Soyuz Rocket Launches Expedition 44 Trio to Space

The Soyuz TMA-17M rocket launches
The Soyuz TMA-17M rocket launches on time from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Credit: NASATV

The Soyuz TMA-17M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 5:02 p.m. EDT (3:02 a.m. on July 23 Baikonur time).  Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) now are safely in orbit.

NASA TV coverage continues at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Lindgren, Kononenko and Yui will dock with the station’s Rassvet module at 10:46 p.m. NASA Television coverage of the docking will begin at 10 p.m. Welcoming them aboard will be the current station residents, Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos. NASA TV coverage of the hatch opening and welcome ceremony begins at 11:45 p.m.

Padalka, Kelly and Kornienko arrived at the space station in March aboard their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft.

Kjell Lindgren
Astronaut Kjell Lindgren waves from inside the Soyuz rocket during ascent. An R2D2 doll is seen hanging from inside the spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

Some of the cargo flown aboard the Soyuz will be used in research investigations that are either ongoing or planned aboard the International Space Station. Items such as questionnaires will be delivered to obtain data about crew member characteristics, such as day-to-day changes in health or incidence of pain or pressure in microgravity. One such investigation is Space Headaches which uses questionnaires to collect information about the prevalence and characteristics of crew members’ headaches in microgravity. This information is used to develop future countermeasures for headaches often caused by intracranial pressure change.

Researchers will also use biological sample kits delivered by the Soyuz spacecraft to obtain samples of blood, saliva or urine. The ongoing collection of biological samples from crew members help scientists determine if immune system impairment caused by spaceflight increases the possibility for infection or poses a significant health risk during life aboard the space station.

In addition to these studies, seven categories of human health research are ongoing during the One-Year mission of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko. Researchers expect these investigations to yield beneficial knowledge on the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges faced by astronauts during long-duration spaceflight.

Read more about all of the One-Year Mission human health studies.

Watch NASA TV Now for Launch of New Station Crew

Expedition 44 crew members
JSC2015E053687 (04/30/2015) — Expedition 44 crew members NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren (left), Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko (center) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Kimiya Yui.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft that will carry three additional crew members to the International Space Station stands ready for its 5:02 p.m. EDT liftoff. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 4 p.m. Watch on NASA TV or at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will launch aboard their Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Orbiting Crew Busy With Research as New Crew Waits for Launch

Expedition 44 crew members
(From left) Expedition 44 crew members Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui announce their mission readiness at the State Commission at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Three new International Space Station crew members are making final preparations a day before their launch to the orbital laboratory. They will join the orbiting Expedition 44 trio which is busy today with a variety of advanced microgravity experiments to benefit life on Earth and future space crews.

An international crew from Russia, Japan and the United States is in Kazakhstan as their Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft rests on its launch pad counting down to a 5:02 p.m. EDT launch on Wednesday (3:02 a.m. Baikonur time Thursday). Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren will take a six-hour ride to the space station and dock to the Rassvet mini-research module. They will stay on orbit until December.

Waiting for their new crewmates are One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko and Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka. Kelly was assisted early Tuesday by Padalka as he conducted ultrasound scans on his leg for the Sprint exercise study. Kelly later watered plants for the Veg-01 botany study then worked on the MERLIN science freezer/incubator.

Padalka worked on Progress resupply ship cargo transfers and inventory updates. Kornienko studied cell cultivation for the Kaskad biology study before moving on to radiation research for the Matryeshka-R BUBBLE experiment.

Crew Continues On Orbit Research as New Rocket Rolls Out

The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft
The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is raised into position on the launch pad Monday, July 20, 2015 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The three-member Expedition 44 crew explored microgravity science today while maintaining the systems of the International Space Station. Back on Earth, a Soyuz rocket rolled out to its launch pad today before Wednesday’s launch of three new crew members to the orbital laboratory.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly worked throughout Monday primarily on station life support maintenance after some plant photography. His fellow One-Year crew member, Mikhail Kornienko, worked on the Kaskad and Motocard experiments. Commander Gennady Padalka conducted research for the Fluid Shifts and the Vibrolab studies.

A new trio of Expedition 44 crew members saw their Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft roll out to its launch pad today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Cosmonaut and Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Kimiya Yui will launch July 22 at 5:02 p.m. EDT from Kazakhstan (July 23, 3:02 a.m. Baikonur time) for a five month mission on the space station.

New Crew at Launch Site, Cubesat Deployments Begin

Expedition 44 crew members
jsc2015e071473 — Expedition 44 crew members Kjell Lindgren , Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui pose with their Sokol launch and entry suits July 11 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

A new trio of space station crew members arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday to complete mission preparations. In space, the orbital residents began a series of Cubesat deployments.

The Expedition 44/45 crew comprised of Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui are wrapping up preflight training in Kazakhstan. They will launch July 22 aboard the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft for a six-hour ride to the International Space Station.

On board the International Space Station, One-Year crew member Scott Kelly set up the Japanese Kibo airlock for Cubesat deployments this week. Kelly also explored fluid physics for the Capillary Beverage study. Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko studied liquid crystals and observed chemical reactions in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Russian Resupply Ship Rolls Out, Crew Preps for Japanese Cargo Craft

The ISS Progress 60 cargo craft
The ISS Progress 60 cargo craft is at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RKK Energia

The next Russian resupply ship to launch to the International Space Station rolled out to its launch pad today. The crew is also preparing for Japan’s next cargo mission due in August.

The ISS Progress 60 (60P) cargo craft is at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad preparing for a 12:55 a.m. EDT launch Friday from Kazakhstan. The 60P is delivering more than 3 tons of food, fuel and supplies to the crew and will dock to the Pirs docking compartment.

NASA astronaut and One-Year crew member Scott Kelly worked Wednesday to also get the station ready for another cargo craft, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori HTV-5, due for launch Aug. 16. It will lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan for a four day trip to the station where it will be grappled and berthed to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node.

The two cosmonauts, Commander Gennady Padalka and One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko, were on the Russian side of the orbital lab conducting science and maintenance. The duo explored the dynamic forces the station experiences caused by mission events such as vehicle dockings and spacewalks including internal activities like physical exercise.

Packed Day of Science before Thanksgiving on Orbit

Commander Barry Wilmore
Commander Barry Wilmore talks about what he’s grateful for, gives thanks to the military for their service and reveals what he and Expedition 42 crew are eating on Thanksgiving. Watch his video message. Credit: NASA TV… http://youtu.be/ieR7yhigASg

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.

› Read more about the Cyclops nanosatellite launcher
› Read more about Aniso Tubule

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.

› Read more about Blind and Imagined

The NASA astronauts on the orbital complex will have a light day on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will share a meal with the rest of their crewmates.

Kibo Laboratory Module
The Kibo laboratory module, where the Cyclops nanosatellite deployer is being prepared for service, is seen from a camera on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Botany Science and Network Reconfigs as Future Crew Relaxes

Barry Wilmore in Destiny
Commander Barry Wilmore is in the Destiny lab module filling a water bag. Credit: NASA TV

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.

› Read more about the Seedling Growth experiment

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.

Barry Wilmore in Kibo
Wilmore reconfigures robotics cables in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 41 Opens Progress Hatch as Orbital Sciences Conducts Investigation

Alexander Gerst
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst talks to German journalists.

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.

› Visit NASA’s Orbital Sciences page for the latest information