Expedition 42 crew members Barry Wilmore, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova are two days away from ending their stay aboard the International Space Station. The trio is packing gear and cleaning crew quarters as they prepare to undock in their Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft Wednesday at 6:44 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 10:07 p.m.
Wilmore, the commander of Expedition 42, will handover control of the orbital laboratory Tuesday to NASA astronaut Terry Virts who will command Expedition 43. The Change of Command Ceremony will take place live on NASA TV at 10:25 a.m.
Meanwhile, advanced microgravity science and laboratory maintenance is ongoing aboard the space station. Among the experiments, the crew studied body size and shape in space for suit sizing and looked at airway inflammation in astronauts. Ethernet cables were also installed in the Harmony module that will enable future commercial crew vehicles to communicate with a pair of upcoming International Docking Adapters.
Astronauts Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti were in the U.S. Quest airlock conducting airflow monitor tests, measurements and calibrations. The tests were part of the Airway Monitoring experiment that is looking for possible indicators of airway inflammation in astronauts during spaceflight.
Their crewmate Anton Shkaplerov worked in the Zarya cargo module sampling equipment surfaces for microbial analysis. He also photographed the condition of the surfaces inside the Zarya module.
Their homebound crewmates Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore, Soyuz TMA-14M Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova practiced a Soyuz descent drill ahead of their March 11 departure and landing in Kazakhstan.
The next trio of space station to crewmates to launch to the International Space Station conducted a news conference Friday then laid flowers at the Kremlin Wall at the Red Square in Moscow. One Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko along with Soyuz TMA-16M Commander Gennady Padalka are set to launch March 27 to join their Expedition 43 crewmates.
The Expedition 42 crew completed the deployment of numerous nanosatellites while also preparing for the departure of a Soyuz crew. The six-member crew also worked on advanced microgravity research and the upkeep of their orbital laboratory and home.
The final pair of Cubesats was deployed overnight completing the launch of a total of 16 nanosatellites from outside the Kibo lab module. The Cubesats were launched from the International Space Station to perform a variety of research.
Commander Barry Wilmore and his Soyuz crewmates Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova are counting down to their departure March 11. Staying behind will be new Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov.
They will be waiting for new Expedition 43 crew mates Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka who are scheduled to lift off March 27. Kelly and Kornienko are in Star City, Russia, completing final mission preparations and will stay aboard the station until March 2016.
Soyuz TMA-14M Commander Alexander Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer Elena Serova are counting to their departure March 11 with Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore. The two cosmonauts trained on Soyuz descent procedures and checked out emergency communications gear. Wilmore also prepared for his departure and began packing gear for the return home.
Meanwhile, One-Year crew members NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are in Star City, Russia, getting ready for final qualification exams in the Soyuz trainer. They are at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center preparing for their launch aboard a Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft March 27 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The veteran space duo will take a six-hour, four-orbit ride to the International Space Station where they will live and work until March 2016.
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.
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore ended their spacewalk at 12:30 p.m. EST with the repressurization of the Quest airlock. Virts and Wilmore completed installing 400 feet of cable and several antennas associated with the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system known as C2V2. Boeing’s Crew Transportation System (CST)-100 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon will use the system in the coming years to rendezvous with the orbital laboratory and deliver crews to the space station. They completed one additional task to retrieve a bag to cover equipment on the outside of the station.
The 5-hour, 38-minute spacewalk was the third for Virts and the fourth for Wilmore. Virts has now spent 19 hours and 2 minutes outside during his three spacewalks. Wilmore now has spent 25 hours and 36 minutes in the void of space during his four excursions.
Crews have now spent a total of 1,171 hours and 29 minutes conducting space station assembly and maintenance during 187 spacewalks.
Approximately three hours into today’s spacewalk, NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore have installed cables for the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) system and completed tasks along the port side of the space station’s truss. To complete the system’s installation, they will route the remaining cables along the starboard side.
They are about an hour ahead of the timeline. Both astronauts continue to report that their spacesuits are functioning perfectly.
Watch the spacewalk at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
Approximately one hour into today’s spacewalk, NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore each installed a boom with two antennas for the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) system. Virts worked on the port side while Wilmore put the starboard side boom and antennas in place. They are running slightly ahead of the timeline.
Next they will work together to connect the C2V2 to GPS and antenna systems aboard the space station. Then they will spend the remainder of the spacewalk installing 400 feet of cable for the system along the truss of the space station.
Both astronauts have reported dry conditions inside their spacesuits during periodic checks with ground controllers.
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:52 a.m. EST, signifying the start of today’s planned 6-hour, 45-minute spacewalk.
Virts is wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and is designated EV1. His helmet camera displays the number 20. Wilmore is wearing a spacesuit with no stripes and is designated EV2. His helmet camera displays the number 18. This is third spacewalk for Virts and the fourth for Wilmore.
Virts and Wilmore will install 400 feet of cable along the space station’s truss and other equipment associated with the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2). The system will be used by crewed commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the space station in the coming years.
NASA Television is providing live coverage of today’s U.S. spacewalk conducted from the International Space Station. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. EST and last about 6 hours and 45 minutes.
Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry Virts and Commander Barry Wilmore will venture outside the orbital complex for their third spacewalk in eight days. They will set up a series of antennas and communications equipment that will allow future crews launching from Florida on U.S. commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the space station. Their work is part of a reconfiguration of the space station in advance of the arrival of private crewed spacecraft.
During their previous two spacewalks, the duo spent about 13 and 1/2 hours outside the space station deploying cables, lubricating parts at the end of the space station’s robotic arm and preparing the Tranquility module for the relocation and arrival of other modules later this year.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s spacewalk, Terry Virts reported seeing a small amount of water floating free in his helmet during repressurization of the airlock. There was no report of water during the spacewalk itself, and the crew was never in any danger. After thorough analysis by ground teams, the space station’s mission management team gave a “go” on Friday to proceed with the spacewalk.
Spacewalk specialists reported that Virts’ suit — serial number 3005 — has a history of what is called “sublimator water carryover,” a small amount of residual water in the sublimator cooling component that can condense once the environment around the suit is repressurized following its exposure to vacuum during a spacewalk, resulting in a tiny amount of water pushing into the helmet.
A high degree of confidence was expressed that the suit’s systems are all in good shape and approval was given to proceed with the spacewalk.
This is the 187th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @NASA, @Space_Station, and the hashtag #spacewalk. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.