Advanced Tech, Biology Research in Between Spacewalks

This Wednesday, three small satellites will be deployed from the International Space Station. Here, a set of three CubeSats are ejected from the Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to a robotic arm outside the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory module on June 17, 2019. Image Credit: NASA
This Wednesday, three small satellites will be deployed from the International Space Station. Here, a set of three CubeSats are ejected from the Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to a robotic arm outside the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory module on June 17, 2019. Image Credit: NASA

The Expedition 61 crew is starting the workweek in between spacewalks and running a variety advanced space investigations. A set of small satellites is also being readied for deployment outside the International Space Station by midweek.

NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Luca Parmitano are gearing up for another spacewalk set to begin on Friday at 7:05 a.m. EST. Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch spent an hour reviewing robotics procedures for Friday’s spacewalk. Meir then joined Parmitano and Morgan in the afternoon to study details supporting the second Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk.

Morgan started his day setting up small satellites inside a deployer that will be ejected outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module on Wednesday morning. Parmitano practiced robotic rover technology that future space crews could use to explore a planetary surface before landing humans.

Koch tested the operation of a 3D bioprinter today without using actual cells for its potential to manufacture complex human organ tissue shapes in space. She also fed lab mice being monitored for therapeutic insights into Earth-bound ailments.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka collaborated Monday and researched how the human digestion system is impacted by microgravity. The duo then reviewed Soyuz MS-15 crew ship systems before working on a variety of life support maintenance.

Station Trio Works CubeSats, Space Plumbing Ahead of Historic July 20 Launch

Upcoming Expedition 60 crewmembers
Upcoming Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano pose for pictures at the Kremlin Wall at Red Square in Moscow on June 28.

The Expedition 60 crew is configuring more CubeSats for deployment and working on space plumbing aboard the International Space Station today. Back on Earth, three crewmembers from the U.S., Italy and Russia are in training for their launch to the station on July 20.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague installed hardware that will deploy seven CubeSats outside of the Kibo laboratory module this week. Engineers and students from around the world designed the series of seven microsatellites for a variety of experiments and technology demonstrations.

NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch relocated a science freezer before some space gardening during Monday morning. She and Hague then took turns during the afternoon swapping filters and components in the station’s Water Recycling System.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin worked throughout the day in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. The two-time station visitor tested laptop computer batteries, transferred urine to a Russian cargo craft and maintained life support systems.

In Russia, three upcoming station residents from NASA, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos are in final preparations ahead of their historic July 20 launch. Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov are launching 50 years to the day humans first landed on the Moon. The trio will liftoff aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft to their new home in space.

Station Deploying Microsatellites as New Crew Prepares for July 20 Launch

Expedition 60-61 Crewmembers
The next crew to launch to the space station is in Russia training for a July 20 launch to their new home in space. From left are, Expedition 60-61 crewmembers Andrew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano.

A satellite deployer ejected a CubeSat into Earth orbit last night from outside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. Today, the three Expedition 60 crewmembers explored microgravity’s effect on humans and plants to support longer spaceflight missions.

The RED-EYE microsatellite is orbiting Earth today to demonstrate satellite communications and attitude control technologies. NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague installed the satellite inside Kibo’s airlock last week for a safe deployment outside the orbiting lab. The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship delivered the CubeSat to the station May 6.

Hague is readying more CubeSats today for deployment later next week outside Kibo. They will orbit Earth demonstrating space tasks such as weather observations, satellite maneuvers and Earth photography. Students and engineers from around the world designed the series of seven microsatellites.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch watered plants growing inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module for the Veg-04 space gardening study. Afterward, she replaced fuel bottles to support flame and fuel research in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s Combustion Integrated Rack.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin spent Friday morning exploring tools and techniques future cosmonauts could use when controlling a spacecraft or a robot on a planetary surface. The two-time station resident then spent the afternoon working on life support systems and plumbing tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

Back on Earth, two veteran station crewmembers and a first-time space-flyer are wrapping up tests in Russia to certify for their July 20 launch to the orbiting lab. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan is in final mission training with experienced space residents Luca Parmitano of the European Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos. The trio will liftoff aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship from Kazakhstan 50 years to the day when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the Moon.

