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.

Spacesuit Cleanup Work as Soyuz Crew Preps for Departure

Soyuz 40 Crew Members
JSC2014-E-079951 (19 June 2014) — NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore (left), Expedition 41 flight engineer and Expedition 42 commander; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, both Expedition 41/42 flight engineers, attired in Russian Sokol launch and entry suits, take a break from training in Star City, Russia to pose for a portrait. Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

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.

Dovesat Nanorack
One of four Dovesat NanoRacks satellites is seen launching from the deployer mechanism outside the Kibo laboratory. Credit: NASA TV