Spacesuit Work Complete, Crew Moves on to Dragon Preps and Science

Astronaut Terry Virts
Astronaut Terry Virts works inside the Combustion Integrated Rack in this photograph taken Nov. 28.

Commander Barry Wilmore completed spacesuit maintenance work Thursday and began testing the spacesuit to return it to service. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti cleaned up and stowed the spacesuit hardware and tools. The next U.S. spacewalk is targeted for early 2015.

After the spacesuit work Wilmore joined Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts to review activities planned for next week’s SpaceX Dragon launch scheduled for Dec. 16. Virts and Cristoforetti earlier started their day on medical science and a periodical fitness check. Virts went on to open the Combustion Integrated Rack for fuel gear replacement work.

› Read more about the Combustion Integrated Rack

Veteran station residents and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Alexander Samokutyaev were back at work inside the Zarya cargo module installing overlay sheets on interior panels and disinfecting them. Russia’s first female cosmonaut Elena Serova worked science studying radiation in the station and the Sun’s influence on Earth’s magnetic field.

Samokutyaev also joined Serova for observation of the cardiovascular system while working out on an exercise bike. Shkaplerov worked throughout the day studying chemical reactions in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

› Read more about the Relaxation-Thunderstorm study

Crew Conducting Science to Improve Life on Earth and Space

Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts
NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts discussed their mission today with CNN International and The Navy Times. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut and Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry Virts worked on medical science Wednesday morning and later set up commercial research gear for an experiment to be delivered on the next SpaceX mission. Meanwhile, station Commander Barry Wilmore and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti continued this week’s maintenance work on a U.S. spacesuit.

During the morning Wilmore and Cristoforetti joined Virts for eye scans using the station’s Ultrasound equipment. At the end of the day, Samantha put on an armband sensor that monitors a body’s core temperature for a study that observes how a crew member adapts to a 24 hour cycle in space.

Read more about the Ocular Health study
Read more about the Circadian Rhythms study

Cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova were back at work installing gear and connecting cables for a micrometeoroid detection experiment. Veteran station resident Anton Shkaplerov started his day installing software updates on Russian laptop computers then spent the afternoon auditing the laptops.

Meantime, SpaceX is counting down to the launch of its Dragon commercial cargo craft Dec. 16 at 1:31 p.m. EST. NASA TV will provide live coverage of science, technology and pre-launch briefings including the launch itself.

Read more about SpaceX CRS-5 briefings and launch coverage

Medical Science amid Spacesuit Work for Crew

Spacesuit Work
Astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti (foreground) and Barry Wilmore work on a U.S. spacesuit inside the Quest airlock. Credit: NASA TV

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and Commander Barry Wilmore began fan pump separator replacement work Tuesday on a U.S. spacesuit. Cristoforetti started her day with medical science collecting saliva and urine samples for stowage in a science freezer. NASA astronaut Terry Virts worked on a variety of science including updating Ultrasound scanner software, checking a botany experiment and participating in an eye exam.

› Read more about the Aniso Tubule study
› Read more about the Ocular Health study

Veteran cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov started their day in the Zarya cargo module installing overlay sheet on interior panels. Russia’s first female cosmonaut to join a station crew, Elena Serova, conducted a photographic inspection on windows in the station’s Russian segment.

The cosmonaut trio also worked on their task list of Russian experiments studying such things as chemical reactions in Earth’s atmosphere, detecting micrometeoroid impacts and a crew member’s sensory adaptation to long-term microgravity.

Meantime, SpaceX is counting down to the launch of its Dragon commercial cargo craft Dec. 16 at 1:31 p.m. EST. NASA TV will provide live coverage of science, technology and pre-launch briefings including the launch itself.

› Read more about SpaceX CRS-5 briefings and launch coverage

Spacesuit and Science Work While Station Awaits Dragon Mission

Expedition 42 Crew Members
NASA astronaut Terry Virts (foreground) poses with his fellow Expedition 42 crew members behind him — (from left) Elena Serova, Alexander Samokutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov.

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti joined Commander Barry Wilmore on Monday reviewing procedures to replace a fan pump separator on a U.S. spacesuit. Earlier, Wilmore partnered up with NASA astronaut Terry Virts for the Body Measures experiment that studies changes to a crew member’s body shape while living in microgravity.

› Read more about Body Measures

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Elena Serova got together for a chemistry education experiment during the morning. Later, Serova joined Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev for Russian maintenance work.

