Cosmonauts Finalize Preps Before Wednesday Spacewalk

Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov
Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov is pictured during a spacewalk in August 2011 when he was a Flight Engineer for Expedition 28.

Two cosmonauts are getting ready for a spacewalk to install hardware and science experiments outside the International Space Station’s Russian segment. Meanwhile, the other four crew members are working on research hardware, water testing and trash stowage.

Veteran flight engineers and spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov are finalizing their reviews and preparations for the second Expedition 46 spacewalk in less than a month. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the Russian spacewalk set to begin tomorrow at 8:10 a.m. EST. They are scheduled to work outside in their Russian Orlan spacesuits for about 5 hours and 30 minutes on scheduled maintenance tasks.

Commander Scott Kelly set up a portable 3D printer today inside the Destiny laboratory module. The test fabrications on the device may precede the installation of a full-sized 3D printer in the future. Kelly also replaced fuel gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack.

European astronaut Tim Peake collected and tested samples from water dispensers in the U.S. and Russian segments of the orbital lab. The samples will also be returned to Earth inside a Soyuz spacecraft for further analysis. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra continued stowing trash inside the Orbital ATK cargo craft while also checking the status of pistol grip tools used during spacewalks.

Spacesuit Checks and Fire Science on Space Station Today

British Astronaut Tim Peake
British Astronaut Tim Peake works to install gear inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module.

A pair of cosmonauts is getting ready for the 193rd International Space Station spacewalk beginning Wednesday at 8:10 a.m. EST. The other four Expedition 46 crew members worked on science, cargo transfers and maintenance today.

Spacewalkers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov got into their Russian Orlan spacesuits today testing their systems and practicing their movements. NASA TV will cover the spacewalk activities Wednesday starting at 7:30 a.m. The duo will install hardware and science experiments and photograph the external condition of the space station.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra was back at work studying how materials burn in microgravity potentially improving fire safety on Earth and in space. British astronaut Tim Peake retracted a small satellite deployer back in the Kibo lab module and performed some maintenance work on the BioLab incubator.

Commander Scott Kelly packed trash and discarded gear inside the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft scheduled to depart Feb. 19. Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko performed a series of interactive tasks on a tablet for the Fine Motor Skills investigation. Kelly and Peake also participated in the study that observes how astronauts work on touch-based, sensitive and detailed tasks on long duration space missions.

Day of Remembrance as Spacewalk Preps and Cygnus Work Move On

Astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra
Astronauts Tim Kopra (left) and Scott Kelly talk to the Military Times this morning from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Today, NASA remembers the sacrifice of the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Columbia and Challenger. Mission Control Center in Houston and the crew aboard the International Space Station observed a moment of silence and Commander Scott Kelly sent down a few words memorializing the lost astronauts.

The six residents aboard the space station kept up their pace with spacewalk preparations, Cygnus cargo transfers and advanced space science. The orbital laboratory also completed two of a series of reboosts on Wednesday ahead of a crew swap and a cargo delivery planned for March.

Cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov checked out their Russian Orlan spacesuits and tools before next week’s spacewalk. The duo will install hardware and science experiments on the station’s Russian segment. NASA TV will broadcast the spacewalk live beginning Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. EST.

Astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake worked throughout the day transferring cargo from the Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter. The Cygnus is due to leave the station’s Unity module Feb. 19 and burn up over the Pacific Ocean the next day.

Student Satellites Prepped for Deployment from Japanese Lab

Astronaut Scott Kelly and Tim Peake
Astronaut Scott Kelly (foreground) and Tim Peake load a pair of nanosatellites inside the Japanese Kibo lab module’s airlock. Credit: NASA TV

The six Expedition 46 crew members today prepared for the deployment of a pair of nanosatellites, loaded trash in the Cygnus cargo craft and reviewed timelines and procedures for a Feb. 3 spacewalk. The International Space Station will also raise its orbit ahead of March’s crew swap and cargo delivery activities.

Commander Scott Kelly and British astronaut Tim Peake were inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory loading a satellite carrier and its deployer mechanism in the lab module’s airlock. After the Japanese robotic arm extracts the deployer from the airlock the Aggiesat4 and BEVO-2 nanosatellites will be deployed on Friday. The student-built nanosatellites will help further develop and refine autonomous navigation, rendezvous and docking software and procedures.

Peake then joined NASA astronaut Tim Kopra loading trash inside the Orbital ATK Cygnus supply ship. The private space freighter is due to leave the station Feb. 19 ending its stay at the Unity module. Next, Kopra moved on to a combustion experiment testing how well different samples resist burning in microgravity.

Cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov are a week away from the second spacewalk of 2016. The veteran spacewalkers reviewed the timeline and procedures they will use to install hardware and science experiments outside the station’s Russian segment on Feb. 3 at 8:10 a.m. EST.

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.

Expedition 46 Transferring Gear Before Supply Ship Undocks

Progress 60 Resupply Ship
The International Space Station, with the docked Progress 60 resupply ship in the upper left, flies over Typhoon Soudelor in August.

The six-member Expedition 46 crew worked on human research activities and unloaded cargo today. The three newest crew members — Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake — continued familiarizing themselves with International Space Station systems and operations.

Commander Scott Kelly used an ultrasound during the morning to scan Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov’s eyes. Kelly then joined new station residents Kopra and Peake and unloaded cargo from the Cygnus private space freighter. Kelly later installed radiation detectors in the Columbus lab module. Peake filled out a daily questionnaire for the Space Headaches study.

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko was in the Russian segment of the orbital lab getting the Progress 60 resupply ship ready for its undocking early Saturday morning. Malenchenko transferred gear and supplies from the new Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft that arrived Tuesday. Malenchenko, who is on his fourth station mission, also photographed the condition of the Soyuz docking cone for inspection on the ground.

New Crew Getting Up to Speed on the Station

Dec. 15, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 15, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

The new Expedition 46 trio aboard the International Space Station is settling in for a six-month mission and getting right to work. They arrived Tuesday morning, had a quick safety briefing and rested up before their first full day aboard the orbital laboratory.

New Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake worked throughout Wednesday familiarizing themselves with station systems and emergency procedures. During the afternoon Kopra began unloading the new Cygnus private cargo ship while Peake worked on NanoRacks gear and life support hardware. Malenchenko began unloading science experiments, including the Biosignal human cell study, and other supplies from the new Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are over nine months into their mission aboard the station. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov has been with the crew since September. Kelly and Volkov paired up for eye exams today as part of the Ocular Health study. Kornienko assisted Malenchenko with the Soyuz cargo transfers. He also explored how vibrations affect the station structure caused by crew activities such as spacewalks, vehicle dockings and exercise.

Soyuz Approaches Station
ISS046e001535 (12/15/2015) — Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko manually docked the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft to the Rassvet module bringing he and astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake to the International Space Station. The solar array of the Cygnus cargo craft is seen in the foreground.

Crew Enters Soyuz and Closes Hatch Before Undocking

Soyuz Spacecraft
The Soyuz spacecraft returning the Expedition 45 trio to Earth is in between the new Cygnus cargo craft and the Progress 60 resupply craft. Credit: NASA TV

At 1:32 a.m. EST, the Soyuz hatch closed between the International Space Station and the TMA-17M spacecraft. Expedition 45 Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are preparing to undock at 4:49 a.m. NASA Television will air live coverage of undocking beginning at 4:30 a.m. Watch live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The deorbit burn is targeted for 7:19 a.m. and will lead to a landing at 8:12 a.m. northeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage of deorbit and landing begins at 7 a.m.

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Cygnus Attached to Station Ready for Business

Dec. 9, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Dec. 9, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. (Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The ISS Progress 61 spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. The Cygnus-4 cargo craft is berthed to the Unity module.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:26 a.m. EST. Cygnus will be the first cargo ship to be berthed to the Earth-facing port on the Unity module.

The spacecraft’s arrival will support the crew members’ research off the Earth to benefit the Earth. The Cygnus is delivering more than 7,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory to support dozens of approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. Science payloads aboard Cygnus will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Cygnus also will deliver replacement cargo items including a set of Microsoft HoloLens devices for use in NASA’s Sidekick project, a safety jet pack astronauts wear during spacewalks known as SAFER, and high pressure nitrogen and oxygen tanks to plug into the station’s air supply network.

The spacecraft will spend more than a month attached to the space station before its destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in January 2016, disposing of about 3,000 pounds of trash.

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Astronaut Kjell Lindgren Captures Cygnus Spacecraft

Cygnus Captured
This rendering from a real-time computer animation shows the Cygnus spacecraft at the time of its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

Using the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren successfully captured Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle at 6:19 a.m. EST. The space station crew and the robotics officer in mission control in Houston will position Cygnus for installation to the orbiting laboratory’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module.

NASA TV coverage of the installation will begin at 8:00 a.m. Installation of the Cygnus spacecraft to the space station will occur at about 9:45 a.m.

Among the more than 7,000 pounds of supplies aboard Cygnus are numerous science and research investigations and technology demonstrations, including a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; several other educational and technology demonstration CubeSats; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus.