Watch Veteran Spacewalkers Live on NASA TV Now

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel
NASA astronaut Drew Feustel seemingly hangs off the International Space Station while conducting a spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (out of frame) on March 29, 2018. Feustel, as are all spacewalkers, was safely tethered at all times to the space station during the six-hour, ten-minute spacewalk.

NASA Television and the agency’s website have begun the broadcast of today’s spacewalk.

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA are preparing to exit the International Space Station to make improvements and repairs to the orbiting laboratory. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin about 8:10 a.m. EDT and last about six-and-a-half hours.

Newly arrived Expedition 56 crew members Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) are supporting the spacewalkers.

Feustel and Arnold will install new high-definition cameras near an international docking adapter mated to the front end of the station’s Harmony module. The additions will provide enhanced views during the final phase of approach and docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner commercial crew spacecraft that will soon begin launching from American soil.

The astronauts also will swap out a camera assembly on the starboard truss of the station and close an aperture door on an external environmental imaging experiment outside the Japanese Kibo module.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV Set to Broadcast Spacewalk Live on Thursday

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel
An Expedition 55 crew member inside the cupola photographed NASA astronaut Drew Feustel outside the International Space Station conducting a spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (out of frame) on March 29, 2018.

Veteran NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel will head outside the International Space Station just after 8 a.m. EDT Thursday to begin a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. Live coverage will be available on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 6:30 a.m.

During Thursday’s spacewalk, Feustel and Arnold will install new cameras to provide high-definition views of spacecraft docking with the station.

The two spacewalkers will install brackets and high-definition cameras near an international docking adapter mated to the front end of the station’s Harmony module. The additions will provide enhanced views during the final phase of approach and docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner commercial crew spacecraft that will soon begin launching from American soil.

During their spacewalk, the astronauts also will swap out a camera assembly on the starboard truss of the station and close an aperture door on an external environmental imaging experiment outside the Japanese Kibo module. The imaging experiment hardware will be discarded on a future SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

The spacewalk will be the 211th in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the sixth station spacewalk this year. It also will be the fifth spacewalk for Arnold and the ninth spacewalk in Feustel’s career. During the spacewalk, Arnold will wear a suit bearing red stripes while Feustel’s suit will not have stripes.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Crew Huddles Up Before Spacewalk as Science Continues

The newly-expanded six-member Expedition 56 crew
The newly-expanded six-member Expedition 56 crew gathers in the Zvezda service module shortly after three new crew members arrived June 8, 2018. In the front row (from left) are the newest Expedition 56 Flight Engineers Sergey Prokopyev, Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor. In the back (from left) are Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev, Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold.

The Expedition 56 astronauts huddled together today finalizing preparations for Thursday’s spacewalk to ready the International Space Station for commercial crew vehicles. The crew members also managed to squeeze in some human research and physics experiments today.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold went over their spacewalk procedures again today with fellow crew members Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst. The quartet worked throughout the day to configure the robotics workstation, ready spacesuits and set up the Quest airlock before tomorrow’s spacewalk set to begin at 8:10 a.m. EDT.

Feustel and Arnold will install new high definition cameras during tomorrow’s 6.5-hour spacewalk to support upcoming commercial crew missions from SpaceX and Boeing to the orbital laboratory. The duo will be supported in and out of their spacesuits by Gerst while Auñón-Chancellor will maneuver the Canadarm2 to support tomorrow’s activities. NASA TV begins its live broadcast of the sixth spacewalk this year at 6:30 a.m.

Gerst, who has been on the station for less than a week, worked a pair of experiments today helping scientists understand the effects of living and working in space. He laid down in a face-up position in the morning for the Grip study that is researching the nervous system. Observations may improve the design of safer space habitats and help patients on Earth with neurological diseases. Gerst later installed sample gear in the Electromagnetic Levitator, a furnace that enables observations of the properties of materials exposed to extremely high temperatures.

Two NASA Astronauts Set to Go on Their Third Spacewalk This Year

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel
NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are suited up inside U.S. spacesuits for a fit check verification ahead of a spacewalk that took place May 16, 2016.

Correction, June 14, 2018:  This post has been updated to clarify the timing of the first uncrewed test missions, which are planned for later this year.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are set to go on their third spacewalk together this year on Thursday at the International Space Station. Their new Expedition 56 crewmates Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst are training today to support the two spacewalkers.

Arnold and Feustel will begin Thursday’s spacewalk at 8:10 a.m. to install new high definition cameras to support upcoming commercial crew missions from SpaceX and Boeing to the orbital laboratory. The first uncrewed test missions are planned to begin later this year. The cameras will provide improved views of the commercial crew vehicles as they approach and dock to the station. NASA TV will provide complete live coverage of the 211th space station spacewalk starting at 6:30 a.m.

Auñón-Chancellor and Gerst, who just arrived at the station on Friday, will assist the spacewalkers on Thursday. Gerst will help the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits. Auñón-Chancellor will operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The duo practiced today on a computer the robotics procedures necessary to maneuver a spacewalker to and from the worksite on the starboard side of the station’s truss structure.

Arnold and Feustel had some extra time today to work on science and maintenance activities. Arnold worked with the Microgravity Science Glovebox to troubleshoot a semiconductor crystal growth experiment. Feustel performed some plumbing work in the Tranquility module before relocating a pair of incubator units to support new experiments being delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. Finally, the duo readied the Quest airlock and their spacesuits for Thursday morning’s spacewalk.

Expedition 56 Greets Three New Crew Members

Expedition 56 Crew Greeting
The newly-expanded Expedition 56 crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a crew greeting ceremony with family, friends and mission officials in Moscow. In the front row from left are new Flight Engineers Sergey Prokopyev, Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor. In the back row are Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev, Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold. Credit: NASA TV

Three new Expedition 56 crew members were welcomed aboard the International Space Station today. Hatches between the space station and Soyuz opened at 11:17 a.m. EDT, marking the arrival of Expedition 56 Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.

The Soyuz MS-09 carrying the trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:12 a.m. Wednesday, June 6. They joined Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The crew members are also being greeted by family and friends who watched the docking and hatch opening from the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow.

For more information about the mission visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Contact and Capture: Three Crew Members Arrive at Station

Soyuz MS-09 Docking
The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft is pictured moments after docking to the space station’s Rassvet module.

The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module of the International Space Station at 9:01 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying over eastern China.

Following their two-day trip, astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, astronaut Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos docked to the space station. Their arrival restores the station’s crew complement to six as they wait to join Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The hatches between the two spacecraft will open following standard pressurization and leak checks. Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Station Waits for Friday Crew Arrival Ahead of June 14 Spacewalk

Soyuz Rocket Blasts Off
The Soyuz Ms-09 rocket blasts off June 6, 2018 with three new Expedition 56-57 crew members to the space station.

Two astronauts and a cosmonaut are racing toward the International Space Station today inside the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. The new Expedition 56-57 trio comprising Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst are due to arrive Friday at 9:07 a.m. EDT when they dock to the Rassvet module.

NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the rendezvous and docking of the new crew at 8:15 a.m. NASA TV will then be back on the air at 10:30 a.m. when the new crew opens the hatches at 11:05 a.m. and enters their new home in space where they will live for the next six months.

Waiting to greet their new crewmates are station Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Oleg Artemyev who have been onboard the orbital laboratory since March. All six Expedition 56 crew members will gather in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family and mission officials back on Moscow. Next the crewmates will begin familiarizing themselves with station systems and safety procedures.

In the meantime, Feustel and Arnold are moving ahead with preparations for next week’s spacewalk to outfit the station’s Harmony module with new enhanced high definition television cameras and wireless communications gear. The duo organized spacewalking tools and gear, recharged spacesuit and camera batteries and reviewed procedures for the 6.5-hour excursion planned for June 14. The new cameras will improve the view of approaching commercial crew vehicles for dockings in the future. The new wireless equipment will enable data transmission from payloads mounted on the outside of the Columbus and Kibo modules.

Crew Launches to Space, Reaches Station on Friday

The Soyuz MS-09 rocket  heads to space
The Soyuz MS-09 rocket heads to space with three Expedition 56-57 crew members after launching on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz MS-09 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 7:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 6 (5:12 p.m. in Baikonur). At the time of launch, the station was flying about 250 miles above south central Egypt, moving from southwest to northeast. NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.

The crew will orbit Earth 34 times before the spacecraft’s arrival and docking to the space station’s Rassvet module at 9:07 a.m. Friday, June 8, which will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, followed at 10:30 a.m. by coverage of the opening of hatches between the spacecraft and station.

The docking timeline Friday, June 8 EDT is:

  • 8:15 a.m. – Docking coverage begins (docking scheduled for 9:07 a.m.)
  • 10:30 a.m. – Hatch opening and welcome coverage begins (hatch opening expected at 11:05 a.m.)

