Crew Explores Space Effects on Humans, Foams Before SpaceX Crew Launch

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins observes the behavior of a free-flying water bubble inside the International Space Station's Kibo laboratory module.
NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins observes the behavior of a free-flying water bubble inside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module.

The seven-member Expedition 68 crew continued its science activities on Tuesday exploring how microgravity affects biology and physics. Back on Earth, three astronauts and one cosmonaut are less than a day away from launching to the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineers Frank Rubio and Bob Hines targeted their biology studies on what is happening inside the human body during spaceflight. Rubio explored how enhancing space nutrition affects the human immune and microbiome systems for the Food Physiology experiment. Hines collected his blood and urine samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. A host of space biology investigations require the samples to understand how human physiology adapts to weightlessness.

A portion of Tuesday’s space research looked at fluid physics as station Commander Samantha Cristoforetti studied how foams behave differently in space than on Earth. The ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut swapped foam samples inside the Fluid Science Laboratory for the Soft Matter Dynamics experiment.  The study may provide insights helping researchers improve materials production for Earthbound industries such as firefighting, petroleum, medicine, and food products.

Maintenance is also key on the orbital lab to ensure the space station’s many systems continuously operate in tip-top shape while orbiting an average of 260 miles above the Earth. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren cleaned vents and fans inside the Unity module to remove impediments to the airflow. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins worked on water transfer operations then cleaned and inspected station module hatches.

Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, who is on his second spaceflight, spent Tuesday on orbital plumbing and ventilation work before configuring Earth observation hardware. First-time space flyer Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos also spent his day on orbital plumbing duties and life support maintenance as he and Prokopyev continue to familiarize themselves with life on orbit.

Back on Earth, the SpaceX Crew-5 mission is counting down to its launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at noon EDT on Wednesday. Commander Nicole Mann will board the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance, atop the Falcon 9 rocket, with Pilot Josh Cassada and Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata and Anna Kikina then take a 29-hour ride after liftoff to the forward port on the station’s Harmony module. The commercial crew quartet will open the vehicle’s hatch and join the Expedition 68 crew shortly afterward. NASA TV will have continuous coverage of the launch, docking, and crew greeting, beginning Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. EDT on the agency’s app and website.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

SpaceX Crew Nears Launch as Station Research Under Way

The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship atop the Falcon 9 rocket stands at the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship atop the Falcon 9 rocket stands at the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The next crew to the launch to the International Space Station is at the Kennedy Space Center counting down to liftoff this week. Back onboard the orbiting lab, the seven-member Expedition 68 crew is busy conducting advanced space research to improve life for humans on and off the Earth.

Four SpaceX Crew-5 crew members arrived in Florida on Saturday ahead of their launch aboard the Dragon Endurance at noon EDT on Wednesday. NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada will command and pilot Endurance respectively. They will ride along with Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos. The commercial crew quartet will dock to the forward port of the Harmony module 29 hours after launch to begin their station mission.

After the Dragon Endurance docks to the orbiting lab, another four station crew members will turn their attention to ending their mission and returning to Earth just over a week later. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who have been living on the station since April 27, will help their Crew-5 replacements adjust to life on the station. The homebound astronauts will then undock inside the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship and parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

In the meantime, Lindgren and Hines began Monday focusing on how living in space is affecting their muscles. The duo used an Ultrasound device and the Myotones device to scan and measure the biochemical properties of their leg, neck, and back muscles. Watkins nourished vegetables and took photos of the plants growing for the XROOTS space agriculture study taking place in the Columbus laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio swapped glass fiber samples in the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the Intelligent Glass Optics space manufacturing investigation. Station Commander Cristoforetti serviced samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that supports high-temperature thermophysical research in space.

The station’s two cosmonauts, two-time station visitor Sergey Prokopyev and first-time space flyer Dmitri Petelin, had their hands full on Monday keeping up with lab maintenance while continuing their station familiarization activities. Prokopyev inspected windows inside the Zvezda service module then set up Earth observation gear. Petelin worked on orbital plumbing duties before inventorying and restocking station docking hardware.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Expedition 68 Begins, SpaceX Crew Swap Planned for October

NASA astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, and Frank Rubio pose for a portrait together inside the cupola, the International Space Station's "window to the world."
NASA astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, and Frank Rubio pose for a portrait together inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.”

The Expedition 68 mission is officially underway with seven astronauts and cosmonauts living and working together aboard the International Space Station. The crew swaps aren’t over yet as four SpaceX Crew-5 members count down to their upcoming launch to the orbiting lab.

Commander Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will lead station operations until she and fellow crewmates Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship in about two weeks. The quartet, who have been aboard the space station since April 27, spent Friday checking their Dragon pressure suits, packing personal items, and reviewing departure and landing procedures.

The homebound commercial crew is waiting for their replacements who are targeting a launch to the orbiting lab for no earlier than noon EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 5. SpaceX Crew-5 Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada, both from NASA, with Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, are due to arrive at the station one day after launching aboard the Dragon Endurance. They will spend a few days getting used to life on orbit before Cristoforetti and her three Freedom crewmates end their mission and parachute to Earth inside the Freedom crew ship.

