Astronaut Scott Kelly Relaxes Ahead of Dragon Mission

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft
ISS043E122200 (04/17/2015) — The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is seen approaching the International Space Station Apr. 17th, 2015.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly had some off-time today relaxing ahead of Sunday’s launch of the SpaceX CRS-7 mission. Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko worked on Russian science and maintenance activities.

Kelly will be inside the cupola and at the controls of the Canadarm2 when the Dragon space freighter arrives Tuesday morning at the International Space Station. Padalka will back up Kelly monitoring systems as Dragon approaches. NASA TV will cover the Sunday launch and Tuesday capture activities live.

Padalka spent time on the Splanh experiment studying how a crew member’s digestive system changes in microgravity. Kornienko worked throughout the station’s Russian segment inspecting gear, performing leak checks and working on life support systems.

There is a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions for Sunday morning’s SpaceX Dragon launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is delivering over 4,000 pounds of supplies, gear and research in its pressurized section. The largest payload being delivered is the first of two international docking adapters in Dragon’s unpressurized section.

Medical Science for Crew as SpaceX Preps for Cargo Delivery

Colorful Aurora, Sparkling City Lights, and a Rising Sun
ISS044E002699 (06/23/2015) — This spectacular view of the Earth with colorful aurora, sparkling city lights, and a rising sun over a background of diamond twinkling stars was taken by members of Expedition 44 on the International Space Station on June 23, 2015.

The Expedition 44 trio aboard the International Space Station participated in a variety of medical science today. The crew is also preparing for the arrival of SpaceX CRS-7 scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly got together in the morning for ultrasound scans of their eyes with assistance from specialists on the ground for the Ocular Health study. Kelly also partnered with his fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko for the Fine Motor Skills experiment that observes how astronauts operate and repair interactive, touch-based and sensitive technologies in space.

SpaceX is counting down to its launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo craft Sunday at 10:21 a.m. EDT. Dragon will deliver all kinds of investigations enabling research into growing food in space, the chemical composition of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere and the causes of cancer and impaired immune systems. Among the international investigations are also student investigations.

The largest payload being delivered on SpaceX CRS-7 is the first of two international docking adapters (IDA #1). The IDA #1 will be installed on the forward port of the Harmony module so future commercial crew vehicles can dock at the space station.

Station Gets Ready for a Pair of Resupply Ship Missions

There are currently two spacecraft docked to the International Space Station
There are currently two spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. The Soyuz TMA-16M is docked to the Poisk module. The ISS Progress 58 cargo craft is docked to the aft-end of the Zvezda service module. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station will see two new spacecraft over six days beginning June 30. Three orbiting residents are preparing for the new arrivals with training on a pair of different rendezvous and approach systems.

SpaceX CRS-7 will launch Sunday at 10:21 a.m. EDT. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft will arrive Tuesday morning to be captured by the Canadarm2 at approximately 8 a.m. The next Russian resupply mission, ISS Progress 60, is due for launch early July 3rd and dock to the Pirs docking compartment two days later.

Commander Gennady Padalka and fellow cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko refreshed their skills on the telerobotically-operated rendezvous system, also known as the TORU, located in the Zvezda service module. If necessary a crew member could use the TORU to manually dock an approaching Progress cargo craft in case of an emergency.

One-Year crew member and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly later partnered up with Padalka for more training on the robotics system that will be used to capture Dragon next week. Kelly will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 inside the cupola when Dragon arrives while Padalka monitors systems and backs him up.

Crew Trains for Pair of Supply Ship Arrivals

The SpaceX Dragon Craft
ISS043E233315 (05/21/2015) — The SpaceX Dragon craft was pictured May 21, 2015 before it was released from the International Space Station for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

A pair of Expedition 44 crew members are training for next week’s arrival of SpaceX CRS-7. Another crew member is practicing for the rendezvous of an upcoming Russian resupply mission. Meanwhile, science is ongoing aboard the International Space Station.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly and station Commander Gennady Padalka partnered up for another session of robotics training. Kelly, with assistance from Padalka, will guide the 57.7 foot long Canadarm2 to capture the SpaceX Dragon about 7 a.m. EDT on June 30. Dragon’s launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket is planned for Sunday at 10:21 a.m.

Kelly’s fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko practiced using the telerobotically-operated rendezvous system which would be used to manually dock an approaching Progress cargo craft in case of an emergency. The next Russian resupply mission, ISS Progress 60, is due for launch early July 3rd and dock to the Pirs docking compartment two days later.

The crew was right back at work again today on the Microbiome study researching microgravity’s effect on an astronaut’s immune system. For the Motocard experiment the crew explored astronaut motion in space to potentially improve physical training. The crew also researched acoustic methods to locate micrometeoroid impacts on the station for the Proboy study.

Robotics Training Before Sunday’s SpaceX CRS-7 Launch

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly
ISS043E276473 (05/31/2015) — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is seen here inside the station’s Destiny laboratory preparing camera equipment for an upcoming documentation session.

