Landing Delayed, Life Science and Dragon Packing for Expedition 43

Samantha Cristoforetti
ISS043E160082 (05/03/2015) — ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti enjoys her first drink from the new ISSpresso machine. The espresso device allows crews to make tea, coffee, broth, or other hot beverages they might enjoy.

The return to Earth for NASA’s Terry Virts, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov now is scheduled for early June. NASA and its international partners set the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) findings on the loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact date has not yet been established and will be announced in the coming weeks.

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The six-member Expedition 43 crew worked Tuesday on a wide variety of tasks. The International Space Station residents explored life sciences, trained for a robotics experiment, conducted maintenance and prepared for next week’s departure of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft.

Astronaut Scott Kelly worked on an experiment which observes how a crew member’s fine motor skills adapt over a six-month and a year-long mission in space. He then moved on to training for the Robotics Refueling Mission.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked on the Rodent Research experiment during the afternoon. Commander Terry Virts worked on cargo transfers to the Dragon space freighter which is getting ready for its May 21 departure and splashdown.

The three cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko, worked in the Russian segment. The trio cleaned dust filters, changed out a smoke detector and downloaded results from a microbial air sampling.

Crew Begins Week With Science and Samples For Dragon Return

Kelly captures image of storm clouds
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly captured this image of storm clouds that moved across the American Midwest on May 10, 2015.

The crew of Expedition 43 spent much of the day on Monday working on experiments that will be coming home on SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle later this month.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Terry Virts studied the effects of microgravity on living organisms for the Rodent Research experiment. They are looking at mice and how their body systems change in space. The results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti configured one of the station’s Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubators (MERLIN) for return on Dragon. She also transferred a number of other items into the unmanned cargo craft. Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station on May 21.

Crew Catches Its Breath After Busy Week

Typhoon Noul Over Pacific
Photo of Typhoon Noul from NASA astronaut Terry Virts while the storm churns over the Pacific

The crew was scheduled for a half-duty day today to catch their breath following a week of heavy maintenance and in advance of activities to come.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly completed the work they’ve been doing this week on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA) by reconnecting power, data and fluid lines to the unit. Ground controllers then performed a series of checkouts before the unit was powered back on. The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti focused on a mix of experiment work including the Skin-B study and completing her runs with the Triplelux-A experiment. Skin-B is seeking to better understand the process of skin aging, which is greatly accelerated in microgravity, which could provide insight into the aging process of similar bodily tissues. Triplelux-A is investigating immune suppression in space.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reported the Progress 59 cargo craft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:04 p.m. EDT on Thursday over the Pacific Ocean. Full Update

 

Progress 59 Update

ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) --- The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station's Pirs Docking Compartment at 4:43 p.m. (EDT) on July 25, 2013. The Progress 50 deorbited over the Pacific Ocean a few hours later for a fiery destruction. An ISS Progress 52 is set to replace the 50P when it launches at 4:45 p.m. on July 27 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) — The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship undocks from the International Space Station.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) reports the Progress 59 cargo craft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:04 p.m. EDT over the central Pacific Ocean.

The spacecraft was not carrying any supplies critical for the United States Operating Segment (USOS) of the station, and the break up and reenty of the Progress posed no threat to the ISS crew.   Both the Russian and USOS segments of the station continue to operate normally and are adequately supplied well beyond the next planned resupply flight.

Roscosmos statement: http://www.federalspace.ru/21474/

For further information on Progress, please contact Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency at +7 (495) 631-92-46 or press@roscosmos.ru

Crew Wraps Up Atmospheric Maintenance

Kelly and Virts Work on CDRA
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Terry Virts (right) are seen here in the Japanese Experiment Module working on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies.

Maintenance and experiment work continued on Thursday for the Expedition 43 crew.

NASA astronauts Terry Virt and Scott Kelly finished the work they’ve been doing on one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin. Virts also did some preparatory work on a payload rack for a cellular biology experiment scheduled to launch on the next SpaceX mission.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly also took time to collect a number of acoustic dosimeters which measure noise levels around the station.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti did some troubleshooting with the bone densitometer unit and prepared samples for the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-Low Gravity Phase Kinetics Platform (BCAT-KP) experiment. The BCAT-KP experiment aims to help materials scientists develop new consumer products with unique properties and longer shelf lives

Maintenance and Departure Preps Continue on Wednesday

Terry Virts Haircuts
NASA astronaut Terry Virts (center) shared this image after giving two of his Russian crew mates new zero-g haircuts.

