Simulation and Station Maintenance Preface a Busy Week for the Crew

Expedition 65 Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reviews procedures on a computer tablet for the InSPACE-4 physics study. Credits: NASA
Expedition 65 Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reviews procedures on a computer tablet for the InSPACE-4 physics study. Credits: NASA

As the week kicked off, the Expedition 65 crew members spent much of their Monday fine-tuning procedures in anticipation of Wednesday’s port-relocation activity, which will free up the Harmony’s forward port for the docking of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station. That vehicle is scheduled for launch Friday, July 30, as part of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 mission.

Science also continued aboard the orbiting laboratory, with NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei conducting experiment runs throughout the day for Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Ellipsoids, or InSPACE-4. This investigation studies the assembly of tiny structures from colloids using magnetic fields. Off the Earth and without the constraints of gravity, scientists are able to observe the assembly processes free from confining sample walls and sedimentation and to timescales not possible during simulation.

Vande Hei teamed up with fellow crewmate Shane Kimbrough to perform needed maintenance to the station’s toilet system, removing and replacing a hose for the assembly and completing a motor test and leak check. Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut, along with NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, helped keep station experiments running optimally by removing two deployers from the Japanese Experiment Module Small Satellite Orbital Deployer and a hard drive from the Fluids and Combustion Facility, respectively.

Cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy, meanwhile, worked to transfer equipment for disposal to the Progress 77 cargo craft, which is set to undock — along with the Pirs Docking Compartment — from the International Space Station on Friday, July 23. A few hours later, Progress’ engines will fire in a deorbit maneuver to send the cargo craft and Pirs into a destructive re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Replacing Pirs, a module that has been part of the orbital outpost for the past 20 years, is the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) named Nauka, the Russian word for “science.” The MLM is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, July 21, on a three-stage Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Most pressing for the team in space was a comprehensive onboard training session and simulation for the upcoming Crew Dragon port relocation, which will set the stage for a historic first — when two different U.S. commercial spacecraft built for crew will be docked to the outpost at the same time.

See all these mission events on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Live coverage of the port relocation begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, July 21, with launch coverage of the MLM at 10:30 a.m. that same day. On Friday, July 23, coverage for the undocking of Progress 77 and Pirs beginning at 8:45 a.m. EDT Friday, July 23.

Dragon Undocking Planned Thursday, Crew Focuses on Space Research

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle approaches the space station on June 5, 2021. At center right, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is also pictured docked to the Harmony module.
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle approaches the space station on June 5, 2021. At center right, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is also pictured docked to the Harmony module.

SpaceX CRS-22 undocking is planned for Thursday, July 8 at 10:35 a.m. EDT, with NASA TV coverage scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. NASA and SpaceX flight control teams continue to monitor the weather and splashdown locations. Certain parameters like wind speeds and wave heights must be within certain limits to ensure the safety of the recovery teams, the science, and the spacecraft. Additional opportunities are available on July 9 and 10. The space freighter’s departure had been scheduled for earlier this week but was postponed due to weather conditions off the coast of Florida.

Meanwhile, the Expedition 65 crew members stayed focused on a variety of science activities including human health, robotics and physics.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet took turns working out on an exercise cycle Wednesday for a fitness test. The veteran astronauts attached sensors to their chests and pedaled for an hour on the device more formally known as the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization, or CEVIS. The test took place in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module and measures how microgravity affects the duo’s physical exertion, or aerobic capacity.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur focused on electronics maintenance and robotics research throughout Wednesday. The two-time space visitor powered up a cube-shaped AstroBee robotic helper and tested new technology that monitors the acoustic environment of the station. SoundSee seeks to demonstrate that “listening” to station components can help detect anomalies in spacecraft systems that need servicing.

Space manufacturing using colloids is being investigated for the ability to harness nanoparticles to fabricate new and advanced materials. Station commander Akihiko Hoshide conducted three runs inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox of the InSPACE-4 study today that could improve the strength and safety of Earth and space systems.

The trio that launched to the station aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship practiced an emergency evacuation drill during the morning. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei joined cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov and reviewed procedures such as donning gas masks, quickly entering the Soyuz spacecraft, undocking and reentering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Vande Hei later assisted McArthur with cable management work inside the Tranquility module. Novitskiy and Dubrov wrapped up the day disconnecting antenna cables inside their Soyuz vehicle.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than Wednesday, July 21, for Crew Dragon Endeavour’s International Space Station port relocation operation. Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide Pesquet will suit up in their launch and entry spacesuits for Crew Dragon’s automated relocation maneuver from the forward to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. The maneuver frees up the forward port to prepare for the arrival of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission at the microgravity laboratory at the end of July.

