Spacesuit and Science Work While Station Awaits Dragon Mission

Expedition 42 Crew Members
NASA astronaut Terry Virts (foreground) poses with his fellow Expedition 42 crew members behind him — (from left) Elena Serova, Alexander Samokutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti joined Commander Barry Wilmore on Monday reviewing procedures to replace a fan pump separator on a U.S. spacesuit. Earlier, Wilmore partnered up with NASA astronaut Terry Virts for the Body Measures experiment that studies changes to a crew member’s body shape while living in microgravity.

› Read more about Body Measures

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Elena Serova got together for a chemistry education experiment during the morning. Later, Serova joined Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev for Russian maintenance work.

The International Space Station is getting ready for the SpaceX-5 mission scheduled for liftoff Dec. 16. The Dragon commercial cargo craft will take a two day trip to the station before it is captured by the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Harmony node. Virts worked during the afternoon to activate a communications unit that will send commands to Dragon as it closes in on the space station next week.

› Read more about the SpaceX-5 mission

Expedition 42 Stays Busy as NASA Preps for Orion Launch

NASA Astronaut Terry Virts
iss042e016770 (Nov. 27, 2014) — Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Terry Virts works out on an exercise bicycle in the Destiny laboratory.

The six-member Expedition 42 crew aboard its orbital home and laboratory is conducting international science and advanced maintenance. Back on the ground, NASA is preparing for the launch of its new Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on its first test flight, the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) mission. The International Space Station is providing valuable experience and research that will help further future exploration missions on Orion.

The week-long servicing of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly continued Wednesday as astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts replaced filters and checked for leaks. The device removes humidity and carbon dioxide from the station’s environment.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was in Europe’s Columbus lab module cleaning the BioLab. The facility allows the observation of micro-organisms, plants and invertebrates and their adaptation to microgravity. The cosmonauts in the station’s Russian segment gathered in Japan’s Kibo lab module to record a televised event in between their regularly scheduled duties.

› Read more about the BioLab

At KSC, Orion will launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket Thursday at 7:05 a.m. EST for a two-orbit test mission taking it 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface. EFT-1 will last less than 4-1/2 hours and will end when Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean for recovery by NASA personnel.

› Get the Latest News on Orion’s Flight Test

More 3D Printing and CO2 Maintenance Work

Wilmore and Virts
Commander Barry Wilmore (back) and Flight Engineer Terry Virts are working on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in the Kibo laboratory. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts were back at work Tuesday for more maintenance on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly. The device removes humidity and carbon dioxide from the International Space Station’s environment.

Wilmore later removed and stowed a printed test object, or coupon, from the new 3D printer located in the Destiny lab’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti started the 3D print job earlier in the day.

› Read more about 3D Printing in Zero-G

Fellow cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova partnered up on routine communications maintenance work. They were later joined by their newest crewmate, Anton Shkaplerov, on a chemistry experiment designed to educate Russian students.

New Station Trio Trains for Emergencies

Samantha Cristoforetti
Italian astronaut and Expedition 42 crew member Samantha Cristoforetti prepares for 3D printing work inside the Destiny laboratory’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts worked Monday conducting intricate maintenance on a device that removes carbon dioxide from the International Space Station’s atmosphere. The duo later joined cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti for a review of emergency procedures and evacuation paths.

Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev spent the morning unloading cargo from the ISS Progress 57 resupply ship. During the afternoon, he worked maintenance in the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory.

Russia’s first female flight engineer on the space station, Elena Serova, updated antivirus software on laptop computers and cleaned fans and filters. She also worked on a variety of science experiments including studying blood circulation in microgravity and advanced space photography techniques.

Packed Day of Science before Thanksgiving on Orbit

Commander Barry Wilmore
Commander Barry Wilmore talks about what he’s grateful for, gives thanks to the military for their service and reveals what he and Expedition 42 crew are eating on Thanksgiving. Watch his video message. Credit: NASA TV…

The International Space Station is operating at full capacity as the six-member Expedition 42 crew ramps up new science experiments by setting up research hardware.

Commander Barry Wilmore partnered up with new Flight Engineer Terry Virts in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module setting up a nanosatellite deployer known as Cyclops. Wilmore then moved on to science freezer maintenance while Virts worked on the Aniso Tubule botany study and measured air velocity in Kibo.

› Read more about the Cyclops nanosatellite launcher
› Read more about Aniso Tubule

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on her first space mission set up gear for the Blind and Imagined experiment that observes visual and sensory changes in crew members on long-duration space missions. The three cosmonauts worked on a variety of Russian science experiments including the study of the cardiovascular system, radiation exposure in the station and plasma research.

› Read more about Blind and Imagined

The NASA astronauts on the orbital complex will have a light day on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will share a meal with the rest of their crewmates.

Kibo Laboratory Module
The Kibo laboratory module, where the Cyclops nanosatellite deployer is being prepared for service, is seen from a camera on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Expanded Station Crew Resumes Activities After Rest

Baryy Wilmore and Terry Virts
NASA astronauts Baryy Wilmore and Terry Virts talk to journalists from Nashville, Tenn. and Baltimore, Md. Credit: NASA TV

The International Space Station’s population stands at six after three new crew members arrived Sunday night. After a six hour ride that began at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineers Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti docked to the Rassvet module beginning a 5-1/2 month stay at the orbital laboratory.

