The International Space Station crew has been working on a variety of robotics activities this week. On Wednesday, they tested a humanoid robot and explored how bowling ball-sized satellites, known as SPHERES, can navigate around objects. Crew members trained earlier in the week for the planned Sunday capture of the Dragon spacecraft using the 57.7 foot Canadarm2.
NASA astronaut Terry Virts unpacked Robonaut 2 so that payload controllers from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama could power up its new legs for the first time. Robonaut’s legs, which arrived on a previous SpaceX mission, were installed in August. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti downloaded SPHERES data demonstrating how the small free-floating satellites build 3D maps of objects and interact and navigate using those 3D models.
Cristoforetti also joined Commander Barry Wilmore removing a small satellite deployer, nicknamed CYCLOPS, from Japan’s Kibo lab module for troubleshooting. Afterward, Wilmore conducted a vision test and set up a multipurpose experiment platform in Kibo.
Veteran cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov installed more overlay sheets inside the Zarya cargo module. New cosmonaut Elena Serova conducted a photographic inspection of the interior panels of the Zvezda service module. The trio also worked a wide variety of science including studies of bioelectric cardiac activity and the effects that earthquakes and human activities have on Earth’s ionosphere.
Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts were back at work Tuesday for more maintenance on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly. The device removes humidity and carbon dioxide from the International Space Station’s environment.
Wilmore later removed and stowed a printed test object, or coupon, from the new 3D printer located in the Destiny lab’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti started the 3D print job earlier in the day.
Fellow cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova partnered up on routine communications maintenance work. They were later joined by their newest crewmate, Anton Shkaplerov, on a chemistry experiment designed to educate Russian students.
The International Space Station is operating at full capacity as the six-member Expedition 42 crew ramps up new science experiments by setting up research hardware.
Commander Barry Wilmore partnered up with new Flight Engineer Terry Virts in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module setting up a nanosatellite deployer known as Cyclops. Wilmore then moved on to science freezer maintenance while Virts worked on the Aniso Tubule botany study and measured air velocity in Kibo.
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on her first space mission set up gear for the Blind and Imagined experiment that observes visual and sensory changes in crew members on long-duration space missions. The three cosmonauts worked on a variety of Russian science experiments including the study of the cardiovascular system, radiation exposure in the station and plasma research.
The three orbiting Expedition 42 crew members are wrapping up the work week with science, cargo transfers and maintenance. Meanwhile, another crew is on the ground awaiting its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Commander Barry Wilmore worked in the Kibo laboratory checking out the lab module’s robotic arm. He was also in the Destiny lab module studying plants, which can provide oxygen and food for future crews, for the Seedling Growth experiment. His fellow crewmates Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova worked in the station’s Russian segment off-loading cargo from the docked ISS Progress 57 resupply ship and reconfiguring networks.
The next Expedition 42 trio is in Kazakhstan relaxing in their crew quarters at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur. Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineers Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti are preparing for a six hour trip to the International Space Station; they’re launching Nov. 23 aboard the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft.
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst scanned his arteries then measured his body shape and size Wednesday. Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore joined Gerst for the scanning activities using an Ultrasound for the Cardio Ox experiment. NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman assisted Gerst with the Body Measures study.
In the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory, Commander Max Suraev continued packing gear inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft that he, Wiseman and Gerst will use to return to Earth on Nov. 9. Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev assisted Suraev’s departure effort, checking the Iridium phones used in the Soyuz for emergency communications. Elena Serova participated in a psychophysiological evaluation, then inventoried gear in the Zarya module and Pirs docking compartment.
The next trio to launch to the station is getting ready for a news conference to be held Thursday in Star City, Russia, before going to Moscow for traditional pre-launch ceremonies. Expedition 42/43 crew members Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov are due to liftoff Nov. 23 aboard their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft for a six hour ride to their new home in space.
Cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev opened the hatch to the ISS Progress 57 space freighter which arrived Wednesday morning. Suraev also joined NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman for descent training in advance of their Nov. 9 landing in the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft.
Flight Engineers Barry Wilmore and Alexander Gerst scrubbed cooling loops in the U.S. spacesuits throughout the day. Gerst also changed the water in the Kibo laboratory’s Aquatic Habitat.
Orbital Sciences Corp. has completed an initial assessment of its launch facility in Virginia after Tuesday night’s catastrophic failure of the Antares rocket.