In the meantime, first time space-flyer Frank Rubio of NASA is in his second week as a space station flight engineer. He arrived at the orbiting lab with fellow flight engineers Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos, on Sept. 21 inside the Soyuz MS-22 crew ship.

Rubio spent the end of the week exploring how to use artificial intelligence to adapt materials manufacturing, such as fiber optics, to the vacuum of space for the Intelligent Glass Optics study. He swapped and observed glass fiber samples being pulled inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Petelin and Prokopyev and Petelin partnered together for a study exploring how microgravity affects the heart and blood vessels.v

Three Soyuz Crewmates Return to Earth, Finish Station Mission

The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship with three cosmonauts aboard is seen parachuting to a landing in Kazakhstan less than three-and-a-half hours after undocking from the space station. Credit: NASA TV
The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship with three cosmonauts aboard is seen parachuting to a landing in Kazakhstan less than three-and-a-half hours after undocking from the space station. Credit: NASA TV

Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov landed on Earth at 6:57 a.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 29 in Kazakhstan (4:57 p.m. Kazakhstan time), southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft at 3:34 a.m.

The trio returns to Earth after 195 days in space that spanned 3,120 orbits of Earth and over 78 million miles.

During the mission, Artemyev completed five spacewalks totaling 33 hours, 12 minutes. He has now logged 561 days in space on his three flights.

Matveev completed four spacewalks totaling 26 hours, 7 minutes during the mission. He logged 195 days in space on his first flight.

Korsakov also logged 195 days in space on his first flight.

The trio will return by Russian helicopters to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, before boarding a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft to return to their training base in Star City, Russia.

Remaining aboard the station is the seven-person crew of Expedition 66 with Station Commander Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.

In October, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 members – NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina – will join the Expedition 68 members aboard the station. Crew-5 will be the fifth crew rotation mission of SpaceX’s human space transportation system, and its sixth flight with astronauts, to the space station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The International Space Station has surpassed 20 years of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique technological demonstrations and research that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars while also improving life on Earth. To date, 260 people from 20 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research investigations from researchers in more than 100 countries and areas.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Soyuz Crew Landing on Earth Soon Live on NASA TV

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft is pictured moments after undocking from the station at 3:34 a.m. EDT today carrying three cosmonauts back to Earth.
The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft is pictured moments after undocking from the station at 3:34 a.m. EDT today carrying three cosmonauts back to Earth.

NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of a trio of spacefarers.

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov will make its deorbit burn at 6:03 a.m. EDT to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 6:57 a.m. (4:57 p.m. Kazakhstan time).


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Soyuz Crew Undocks from Station for Return to Earth

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft with three cosmonauts aboard departs the space station on time to return the crewmates to Earth. Credit: NASA TV
The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft with three cosmonauts aboard departs the space station on time to return the crewmates to Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station at 3:34 a.m. EDT, carrying three people back to Earth. Live coverage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will resume at 5:45 a.m. for the deorbit burn and landing of the spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov. Their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 6:57 a.m. (4:57 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Expedition 68 officially began aboard the station at the time of undocking. Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) is the station commander for the crew consisting of NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, Frank Rubio, and Jessica Watkins, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.

The trio arrived at the station March 18 aboard the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft. Artemyev returns to Earth after 195 days in space on his third mission. At the time of landing, Artemyev will have logged 561 days in space on his three flights.

This was the first flight for both Matveev and Korsakov. At the time of landing, the two cosmonauts will have each logged 195 days in space.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

NASA TV Broadcasts Departure of Three Station Crewmembers

The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship is pictured docked to the Prichal docking module as the space station soared 259 miles above the Earth.
The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship is pictured docked to the Prichal docking module as the space station soared 259 miles above the Earth.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app of the undocking and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov to Earth.

The trio arrived at the station March 18 aboard the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft. Artemyev returns to Earth after 185 days in space on his third mission. At the time of landing, Artemyev will have logged 551 days in space on his three flights.

This was the first flight for both Matveev and Korsakov. At the time of landing, the two cosmonauts will have each logged 185 days in space.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

ESA Astronaut Takes Command Day Before Soyuz Crew Departure

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti assumed command of the space station on Wednesday from Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti assumed command of the space station on Wednesday from Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

The International Space Station has a new commander as three Expedition 67 crewmates are less than a day away from returning to Earth. Most of the crew is sleep-shifting today to prepare for Thursday morning’s crew departure as the rest of the station’s astronauts focused on lab maintenance during Wednesday.

Three cosmonauts are set to board their Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and undock from the Prichal module at 3:34 a.m. EDT Thursday. Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev, flanked by Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, will then soar through Earth’s atmosphere and parachute inside the Soyuz vehicle to a landing in Kazakhstan at 6:57 a.m. (4:57 p.m. Kazakh time) ending a six-month mission that began on March 18. Live undocking coverage begins at 3:15 a.m. on NASA TV, the agency’s app and its website.

The homebound trio will be assisted overnight by the station’s newest cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, during the crew farewell and hatch closing activities. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will also be on hand monitoring station systems as the Soyuz crew ship departs for Earth.