 The arrival of Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev will restore the station to six crew members. They will join Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel and flight engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos. The crew will spend more than five months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

This crew continues the long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time dedicated to research on the space station. Highlights of upcoming investigations include a new facility to study ultra-cold quantum gases, the first commercial European facility to conduct microgravity research, and a system that uses surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid separation.

 Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev are scheduled to remain aboard the station until October, while Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev are slated to return to Earth in December.

 For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Countdown Under Way for Launch of Three Station Crew Members

Expedition 56 crew members
Expedition 56 crew members Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA (left), Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos (center) and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (right) pose for pictures in their Russian Sokol launch and entry suits in front of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 7:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday (4:12 p.m. in Baikonur). Live launch coverage will begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The three will join Expedition 56 commander Drew Feustel and flight engineers Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos. The Expedition 56 crew members will contribute to more than 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

EDT          L-Hr/M/Sec   Event

10:12:41pm        9:00        Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel (June 5)
1:12:41am        6:00        Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel
1:27:41am        5:45        Batteries installed in booster
1:57:41am        5:15        Crew arrives at Site 254
2:12:41am        5:00        Tanking begins
2:42:41am        4:30        Crew suit up
3:07:41am        4:05        Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen
3:42:41am        3:30        Crew meets family members on other side of the glass
4:07:41am        3:05        First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
4:12:41am        3:00        Crew walkout from 254 and boards bus for the launch pad
4:17:41am        2:55        Crew departs for launch pad (Site 1)
4:37:41am        2:35        Crew arrives at launch pad (Site 1)
4:47:41am        2:25        Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
5:37:41am        1:35        Descent module hardware tested
5:52:41am        1:20        Hatch closed; leak checks begin
6:12:41am        1:00        Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation
6:15:00am     :57:41        NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
6:27:41am        :45:00        Pad service structure components lowered
6:28:41am        :44:00        Clamshell gantry service towers retracted
6:30:00am        :42:41        NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)
6:35:41am        :37:00        Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
6:38:41am        :34:00       Emergency escape system armed
6:57:41am        :15:00       Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
7:02:41am        :10:00        Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
7:05:41am        :07:00        Pre-launch operations complete
7:06:41am        :06:00        Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
7:07:41am        :05:00        Commander’s controls activated
7:08:41am        :04:00        Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
7:09:41am        :03:00        Propellant drainback
7:09:56am        :02:45        Booster propellant tank pressurization
7:11:11am        :01:30        Ground propellant feed terminated
7:11:41am        :01:00        Vehicle to internal power
7:12:06am        :00:35        First umbilical tower separates
Auto sequence start
7:12:11am        :00:30        Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
7:12:26am        :00:15        Second umbilical tower separates
7:12:29am        :00:12        Launch command issued
Engine Start Sequence Begins
7:12:31am        :00:10        Engine turbo pumps at flight speed
7:12:36am        :00:05        Engines at maximum thrust
7:12:41am        :00:00        LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-09 TO THE ISS
7:21:26am        +8:45        THIRD STAGE SHUTDOWN; SOYUZ ORBITAL INSERTION

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Rocket Ready to Blast Off New Crew Wednesday Morning

Soyuz MS-09 Rocket
The Soyuz MS-09 rocket is pictured standing at its launch pad on a clear blue day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz rocket that will launch three new Expedition 56-57 crew members to the International Space Station stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst are in quarantine today preparing to blast off Wednesday at 7:12 a.m. EDT on a two-day trip to the station. Live NASA TV coverage begins at 6:15 a.m.

The trio representing Roscosmos, NASA and the European Space Agency will orbit Earth for two days before arriving at the station’s Rassvet module Friday at 9:07 a.m. The crew will enter its new home after the hatches open around 11:30 a.m. to begin a six-month mission aboard the orbital laboratory. NASA TV will begin its live docking coverage Friday starting at 8:15 a.m.

Three veteran station residents will greet the newcomers Wednesday when Expedition 56 grows to its full complement of six team members. Station Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Oleg Artemyev have been living in space since March 21 and will help familiarize their new crewmates with station systems and safety procedures.

Meanwhile, the three orbiting Expedition 56 crewmates managed to work on scientific gear and prepare for next week’s spacewalk. Feustel cleaned samples cartridges inside the Electro-Static Levitation Furnace as Arnold readied the Plant Habitat-01 for upcoming botany research. The duo also assembled and tested spacewalking gear ahead of a June 14 spacewalk to install wireless communications gear on the Harmony module.