The International Space Station is getting ready for the SpaceX-5 mission scheduled for liftoff Dec. 16. The Dragon commercial cargo craft will take a two day trip to the station before it is captured by the Canadarm2 and berthed to the Harmony node. Virts worked during the afternoon to activate a communications unit that will send commands to Dragon as it closes in on the space station next week.

› Read more about the SpaceX-5 mission

Busy Period for Station Deliveries This Week

Space Station as Oct. 27
This is the configuration of the International Space Station as of Oct. 27. There are three spacecraft docked including two Soyuz spacecraft and Europe’s ATV-5.

The International Space Station saw a pair of space freighters leave while two more resupply ships were moved to their launch site waiting for liftoff this week. Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 fired its engines this afternoon to move the station away from a possible conjunction with some satellite debris.

View upcoming launches to the station

Meanwhile, the six member Expedition 41 crew is moving right along with station housekeeping and an array of advanced science to improve life on Earth and in space.

Astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst drew their blood samples Monday. Barry Wilmore stowed a pair of U.S. spacesuits. Elena Serova, Russia’s first female cosmonaut aboard the station, sampled surfaces in the Russian segment for microbes and worked on a physics experiment.

Cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev trained on rendezvous gear in advance of Wednesday’s arrival of the ISS Progress 57 resupply ship.

Dragon Splashes Down — SpaceX CRS-4 Ends

Dragon Departure
This series of images, captured by cameras on the International Space Station (ISS) show the departure from the station of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 3:39 p.m. EDT a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico, marking the end of the company’s fourth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft is returning 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the International Space Station. A boat will take the Dragon spacecraft to a port near Los Angeles, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA within 48 hours. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

The mission was the fourth of 12 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the space station through 2016 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

› More information from SpaceX

Station Releases Dragon for Pacific Ocean Splashdown

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 9:57 a.m. EDT. The capsule will begin a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station and begin its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 3:39 p.m., about 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula.

› Watch NASA TV

spacex_release2

 

Watch NASA TV for Live Coverage of SpaceX Dragon Release

8080055673_f597476858_kNASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Dragon was detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module earlier this morning. Mission control will maneuver Dragon into place then turn it over to Expedition 41 robotic arm operators Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA for release, scheduled for approximately 9:57 a.m.

Watch NASA TV

The Dragon arrived to the space station Sept. 23 after a Sept. 21 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying almost 5,000 pounds of supplies and elements to support 255 scientific investigations the crew members of Expeditions 41 and 42 will conduct.

Release of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm will begin the Dragon’s return to Earth carrying more than 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization responsible for managing research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station.

The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 3:39 p.m., approximately 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula.

Expedition 41 Update: Oct. 24, 2014

Station Crew Readies for Busy Visiting Vehicle Traffic

The highway traffic to and from the International Space Station gets busy Saturday and the six crew members of Expedition 41 are working feverishly to manage the traffic flow.

Final packing of the commercial Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) Dragon was completed and the hatch closed ahead of Saturday’s unberthing and departure. Release is planned for 9:56 a.m. EDT and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California is scheduled for about 3:30 p.m.

While the crew completed packing of experiment samples and equipment aboard Dragon for return to Earth, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility off the coast of Virginia, another commercial rocket – Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares with its Cygnus cargo craft – was rolled to the launch pad for final preparations leading to launch at 6:45 p.m. Monday. Plans are for Cygnus arrival at the station Sunday, Nov. 2, with berthing to the same Harmony module docking port that will be vacated by Dragon.

Two Russian cargo vehicles also will be making moves when Progress 56 undocks early Monday at 1:38 a.m., completing more than three months of service at the station. It will undergo several weeks of engineering tests by Russian flight controllers before being deorbited over the Pacific on Wednesday, Nov. 19. That departure frees the Pirs Docking Compartment for arrival of the next Russian cargo vehicle, Progress 57, which is set for launch at 3:09 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, with docking to Pirs six hours later at 9:09 a.m.

Three of the crew members also are beginning preparations to return home after 165 days in space. Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alex Gerst will return home aboard their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 9.

That leaves the other three crew members to transition to Expedition 42, which will be led by Barry Wilmore. He will command the expedition that includes Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova until next March. They’ll enjoy a Thanksgiving delivery of three more crew members – Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts – on Sunday, Nov. 23.

› Read this week’s overview from the lead station increment scientist
› Read more about Cygnus’s upcoming launch
› Read more about the Expedition 41 crew

http://io.jsc.nasa.gov/photos/11328/lores/iss041e071451.jpgFlight Engineer Barry Wilmore unpacks cargo Oct. 11 from the SpaceX CRS-4 Dragon commercial space freighter.

Photo Credit: NASA