A wide variety of research exploring how life adapts to long-term exposure to microgravity took place on the International Space Station Friday. The crew members also worked on cargo transfers to and from a pair of docked vehicles.
More crew Ocular Health eye checks were on the schedule as scientists study the fluid shifts caused by microgravity and how they affect a crew member’s vision. New software was loaded on computers for the Rodent Research study, a life sciences experiment that was delivered on a SpaceX mission in January.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who collected a saliva sample for stowage in a science freezer, and his twin brother on the ground Mark Kelly are the subjects of the Twins study. That investigation compares the two brothers, one in space and one on the ground, and explores how the different environments affect the twins with identical genes.
On the Russian side of the orbital lab, the crew unloaded gear from the recently docked Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft. The ISS Progress 57 space freighter, docked to the Pirs docking compartment, is also being packed with trash ahead of its departure and fiery disposal April 25.
Medical science and training took a significant portion of the Expedition 43 crew’s schedule Thursday. The newest three crew members are getting used to their new home on orbit. Finally, the International Space Station boosted its orbit.
Several crew members participated in eye checks for the Ocular Health study as scientists study how microgravity affects vision during long duration missions. The newest trio to join Expedition 43 trained to prepare for a medical emergency while also familiarizing themselves with station systems.
A docked ISS Progress 58 space freighter fired its engines boosting the space station’s orbit by eight-tenths of a mile. The reboost readies the station to receive the new ISS Progress 59 supply ship when it launches and docks April 28.
The Soyuz TMA-16M vehicle docked to the International Space Station at 9:33 p.m. EDT, over the western coast of Colombia.
Aboard the space station, Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will welcome Soyuz crew members Scott Kelly of NASA, and Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened.
NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts are counting down to the first of three assembly spacewalks set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. EST. The duo checked out their rescue jet packs they would use in the unlikely event they became untethered from the International Space Station. The spacewalks will prepare the station for new commercial crew vehicle docking ports.
The latest supply ship to dock to the orbital lab, Progress 58, had its hatches opened Wednesday morning, following its Tuesday arrival. The Expedition 42 crew members will now begin unloading several tons of food and supplies that will replenish the station residents for the next few months.
Meanwhile, the six-member crew continued the International Partners’ mission of conducting advanced microgravity science. Ultrasound eye scans and blood pressure checks were conducted with remote guidance from doctors on the ground today. The crew also studied cell cultures grown on orbit and explored techniques to improve Earth observation photography.
Traveling about 257 miles above the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico, the unpiloted Progress 58 Russian cargo ship docked at 11:57 a.m. EST to the rear port of the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station. The craft is delivering three tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members aboard the orbital laboratory. Progress 58 is scheduled to remain docked to the space station until August.
Meanwhile, astronauts in the U.S. segment of the station are reviewing procedures for a trio of spacewalks. The first is set to begin Friday at 7:10 a.m. Spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts will exit the orbital lab to set the stage for a pair of new commercial crew vehicle docking ports to be installed later this year.
Outside the station on Sunday, robotics controllers on the ground maneuvered the Canadarm2 with the Dextre attached to remove and replace a faulty Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM). The RPCM provides backup commanding capability to the port Thermal Radiator Rotating Joint.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the docking of ISS Progress 58 to the rear port of the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module beginning at 11:30 a.m. EST. Docking is planned for 11:58 a.m.
The cargo craft launched at 6:00 a.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying about three tons of food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware to the six crew members on the space station.
The ISS Progress 58 cargo craft launched at 6:00 a.m. EST (5:00 p.m. Baikonur local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Less than 10 minutes later, the capsule reached its preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned.
At the time of launch, the space station was traveling over southern Russia near the Mongolian border.
The Progress space freighter is scheduled to rendezvous with the space station at 11:58 a.m. NASA TV coverage will begin at 11:30 a.m. at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module on the International Space Station beginning at 5:45 a.m. EST. Launch of ISS Progress 58 cargo spacecraft is planned for 6:00 a.m. (5:00 p.m. Baikonur local time).
The new Progress is carrying more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the station including 1,940 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 3,333 pounds of spare parts and experiment hardware.
Progress 58 will make its four-orbit, six-hour trip to the space station and dock at about 11:58 a.m.
Marking an end to the 7-year era of European space freighter supply to the International Space Station, ESA’s (European Space Agency) “Georges Lemaitre” cargo vehicle entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burned up over the Pacific Ocean around 12:12 p.m. Central time Sunday following a pair of engine firings that first lowered the ATV-5’s orbit, then enabled it to drop out of orbit for its fiery entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The end to the ATV came one day after it undocked from the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module. After losing telemetry from the vehicle, ATV flight controllers at the ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France offered their thanks to the Flight Directors at Mission Control, Houston and the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, Russia for the years of support during the ATV program, and offered best wishes for the future years of ISS operations.
Although the entry smoke trail could not been seen on ISS external cameras, Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA radioed down that he could see the plasma trail as ATV descended into the atmosphere and documented its demise with still and video cameras.
Meanwhile, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian ISS Progress 58 cargo craft rolled to its launch pad in frozen fog and temperatures hovering around 18 degrees for its launch Tuesday morning to the station to deliver more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Launch is scheduled at 5 a.m. Central time, with docking to the aft port of Zvezda planned at 10:58 a.m. Central time.
As the second resupply ship this week prepares to leave the International Space Station another spacecraft is being readied for its launch. Meanwhile, the six-member Expedition 42 crew was working a variety of maintenance and science tasks Thursday.
Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 (ATV-5) is being packed with its final load of trash and discarded gear. The ATV-5 will undock from the Zvezda service module’s aft-end port Saturday at 8:40 a.m. EST. It will descend into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean for a fiery demise Sunday afternoon.
A new resupply ship, the ISS Progress 58, is being loaded with final gear to be delivered Feb. 17 to Expedition 42 when it launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Roscosmos space freighter will orbit the Earth just four times, or about six hours, after launch before docking to the port vacated by ATV-5.
The station crew also focused on spacewalk preparations and microgravity science, the primary mission of the orbital laboratory, to benefit life on Earth as well as future space crews. Ground doctors assisted Commander Barry Wilmore and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti during eye exams. Cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova studied bioelectric cardiac activity as well as methods to locate punctures caused by micro-meteoroids on the station’s surface.