The crew researched the effects of living in space and set up a specialized microscope for a physics experiment today. Two astronauts are also getting ready for a Thursday spacewalk to continue setting up the International Space Station for commercial crew vehicles.
Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet used a tape measure this morning and measured their arms, legs, hips, waist and chest. Researchers are studying how microgravity impacts body size and shape and are comparing crew measurements before, during and after a space mission.
Whitson later began setting up gear for the ACE-T-1 (Advanced Colloids Experiment Temperature Control-1) physics study. She opened up the Fluids Integrated Rack and reconfigured the Light Microscopy Module to research tiny suspended particles designed by scientists and observe how they form organized structures within water.
Commander Shane Kimbrough is getting ready for another spacewalk on Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT. This time he’ll go outside with Whitson to finish cable connections at the Harmony module where the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) was robotically attached on Sunday. The PMA-3 relocation gets the adapter ready for the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future cargo mission.
The Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) was robotically removed Sunday from the Tranquility module and attached to the Harmony module after being prepared during a successful spacewalk Friday. A second spacewalk is scheduled for Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT to finalize the PMA-3 cable connections on Harmony.
Commander Shane Kimbrough disconnected cables from PMA-3 while still attached to Tranquility during a spacewalk on Friday. That work allowed ground controllers to use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to remotely grapple and remove PMA-3 from Tranquility and attach it to Harmony.
The relocation readies the PMA-3 for the future installation of the new International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) set to be delivered on a future cargo mission. The IDA-3 will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings and provide the pressurized interface between the station and the adapter.
Thursday’s spacewalk will see Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson complete the PMA-3 attachment work on the Harmony’s space-facing port. The duo will also install computer relay boxes containing software upgrades to enable future commercial crew vehicle dockings at the International Space Station.
Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency concluded their spacewalk at 1:58 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted just over six-and-a-half hours, the two astronauts successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26.
The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings.
The astronauts also lubricated the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator “extension” for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve and replaced cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost.
A second spacewalk has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 30, and a third spacewalk now is targeted for Thursday, April 6.
The second spacewalk will feature Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA reconnecting cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 at its new home on top Harmony. They also will install the second of the two upgraded computer relay boxes on the station’s truss and install shields and covers on PMA-3 and the now-vacant common berthing mechanism port on Tranquility.
The plan for the final spacewalk is for Whitson and Pesquet to replace an avionics box on the starboard truss called an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier, a storage platform. The box houses electrical and command and data routing equipment for the science experiments and replacement hardware stored outside of the station. The new avionics box is scheduled to launch on the upcoming Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft mission.
Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,236 hours and 38 minutes working outside the station during 198 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.
Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will venture outside the International Space Station for a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk Friday, March 24. The spacewalk will begin at 8 a.m. EDT, with complete coverage on NASA TV and the agency’s website starting at 6:30 a.m.
The two astronauts will prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) for installation of the second International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings.
Kimbrough and Pesquet will disconnect cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26. The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the docking adapter. PMA-3 will be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will become home for the docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. The spacewalkers also will install on the starboard zero truss a new computer relay box equipped with advanced software for the adapter.
The two astronauts will lubricate the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator “extension” for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspect a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia leak and replace cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost. Radiators are used to shed excess heat that builds up through normal space station operation.
This will be the 198th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Kimbrough, who will embark on the fifth spacewalk of his career, will be wearing helmet camera #18. This will be the second spacewalk of Pesquet’s career, and he will be wearing helmet camera #20.
Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.
Three astronauts are relaxing today after a spacewalk on Friday and weekend cleanup work. Meanwhile, a pair of spacecraft will be departing the International Space Station over the next two weeks.
NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully installed a new international docking adapter Friday morning during a five hour and 58-minute spacewalk. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi assisted the duo from inside the station, while all three cleaned up the Quest airlock afterward where they stowed their spacesuits and tools.
Williams is scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 6 with cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin ending Expedition 48. The two cosmonauts began their departure preparations today to get the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft ready for undocking and landing in Kazakhstan.
Before Expedition 48 returns home in two weeks the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will leave the station this Friday at 6:10 a.m. EDT. The crew is loading the space freighter with gear and science for analysis by NASA engineers on the ground. Dragon will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours after its release Friday and be retrieved by SpaceX personnel.
