NASA is GO for U.S. Spacewalks Outside International Space Station

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer points the camera toward himself and takes a "space-selfie" during a spacewalk on March 23, 2022.
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer points the camera toward himself and takes a “space-selfie” during a spacewalk on March 23, 2022.

NASA completed a flight readiness review in October, and is “GO” to resume routine spacewalks outside of the International Space Station. The first of three planned spacewalks is targeted to begin around mid-November to continue the work to install roll out solar arrays, called iROSA.

The review marks the completion of an investigation into the cause of a thin layer of moisture being discovered in March inside ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer’s helmet after station airlock re-pressurization following a nearly seven-hour spacewalk. Mauer was conducting a spacewalk focused on preparation of new solar array installation outside the microgravity laboratory.

Following the successful spacewalk, the space station crew expedited Maurer’s helmet removal and then gathered data in coordination with ground support teams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The agency identified the event as a close-call and immediately declared a stop to all future planned U.S. Operating Segment spacewalks pending an investigation into the cause. NASA returned to Earth water samples and some suit hardware with Soyuz 65S and NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission, as well as returned the spacesuit as part of the agency’s SpaceX CRS-25 mission for detailed analysis.

During the investigation, the space station team completed a detailed test, teardown, and evaluation of the water samples and suit hardware to determine what led to the observed water, which was more than normal, in the helmet.

The team confirmed there were no hardware failures within the suit. The cause for the water in the helmet was likely due to integrated system performance where several variables such as crew exertion and crew cooling settings led to the generation of comparatively larger than normal amounts of condensation within the system.

Based on the findings, the team has updated operational procedures and developed new mitigation hardware to minimize scenarios where integrated performance results in water accumulation, while absorbing any water that does appear. These measures will help contain any liquid in the helmet to continue to keep crew safe.

“Crew safety is the top priority of NASA and our international partners,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate. “I’m proud of the space station and ground teams’ work to keep our crew members safe, for taking the time necessary to close out the investigation, and for continually findings ways to mitigate risks in human spaceflight.”

Based on the results of the investigation, the additional operational procedures, and mitigation hardware, the NASA management team concurred and approved return to normal operations.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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SpaceX Crew-4 Returns with Splashdown on Florida’s Atlantic Coast

The SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship carrying four astronauts splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship carrying four astronauts splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down Friday off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, completing the agency’s fourth commercial crew mission to the International Space Station. The international crew of four spent 170 days in orbit.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 4:55 p.m. EDT. Teams aboard SpaceX recovery vessels retrieved the spacecraft and astronauts. After returning to shore, all astronauts will fly to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Cristoforetti then will board a plane to Europe.

“Welcome home Crew-4! This international crew has spent nearly six months on the International Space Station conducting science for the benefit of all. Their work aboard the orbiting laboratory will help prepare future explorers for future space missions,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Working and living on the space station is the opportunity of a lifetime, but it also requires these explorers to make sacrifices, especially time away from loved ones. Kjell, Bob, Jessica and Samantha, thank you for your contributions over the past six months to science, innovation, and discovery!”

The Crew-4 mission launched at 3:52 a.m. EDT April 27 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Less than 16 hours later, Dragon docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. The astronauts undocked from the same port at 12:05 p.m. Friday, to begin the trip home.

Hines, Lindgren, Watkins, and Cristoforetti traveled 72,168,935 miles during their mission, spent 170 days aboard the space station, and completed 2,720 orbits around Earth. Lindgren has logged 311 days in space over his two flights, and with the completion of their flight today, Cristoforetti has logged 369 days in space on her two flights, making her second on the all-time list for most days in space by a woman. The Crew-4 mission was the first spaceflight for Hines and Watkins.

Throughout their mission, the Crew-4 astronauts contributed to a host of science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. Cristoforetti completed two spacewalks with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev to perform station maintenance and upgrades.

Crew-4 continued work on investigations documenting how improvements to the space diet affect immune function and the gut microbiome, determining the effect of fuel temperature on the flammability of a material, exploring possible adverse effects on astronaut hearing from equipment noise and microgravity, and studying whether additives increase or decrease the stability of emulsions. The astronauts also investigated microgravity-induced changes in the human immune system similar to aging, tested a novel water-reclamation membrane, and examined a concrete alternative made with a material found in lunar and Martian dust.

The spacecraft, named Freedom by Crew-4, will return to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s Dragon Lair, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight.

The Crew-4 flight is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its return to Earth follows on the heels of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 launch, which docked to the station Oct. 6, beginning another science expedition.

The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This already has provided additional research time and has increased the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s microgravity testbed for exploration, including helping NASA prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew program at:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Dragon Freedom Undocks with SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts

The SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship with four Crew-4 astronauts aboard undocks from the space station to begin its return to Earth. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship with four Crew-4 astronauts aboard undocks from the space station to begin its return to Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft with NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti inside undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 12:05 p.m. EDT to complete a nearly six-month science mission.