Monday was a day of rest for all six Expedition 42 crew members. However, it was back to work Tuesday as the crew was scattered around the station to transfer cargo from the new Soyuz, conduct science and work maintenance.

Cristoforetti, Europe’s newest station astronaut, was in the Columbus laboratory module getting the European Physiology Module ready for upcoming installation work. Virts, worked inside Japan’s Kibo lab, getting a small satellite deployer ready for installation. Shkaplerov spent time on crew orientation and cargo transfers.

› Read more about the European Physiology Module
› Read more about the Small Satellite Orbital Deployer

Commander Barry Wilmore reviewed the new 3-D Printer payload. Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev was conducting diagnostic work inside the Zarya cargo module. Russia’s first female cosmonaut on the station, Elena Serova, worked on various maintenance tasks throughout the Russian segment.

› Read about 3D Printing in Zero-G

High-flying Turkey on Station Crew’s Thanksgiving Menu

The six International Space Station crew members, in orbit 260 miles above Earth, will enjoy a somewhat traditional Thanksgiving dinner but with a few tweaks.

While most Americans are roasting turkeys and emptying cranberry sauce out of cans, the station crew will be cutting open bags of freeze-dried, irradiated and thermostabilized foods.

Their menu will include traditional holiday fare with a space-food flair — irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized candied yams and freeze-dried green beans and mushrooms. The meal also will feature NASA’s own freeze-dried cornbread dressing — just add water. Dessert features thermostabilized cherry-blueberry cobbler.

The space station Expedition 42 crew is made up of Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA, Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA, Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of Russia’s Roscosmos and Italian Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency.

Station food generally resembles that, for the most part, flown in space since the inception of the Space Shuttle Program some 30 years ago. NASA is researching and developing ways to extend the shelf-life of food needed for deep space missions, such as those to Mars, and to minimize the volume of packaging. The agency also is using the International Space Station as a laboratory to learn how to grow plants, such as lettuce, in space.

Future crew members spending Thanksgiving in space may have one traditional staple, fresh sweet potatoes. The sweet potato may be one of the crops chosen for crews to grow on deep space missions. It provides an important energy source — carbohydrate — as well as beta-carotene.

The sweet potato is able to adapt to a controlled environment with artificial sunlight. It is highly adaptable to a variety of vine-training architectures. The main shoot tip, or the end of the main vine, is the only really sensitive part. It sends hormones throughout the plant that stimulate root development, which is important since it is the roots that become the sweet potatoes. The side shoots, if picked when young, are tender and can be eaten in salads, improving the plant’s usefulness.

Scientists believe most food items in the transit food system on future deep space missions will resemble those used on the station. Advanced processing and packaging methods will be needed to provide extended shelf lives and improved nutrition for the longer missions. Stored food and salad crops will be used in the early stages of planetary stays until permanent living bases are constructed.

New Trio Joins Expedition 42 During Crew Greeting Ceremony

Expediiton 42 Crew Greeting Ceremony
In the front row, from left are the newest Expedition 42 crew members Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts. In the back are Elena Serova, Commander Barry Wilmore and Alexander Samokutyaev. They are in the Zvezda service module for a traditional crew greeting ceremony with family and mission officials on the ground. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency joined their Expedition 42 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at midnight EST. Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.

Expedition 42 will continue to take advantage of the orbital lab’s unique microgravity environment and expand the scope of research. The crew will perform experiments that cover human research, biological and physical sciences, technology development and Earth observations as well as engage in educational activities. They are scheduled to greet a host of cargo vehicles during their mission, including a number of U.S. commercial resupply flights, two Russian Progress resupply missions and the departure of the final European ATV cargo spacecraft. The crew will conduct up to three U.S. spacewalks.

Wilmore, Samoukutyaev and Serova will return home in March 2015. At that time Virts will become commander for Expedition 43. Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti will return to Earth in May 2015.

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Watch Live Coverage of the Expedition 42 Crew Greeting

Expedition 42 Crew Portrait
ISS042-S-002 (9 July 2014) — Expedition 42 crew members take a break from training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to pose for a crew portrait. Pictured on the front row are NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore (left), commander; and Terry Virts, flight engineer. Pictured from the left (back row) are Russian cosmonauts Elena Serova, Alexander Samoukutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, all flight engineers. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Stafford

New Expedition 42 crew members Anton Shkaplerov, Terry Virts and are fixing to open the hatches to the International Space Station. Watch NASA TV coverage of their crew greeting with current station residents Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova….

New Expedition 42 Trio Arrives at Station

Expedition 42 Docks
The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft carrying a new Expedition 42 trio approaches the International Space Station shortly before docking. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz TMA-15M vehicle docked to the International Space Station at 9:49 p.m. EST, above the Pacific Ocean, approaching the coast of Ecuador.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will welcome Soyuz crew members Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened.

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony live beginning at 11 p.m.: