacewalk Preps and New Crew Intro Today

Commander Peggy Whitson
Commander Peggy Whitson works on an experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox, a facility suited for working with and containing liquids, particles and hazardous materials.

The Expedition 51 crew reviewed Friday’s spacewalk today and researched how the human body adapts to microgravity. At the Johnson Space Center, three future International Space Station crew members introduced themselves live on NASA TV.

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer reviewed procedures for Friday morning’s spacewalk this morning. The duo will replace an avionics box that sends electricity and data to science experiments installed outside the space station. Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet will assist the spacewalkers from inside the station. This will be the 200th spacewalk at the station for assembly and maintenance, the ninth for Whitson and the first for Fischer.

Whitson also continued researching the differences in bone growth in space versus Earth. Pesquet then joined cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin for a muscle study using electrodes attached to their legs while exercising.

NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin talked about their upcoming Expedition 53-54 mission today from Houston. The trio’s mission is due to launch Sept. 13 and stay on orbit until March 2018.

Expedition 53-54 Crew Members
Future station crew members (from left) Joe Acaba, Alexander Misurkin and Mark Vande Hei introduced themselves at NASA’s Johnson Space Center today. They are due to launch to space in September.

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Station Boosts Orbit, Crew Studies Space Effects on Eyes

Expedition 51 Crew Meal Time
Expedition 51 crew members share a meal inside the Unity module. From left are Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer and Commander Peggy Whitson.

The International Space Station raised its orbit today to get ready for a June crew departure. The first of two orbital reboosts comes just a week after two new crew members arrived to begin their mission with Expedition 51.

Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet will return to Earth June 2 ending the Expedition 51 mission. Expedition 52 will begin and veteran cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin will stay behind with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer waiting for the next crew arrival on July 28.

The current orbiting crew of five Expedition 51 crew members continued more biomedical research and eye checks today. The crew underwent a series of ultrasound scans and eye tests to learn how living in space affects vision. The astronauts are subjects of ongoing studies to help NASA plan missions farther out in space for longer periods of time.

One symptom of living in space for long periods is the pressure that builds up behind astronauts’ eyes due to the upward flow of fluids. Doctors are seeking to counteract this flow after some astronauts have reported vision problems during and after their long-term missions.


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New Space Science and Supplies Arrive at Station Saturday Morning

 The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft
The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft was pictured Feb. 19, 2016, grappled by the Canadarm2 after being unberthed from the Unity module Earth-facing port.

An Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft carrying more than 7,600 pounds of supplies, science and research investigations is set to arrive to the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The uncrewed cargo ship launched at 11:11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 18 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to begin its four-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s robotic Canadarm2 to capture Cygnus at approximately 6:05 a.m. on Saturday, April 22. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. Installation coverage will resume at 7:30 a.m.

Coverage will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency’s website at: www.nasa.gov/live.

The mission is Orbital ATK’s seventh contracted commercial resupply services (CRS) mission, and its third launch atop an Atlas V rocket from Florida. Future missions under Orbital ATK’s CRS-1 contract with NASA are expected to resume from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Learn more about the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission by going to the mission home page at: http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list, please email heo-pao@lists.nasa.gov.