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Freedom splashes down at approximately 4:55 p.m. EDT near Jacksonville off the coast of Florida and the Crew-4 astronauts are recovered.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission launched Apr. 27 on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station later the same day.


More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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The SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts Prepare to Undock Today

Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti talk to journalists on Earth about the space station mission. Credit: NASA TV
Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti talk to journalists on Earth about the space station mission. Credit: NASA TV

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV, the NASA app and the agency’s website as hatch closure and undocking preparations are underway for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are in the process of boarding the Dragon for departure from the International Space Station.

Crew-4 is targeting a return to Earth at about 4:55 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 14, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Dragon spacecraft, named Freedom, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 11:35 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 14, to begin the journey home.

Dragon will autonomously undock, depart the space station, and splash down at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Freedom also will return important and time-sensitive research to Earth.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Targets New Return Date Weather Permitting

International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragons Freedom and Endurance; and Russia's Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.
International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragons Freedom and Endurance; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than 11:35 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 14, for the agency’s Crew-4 undocking from the International Space Station to begin their return trip to Earth completing a nearly six-month science mission in orbit. Splashdown is targeted several hours later at approximately 4:50 p.m. off the coast of Florida.

Mission teams continue to monitor a cold front passing through Florida on Thursday, Oct. 13, bringing high winds and rainy weather near the splashdown zones off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Current weather predictions are showing greater forecast certainty Friday due to a high-pressure system behind the cold front, which is expected to bring more favorable conditions for splashdown and recovery. NASA and SpaceX will continue to monitor splashdown and recovery conditions with another weather review around eight hours prior to undocking. Teams also will review multiple options for undocking opportunities Friday and Saturday.

Crew-4’s Dragon undocking depends on a variety of factors, including spacecraft readiness, recovery team readiness, weather, sea states, and other factors. Dragon Freedom remains healthy while currently docked to the space station.

NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming return activities for the Crew-4 mission with NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Dragon’s hatch closing, undocking, and splashdown coverage will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. NASA also will host an audio only post-splashdown news teleconference. Follow all live events at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 return coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Friday, Oct. 14

9:30 a.m. – Hatch closure coverage begins for the approximately 9:55 a.m. hatch closing

11:15 a.m. – Undocking coverage begins for 11:35 a.m. undocking with a Friday splashdown

4:50 p.m. (approximately) – Splashdown off the coast of Florida

6:30 p.m. – Return to Earth media teleconference call from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with:

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Joel Montalbano, manger, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
    • Sarah Walker, director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Weather Delays SpaceX Crew-4 Undocking from Station

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti handed over station command to cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev as the Expedition 68 crew observed on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti handed over station command to cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev as the Expedition 68 crew observed on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.

NASA and SpaceX are standing down from the Oct. 13 departure opportunity for the agency’s Crew-4 mission from the International Space Station due to increased winds forecast in the splashdown area.

Mission teams will meet later in the day to determine the next target for Crew-4’s undocking to begin their return trip to Earth completing a nearly six-month science mission in orbit. The next available undocking opportunity is no earlier than 11:35 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 14.

NASA and SpaceX will continue to monitor a cold front passing over Florida bringing high winds and rainy weather near the splashdown zones off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Crew-4’s Dragon undocking depends on a variety of factors, including spacecraft readiness, recovery team readiness, weather, sea states, and other factors. Dragon Freedom remains healthy while currently docked to the space station.

NASA will provide more information about live coverage of the upcoming return activities for the Crew-4 mission with NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Space Station Departure Delayed for Weather

The SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts are seated inside the Dragon Freedom crew ship. The commercial crew quartet (from left) are Mission Specialist Jessica Watkins, Pilot Robert Hines, Commander Kjell Lindgren, and Mission Specialist Samantha Cristorforetti. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than 10:05 a.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 13, for the agency’s Crew-4 undocking from the International Space Station to begin the return trip to Earth completing a nearly six-month science mission in orbit. Splashdown is targeted several hours later at 5:43 p.m. Thursday off the coast of Florida.

Mission teams continue to monitor a cold front passing over Florida with the potential to bring high winds and rainy weather near the splashdown zones off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Mission teams will continue to monitor splashdown and recovery conditions with another weather review around six hours prior to undocking.

Crew 4’s Dragon undocking depends on a variety of factors, including spacecraft readiness, recovery team readiness, weather, sea states, and other factors. Dragon Freedom remains healthy while currently docked to the space station. Back-up undocking opportunities also are available Friday, Oct. 14.

NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming return activities for the Crew-4 mission with NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Dragon’s hatch closing, undocking, and splashdown coverage will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. NASA also will host an audio only post-splashdown news teleconference. Follow all live events at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 return coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Thursday, Oct. 13

8 a.m. – Hatch closure coverage begins for 8:20 a.m. hatch closing
9:45 a.m. – Undocking coverage begins for 10:05 a.m. undocking with a Thursday splashdown
5:43 p.m. – Splashdown off the coast of Florida
7 p.m. – Return to Earth media teleconference call from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with:

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Joel Montalbano, manger, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • SpaceX Representative

The Crew-5 Astronauts Dock to the Space Station

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina arrived at the International Space Station Thursday Oct. 6, as the SpaceX Dragon Endurance docked to the complex at 5:01 p.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 258 miles above the west coast of Africa. Credit: NASA TV
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina arrived at the International Space Station Thursday Oct. 6, as the SpaceX Dragon Endurance docked to the complex at 5:01 p.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 258 miles above the west coast of Africa. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina arrived at the International Space Station Thursday Oct. 6, as the SpaceX Dragon Endurance docked to the complex at 5:01 p.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 258 miles above the west coast of Africa.

Following Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the crew aboard Dragon Endurance and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 6:42 p.m.

Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina will join the Expedition 68 crew of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-4 departs.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission.

More details about the Crew-5 mission can be found by following the Crew-5 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Nervous System Study and Spacewalk Preps Continue

Expedition 67 astronauts (clockwise from bottom) Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, pose for a fun portrait inside their individual crew quarters.
Expedition 67 astronauts (clockwise from bottom) Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, pose for a fun portrait inside their individual crew quarters.

The International Space Station continues hosting an array of advanced science experiments and spacewalk preparations. The seven Expedition 67 residents also ensured the ongoing operation of research gear and electronics equipment while auditing station office supplies.

The lack of an up and down reference in microgravity may affect the human nervous system potentially impacting how crew members interact with spacecraft instrumentation. NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines continued working on the GRIP experiment in the Columbus laboratory module on Thursday to study how weightlessness influences an astronaut’s ability to grip and manipulate objects. Watkins and Hines took turns conducting the investigation while lying flat on their backs as scientists monitored from the ground. The pair had performed research operations from a seated position earlier in the week.

Watkins then spent the rest of the day working on electronics gear and connections inside the Harmony module. Hines swapped air supply hoses ensuring the proper airflow inside the Quest airlock.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren began his morning in the Kibo laboratory module servicing a specialized microscope that uses spatial filtering techniques to observe cellular and tissue structures. Afterward, Lindgren moved on to a space manufacturing study observing a run of the Intelligent Glass Optics study that incorporates artificial intelligence into its methodology.

Two veteran station crew members, ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti and Roscosmos Commander Oleg Artemyev, resumed their preparations today for an upcoming spacewalk. The duo from Italy and Russia will exit the station Poisk airlock at 10 a.m. on June 21 and spend approximately seven hours continuing to outfit the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev inventoried station supplies, including printing paper, ink cartridges, and batteries, throughout the station’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov configured nanosatellites that will be deployed during the June 21 spacewalk.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Crew Returns to Space Science Day after Starliner Lands

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft descends to Earth underneath parachutes for a landing in New Mexico completing the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft descends to Earth underneath parachutes for a landing in New Mexico completing the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The seven Expedition 67 crew members are resuming their normal schedule of science and maintenance activities following Wednesday’s departure of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. The orbital residents focused on vein scans, robotics, and a host of other space research onboard the International Space Station today.

NASA and Boeing completed its Orbital Flight Test-2 mission on Wednesday. NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines monitored the crew ship’s arrival last week, conducted cargo and test operations inside the vehicle, then closed the hatch on Tuesday before finally seeing Starliner undock from the Harmony module’s forward port at 2:36 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Lindgren started Thursday with a hearing assessment for the Acoustic Diagnostics experiment then setup the Astrobee robotic free-flyers for the Kibo Robot Programming Challenge 3. Hines set up hardware that will measure blood flow in the brain for the Cerebral Autoregulation investigation.

Both astronauts later joined astronauts Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) for vein scans on Thursday. The quartet used the Ultrasound 2 device to scan each other’s neck, shoulder and leg veins. Doctors on the ground monitored the downlinked biomedical scans in real time to gain insight into how the astronaut’s bodies are adapting to microgravity.

Watkins and Cristoforetti began their day collecting their blood and urine samples, spinning them in a centrifuge, and stowing the samples in a science freezer for future analysis. The duo then joined Lindgren in checking out the U.S. spacesuits.

The station’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos also contributed to the array of space research taking place today on the orbiting lab. The trio, including Commander Oleg Artemyev, with Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, took turns exploring ultrasound techniques to improve locating landmarks on Earth for photography. Artemyev also completed a session that monitored his cardiac activity for 24 hours. Matveev assisted Korsakov, attached to a variety of sensors, as he worked out on an exercise cycle for a fitness evaluation.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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