Flight controllers and the Expedition 48 crew are preparing for tonight’s International Docking Adapter extraction work and Friday morning’s installation spacewalk. The orbital residents are also continuing to load the SpaceX Dragon with gear and science for return to Earth.
Controllers on the ground checked the Canadian robotics systems they will use to remove the International Docking Adapter from the rear of the SpaceX Dragon tonight. The new adapter will be extracted with the Canadarm2 then maneuvered to a point about three feet away from its installation point. It will then be installed on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 which is attached to the forward end of the Harmony module.
The final and intricate installation work will be done during a 6.5 hour spacewalk scheduled to begin Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT with astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins . The new adapter, the first of two, will enable new Commercial Crew vehicles being developed by Boeing and SpaceX to dock at the International Space Station in the future.
In the meantime, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is still being loaded with gear ahead of its return to Earth on Aug. 26. Rubins spent the morning packing Dragon with research samples and used hardware for analysis back on Earth.
Space station and Commercial Crew managers wrapped up a spacewalk briefing Monday afternoon discussing the installation of a new International Docking Adapter at the end of the week. Spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will begin the installation work Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT to enable future crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX to dock in the future.
The first major task begins Wednesday evening when the docking adapter is extracted from the rear of the SpaceX Dragon space freighter. The Canadarm2 will then maneuver the new adapter about three feet away from the forward end of the Harmony module. It will stay there until Friday when Williams and Rubins will complete the installation during a 6.5 hour spacewalk.
Meanwhile, Williams is loading gear into Dragon for return to Earth and retrieval by NASA and SpaceX engineers. Dragon’s last day at the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module is Aug. 26 when it will be grappled and then released by the Canadarm2 for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
Two astronauts called down to Mission Control today and reviewed next week’s spacewalk. In the Russian segment of the International Space Station, a pair of cosmonauts replaced outdated communications gear. Crew members also collected blood samples and conducted vision tests for a variety of space research.
Commander Jeff Williams joined Flight Engineer Kate Rubins for more spacesuit work and a conference with flight controllers in Houston to review plans for next week’s 6.5 hour spacewalk. On Aug. 19 the duo will work outside the station to complete the installation of an International Docking Adapter to the Harmony module. The first of two adapters will enable Commercial Crew vehicles being developed by Boeing and SpaceX to dock in the future.
The entire Expedition 48 crew conducted vision tests throughout the morning. Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi then collected blood, urine and saliva samples for the Fluid Shifts experiment. That study observes how microgravity affects intra-cranial pressure and changes the shape of the eye.
In the afternoon, cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin worked in the Zvezda service module replacing older gear that communicates with systems throughout the Russian segment. Ovchinin also joined fellow Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka to explore how living in space changes the human heart.
The International Space Station is being upgraded with new communications gear as NASA moves ahead with its Commercial Crew Program. Meanwhile, science taking place on the orbital laboratory today included human research and Earth photography.
Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake were back at work today installing hardware that will communicate with future commercial crew vehicles. The equipment will enable hardline and frequency communications with the private spacecraft during rendezvous, docking and mated activities.
Kopra also conducted a quarterly inspection of a treadmill ensuring it is in operable condition. He later conducted a ham radio pass with students at the University of North Dakota, the 1,000th such contact made possible by the ARISS program.
The three orbiting residents on the International Space Station worked on commercial crew vehicle equipment and lab maintenance today. The crew members also worked on life science and physics research to improve life for citizens on Earth and future space crews.
British astronaut Tim Peake started installing and routing cables that will enable communications with future commercial crew vehicles. The Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles, or C2V2, consists of both radio frequency and hardline connections that will be used during rendezvous, docking and mated activities at the space station.
Commander Tim Kopra installed and tested acoustic equipment in the U.S. Destiny lab module that will listen for air and pressure leaks. The tests will contribute to the development of a system that can differentiate between harmless background noise and potential leaks. Kopra also checked out gear that will support research on biological samples such as small plants, animal cells and microorganisms.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko explored methods to detect and locate micrometeoroid impacts outside the station. The veteran cosmonaut also photographed areas on Earth impacted by natural or man-made disasters for the long-running Uragan experiment.