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

Crew-1 Makes Nighttime Splashdown, Ends Mission

A night-vision camera pictures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV
A night-vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV

Astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) splashed down safely in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 a.m. EDT after 168 days in space. The return marks the end of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed in partnership between NASA and SpaceX as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Teams on the Go Navigator recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Crew Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Crew Dragon onto the main deck of Go Navigator with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to Pensacola to board a plane for Houston.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

Hopkins has now spent a total of 335 days in space during two spaceflights; he conducted three spacewalks during this mission for a total of five in his career. It was Glover’s first spaceflight, during which he conducted four spacewalks during the 168 days. It was Walker’s second spaceflight, bringing her total time in space to 331 days. Noguchi conducted one spacewalk, for a total of four spacewalks during his three total spaceflights; he has spent a total of 345 days in space.

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

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

Crew-1 Undocks From Station and Heads for Splashdown

May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.
May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft with astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) inside undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 8:35 p.m. EDT to complete a six-month science mission.

Two very small engine burns separated Crew Dragon from the station, and the spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to Earth.

Once flying free, Crew Dragon Resilience will autonomously execute four departure burns to move the spaceship away from the space station and begin the flight home.

The return timeline with approximate times in EDT is:

May 1

  • 8:35 p.m.             Departure burn 0
  • 8:40 p.m.             Departure burn 1
  • 9:28 p.m.             Departure burn 2
  • 10:14 p.m.           Departure burn 3

May 2

  • 1:58 a.m.             Trunk jettison
  • 2:03 a.m.             Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:57 a.m.             Crew Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Resilience splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-1 astronauts are recovered from the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

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 @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Science Gear Work and Spacesuit Cleaning Follow Harvest

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Shannon Walker collects leaf samples from plants growing inside the European Columbus laboratory.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Shannon Walker collects leaf samples from plants growing inside the European Columbus laboratory.

The Expedition 64 crew turned its attention to science hardware today following Tuesday’s harvest aboard the International Space Station. The orbital residents also cleaned up following two spacewalks to upgrade communications and power systems.

NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins prepared the NanoRacks Bishop airlock on Wednesday for its upcoming pressurization. The experienced astronaut then finished the day inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship recharging computer tablets and updating orbital software.

The day before, Hopkins picked a variety of edible plants growing in the station’s Columbus laboratory module including pak choi, wasabi mustard, kale, and red romaine. He snacked on the leaves with his crewmates for a taste test and stowed samples for later analysis as part of the Veg-3 botany study. Space agriculture is key to the success and sustainability of future human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover split their day servicing hardware for a long-running suite of experiments known as ACME, or Advanced Combustion in Microgravity Experiments. The duo replaced a variety of components inside the device that hosts the fuel efficiency, pollution and fire safety investigations.

Glover started the day with fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker tearing down old video equipment that he and Hopkins uninstalled from Columbus during Monday’s spacewalk. Walker then joined JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi for post-spacewalk maintenance on the U.S. spacesuits Hopkins and Glover wore on Monday.

In the Russian segment of the station, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked on Zarya module upkeep and science photography tasks. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov assisted Ryzhikov with the science photography then moved on to communications and life support work.

Crew Relaxing Ahead of Cargo Dragon Departure and Spacewalks

The International Space Station flies into an orbital sunrise 264 miles above the North Pacific off the coast of Russia.
The space station flies into an orbital sunrise 264 miles above the North Pacific.

The Expedition 64 crew had a light duty day Thursday following a busy holiday season filled with space research and U.S. cargo ship departure preparations. Soon the astronauts will be ramping up for a set of International Space Station maintenance and upgrades spacewalks planned for January and February.

Final science experiments are wrapping up this week waiting to be packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft and returned to Earth no earlier than Monday for analysis. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins stowed microbial cultures in science freezers today that will soon be loaded inside the Cargo Dragon. The samples will be analyzed by scientists on the ground to understand the microbial risk to a spacecraft’s environment.

The Dragon is due to undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter on Monday at 9:25 a.m. EST live on NASA TV. Rubins will be on duty Monday monitoring Dragon’s undocking as it departs the station carrying several tons of hardware and completed space studies. NASA and SpaceX engineers will be on hand to retrieve the Dragon after its splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

A pair of spacewalks is targeted for the end of January for upgrades on the outside of the orbiting lab. U.S. astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover will be ramping up their preparations for the two spacewalks over the next several days. The duo will be outfitting science hardware on Europe’s Columbus laboratory module during the first spacewalk and will upgrade high definition video and camera gear on the second.