Maintenance and experiment work continued on Wednesday for the Expedition 43 crew.

NASA astronaut Terry Virt spent the second consecutive day replacing components inside one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin. Virts also did some preparatory work on a payload rack for a cellular biology experiment scheduled to launch on the next SpaceX mission.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly participated in the Fine Motor Skills study and took some time out of his schedule to speak with the “Today Show” and his twin brother Mark Kelly.

Watch Scott Kelly talk to the “Today Show”

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued the Triplelux-A experiment which aims to gain a better understanding of immune suppression in spaceflight. She also Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov in a checkout of the Sokol launch and entry suits that she, Shkaplerov and Virts will wear when they return to Earth next week.

Maintenance and Departure Prep Today For Expedition 43

Kelly Cinco De Mayo
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared his Cinco De Mayo breakfast with followers on Twitter.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly spent the day replacing components inside one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued two experiments that are investigating how the body changes while in microgravity. The Triplelux-A experiment aims to gain a better understanding of immune suppression in spaceflight while the Osteo-4 study which is analyzing the effects of microgravity on the most common cell found in human bones. The results derived from this study could also have implications for patients on Earth in the treatment of bone disorders related to disuse or immobilization, as well as metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis.

Cristoforetti also joined Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov in a Soyuz descent training exercise as they prepare to return to Earth next week along with Virts.

Robotics, Skin Studies and Moon Imagery Kick Off Crew Week

NASA astronaut Terry Virts of Expedition 43 on the International Space Station checks the remote control Canadarm2 on Apr.26, 2015. The Canadarm2 is used to grapple arriving spacecraft and moving them to their docking ports.

Monday began a new week of science and maintenance work for the Expedition 43 crew.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly spent the day reviewing procedures and gathering equipment for an upcoming replacement activity with one of the station’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Assemblies (CDRA.) The CDRA system works to remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air, allowing for an environmentally safe crew cabin.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti participated in the Skin-B experiment which will improve our understanding of skin aging, which is greatly accelerated in space, while also providing insight into the aging process of other similar bodily tissues. She also took photos for the Moon imagery study.

Robotics controllers in Houston continued operations with the Robotic Refueling Mission-2 (RRM-2) payload. Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm,  to install the new task boards that will be used for the experiment. The objective of RRM-2 is to develop new technologies, tools and techniques that could eventually give satellite owners resources to diagnose problems on orbit and keep certain spacecraft instruments performing longer in space.

Progress 59 Update Apr. 30, 2015

Progress 50P undocking
ISS036-E-024930 (25 July 2013) — The unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 50 (50P) resupply ship seen shortly after undocking. Progress is an unmanned cargo craft used to resupply the International Space Station.

Attempts by Russian ground controllers to regain control of the Progress have been unsuccessful, and they have said they will not be able to regain propulsive control of it. As a result, the Progress currently is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere within the next two weeks. Russian ballistics specialists, working in conjunction with flight controllers in Mission Control Houston and ESA, are continuing to track the vehicle’s path and will provide updates on its anticipated reentry date. The United States Air Force Joint Functional Component Command for Space’s Joint Space Operations Center is also tracking Progress, performing conjunction analysis, and providing warning of any potential collisions in space to ensure spaceflight safety. The break up and reentry of the Progress poses no threat to the ISS crew.

Robotic Refueling and More Today on Station

Canadarm2 and Dextre
ISS041-E-049091 (30 Sept. 2014) — The International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM)

Station astronauts continued preparing for the next round of robotic refueling demonstrations while conducting various biomedical experiments and checkouts.

Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts worked with ground teams to prepare the airlock in the Japanese Experiment Module and extend the slide table carrying the new Robotic Refueling Mission-2 (RRM-2) hardware. Robotics controllers on the ground then used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the new task boards that will be used for the experiment. The objective of RRM-2 is to develop new technologies, tools and techniques that could eventually give satellite owners resources to diagnose problems on orbit and keep certain spacecraft instruments performing longer in space.

The crew is also engaging in the Cardio Ox experiment, the Space Aging study and the Body Measures experiment. More Rodent Research work took place, as the astronauts readied samples for return to Earth and checked out the rodents’ habitat.

Meanwhile, Russian ballistics specialists continue to work calculations to identify the most likely period for Progress 59’s entry back into the Earth’s atmosphere. The unmanned cargo craft experienced an unspecified problem shortly after separating from the third launch stage on April 28, resulting in the vehicle’s docking to the station being called off.