Biomedical Studies and Spacewalk Review Start the Crew Week

NASA Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will conduct two spacewalks on Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. Credit: NASA TV

The crew continued more biomedical studies today so scientists can learn how long-term missions affect humans in space. The International Space Station residents also reviewed procedures for a pair of upcoming spacewalks and conducted an emergency training session.

Commander Scott Kelly joined his fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui for vision tests and blood pressure checks as part of the Ocular Health study. That study, which has been ongoing since March 2013, observes the visual changes, vascular changes, and central nervous system changes that occur in crew members while living in space.

Kornienko also joined his fellow cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Oleg Kononenko for heart evaluations while riding an exercise bicycle. They also explored crew motion disturbances in space and remote control of a robot from a spacecraft to the ground.

Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren are gearing up for a pair of spacewalks on Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. The duo joined Yui, who will choreograph the spacewalks from inside the station, for procedure reviews and a conference with specialists on the ground.

On the first spacewalk, Kelly and Lindgren will service the Canadarm2, route power cables and place a thermal shroud over the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. During the second spacewalk, the pair will return the port truss cooling system back to its original configuration after repair work completed back in 2012.

Commander Scott Kelly Breaks Time-in-Space Record

Just before the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, is breaking spaceflight records. Today, Kelly begins his 383rd day living in space, surpassing U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke’s record of 382 cumulative days. Read more... http://go.nasa.gov/1LxDrvd
Just before the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, is breaking spaceflight records. Today, Kelly begins his 383rd day living in space, surpassing U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke’s record of 382 cumulative days. Read more… http://go.nasa.gov/1LxDrvd

International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly set a new record today becoming the NASA astronaut with the most cumulative days in space, 383 days and counting. Mike Fincke, a two-time space station resident, was the previous record holder at 382 days. Kelly is scheduled to return to Earth on March 2, 2016, for a total of 522 days in space.

Meanwhile, the six-member Expedition 45 crew was working station maintenance, biomedical science and emergency training on Friday.

Kelly, was inside the Kibo laboratory module retrieving two CubeSat nanosatellites from the laboratory’s porch, using the Kibo airlock. His fellow NASA astronaut, Kjell Lindgren, joined Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui for eye scans with an ultrasound and heart exams with an echocardiogram. Kelly then partnered with Lindgren practicing spacewalk rescue techniques using virtual reality goggles.

Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko got together with Kelly for more eye checks using a Fundoscope. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov installed a storage unit then serviced a video camera. Kelly’s fellow One-Year crew member, Mikhail Kornienko, worked on a radiation detection experiment before moving on to routine maintenance in the station’s Russian segment.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly
NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren (left) and Scott Kelly talk about two upcoming spacewalks the duo will be conducting Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. Credit: NASA TV

Eye and Heart Checks as Spacewalkers Check Suits

Kjell Lindgren and Sergey Volkov
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren of Expedition 45 (left) provides a haircut to Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov (right) aboard the International Space Station. Not having a convienent barbershop 250 miles above the Earth, the crew helps each other out with a trimming of the locks from time to time.

The Expedition 45 residents worked on biomedical experiments Thursday observing how humans adapt to long-term missions in space. A pair of NASA astronauts is also getting ready for two upcoming spacewalks outside the International Space Station.

Commander Scott Kelly joined Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Kimiya Yui and Oleg Kononenko for eye exams throughout the day as part of the ongoing Ocular Health study. Doctors on the ground assisted the crew with remote guidance. Cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko attached sensors to themselves and monitored their hearts while they exercised on a cycle device.

Meanwhile, Kelly and Lindgren are counting down to a pair of spacewalks, now targeted for Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. The duo serviced their spacesuits today replacing lithium batteries, checking their gloves and verifying power to video cameras.

On the first spacewalk, the spacewalkers will lubricate the tip of the robotic arm Canadarm2, route power cables and place a thermal shroud over the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. During the second spacewalk, Kelly and Lindgren will refill coolant reservoirs and configure the port truss cooling system back to its original configuration after repair work completed back in 2012.

Crew Prepares for Spacewalks and December Cygnus Mission

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, wearing an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit. Photo credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

In two weeks, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will step outside the U.S. Quest airlock for the first of two maintenance spacewalks. The International Space Station is also being readied to host the next Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo mission set for early December.

Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui has been servicing the two spacesuits Kelly and Lindgren will wear on the two six-hour spacewalks scheduled for Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. The spacewalkers will lubricate the tip of the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. He and Lindgren started their day, though, with eye checks for the ongoing Ocular Health study.

Kelly and Lindgren have also been preparing the Unity module where the Cygnus commercial cargo craft will be attached when it arrives in December after a 14-month hiatus. Kelly installed a Unity power adapter in the Destiny lab module then joined Lindgren to adjust power connectors inside Unity.

The three cosmonauts continued their routine maintenance tasks and science experiments in the station’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov explored crystal magnetism, while Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko studied how a crew member adapts to motion during a spaceflight.

 

Progress Cargo Craft Ready for Thursday Launch

Astronauts Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren
ISS045E019087 (09/18/2015) — Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui (left) and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren (right) work on removing items from a storage rack located inside the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory. The pair are making room for new communications hardware that will be used for future visiting vehicles arriving at the space station, including the new U.S. commercial crew vehicles currently in development.

A new Russian cargo craft loaded with more than three tons food, fuel and supplies is ready for launch to the International Space Station. The crew inside the orbital lab continues ongoing science activities and routine maintenance.

Russia’s ISS Progress 61 (61P) cargo craft is at the launch pad in Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan counting down to a Thursday launch at 12:49 p.m. EDT. The 61P will dock after four orbits, or six hours later, to the Zvezda service module. NASA Television will broadcast the launch and docking of the cargo mission live beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Inside the space station, Commander Scott Kelly worked with a pair of bowling ball-sized satellites observing their automated docking abilities for the long-running SPHERES experiment. Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui used an ultrasound to scan cosmonaut Sergey Volkov’s eyes for the Ocular Health study.

Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren routed cables in the Destiny laboratory to support the next Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo mission planned for early December.

Science Work, Spacewalk Preps as New Crew Readies for Launch

Typhoon Soudelor
ISS044E030713 (08/05/2015) — Typhoon Soudelor photographed from the International Space Station on Aug. 5, 2015 while the storm was traveling in the western Pacific. The Soyuz TMA-17M (left) and the Progress 60 (right) cargo craft are visible.

The Expedition 44 crew members continued a wide variety of science experiments Friday as a pair of cosmonauts prepared for a spacewalk Monday morning. On the ground, a new Soyuz crew is preparing for their mission to swap a pair of station residents in September.

One-Year crew member Scott Kelly set up free-floating microsatellites for the long-running SPHERES-Slosh experiment which observes how liquids such as rocket fuel behave in space. New station residents Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui explored vision changes in space as they scanned each other’s eyes with an ultrasound and measured their blood pressure for the Ocular Health study.

Spacewalkers Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko tested their spacesuits Friday. The cosmonauts will spend 6-1/2 hours upgrading hardware, retrieving an external experiment and photographing the exterior condition of the Russian modules.

In Russia, three new Soyuz crew members completed a series of mission simulations ahead of their departure to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan. Veteran cosmonaut Sergei Volkov will command the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft when he launches Sept. 2 with fellow crew members Andreas Mogensen and Aidyn Aimbetov. Volkov will swap places with Padalka who will return to Earth Sept. 12 with Mogensen and Aimbetov.

Crew Begins New Week With Focus on Biological Studies

Nepal seen from the space station
Astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted this picture over the weekend as the station passed over Nepal which was struck by a major earthquake. Credit: @StationCDRKelly

The Expedition 43 crew kicked off a new week by focusing on a number of biological experiments.

The crew participated in the Sprint study which evaluates the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in crew members during long-duration missions.

Crew members also took part in Ocular Health checkouts as scientists search to better understand the vision changes some astronauts experience during spaceflight. They also collected samples for the Microbiome experiment which investigates the impact of space travel on both the human immune system and an individual’s microbiome.

Station commander Terry Virts did some troubleshooting on the Japanese airlock in preparation for the upcoming Robotics Refueling Mission-2 (RRM-2) operations. RRM-2, a joint study between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, investigates satellite repair and servicing techniques in space. Operators on the ground use the station’s special purpose dexterous manipulator, better known as Dextre, on the end of the Canadarm2, for fine robotics manipulation. Engineers are looking to determine whether it’s possible to refuel satellites and test electrical connections robotically.

Dragon Opens for Business with New Science

April 17, 2015 Space Station Configuration
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was berthed to the Harmony module after arriving April 17, 2015.

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly opened the hatches and floated into the new SpaceX Dragon space freighter Saturday morning, beginning five weeks of cargo transfers. The sixth Dragon cargo mission for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract delivered a wide variety of crew supplies and science gear to support dozens of new and ongoing microgravity experiments.

The crew unloaded new Rodent Research gear that will allow scientists to study the effects of microgravity on biological mechanisms in mice. Results may promote the development of new drugs tackling the effects of aging and disease on Earth.

A pair of new POLAR science freezers were unloaded from Dragon. The freezers store science samples at -80° C and allow the transport of those samples back to Earth.

Blood pressure checks and vision testing were on the schedule Monday as part of the Ocular Health study which observes the effects of long-term spaceflight on crew members. A trio of cosmonauts looked at cardiac activity in space and studied the radiation emitted from Russian spacecraft propulsion systems.

Crew Studying Microgravity Effects on Life as SpaceX Preps for Launch

The huge Typhoon Maysak "Eye"
This close up of the huge Typhoon Maysak “eye” of the category 5 (hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale) was captured by astronauts on board the International Space Station Mar. 31, 2015.

More life science work took place Thursday aboard the International Space Station as scientists study the effects of living in space during a long term space mission. Back on Earth, SpaceX is counting down to a Monday launch of its Dragon space freighter.

More eye checks took place Thursday as the crew in the U.S. segment of the orbital lab participated in a series of week-long Ocular Health activities. The crew also conducted artery scans using an Ultrasound for the Cardio Ox inflammatory stress study. The space station residents are also getting ready for the Rodent Research experiment setting up gear inside the Destiny lab module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox.

The station cosmonauts participated in their array of Russian science and maintenance on their side of the orbital laboratory. The veteran cosmonaut trio explored the micro-vibrations the station experiences and tested new photography techniques for Earth observation studies.

Mission managers are finalizing preparations for the April 13 launch of the sixth SpaceX Dragon Commercial Resupply Services mission to the space station. SpaceX will perform a hot-fire test this weekend of its Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket for a two day trip to the station where it will be captured by the Canadarm2 and installed on the Harmony module.

Medical Science and Emergency Training on Crew’s Schedule

Astronaut Samatha Cristoforetti
Astronaut Samatha Cristoforetti speaks to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi Wednesday. Credit: NASA TV

The six-member Expedition 43 crew spent Wednesday conducting more medical science and later training for a simulated emergency practicing their response skills.

Astronauts Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti participated in another round of eye checks for the ongoing Ocular Health study. One-Year crew member Scott Kelly scanned his legs using an Ultrasound for the Sprint high intensity, low-volume exercise study.

Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov continued studying ways to detect pressure leaks inside the station for the Bar experiment. Four-time space station resident Gennady Padalka researched the formation of coulomb crystals and liquids from macroparticles trapped in a magnetic field.  Kelly’s fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko worked maintenance throughout the International Space Station’s Russian segment.

Monday, April 13, is launch day for SpaceX’s sixth operational cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Launch is slated for 4:33 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Visit the SpaceX blog for the latest updates.