Cristoforetti, earlier Wednesday, accepted station command responsibilities from Artemyev as the rest of the station crew gathered for the traditional Change of Command ceremony. She will lead the station crew until her departure, planned for October, with fellow SpaceX Dragon Freedom crewmates Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins. The Commercial Crew quartet docked the Freedom spacecraft to the space-facing port on the station’s Harmony module on April 27.

Meanwhile, as the cosmonauts turned their attention to Thursday’s Soyuz undocking, the four NASA astronauts aboard the station maintained their normal work schedules. Flight Engineers Frank Rubio and Kjell Lindgren partnered together on Wednesday for orbital plumbing duties. Flight Engineer Bob Hines rerouted cables inside the Tranquility module as Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins cleaned fans and sensors inside the Harmony module’s crew quarters. The four crewmates later prepared for October’s launch of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission and the return to Earth of Lindgren and his crewmates.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

Station Swaps Command on Wednesday Before Thursday’s Crew Departure

New station Flight Engineer Frank Rubio (center) of NASA is greeted by fellow NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines shortly after arriving at the orbital lab on Sept. 21, 2022.
New station Flight Engineer Frank Rubio (center) of NASA is greeted by fellow NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines shortly after arriving at the orbital lab on Sept. 21, 2022.

The Expedition 67 crew is in the midst of a crew swap as three new flight engineers adapt to life in space and another crew prepares to go home this week. Meanwhile, with 10 people living aboard the International Space Station today there were plenty of opportunities to keep up ongoing microgravity research and lab maintenance.

New Flight Engineer Frank Rubio from NASA was back on space physics today installing hardware for the Intelligent Glass Optics study inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The investigation explores using artificial intelligence to adapt materials manufacturing, such as fiber optics, to the vacuum of space. His two cosmonaut partners, flight engineers Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos, spent time unloading their Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and working on a variety of life support tasks. The duo also took turns studying ways to pilot spacecraft and robots on future planetary missions.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev is turning his attention to this week’s return to Earth with Roscosmos Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov. The trio will board their Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and undock from the Prichal module at 3:34 a.m. EDT on Thursday. They will descend into Earth’s atmosphere and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan less than three-and-a-half hours later completing a six-month space research mission.

Artemyev will hand over station leadership responsibilities to ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on Wednesday. The traditional Change of Command ceremony starts at 9:35 a.m. EDT live on NASA TV, the agency’s app and its website.

Cristoforetti will lead the new Expedition 68 crew until she and three of her SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom crewmates depart the space station in October. She joined NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins today and reviewed their Dragon descent procedures with flight controllers on Earth. The quartet have been aboard the station since their arrival inside Freedom on April 27.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

New Trio Getting to Work Before Next Crew Goes Home This Week

The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship that will return three Expedition 67 crew members to Earth this week is pictured docked to the Prichal module.
The Soyuz MS-21 crew ship that will return three Expedition 67 crew members to Earth this week is pictured docked to the Prichal module.

The orbiting lab’s three newest residents are beginning their science and maintenance tasks after several days of International Space Station orientation and familiarization activities. In the meantime, three Expedition 67 crew members are less than a week away from ending their mission and returning to Earth after living and working in space for six months.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio kicked off his first full week on the station with a physics study that uses artificial intelligence to adapt materials manufacturing to the vacuum of space. He began Monday morning setting up the Microgravity Science Glovebox and servicing components inside the research device. Rubio then spent the afternoon preparing complex glass samples inside the glovebox for future experiment runs. The Intelligent Glass Optics investigation may help advance Earth and space-based industries including communications, aerospace, medicine, and astronomy.

Rubio’s cosmonaut crewmates, Flight Engineers Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, who rode with him to the station last week began their week with a variety of research and maintenance activities. Prokopyev started his day on water transfer activities before helping pack a Soyuz crew ship for its return to Earth on Thursday. Petelin also worked on water transfers throughout the day and explored how spaceflight affects the human immune system.

The station’s population will go back to seven crew members on Thursday after three cosmonauts undock in their Soyuz MS-21 crew vehicle and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan. Station Commander Oleg Artemyev will board the Soyuz crew ship with Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov and undock from the Prichal module at 3:34 a.m. EDT on Thursday. The trio will parachute to a landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan less than three-and-a-half hours later. NASA TV will broadcast the undocking and landing activities live on the agency’s app and website beginning at 3:15 a.m.

Artemyev will hand over station leadership responsibilities to ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti the day before he departs. The traditional Change of Command ceremony will be seen live on NASA TV starting at 9:35 a.m. on Wednesday.

The space station’s four other flight engineers stayed busy throughout Monday on a host of research activities including biology, botany, and combustion. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins wore a specialized vest and headband beginning a two-day session to record her health functions for the Bio-Monitor study. NASA astronaut Bob Hines nourished and inspected plants growing for the XROOTS space agriculture study. Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren of NASA set up the Confocal space microscope to study how microgravity affects the nervous system. Finally, Cristoforetti rerouted cables for a combustion research device to ensure its igniter can move correctly.


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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe