Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra (front center) swapped station command with Flight Engineer Jeff Williams (front left). Credit: NASA TV
At 9:20 a.m. EDT, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams assumed command of the International Space Station from astronaut Tim Kopra of NASA in a traditional Change of Command ceremony. Expedition 48 will officially begin under Williams’ command when the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Kopra, Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko undocks from the space station early Saturday morning.
Their return will mark the end of 186 days on board the station for the trio.
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Veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will command the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that will take him and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake back to Earth. The trio are due to land Saturday at 5:14 a.m. EDT in Kazakhstan completing 186 days in space. NASA TV will cover the undocking and landing activities beginning Friday at 10:15 p.m.
Before Expedition 47 says goodbye, Commander Tim Kopra will hand over the station command to Flight Engineer Jeff Williams. The traditional Change of Command ceremony will take place Friday at 9:15 a.m. and be televised live on NASA TV.
Expedition 48 will officially begin the moment the Soyuz spacecraft carrying the Expedition 47 crew undocks from the Rassvet module. Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will continue station operations awaiting a new trio of crew members due to launch July 7 and arrive two days later.
The Cygnus spacecraft is seen departing the station after its release from the Canadarm2 Tuesday morning.
A pair of Expedition 47 crew members tested the motion control system of the docked Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft. Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will ride the Soyuz back to Earth early Saturday morning. They will undock from the Rassvet module then land in Kazakhstan ending a 186-day mission in space.
The trio continued packing the Soyuz and training for Saturday morning’s descent. The crew will experience strong jolts, heaviness and labored breathing and speech as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and begin experiencing gravity.
After Cygnus departed safely away from the International Space Station on Tuesday scientists from NASA’s Glenn Research Center sparked a large fire inside the space freighter. The Saffire-1 experiment is exploring how fire behaves in microgravity so engineers can design safer spacecraft.
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams worked on two U.S. spacesuits ahead of a pair of spacewalks targeted for later this summer. He sampled the cooling loop water then scrubbed the cooling loops inside the spacesuits.
Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka continued transferring cargo in the Progress 63 resupply ship. His fellow cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin worked on the Plasma Kristall experiment exploring how micro-particles become highly charged and interact in plasmas.
The Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft departs the International Space Station after its release from the Canadarm2. Credit: NASA TV
Expedition 47 robotic arm operator Tim Kopra of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft at 9:30 a.m. EDT while the space station was flying above Paraguay. Earlier, ground controllers detached Cygnus from the station and maneuvered it into place for its departure.
After Cygnus is a safe distance away, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio will initiate the sequence for Saffire-1, and controllers at Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia, will activate the experiment. Cygnus will continue to orbit Earth for up to eight days as it transmits hi-resolution imagery and data from the Saffire experiment. Following complete data transmission, the Cygnus spacecraft will complete its destructive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on June 22. NASA TV will not provide a live broadcast of the Saffire experiment or the Cygnus deorbit burn and re-entry, but imagery from Saffire will be posted on NASA.gov as it becomes available.
The Cygnus resupply craft launched March 22 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for the company’s fifth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission.
The Cygnus spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station March 26, delivering almost 7,500 pounds of cargo and science investigations. Experiments delivered on Cygnus supported NASA and other research during Expeditions 47 and 48, including studies in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth, and also will help us on the journey to Mars. Investigations studied realistic fire scenarios on a space vehicle, enabled the first space-based observations of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere from space, explored how regolith behaves and moves in microgravity, tested a gecko-inspired adhesive gripping device that can stick on command in the harsh environment of space, and added a new 3-D printer in microgravity.
The Cygnus spacecraft is pictured arriving at the station March 26. The tip of the Canadarm2 that captured Cygnus moments later is at top right.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 9 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 14. Release from the space station’s Canadarm2 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
About five hours after departure, the Saffire-I experiment will take place onboard the uncrewed cargo craft. Saffire-I provides a new way to study a realistic fire on a spacecraft. This hasn’t been possible in the past because the risks for performing such studies on crewed spacecraft are too high. Instruments on the returning Cygnus will measure flame growth, oxygen use and more. Results could determine microgravity flammability limits for several spacecraft materials, help to validate NASA’s material selection criteria, and help scientists understand how microgravity and limited oxygen affect flame size. The investigation is crucial for the safety of current and future space missions.
