Long-Term Human Research As Crew Prepares to Swap Supply Ships

Station Crew Members Oleg Kononenko and Kjell Lindgren
Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko (foreground) receives a haircut from fellow Expedition 45 crew member Kjell Lindgren.

The Expedition 45 crew, including the One-Year Crew duo, worked on a variety of human research to help future crews persevere on longer missions in deep space. The crew is also getting ready for a pair of international cargo ships departing and arriving next week.

Scientists on the ground are exploring how microgravity affects humans living and working in space as NASA prepares for the Journey to Mars. Astronauts living on the International Space Station for months at a time, including the One-Year Crew, provide excellent subjects for long-term microgravity human research.

The crew today looked at cardiovascular health for the Cardio-Ox study and documented nutritional activity. Blood and urine samples were also drawn and stored in a science freezer for later analysis. Station Commander Scott Kelly continued more Twins research as doctors compare the human body in space with a human body on Earth, in this case ex-astronaut Mark Kelly, the commander’s twin brother.

Japan’s “Kounotori” HTV-5 space freighter is due for release Monday morning ending its month-long stay at the station’s Harmony module. The HTV-5 is still being packed with trash and disposable gear for a fiery destruction over the Pacific Ocean. The next shipment of new research, gear, food and fuel is being prepared as Russia’s readies its ISS Progress 61 resupply ship for an Oct. 1 launch.

Eye Checks, Fitness Research and Spacewalk Preps for Space Station Crew

JAXA Astronaut Kimiya Yui
ISS044E088545 (09/05/2015) — JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui iss seen with a packet of almonds while floating inside of the Japanese Experiment Module.

The six-member space station crew is conducting human research to prepare future astronauts for long-term missions beyond low-Earth orbit including NASA’s Journey to Mars. The orbital residents are also getting ready to release a cargo craft Monday while getting ready for a late October spacewalk.

Space station Commander Scott Kelly, who is comparing his body to his ground-based twin brother ex-astronaut Mark Kelly, collected and stored a urine sample for the Twins study. He also scanned his legs with an ultrasound for the Sprint fitness study with some assistance from Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren partnered with Yui for ultrasound scans of the eyes and an echocardiogram of the heart for the Ocular Health study. The duo then moved on to tool collection for a planned October 28 spacewalk by Kelly and Lindgren before loading trash into Japan’s HTV-5 resupply ship due to leave the station Monday at 11:20 a.m. EDT.

Space Cargo Deliveries Coming and Going on Station Next Week

Crew Members Work in Unity Module
ISS044E089152 (09/05/2015) — NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly (left,) JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui (center) and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov (right) take some time off inside the station’s Unity module and set up the onboard projector.

Crew members practiced an emergency evacuation drill and conducted long-term biomedical research today onboard the International Space Station. Japan’s fifth resupply ship is also being loaded with trash before its mission ends early next week.

Station Commander Scott Kelly teamed up with his fellow One-Year Crew member Mikhail Kornienko and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov to review the procedures they would use to evacuate the station in the unlikely event of an emergency. Kelly then moved on to exploring fluid physics and more Twins studies. Kornienko, Volkov including cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko worked on Russian science and systems maintenance.

Meanwhile, astronauts Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren are preparing a Japanese cargo craft, the “Kounotori” HII Transfer Vehicle-5, for its release and destructive entry Monday over the Pacific Ocean. Another cargo craft, Russia’s ISS Progress 61 (61P), is being readied for its Oct. 1 launch and six-hour delivery mission to the station’s Zvezda service module. Kornienko and Volkov practiced the telerobotic rendezvous techniques they would use if it became necessary to manually dock the 61P.

Long-Term Human Research for Crew before Japanese Mission Ends

Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko
Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko works on the OASIS experiment inside the Destiny laboratory’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. Credit: NASA TV

Japan’s resupply ship, the “Kounotori” HII Transfer Vehicle-5 (HTV-5), will end its stay at the International Space Station next Monday. A new Russian Progress cargo mission will launch to replenish the crew Oct. 1. While the HTV-5 is winding down its mission, the six-member Expedition 45 is conducting human research and lab maintenance.

First time space-flyers Kjell Lindgren from NASA and Yui Kimiya Yui from Japan checked each other’s eyes today for the Ocular Health study. Lindgren then moved on to a six-month inspection of the treadmill inside the Unity module while Kimiya replaced bacteria filters in the Destiny lab module.

