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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As a pair of astronauts cleans up their spacesuits after completing a set of spacewalks, more nanosatellites were deployed from Japan’s Kibo lab module. The International Space Station also raised its orbit Tuesday morning to set the stage for the upcoming crew departure.
Astronauts Barry WiImore and Terry Virts scrubbed the cooling loops inside the spacesuits after their third and final spacewalk on Sunday. They also sampled the water from the loops and talked about their experiences with spacewalk experts on the ground.
Wilmore is also getting ready to return home March 11 with Soyuz crewmates Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova. Samokutyaev and Serova spent Tuesday getting their Soyuz spacecraft ready for next week’s undocking and packing gear for the return home.