The orbiting Expedition 44 trio is counting down to next week’s arrival of the SpaceX CRS-7 mission. The station inhabitants also participated in an emergency drill and advanced microgravity science.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly is training for the robotic capture of the Dragon supply ship set for about 9 a.m. EDT June 30. Commander Gennady Padalka will be his backup monitoring systems during the rendezvous and approach. Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday at 10:21 a.m.

Padalka, Kelly and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko practiced an emergency Soyuz evacuation drill on Monday. In the unlikely event the crew would need to escape from the space station during an emergency, they would use a Soyuz spacecraft as a lifeboat and return to Earth.

Science is always ongoing onboard the orbital laboratory with the crew and ground researchers exploring a variety of subjects. On the life science front, the crew members looked at how living in space affects an astronaut’s immune system for the Microbiome experiment.

Station Science Ongoing as SpaceX Launch Slips to June 28

The Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon cargo craft atop is pictured during a nighttime launch Sept. 21, 2014, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit: SpaceX
The Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon cargo craft atop is pictured during a nighttime launch Sept. 21, 2014, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit: SpaceX

The three inhabitants of the International Space Station wrapped up a week-long series of eye checks for the Ocular Health study today and continued a litany of ongoing public and commercial microgravity science research.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly worked inside the Destiny laboratory and opened up the Fluids Integrated Rack to replace a microscope lamp. The rack enables numerous fluid physics experiments helping scientists learn how to do such things as design better fuel tanks and water systems aboard spacecraft.

Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko worked on their set of Russian science exploring the effects of microgravity on the human body and the behavior of liquid crystals. The Splanh experiment looks at how living in space affects a crew member’s gastroenterology. Another study, the OASIS experiment, is researching the possibility of liquid crystal displays inside future spacesuit helmets.

SpaceX has rescheduled its launch of the Falcon 9 rocket with its Dragon resupply ship to June 28 at 10:21 a.m. EDT. Padalka and Kelly continue to train for its arrival now set for June 30 at around 7 a.m.

First of Two Station Boosts Complete

Sparkling cities below the International Space Station
ISS043E257296 (05/26/2015) — Sparkling cities below the International Space Station are haloed by an aurora on the Earth’s horizon on May 26, 2015.

The International Space Station got an orbital boost this morning after a docked Russian resupply craft fired its engines for four minutes and eight seconds. One more reboost is scheduled for July 10 when the station will be at the proper altitude for a new Soyuz crew to dock at the end of July.

The crew onboard the orbital laboratory conducted a wide array of experiments today looking at such things as radiation, liquid crystals and life science. The trio of station residents also continued more eye checks with assistance from specialists on the ground.

One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko participated in the Matroyshka and RADI-N studies monitoring space radiation and exploring how it affects station crew members. Commander Gennady Padalka explored the behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity for the OASIS experiment with results potentially benefitting future space helmets with small display screens. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly worked in the Microgravity Science Glovebox cleaning up after earlier work with the Rodent Research study.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko are the next crew preparing to launch to the space station and join Expedition 44. Their launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is planned for July 22 when they will take a six-hour ride to their new home in space.

Eye Checks as Station Preps for Late July Soyuz Launch

Astronaut Scott Kelly
Astronaut Scott Kelly works inside the Kibo laboratory. Credit: NASA

The three-member Expedition 44 crew is conducting biomedical science today to study the effects of living in space on a crew member’s body. The International Space Station will raise its orbit tomorrow to allow another trio of space residents to join the orbiting residents at the end of July.

Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko took part in the Ocular Health study today. They looked at the interior of each other’s eyes with a tonometer and checked their blood pressure. Scientists are exploring how microgravity affects an astronaut’s vision and the eye’s physiology.

Back on Earth, astronauts from the U.S., Russia and Japan are counting down to their July 22 lift-off on a Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft to join Expedition 44. The docked ISS Progress 58 spacecraft will fire its engines Thursday morning staging the space station for the new crew’s arrival.

Crew Trains for Seventh Dragon Mission

England, Baltic Sea and the Persian Gulf
ISS042E037847 (12/15/2014) — Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti captured this image while on the International Space Station. It shows cloud cover over England, Baltic Sea and the Persian Gulf.

SpaceX engineers are in the final weeks of processing of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch their Dragon commercial cargo craft to the International Space Station late next week. On orbit, a pair of Expedition 44 crew members reviewed the procedures they will use when the Dragon supply ship arrives a few days later.

During ongoing orbital station maintenance today, advanced microgravity science took place as the orbiting trio continues to explore phenomena that can only be observed in space. The crew researched acoustic methods to locate micrometeoroid impacts on the station for the Proboy study. They also explored the effects of weightlessness in the carotid artery and the redistribution of blood in the upper half of a crew member’s body.

SpaceX will launch the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft to the station June 26. It will arrive June 29 to be captured by the Canadarm2 with One-Year crew member Scott Kelly at the controls. Kelly will capture Dragon with the assistance of station commander Gennady Padalka who will monitor Dragon systems before it is berthed to the Harmony Node.