Station Commander Scott Kelly started his workday swabbing his body to collect microorganism samples for the Microbiome study. Kelly later cleaned a science freezer before measuring the acoustic levels inside the space station.

There are three veteran cosmonauts onboard the station with a combined 8 missions, including the current mission, on the orbital lab. Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko worked in the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the OASIS liquid crystal experiment. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov with One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko studied how living in space affects a crew member’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems for the DAN experiment.

One-Year Crew Conducts Human Research Before October Shipment

"Goodnight Earth"
Astronaut Scott Kelly posted this photo taken from the International Space Station to Twitter on Sept. 5, 2015 with the caption, “#goodnight #Earth! Make me proud and I’ll try and do the same. #YearInSpace”.

With the second half of their mission underway, a pair of One-Year Crew members continued a series of biomedical experiments this week. The six-member Expedition 45 crew is also getting ready for a new space shipment due early next month.

Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko have been teaming up for a variety of human research studies in space since March. Scientists are observing the effects of living in space on long-term crew members. This week the duo explored head pressure and visual impairment some station astronauts have experienced to help NASA prepare future crew members for the Journey to Mars.

The next cargo mission, ISS Progress 61 (61P), to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch Oct. 1 and dock six hours later to the rear docking port of the Zvezda service module. A pair of cosmonauts practiced the techniques Friday they would use in the unlikely event it became necessary to use the Zvezda’s telerobotically operated rendezvous system to manually dock the 61P.

Three Soyuz Crew Members Wrap Up Mission on Space Station

Soyuz TMA-16M crew
Soyuz TMA-16M crew members (from left) Andreas Mogensen, Aidyn Aimbetov and Gennady Padalka rest outside their spacecraft and are surrounded by support personnel after landing in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

Three crew members from the International Space Station returned to Earth on Friday. The landing in Kazakhstan wrapped up a 168-day mission for one cosmonaut and a brief 10-day visit for two, as well as returned a cache of samples from several NASA human research experiments aboard the station.

Expedition 44 commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency touched down at 8:51 p.m. EDT (00:51 UTC, 6:51 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

Padalka arrived at the International Space Station on March 27 along with one-year mission crew members NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos. Padalka spent 168 days in space during Expeditions 43 and 44, traveling more than 71 million miles. This completes Padalka’s fifth trip to space for a total of 879 days in space, the most by any human.

Mogensen and Aimbetov spent 10 days in space, delivering a new Soyuz spacecraft that will return Kelly and Kornienko and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov in March. They arrived with Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, who will return to Earth with Kelly and Kornienko in March 2016. It was the first flight to space for both Mogensen and Aimbetov, who made 160 orbits of Earth and traveled more than four million miles during their 10 days in space as visiting crew members. During their short time in orbit, they participated in a number of experiments on behalf of their respective space agencies, focusing on the areas of human research, Earth observation and technology development. They arrived with Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, delivering a new Soyuz spacecraft in which Volkov, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016.

NASA experiments returning on the spacecraft include blood samples for NASA’s Twins Study, a unique research demonstration using Kelly and his twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, to understand the effects of long duration spaceflight and further NASA’s use of personalized medicine in space. Additional samples for the Salivary Markers and Microbiome studies also returned to Earth.

One item, the Skinsuit, was tested in orbit by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen. Some astronauts’ spines have been shown to lengthen as much as 7 cm in weightlessness, which can cause pain. The Skinsuit was demonstrated in microgravity to see if it may help astronauts counteract potential back problems in microgravity. The specially designed overalls simulate gravitational forces from Earth by constricting the body from shoulders to feet.

Testing this clothing item in space may help astronauts with any back pain they experience on long-duration missions. Further, the Skinsuit has potential use for older adults with spine issues and people suffering from low-back pain on Earth. It also could be used as a support item for people with conditions like cerebral palsy, a disorder affecting movement, muscle tone and/or posture.

Samples from one Rodent Research study are returning with this Soyuz flight, as well. These types of experiments examine how microgravity affects animals, providing information relevant to human spaceflight, discoveries in basic biology and knowledge that will have direct impact toward human health on Earth.