The Cygnus spacecraft is seen moments before its capture March 26, 2016.
The Cygnus resupply ship from Orbital ATK has been packed and its hatches closed before Tuesday morning’s release. Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 when it releases Cygnus at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Live television coverage on NASA TV starts at 9 a.m.
A few hours after its release a spacecraft fire experiment, Saffire-1, will take place inside Cygnus to test how different materials burn in space. Finally, on June 22 Cygnus will deorbit and during its reentry another experiment, Re-entry Breakup Recorder, will record its breakup into Earth’s atmosphere.
On Saturday, another spacecraft will leave the space station and return home three Expedition 47 crew members. Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will command the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that will land him and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and British astronaut Tim Peake in Kazakhstan after 186 days in space. NASA TV coverage begins Friday at 10:15 p.m. The crew will undock Saturday at 1:52 a.m. and land at 5:15 a.m.
While the two spaceships are being prepared for departure, science and maintenance inside the orbital laboratory was ongoing. The crew set up the Cell Biology Experiment Facility in Japan’s Kibo lab module and documented the living conditions on the space station. The station residents also sampled for air and surface microbes and cleaned crew quarters.
Astronaut Tim Peake tries on the Sokol pressure suit he will wear inside the Soyuz spacecraft that will take him home June 18. Credit: @Astro_TimPeake
A pair of spaceships is getting ready to depart the International Space Station next week. The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft will be released from the Unity module June 14. Three Expedition 47 crew members will depart June 18 returning to Earth after 186 days in space.
Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm when it releases Cygnus at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Cygnus will orbit Earth for eight more days of scientific tests exploring how materials burn in space and the orbital dynamics of a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Kopra and Peake will then join crewmate Yuri Malenchenko for a ride home inside the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft on June 18. The moment the trio undocks from the Rassvet module, Expedition 48 will officially begin with Williams as commander staying behind with Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.
As always, a wide variety science continues on the International Space Station to improve life on Earth and benefit crew members in space. Peake researched the cause of accelerated skin aging in space and studied plant hormones. Kopra drew a blood sample for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis.
Skripochka researched the radiation the station and its crew are exposed to internally and externally. Ovchinin explored plasma physics while Malenchenko and Skripochka partnered up for cardiovascular health studies.
Astronauts Jeff Williams, Timothy Kopra and Timothy Peake are pictured in front of the hatch to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.
Expedition 47 is preparing the Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter for its June 14 departure from the International Space Station. The Canadarm2 robotic arm will maneuver towards Cygnus and grapple the cargo craft before unberthing it from the Unity module and releasing it next Tuesday.
The crew is reviewing gear that will be installed in Cygnus to record its fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere on June 22. When Cygnus begins its atmospheric demise the Re-entry Breakup Recorder will collect data during its breakup. Engineers will use the data to better understand the orbital dynamics of a destructive re-entry and design safer spacecraft.
British astronaut Tim Peake joined NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Tim Kopra for ultrasound scans today. The scans, along with biological samples and ground tests, will help doctors determine the risk of clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, in astronauts on long term space missions.
The three cosmonauts, Yuri Malenchenko, Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin, worked on their set of science experiments and maintenance tasks on the Russian side of the station. They continued exploring the vibrations the station experiences during spacecraft dockings, spacewalks and crew exercise sessions. They also researched new techniques to locate module pressure leaks as well as locate and photograph landmarks on Earth.
Astronaut Jeff Williams works inside the BEAM before closing its hatches. Credit: NASA TV
BEAM’s hatches have been closed completing crew operations for the month. Meanwhile, a pair of spaceships is also being packed for departure this month.
After three days of operations inside BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module has been outfitted with sensors and other hardware. The next crew entry into the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module is targeted for August for more checks. BEAM will be attached to the International Space Station for two years of performance and durability tests.
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus space freighter is due to be released from the Unity module June 14 having arrived March 26. The Canadarm2 will grapple and release Cygnus into space where it will remain in orbit for tests until June 22. Three Expedition 47 crew members are counting down to their departure June 18. They are packing the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that will return them to Earth after 186 days in space.
Today’s science activities included collecting air and breath samples for a bone marrow study. The crew also explored how astronauts adapt to detailed tasks requiring high concentration and also measured how lack of sleep in space affects cognitive performance.