Eye Check Day on Station, Dragon Gets Ready For Launch

The full moon
The full moon is pictured from the International Space Station.

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.

Station Boosts Orbit, Dragon Launch Slips a Day

Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson works on the Combustion Integrated Rack in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

A docked Russian cargo craft fired its engines today slightly raising the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbital boost sets up next month’s crew swap. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft also received a new target launch date while the crew gets ready for a spacewalk next week.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will return to Earth on Sept. 2 with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapping up their Expedition 52 mission. Fischer and Yurchikhin will each have lived 135 consecutive days in space while Whitson will have 289 days. The next crew, with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, launches Sept. 13 to begin a 167-day mission in space.

SpaceX announced a one-day launch slip of its Dragon cargo craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon is now targeted to launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. Fischer and astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are training for Dragon’s arrival and capture planned for Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for a spacewalk amidst the cargo mission and crew swap preparations. The experienced Russian spacewalkers, Yurchikhin with eight career spacewalks and Sergey Ryazanskiy with three, performed leak checks, installed batteries and sized up their Orlan spacesuits and ahead of their Aug. 17 spacewalk.


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Week Starts With Life Science and Spacewalk Preps

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli
Astronaut Paolo Nespoli is strapped into the Muscle Atrophy Resistive Exercise System for the Sarcolab muscle study.

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.

Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli continued observing how living in space affects their muscles. The duo used electrodes and an ultrasound device to measure leg muscle performance during an exercise session.

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.


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Astronauts Work Muscle Scans and Science Gear Upgrades

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer
Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer work on station systems inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

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.


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Astronauts Look at Ways to Prevent Space Headaches and Bone Loss

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli
Astronaut Paolo Nespoli checks out a science freezer inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

The crew today researched ways to alleviate headaches and reverse bone loss in space to improve mission performance. Meanwhile, the station’s three newest residents also checked out station emergency gear and systems.

Common ailments that afflict people on Earth such as headaches also affect astronauts in space impacting their mission activities. Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik are jotting down their experiences this week to help doctors understand space headaches. Observations may reduce their effects and improve performance during spaceflight and on Earth.

NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson are studying a new drug for its potential to slow or reverse bone loss in space. They looked at bones in mice today to help determine the efficacy of the new drug.  The lack of gravity causes osteoporosis-like symptoms weakening bones in space possibly impacting crews returning to Earth and experiencing gravity for the first time in months.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy joined his crewmates Nespoli and Bresnik this afternoon familiarizing themselves with the station’s emergency equipment. The new trio explored their new home in space taking note of safety gear locations and escape paths.


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Experienced Trio Brings Station Crew up to Full Speed

Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik
Astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Randy Bresnik are at work in their new home in space where they will live until mid-December.

Expedition 52 is now up to full speed with six crew members. The latest trio from the United States, Italy and Russia arrived Friday afternoon beginning a 4-1/2 month mission in space.

The new crew is familiarizing itself with International Space Station systems and getting used to life 250 miles above Earth’s surface. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik is starting his second space mission and spent time on Tuesday replacing networking hardware in the Japanese Experiment Module.

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency is on his third spaceflight. Nespoli took part in the Sarcolab-3 study using the Muscle Atrophy Research & Exercise System (MARES) chair in the Columbus module. The data collected for Sarcolab-3 will be used to assess microgravity’s impact on muscle loss in astronauts, focusing specifically on the calf muscle in the leg.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy begins his second mission aboard the station as a flight engineer. He last visited the orbital complex in 2013 with his Expedition 37-38 crewmates. Ryazanskiy conducted routine maintenance across the station’s Russian segment and assisted Nespoli during the Sarcolab-3 experiment session.


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Hatches Open, Station Crew Expands to Six

The Expedition 52 crew
The Expedition 52 crew expanded to six today. In the front row from left are the newest crew members Paolo Nespoli, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Randy Bresnik. In the back row are Peggy Whitson, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer. Credit: NASA TV

Three new crew members have arrived to the International Space Station. The hatches on the space station and Soyuz MS-05 opened at 7:57 p.m. EDT, marking the arrival to the orbiting laboratory for NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency).

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.

Momentarily, the crew will speak to their family and friends from Baikonur in a welcoming ceremony that will air live on NASA TV.

The crew will support  more than 250 experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth.

The Expedition 52/53 crew will spend more than four months together aboard the orbital complex before returning to Earth in December.

You can follow the crew’s activities and experiences in space on social media:

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik is posting to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Follow the experiences of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Connect with NASA astronaut Jack Fischer via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and research via @ISS_Research.

Follow Paolo Nespoli of ESA on Twitter, and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos is on Twitter and Facebook.


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New Crew Docks to Station

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft docked to the International Space Station at 5:54 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying over Germany.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA will welcome Soyuz crew members NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

Watch the hatch opening targeted for 7:40 p.m. and welcome ceremony live on NASA TV beginning at 7 p.m.: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For live 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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New Crew Blasts Off to Station

The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft with three Expedition 52-53 crew members blasts off on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz MS-05 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 11:41 a.m. EDT Friday, July 28 (9:41 p.m. in Baikonur). About four minutes prior to launch, the space station flew over the launch site and was flying about 250 miles above south central Russia, just over the northeast border of Kazakhstan, at the time of launch. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) are now safely in orbit.

The crew will orbit Earth four times en route to the spacecraft’s arrival and docking to the space station’s Rassvet module, at 6 p.m. Tune in at 5:15 p.m. to NASA Television or the agency’s website to watch the docking live.

Below is the docking timeline in EDT:

5:15 p.m.         NASA TV: Docking coverage begins

6:00 p.m.         Scheduled time for docking to the Rassvet module

7:00 p.m.         NASA TV: Hatch opening coverage begins

7:40 p.m.         Hatches scheduled to open

The Expedition 52 crew will conduct new science investigations arriving on SpaceX’s 12th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission targeted to launch in August. Investigations the crew will work on include a study developed by the Michael J. Fox Foundation of the pathology of Parkinson’s disease to aid in the development of therapies for patients on Earth. The crew will use the special nature of microgravity in a new lung tissue study to advance understanding of how stem cells work and pave the way for further use of the microgravity environment in stem cell research. Expedition astronauts also will assemble and deploy a microsatellite investigation seeking to validate the concept of using microsatellites in low-Earth orbit to support critical operations, such as providing lower-cost Earth imagery in time-sensitive situations such as tracking severe weather and detecting natural disasters.

For live 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.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

 

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.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/