Two more spacewalks are planned in February for electrical work and to set up experimental hardware for a technology demonstration.

Crew Immersed in Space Science as Cargo Dragon Nears Launch

The upgraded version of SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is seen before it rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The upgraded version of SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is seen before it rolls out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Expedition 64 is getting ready for over 6,400 pounds of cargo due to arrive this weekend aboard the next-generation SpaceX Dragon space freighter. All seven International Space Station residents also were immersed in microgravity research throughout Thursday.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo spacecraft has rolled out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is counting down to a Saturday lift off at 11:39 a.m. EST. Weather permitting, Dragon would automatically dock just under 24 hours later to the Harmony module’s space-facing port adjacent to the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.

The Cargo Dragon’s main payload is the NanoRacks Bishop airlock that will be robotically attached to the Tranquility module. Bishop will increase the capacity for external space research at the space station benefitting public and private organizations.

The orbiting lab was humming today with a host of advanced space science looking at a variety of microgravity phenomena to enhance life for humans on and off the Earth.

Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack that enables safe investigations of flames and fuels on the station. Eye exams were on the slate this afternoon for astronauts Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi who also serviced botany and cell biology research gear.

NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker serviced samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory before setting up the Fiber Optic Production study inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Her crewmate, Flight Engineer Victor Glover collected and stowed biological samples for the Food Physiology study exploring how diet affects the immune system in space.

Finally, station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos wrapped up a 24-hour session that monitored his heart activity. The two-time station resident also explored ways to improve the workspace inside the station.

Crew Dragon Docks to Station, Hatches Open Soon

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Commercial Crew astronauts is pictured approaching the International Space Station for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Commercial Crew astronauts is pictured approaching the International Space Station for a docking.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi arrived at the International Space Station Monday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the complex a 11:01 p.m. EST over Idaho.

Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Resilience and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 1:10 a.m.

Hopkins, Glover, Walker, and Noguchi will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, both of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

Follow along with mission activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/station/. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @Commercial_Crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew Facebook, ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasting Crew Dragon Tour as it Nears Station

Commercial Crew astronauts (from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi walk out to the launch pad before beginning the SpaceX Crew-1 mission on Nov. 15, 2020.
Commercial Crew astronauts (from left) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi walk out to the launch pad before beginning the SpaceX Crew-1 mission on Nov. 15, 2020.

Four Commercial Crew astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon are awake following their first sleep period in space. The quartet from the U.S. and Japan are now focusing on docking to the International Space Station at 11 p.m. EST today.

The SpaceX crew will first give a video tour of the inside of the Crew Dragon today live on NASA TV beginning at 4:48 p.m. Following that mission controllers will give the first “go-no go” for the station approach maneuver at 9:05 p.m.

Today’s wakeup call for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission was Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” and came at 12:10 p.m. All four crewmates slept for eight hours in their Crew Dragon seats while SpaceX mission controllers in Hawthorne, California, monitored vehicle systems.

The three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut are now getting ready to dock to the international docking adapter on the Harmony module’s forward port. Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover, alongside Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, will be at the controls as the Crew Dragon completes a fully automated rendezvous and docking sequence tonight.

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins is asleep onboard the station and will wake up tonight at 9:05 p.m. Afterward, she’ll begin working joint operations with the approaching Crew Dragon vehicle and ready the orbiting lab for four new crewmates.

SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts Continue Journey to Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with four Commercial Crew astronauts inside the Crew Dragon vehicle from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with four Commercial Crew astronauts inside the Crew Dragon vehicle from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are en route to the International Space Station following a successful launch on the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off at 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), into orbit to begin a six-month science mission aboard the space station.

After reaching orbit, mission teams and the crew prepared for their continued journey to the space station. Teams on the ground moved the spacecraft, named Resilience, into the proper configuration for the trip, and the crew removed their SpaceX spacesuits and prepared the cabin as they wind down their first day in space.

SpaceX engineers completed troubleshooting on heater controls associated with Crew Dragon’s propellant system, and updated the crew. Flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, determined the control limits were set too tightly and resolved the issue by resetting the limits and rebooting the heaters.  They have verified that the heaters are working properly.

Resilience will dock autonomously to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module about 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16. NASA Television and the agency’s website are providing ongoing live coverage through docking, hatch opening, and the ceremony to welcome the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory.