More Spacewalk Preps as Crew Researches Effects of Space on Life

Cygnus and Soyuz
Two docked spacecraft, the Cygnus with its circular solar arrays (left) and the Soyuz, are seen with the Earth below.

Two astronauts are counting down to a spacewalk planned for next Friday to replace a failed voltage regulator. While those preparations are under way, the crew is also exploring human research, life science and advanced physics.

Next week’s spacewalkers are NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake. They will replace a voltage regulator to restore power to one of eight power channels and take care of other maintenance tasks. The duo worked on their spacesuit batteries then joined Commander Scott Kelly to review procedures for their Jan. 15 spacewalk.

Kelly also worked on exercise research to improve fitness in space. Kopra studied heart function and Fine Motor Skills while Peake looked at arteries and how they stiffen in space.

Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko explored magnetic fields and coulomb crystals and transferred cargo from the newest Progress 62 cargo craft. His fellow flight engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov reported on the station’s scientific achievements for a Russian educational research program.

Crew Getting Spacesuits Ready While Researching Life Science

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake
Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake work on U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock where spacewalks are staged. Credit: NASA TV

Two astronauts are preparing a pair of U.S. spacesuits to get ready for next week’s spacewalk to continue the maintenance of the International Space Station. In the midst of those preparations, the six-member Expedition 46 crew is proceeding with ongoing space science to improve life on Earth and benefit future astronauts.

Tim Kopra from NASA and Tim Peake from the European Space Agency will be the spacewalkers on Jan. 15. They will work outside for about six-hours and 30-minutes to replace a failed voltage regulator, rig cables for future International Docking Adapters and perform other maintenance tasks.

The station residents also worked throughout the day on a variety of experiments exploring human research, physics and other advanced subjects.

Commander Scott Kelly joined cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko for the Fluid Shifts study. That experiment observes how microgravity increases brain pressure which may push back on a crew member’s eyes, resulting in changes to their vision. Peake and Kopra also participated in life science experiments exploring heart function during long-term space missions and the efficacy of medications in space.

Peake and Kopra to Conduct First Spacewalk of the New Year

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is seen floating during a spacewalk on Dec. 21, 2015.

Astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra are getting ready for a spacewalk next week to replace a failed voltage regulator. The duo are scheduled to work outside for 6.5 hours on Jan. 15 for the replacement work and other tasks.

In preparation, Kopra worked on the U.S. spacesuits today that he and Peake will wear next week. Peake, a British astronaut with the European Space Agency, began collecting and configuring their spacewalk tools.

The Expedition 46 crew also continued more advanced space science research onboard the International Space Station. Commander Scott Kelly joined his fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko for the Fluid Shifts study. That experiment explores how microgravity increases brain pressure which pushes back on a crew member’s eyes, resulting in changes to their vision.

Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov studied radiation exposure, how international crews relate during missions and worked on maintenance tasks. His fellow cosmonaut and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko looked at magnetic fields and coulomb crystals and transferred cargo from the newest Progress 62 cargo craft.

Fourth Russian Cargo Ship This Year Docks to Station

The Progress 62 Spacecraft Docks
Engineering video from a camera on the Progress 62 spacecraft shows the docking target on the Pirs docking compartment.

Traveling about 253 miles over western Mongolia, the unpiloted ISS Progress 62 Russian cargo ship docked automatically with the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station at 5:27 a.m. EST today. Progress is delivering 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the crew aboard the station.

The spacecraft launched Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Following a by-the-book rendezvous and docking with the Progress’ upgraded Kurs automated system, hooks formed a hard mate between the spacecraft and the Pirs docking compartment. Once the crew completes leak checks, the hatches will open, allowing the crew to unload the cargo.

The Progress spacecraft will remain docked until early July 2016.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.

 

Crew Waits for Christmas Delivery After Monday Spacewalk

NASA Astronaut Tim Kopra
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is seen floating during a spacewalk on Dec. 21, 2015.

A pair of spacewalkers are cleaning up and reporting back to ground controllers after a short spacewalk Monday morning. A Christmas delivery is also due at the International Space Station Wednesday at 5:31 a.m. EST/10:31 a.m. UTC.

Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra quickly prepared over the weekend for the spacewalk to release a stalled robotic transporter. As the pair suited up in the Quest airlock Monday, a Progress 62 (62P) cargo spaceship launched on a two-day trip to deliver 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 46 crew.

The stalled robotic transporter needed to be moved then latched to its worksite ahead of the Progress arrival triggering Monday’s spacewalk. The Progress is a modified design and Russian mission controllers are testing its upgraded software and telemetry systems during its flight to the Pirs docking compartment.

Cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov are preparing for the Progress arrival by testing the TORU tele-robotic rendezvous system. The TORU system would be used in the unlikely event it would be necessary to manually guide the vehicle to a docking.

The crew also had time set aside for advanced space science today. The orbiting lab residents explored plant growth and life science as humans learn to live longer and farther in space.

Astronauts Make Quick Work of Short Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
Spacewalkers Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra work to move stalled robotic transporter before moving on to “get-ahead” tasks. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra ended their spacewalk at 11:01 a.m. EST with the repressurization of the U.S. Quest airlock after accomplishing all objectives. They released brake handles on crew equipment carts on either side of the space station’s mobile transporter rail car so it could be latched in place ahead of Wednesday’s docking of a Russian cargo resupply spacecraft. The ISS Progress 62 resupply mission launched at 3:44 a.m. EST this morning (2:44 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

After quickly completing their primary objective for the spacewalk, Kelly and Kopra tackled several get-ahead tasks. Kelly routed a second pair of cables in preparation for International Docking Adapter installment work to support U.S. commercial crew vehicles, continuing work he began during a November spacewalk. Kopra routed an Ethernet cable that ultimately will connect to a Russian laboratory module. They also retrieved tools that had been in a toolbox on the outside of the station, so they can be used for future work.

