The International Space Station has been flying over Hurricane Matthew all week as the storm hit the Caribbean Sea and makes its way towards Florida. While the citizens of Florida braced for the hurricane’s impact, the crew researched how living in space impacts the human body.
Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi collected their blood samples, spun them in a centrifuge and stored the samples in a science freezer. The samples will be examined on Earth to understand the detrimental effects of living in space on bone marrow and blood cells.
Rubins also joined Commander Anatoly Ivanishin for eye checks today to explore the headward fluid shifts astronauts experience during long-term space missions. These fluid shifts increase pressure on the brain and eyes, potentially causing vision problems. The duo used a series of tools including an ultrasound to examine their eyes.
As one crew gets used to Earth’s gravity after 172 days in space, another crew is preparing to launch to the International Space Station in just over two weeks.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams arrived in the United States just 24 hours after landing Tuesday evening in Kazakhstan and completing his mission. His Expedition 48 crewmates Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, who were seated next to each other in the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft, have returned to their home space agency Roscosmos in Russia. Williams has completed one shuttle mission and his third station mission accumulating 534 days in space – a NASA astronaut record.
They will soon be replaced by another trio of Expedition 49-50 crew members who have arrived at their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will launch Sept. 23 on a two-day trip to the space station. They are in final preparations for a mission scheduled to last until Feb. 25, 2017.
Back in space, the Expedition 48-49 crew consisting of Commander Anatoly Ivanishin and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi are continuing science operations and maintenance of the orbital laboratory. Rubins continued more DNA sequencing work today and inspected emergency equipment. Onishi cleaned ventilation fans and measured air flow. Ivanishin worked on the Pilot-T experiment exploring how a crew member adapts to the working conditions of a long-term space mission.
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Two astronauts are cleaning up after a spacewalk while a pair of cosmonauts are getting a Soyuz spacecraft ready for departure after the Labor Day weekend. On the ground, three new crew members are preparing for a launch to the International Space Station at the end of the month.
Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins completed a spacewalk Thursday, retracting a thermal radiator and installing a pair of high definition cameras. Today, the astronauts are recharging spacesuits and tidying up the Quest airlock by stowing their tools and other spacewalk gear.
The Expedition 48 crew now turns its attention to a change of command on Monday, followed by three crew members returning to Earth on Tuesday. Williams will hand over station control to cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin before going home the following day with Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.
The trio will undock Tuesday at 5:51 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft officially ending the Expedition 48 mission. After a few hours they will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan after 5-1/2 months in space.
Back on Earth, new station crew members Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko participated in traditional ceremonies and final qualification exams. They will join the Expedition 49 crew two days after their Sept. 23 launch inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft.
NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk scheduled to begin at 8:05 a.m. EDT and last 6.5 hours. The duo will retract and cover an out-of-service thermal control radiator, tighten struts on a solar array rotary joint and install a high-definition camera.
The spacewalkers finished collecting their tools and reviewing their timeline this morning. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will assist the pair today getting the Quest airlock ready and tomorrow helping them in and out of their spacesuits.
Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin were back at work today exploring how bones and the immune system are impacted by living in space. Oleg Skripochka researched how the digestive system adapts and how humans experience pain during a long-term space mission.
After the completion of Thursday’s spacewalk, the crew will turn its attention to the Sept. 6 departure of Expedition 48 crew members Williams, Skripochka and Ovchinin. The trio continue loading the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft and getting their launch and entry suits ready. They will undock from the Poisk module and land in Kazakhstan after 5-1/2 months on orbit.
Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are two days away from their second spacewalk in as many weeks. The duo are reviewing the tasks they will perform outside the International Space Station for 6.5 hours of maintenance work beginning Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will assist Williams and Rubins from inside the space station.
They will retract and cover an out-of-service thermal control radiator and install lights and a high-definition camera for better views of the station structure and the Earth below. If time allows, the spacewalkers will perform get-ahead tasks including photographing the condition of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
In the Russian segment of the station, the three cosmonauts concentrated on a variety of human research experiments and crew departure activities. Flight Engineers Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka collected blood and saliva samples to explore how bones and the immune system are impacted by living in space. The pair also practiced an entry simulation drill today inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft they will return home in with Williams on Sept. 6.
The space station cameras spotted three hurricanes today, two in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricanes Lester and Madeline were seen in the Pacific potentially threatening the big island of Hawaii. Hurricane Gaston was seen in the open Atlantic.
Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are going back outside the International Space Station Thursday morning for their second spacewalk in less than two weeks. The duo will retract and cover a thermal control radiator no longer being used and install lights and a new high definition camera for better views of Earth and the station structure.
Less than a week after they complete that spacewalk, Williams will return to Earth with his Expedition 48 crewmates Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin. The two cosmonauts are checking their Sokol launch and entry suits today and packing the Soyuz before next week’s ride home. They will undock from the Poisk module Sept. 6 inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft and land in Kazakhstan ending their 5 ½-month mission.
As always, advanced space science is continuing aboard the orbital laboratory. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi gathered research samples for return to Earth aboard the home-bound Soyuz spacecraft. Over the weekend, Rubins completed a DNA sequencing process for the Biomolecule Sequencer study that could possibly benefit crew health and identify life in space. Body samples were also collected today for the Multi-Omics study observing the changes to an astronaut’s metabolism and immune system.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft has been packed with science experiments and gear for return to Earth and analysis by NASA engineers. Robotics controllers on the ground will maneuver the Canadarm2 to detach Dragon from the Harmony module Thursday afternoon.
Astronauts Takuya Onishi and Kate Rubins will command Canadarm2 to release Dragon at 6:10 a.m. EDT Friday. It will splashdown off the Pacific coast of Baja California a few hours later, then be retrieved and shipped back to Los Angeles by SpaceX personnel.
Less than two weeks later, a trio of Expedition 48 crew members will return to Earth inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft. Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin are due to end their stay at the International Space Station on Sept. 6 and land in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, the space station crew is still participating in a wide variety of ongoing space research to benefit people living on Earth and in space. The crew conducted human research activities today exploring how long-term space missions affect an astronaut’s metabolism, digestion and blood pressure.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams established a new record for most time spent in space by a NASA astronaut today, surpassing 520 days in space over his four missions. Williams will have a total of 534 cumulative days by the time he lands Sept. 6 in Kazakhstan. Former astronaut Scott Kelly had set the record on his year-long mission, and still holds the record for longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut at 340 days.
The International Space Station raised its orbit today ahead of Williams’ departure Sept. 6 with cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin. After the trio undocks in their Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft, ending Expedition 48, they will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan about 3-1/2 hours later.
SpaceX’s Dragon will depart the station first early Friday morning for a splashdown in Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins continue loading Dragon with gear and science samples for analysis on Earth. Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will be at the controls of the robotics workstation when they command the Canadarm2 to release Dragon at 6:10 a.m. EDT Friday.
In parallel with the upcoming spacecraft departure activities, the crew continues to dedicate time to research a multitude of space experiments taking place on the orbital laboratory. The crew conducted research looking at heart function, plant growth in microgravity and executed a variety of student designed experiments. Researchers use the data collected from the advanced space experiments to improve health treatments on Earth, benefit a wide variety of industry sectors and help NASA plan journeys farther into space
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is getting ready to return to Earth Friday morning loaded with gear and a variety of science for analysis. Another spacecraft, the Soyuz TMA-20M, will leave Sept. 6 and land in Kazakhstan with three International Space Station crew members.
Dragon delivered numerous science experiments July 20 that the Expedition 48 crew immediately unloaded and began working on. Two of those experiments set to return on Friday include the Heart Cells study and Mouse Epigenetics. That research explored how microgravity affects human heart cells and alters gene expression and DNA in mice.
The station will get an orbital reboost early Wednesday when the docked Progress 63 cargo craft fires its engines for over 12 minutes. The reboost will put the station at the correct altitude for the departure of the Expedition 48 trio next month.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin will return to Earth in two weeks after 5-1/2 months in space. Williams will be completing his fourth space mission and hold the NASA record for cumulative days in space. Skripochka will be completing his second mission and Ovchinin will be completing his first.
Three astronauts are relaxing today after a spacewalk on Friday and weekend cleanup work. Meanwhile, a pair of spacecraft will be departing the International Space Station over the next two weeks.
NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully installed a new international docking adapter Friday morning during a five hour and 58-minute spacewalk. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi assisted the duo from inside the station, while all three cleaned up the Quest airlock afterward where they stowed their spacesuits and tools.
Williams is scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 6 with cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin ending Expedition 48. The two cosmonauts began their departure preparations today to get the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft ready for undocking and landing in Kazakhstan.
Before Expedition 48 returns home in two weeks the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will leave the station this Friday at 6:10 a.m. EDT. The crew is loading the space freighter with gear and science for analysis by NASA engineers on the ground. Dragon will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours after its release Friday and be retrieved by SpaceX personnel.