Remaining aboard the orbiting laboratory to continue important research and station maintenance during Expedition 45 are Kelly, Kornienko, Volkov, NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Watch Live Coverage Now of Soyuz Spacecraft Landing

Soyuz spacecraft
A Soyuz spacecraft is seen as it lands March 12, 2015 carrying three Expedition 42 crew members.

NASA Television is providing live coverage of tonight’s return to Earth of International Space Station Expedition 44 crew member Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. The crew undocked from the station at 5:29 p.m. EDT, and they are on track for landing in their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft at 8:51 p.m., southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Watch on NASA TV at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

At this time, no concerns or issues are being worked. The timeline through landing is:

EDT                            EVENT

7:59 p.m.                    Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 42 seconds duration)
8:26 p.m.                    Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
8:28 p.m.                    Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
8:37 p.m.                    Command to open parachute (6.7 miles)
8:51 p.m.                   Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan,                                     Kazakhstan

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Soyuz With Three Crew Undocks and Expedition 45 Begins

International Space Station Configuration
The International Space Station configuration as of Sept. 11 when the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft undocked from the Zvezda service module.

The Soyuz TMA-16M carrying Expedition 44 crew member Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency undocked from the station at 5:29 p.m. EDT. Padalka spent 168 days aboard the International Space Station during Expeditions 43 and 44 and will complete 2,688 orbits of Earth. Mogensen and Aimbetov spent 10 days in space, eight of them aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Padalka is the commander at the controls of the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft. They will perform a separation burn to increase the distance from the station before executing a 4-minute, 42-second deorbit burn at 7:59 p.m. The crew is scheduled to land at 8:51 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

The departure marks the end of Expedition 44. The Expedition 45 crew members remaining aboard to continue research and maintenance are Commander Scott Kelly of NASA, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, Sergey Volkov, and Oleg Kononenko, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn and landing beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Here is the timeline for Expedition 44’s landing:

EDT                             EVENT

7:30 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn and landing coverage
7:59 p.m.                   Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 42 seconds duration)
8:26 p.m.                   Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
8:28 p.m.                   Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
8:37 p.m.                   Command to open parachute (6.7 miles)
8:51 p.m.                   Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Follow the conversation on Twitter using @space_station and the hashtag #ISS.

Soyuz and Station Hatches Closed

Soyuz TMA-16M Landing Crew Members
Soyuz TMA-16M landing crew members Andreas Mogensen, Gennady Padalka and Aidyn Aimbetov. Credit: NASA TV

At 2:17 p.m. EDT, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-16M spacecraft. Expedition 44 crew member Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are preparing to undock at 5:29 p.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 5 p.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 7:59 p.m. and will lead to a landing at 8:51 p.m. southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 7:30 p.m.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using @space_station and the hashtag #ISS.

Homecoming Day for Three Station Crew Members

Nine-Member Station Crew
Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka (center with red shirt) and first time space visitors (from left in back) Andreas Mogensen from Denmark and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazakhstan will ride the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft back to Earth.

Today is homecoming day for International Space Station Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. They are preparing to return to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft at 8:51 p.m. EDT, southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

At this time, the crew’s return is on track, and the space station teams are not working any issues. The Soyuz hatch is scheduled to be closed at 2 p.m. EDT.

Padalka handed over command of the orbiting laboratory to NASA astronaut Scott Kelly in a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 5. Expedition 45 formally begins when the Soyuz undocks.

NASA Television coverage times for Soyuz activities are listed below. These activities also will stream online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Here is a timeline of the Expedition 44 undocking and landing.

EDT                             EVENT

1:45 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 44 farewell & hatch closure coverage
2:00 p.m.                   Soyuz TMA-16M/space station hatch closure
5:00 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M undocking coverage
5:27 p.m.                   Soyuz undock command sent
5:29 p.m.                   Soyuz TMA-16M undocks from space station
5:32 p.m.                   Soyuz manual separation burn
7:30 p.m.                   NASA TV: Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn and landing coverage
7:59 p.m.                   Soyuz TMA-16M deorbit burn (4 minutes, 42 seconds duration)
8:26 p.m.                   Soyuz module separation (altitude 87 miles)
8:28 p.m.                   Soyuz atmospheric entry (altitude 62 miles)
8:37 p.m.                   Command to open parachute (6.7 miles)
8:51 p.m.                   Expedition 44 Soyuz TMA-16M landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan

Join the conversation on Twitter @space_station and following hashtag #ISS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.