CubeSats Deployed Before Upcoming Crew and Cargo Missions

Trio of CubeSats
A trio of CubeSats, with Earth’s limb and thin atmosphere in the background, is seen shortly after being ejected from a small satellite deployer outside Japan’s Kibo lab module.

More CubeSats were ejected from the International Space Station this week to explore the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Expedition 51 crew trained for a crew departure and cargo craft arrival.

NanoRacks, a private company with facilities on the space station, deployed a total of 17 CubeSats over two days this week from a satellite deployer outside the Japanese Kibo lab module. The tiny satellites will orbit Earth for up to two years observing Earth’s thermosphere and studying space weather.

Two Expedition 51 crew members are returning to Earth June 2 completing a 196 day mission in space. Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet practiced their descent today in their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft. The duo are expected to land in Kazakhstan next Friday at 10:10 a.m. EDT.

The Dragon resupply ship, from SpaceX and loaded with brand new science experiments, will launch June 1 and arrive at the station June 4. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer will be at the robotics controls commanding the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon. He and station Commander Peggy Whitson familiarized themselves today with the Dragon capture procedures and lighting conditions inside the cupola.

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CubeSats Deployed During Crew Ultrasound Scans

Expedition 50 Crew Members
Five Expedition 50 crew members gather in the Zvezda service module for mealtime. Clockwise from bottom are NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov.

Four CubeSats were deployed this morning as the crew researched fluid shifts toward the head that may affect astronaut vision. Tools were also being collected and organized today ahead of possible maintenance spacewalks.

Four CubeSats were ejected Monday morning from outside Japan’s Kibo lab module using the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer. The LEMUR-2 satellites will help monitor global ship tracking and improve weather forecasting.

Sergey Ryzhikov from Roscosmos participated in ultrasound scans of the head and neck for the long-running Fluid Shifts study. Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency joined Ryzhikov for the experiment to learn how to prevent upward fluid shifts that may cause lasting eye damage.

Commander Shane Kimbrough worked inside the Quest airlock today gathering spacewalk tools. Mission planners are looking at potential spacewalks to continue upgrading the International Space Station’s power systems.

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Earth Monitoring CubeSats Released

CubeSat Deployed
A CubeSat is deployed April 27 from a deployer on the outside of Kibo lab module.

More CubeSats are due to be deployed today contributing to humanitarian and environmental research. The crew is also continuing biomedical science to improve the health of astronauts in space and humans on Earth.

The final set of CubeSats will be released tonight from a small satellite deployer outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. This current fleet of 16 CubeSats, also known as Dove satellites, began deploying Monday and will monitor the Earth to help improve disaster relief and agriculture yields.

The crew is exploring new space exercise techniques today to keep muscles, bones and the heart healthy during long-duration missions. The crew is also tracking its medication intake to determine the effectiveness and any side effects of using medicine in space.

BEAM, or the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, is still undergoing temperature and pressure checks while some relief valves and ventilation valves are being swapped out. Astronaut Jeff Williams will enter BEAM for the first time next week to install sensors measuring the expandable module’s environment.

Crew Researching How Life Adapts to Spaceflight

CubeSats fly free after leaving the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer on the International Space Station earlier in the week.

The crew was back at work today with more life science studies and human research. Cygnus cargo transfer work is ongoing as robotics controllers prepare for an external video survey.

Mice continue to be observed today for the Rodent Research-3 study. The astronauts are measuring their bone density to learn how microgravity affects muscles and bones and potentially helping crews in space and citizens on Earth stay healthier.

Astronaut Jeff Williams scanned his leg with an ultrasound today for the long-running Sprint study. The research is exploring new space exercise techniques that may minimize muscle and bone loss on long duration missions. The cosmonauts were collecting blood and saliva samples for analysis as they explore how living in space affects the human body.

