Eye Checks for Crew as Station Boosts Orbit

Astronaut Scott Kelly
ISS043E059259 (03/28/2015) — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (left) is happy to be aboard the International Space Station after the hatch opening of the Soyuz spacecraft Mar. 28, 2015.

Medical science and training took a significant portion of the Expedition 43 crew’s schedule Thursday. The newest three crew members are getting used to their new home on orbit. Finally, the International Space Station boosted its orbit.

Several crew members participated in eye checks for the Ocular Health study as scientists study how microgravity affects vision during long duration missions. The newest trio to join Expedition 43 trained to prepare for a medical emergency while also familiarizing themselves with station systems.

A docked ISS Progress 58 space freighter fired its engines boosting the space station’s orbit by eight-tenths of a mile. The reboost readies the station to receive the new ISS Progress 59 supply ship when it launches and docks April 28.

SpaceX Targets April 13 Dragon Launch

The SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft approaches the International Space Station on Sept. 23, 2014 for grapple and berthing.

SpaceX is targeting Monday, April 13 to launch the next commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is targeted for approximately 4:33 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m.

A Monday launch will result in the Dragon spacecraft arriving at the space station Wednesday, April 15. Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 7:14 a.m. Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA will support Cristoforetti as they operate from the station’s cupola. NASA TV coverage of grapple will begin at 5 a.m. Coverage of Dragon’s installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 9:15 a.m.

If the launch does not occur on Monday, the next launch opportunity would be at approximately 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 14.

This is the sixth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission and the seventh trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the station. Dragon is filled with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 43 and 44. After about five weeks at the space station, Dragon will return to Earth filled with cargo including crew supplies, hardware and computer resources, science experiments, and space station hardware.

 

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Kelly Twins Study Underway as Crew Preps for Dragon Launch

One-Year Crew Members
One-Year crew members Scott Kelly (left) and Mikhail Kornienko conduct an interview from inside the Japanese Kibo lab module. Credit: NASA

The three newest Expedition 43 crew members joined Commander Terry Virts for emergency hardware familiarization Tuesday. Later, new cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly got together for communication training with ground controllers while wearing emergency masks. The trio also worked throughout the day on station orientation and familiarization activities.

Kelly is beginning his One-Year mission so doctors can learn how the human body adapts to long-term space missions. Doctors are comparing his body with his twin brother former astronaut Mark Kelly for the Twins study and will analyze biological samples from the duo during the mission.

Meanwhile, Expedition 43 will welcome its first space freighter April 12 after SpaceX launches its sixth Dragon mission for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract April 10. Virts began prepacking gear that will be returned on Dragon May 21.

#YearInSpace Crew Enters Station Joining Expedition 43

Expedition 43 in the Zvezda service module
Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka joined their Expedition 43 crewmates Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti in the Zvezda service module for a crew greeting ceremony.

Kelly and Kornienko will spend about a year on the space station to better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. Data from the one-year mission will be used to determine whether there are ways to further reduce the risks on future long-duration missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars.

The crew will support several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth. Data and samples will be collected throughout the year from a series of studies involving Scott and his twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. The studies will compare data from the genetically-identical Kelly brothers to identify any subtle changes caused by spaceflight.

During the expedition, both a U.S. and a Russian cargo resupply vehicle will arrive at the station, bringing several tons of food, fuel, and supplies as well as a host of new science investigations.

Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti will return home in May 2015. At that time Padalka will become commander for Expedition 44. Padalka will spend six months aboard the outpost, during which he will become the first four-time station commander and record holder for most cumulative time spent in space. Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016 with Expedition 46 after 342 days in space.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Follow Twitter updates from Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti, and Scott Kelly, and follow Kelly on Instagram.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and the one-year mission on Twitter, follow the hashtag #YearinSpace. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

One Year Crew Arrives at Station

Space Station Configuration
There are now two Progress resupply space freighters and two Soyuz crew vehicles at the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-16M vehicle docked to the International Space Station at 9:33 p.m. EDT, over the western coast of Colombia.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will welcome Soyuz crew members Scott Kelly of NASA, and Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened.

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony live on NASA TV beginning at 10:45 p.m.: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Soyuz With One-Year Crew Approaching Station

Kornienko, Padalka and Kelly
201503230010hq (03/23/2015) — Expedition 43 Russian Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, left, and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, right, pose for a photograph on the stairs leading into the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft.

Aboard their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft, Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka are scheduled to dock at 9:36 p.m. EDT to the International Space Station’s Poisk module. NASA Television coverage of the docking will begin at 8:45 p.m. and can also be seen online at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

NASA TV will then resume at 10:45 p.m. to cover hatch opening between the two spacecraft as well as the welcome ceremony.

The Soyuz crew will join Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency). Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti have lived aboard the space station since November.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and the one-year mission on Twitter, follow the hashtag #YearinSpace. 

Crew Begins Year In Space

The Soyuz TMA-16M rocket launches on time
The Soyuz TMA-16M rocket launches on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-16M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:42 p.m. EDT (1:42 a.m. on March 28 Baikonur time). Scott Kelly of NASA, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) now are safely in orbit.

NASA TV coverage continues at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Kelly, Kornienko and Padalka will dock with the station’s Poisk module at 9:36 p.m. NASA Television coverage of the docking will begin at 8:45 p.m. Welcoming them aboard will be the current station residents, Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency). NASA TV coverage of the hatch opening and welcome ceremony begins at 10:45 p.m.

Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti arrived at the space station in November aboard their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft and will remain aboard until May 14.

Seven categories of human health research will occur with the inception of the One-Year Mission of Kelly and Kornienko. Researchers expect these investigations to yield beneficial knowledge on the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges faced by astronauts during long-duration spaceflight.

Scientists believe fluid shifts into an astronaut’s head during spaceflight lead to increased pressure in the brain. This also may cause pressure to the back of the eye, causing the eye to change shape. The Fluid Shifts Before, During and After Prolonged Space Flight and Their Association with Intracranial Pressure and Visual Impairment (Fluid Shifts) investigation measures how much fluid moves from the lower body to the upper body, in or out of cells and blood vessels, and determines the impact these shifts have on fluid pressure in the head, changes in vision and eye structures. The study results will help improve researchers’ understanding of how blood pressure in the brain affects eye shape and vision. This knowledge may benefit people on Earth with disease states that include swelling and pressure to the brain or who are confined to bed rest. Results also could help scientists develop preventive measures against changes in astronauts’ vision and eye damage.

Read more about Fluid Shifts.

Another One-Year Mission investigation is the Biochemical Profile (Biochem Profile), which will allow for quicker response to researchers’ requests for spaceflight data about the effects of microgravity on human physiology. Through the collection, processing and storage of crew member blood and urine samples, the Biochem Profile study will establish a database of biomedical data to be shared among multi-disciplinary researchers and medical operations that assess the effects of spaceflight on humans. This data can be used to provide information about medical risks during long-duration space travel and to evaluate potential countermeasures established to protect crew health. With greater understanding of how various physiological systems respond to changing gravity conditions, physicians may be able to design new treatments for people on Earth with limited mobility.

Read more about Biochem Profile.

Read more about all of the One-Year Mission human health studies.

Soyuz Spacecraft Stands Ready for Liftoff

The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft
(201503250038HQ) – The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is seen after it was rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft that will carry three additional crew members to the International Space Station stands ready for its 3:42 p.m. EDT liftoff. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 2:30 p.m. Watch on NASA TV or at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Scott Kelly of NASA, with Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency, will launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and the one-year mission on Twitter, follow the hashtags #YearinSpace and #ISS.

Crew Works Variety of Space Science as Launch Day Nears

Soyuz TMA-16M Spacecraft
The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is seen after it was rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

A variety of science experiments is taking up the Expedition 43 trio’s schedule today. Back on Earth, a new set of International Space Station crew members is a day away from launching to join the orbiting residents.

Commander Terry Virts opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and replaced components to get ready for upcoming work with the Flame Extinguishment Experiment-2. Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, from the European Space Agency, researched the accelerated aging of skin that occurs in space for the Skin-B experiment. Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov studied crew mobility in space which may help improve and advance training methods for future crews.

Read more about the FLEX-2 study
Read more about Skin-B
Read more about Motocard

Virts and Cristoforetti also worked to install the Robotics Refueling Mission (RRM)-2 payload inside the Japanese Experiment Module airlock. The RRM-2 investigation is exploring how robotics could be used to fix satellites not designed to be serviced in orbit.

Read more about RRM-2

Soyuz TMA-16M Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year Crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are one day away from joining the Expedition 43 crew. They will launch Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT and dock less than six hours later to the Poisk module.

Read more about live NASA TV launch and docking coverage of the One-Year Crew

Crew Continues Life Science; Soyuz Rolls Out for Friday Launch

Soyuz TMA-16M Spacecraft
The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is at its pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Photo Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The orbiting Expedition 43 trio worked ongoing life science Wednesday to improve life on Earth and in space. On the ground at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft rolled out to its launch pad counting down to a Friday launch to the International Space Station.

In space, Commander Terry Virts scanned his eyes using an Ultrasound as part of the Ocular Health vision checkouts this week. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued working with the TripleLux-B cellular mechanisms experiment. Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov wrapped up the Cosmocard investigation that observes the vegetative regulation of cardiac rhythm on long-term spaceflight.

› Read more about the Ocular Health study
› Read more about the TripleLux-B experiment

› Read more about the Cosmocard investigation

Back on Earth, Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka and One Year Crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are getting ready for their mission to join Expedition 43. They will launch Friday at 3:42 p.m. EDT for a six-hour, four orbit flight to the station. Padalka will end his stay in space in September. Kelly and Kornienko will return home March 2016.

› Read more about the One-Year Crew

SpaceX is targeting April 10 for the launch of its Dragon private space freighter. Virts and Cristoforetti are packing NanoRacks Cubesat deployers, which were used in Japan’s Kibo lab module, for return to Earth on Dragon when it completes its sixth Commercial Resupply Services mission a month later.

› View NASA’s SpaceX mission page