The three-hour and 16-minute spacewalk was the third for Kelly, who is nine months into a yearlong mission and the second for Kopra, who arrived to the station Dec. 15. It was the 191st in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Crew members have now spent a total of 1,195 hours and 20 minutes working outside the orbital laboratory.

Stay up-to-date on the latest ISS news at: www.nasa.gov/station.

Astronauts Embark on 191st Station Spacewalk

Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
Spacewalkers Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:45 a.m. EST, signifying the start of today’s spacewalk, planned for about three hours.

Kelly is wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and is designated EV1. His helmet camera displays the number 18. Kopra is wearing a spacesuit with no stripes and is designated EV2. His helmet camera displays the number 17.

The astronauts are embarking on the 191st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance to move the space station’s mobile transporter rail car a few inches from its stalled position so it can be latched in place ahead of Wednesday’s docking of a Russian cargo resupply spacecraft.

If the primary task of moving the transporter to its worksite is completed quickly, Kelly and Kopra may press on to a few get-ahead tasks that include the routing of cables in advance of International Docking Adapter installment work to support U.S. commercial crew vehicles, and opening a door housing power distribution system relay boxes just above the worksite to facilitate the future robotic replacement of modular components.

NASA Television is broadcasting the spacewalk at www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Follow @Space_Station and #spacewalk on Twitter to join the conversation online.

Supply Ship Launches on Two-Day Trip to Station

Progress 62 Launches
The Progress 62 rocket launches from Kazakhstan on a two-day trip to the International Space Station: Credit: NASA TV

Carrying more than 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 62 cargo craft launched at 3:44 a.m. EST (2:44 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Russian cargo craft will make 34 orbits of Earth during the next two days before docking to the orbiting laboratory at 5:31 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23.

At 8:10 a.m. EST, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA will exit the station’s U.S. Quest airlock to conduct a previously unplanned spacewalk to help move the station’s mobile transporter rail car so it can be latched in place prior to arrival of the Progress spacecraft. NASA TV coverage of the planned three-hour spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m.

Watch live on NASA TV and online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of Progress 62’s arrival to the space station’s Pirs docking compartment beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

To join the online conversation on Twitter, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Rocket Ready to Launch for Final Christmas Delivery

Progress 62 Rocket at Launch Pad
The Progress 62 Rocket stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RSC Energia

Beginning Monday, Dec. 21 at 3:30 a.m. EST, NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 46 crew aboard the International Space Station. Launch of ISS Progress 62 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 3:44 a.m. (2:44 p.m. local time in Baikonur).

Watch the launch live on NASA TV or at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress 62 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 5:31 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The two-day rendezvous was deliberately planned to enable Russian flight controllers to test new software and communications equipment on the vehicle that will be standard for future Progress and piloted Soyuz spacecraft. The Expedition 46 crew will monitor key events during Progress 62’s automated rendezvous and docking.

The Progress will spend more than six months at the station before departing in early July 2016.

To join the online conversation on Twitter, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Station Managers “GO” For Monday Morning Spacewalk

NASA Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra will conduct a spacewalk Monday morning. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station Mission Management Team met Sunday and gave its approval to proceed with a spacewalk Monday out of the Quest airlock by Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA to assist in moving the Mobile Transporter rail car a few inches to a worksite on the station’s truss where it can be latched in place and electrically mated to the complex. The green light for the unplanned spacewalk to take place Monday came three days after the Mobile Transporter stalled just four inches away from its embarkation point at worksite 4 near the center of the station’s truss as it began to move to another worksite to support robotic payload operations with its attached Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (Dextre).

Station managers ordered the spacewalk to latch down the transporter as a cautionary measure in advance of the scheduled docking of the new unpiloted ISS Progress 62 cargo ship on Wednesday that will link up to the Pirs Docking Compartment. The Progress is on track for launch from the Site 31 launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Monday at 2:44 a.m. Central time (2:44 p.m. Baikonur time).

The planned 3 to 3 ½ hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin Monday at 7:10 a.m. Central time. The start time for the spacewalk is variable since Kopra will be conducting a fit check of his U.S. spacesuit in parallel with other spacewalk preparations. NASA TV coverage will begin at 5:30 a.m. Central time.

Kelly, who will be making his third spacewalk, will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) wearing the U.S. spacesuit bearing the red stripes. Kopra, who arrived on the station on Dec. 15, will be making the second spacewalk of his career as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2) wearing the suit with no stripes. It will be the 191st spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance and the seventh spacewalk of the year by station crew members.

Kelly and Kopra will float out of the Quest airlock to the area where the Mobile Transporter has stalled to check out the position of its brake handles and other mechanisms to make sure the rail car can be commanded to move back to worksite 4 by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston. It is suspected that a brake handle on an equipment cart attached to the starboard side of the transporter may have inadvertently engaged, which if correct, should easily be released to allow for the transporter to be moved into place for its latching.

If the primary task of moving the transporter to its worksite is completed quickly, Kelly and Kopra may press on to a few get-ahead tasks that include the routing of cables in advance of International Docking Adapter installment work to support U.S. commercial crew vehicles, and opening a door housing power distribution system relay boxes just above the worksite to facilitate the future robotic replacement of modular components.