Cargo transfers are over half way complete as the Cygnus commercial space freighter targets a mid-June departure from the Unity module. The Canadarm2 robotic arm will link up with the DEXTRE robotic hand tonight. Robotics controllers will then conduct a video scan of the external RapidScat system that monitors weather patterns on the Earth’s oceans.

Astronauts Tailor Spacesuits as Crew Explores Human Research

U.S. Spacesuit
A U.S. spacesuit is pictured inside the Quest joint airlock.

The crew started their day checking out Cubesat gear and researching a wide variety of science to benefit humanity on and off Earth. Later, two astronauts tried on their spacesuits to ensure a good fit before next week’s spacewalk.

Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren were in the Kibo lab module Thursday morning inspecting and photographing a small satellite deployer mechanism. The mechanism failed to eject a pair of Cubesats two weeks ago and payload controllers are troubleshooting the issue.

During the afternoon, the duo got back together inside the U.S. Quest airlock and tried on the spacesuits they will wear on spacewalks scheduled for Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. They were assisted inside the airlock by Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov. Yui will guide the spacewalkers and operate the 57.7 foot Canadarm2 robotic arm during the spacewalks.

More human research took place today as the crew looked at brain adaptation and cognitive performance on the space station. The crew also explored sleep disturbances and changes in cardiac and respiratory behavior during long-term missions.

U.S. Cable Work, Russian Science and Cubesat Deployments Today

Cubesat Deployment
A Cubesat is seen as it is deployed from a mechanism attached to the Kibo lab module. Credit: NASA TV

The astronauts in the U.S. segment of the International Space Station continued more cable work and life support maintenance. The cosmonauts conducted a wide array of Russian science experiments studying human research and physics.

More Cubesats were deployed today from a deployer mechanism attached to Japan’s Kibo lab module. Wednesday will be the last day for this series of Cubesat deployments. In all, 16 Cubesats will be deployed this week researching a variety subjects including navigation, communications and Earth observations.

Expedition 45 Commander Scott Kelly teamed up with Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui today to reroute cables from the Tranquility and Harmony modules to the Unity module. The cable work will set up Unity, the first U.S. station module, to receive the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft due in early December.

Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Oleg Kononenko spent Tuesday morning working on a Russian treadmill in the Zvezda service module. Kornienko then moved on to the Interactions study of crews working with ground support while Kononenko studied chemical reactions in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov participated in a pair of experiments, Cardiovector and Cosmocard, researching the adaptation of the human blood circulation system to microgravity. After some life support maintenance work, he moved on to more science exploring magnetics.

CubeSats Being Deployed While Crew Preps for Future Cygnus Mission

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren
ISS045E033806 (09/25/2015) — NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren loads a deployer device filled with 16 CubeSats into a small airlock in the Japanese Kibo Module on the International Space Station. Among the 16 satellites are 14 Dove satellites from Planet Labs that will be used for Earth observation, one for testing space based radios and another that will be used to track ships on the open ocean.

The crew is working high-end maintenance today, while preparing for an upcoming spacewalk and an early December cargo mission. CubeSats are also being deployed this week from the Kibo laboratory module.

Commander Scott Kelly checked on a power supply problem with the humanoid Robonaut. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui installed cables in the Unity module where the Orbital ATK Cygnus commercial space freighter is scheduled to arrive in early December. Yui earlier charged spacesuit batteries that Kelly and Lindgren will use on a spacewalk planned for Oct. 28.

Cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Oleg Kononenko continued unloading cargo from the new Progress 61 resupply ship which arrived last Thursday. Sergey Volkov, on his third space station mission, worked throughout the Russian segment on maintenance tasks. The trio also had time set aside for ongoing Russian science investigations exploring magnetics and chemical reactions in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

A small satellite deployer attached to Japan’s Kibo module will be busy this week as 16 CubeSats will be released into orbit through Wednesday. The Cubesats are exploring such things as navigation, communications and Earth observations.