Busy Traffic Period at Station As Crew Works Research

Astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts
Astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts work on U.S. spacesuits and tools. Credit: NASA TV

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.

› Read more about spacecraft departure and arrival activities

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.

Samantha Cristoforetti
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti talks to fellow Italians about listening to music in space and science onbaord the space station. Credit: NASA TV

Crew Studying Tiny Organisms to Understand Larger Organisms

Terry Virts and Alexander Samokutyaev
Astronaut Terry Virts (foreground) works inside the Destiny lab module as cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev floats past him. Credit: NASA TV

After a week of medical science activities, the space station residents began the new week focusing on worms, fruit flies and plants. The tiny organisms provide scientists a model for larger organisms and how microgravity affects such things as immunity, muscles and bones.

› Read more about the Epigenetics experiment
› Read more about the Fruit Fly Lab-01 experiment

Botany science in space helps scientists understand how plant cells and roots develop potentially supporting future crews on long-term missions and interplanetary exploration. There are numerous plant studies taking place on the station that not only may support future space missions but possibly improve crop production techniques on Earth.

› Read more about the APEX-03 botany research

The Expedition 42 crew members also worked on cargo transfers to and from the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as well as the ISS Progress 57 space freighter. An array of routine maintenance tasks were on the schedule including high-flying plumbing, spacesuit battery recharges and science hardware set ups.

Dragon Readied for Launch, European Ship Prepped for Departure

Space Station Configuration
There will be five spacecraft at the International Space Station when the Dragon commercial craft arrives Jan. 12. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 42 crew is getting ready for a delivery aboard the Dragon commercial cargo craft as well as next month’s departure of Europe’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5).

The weather looks favorable for Saturday’s planned launch of Dragon aboard a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:47 a.m. EST. Dragon will arrive at the International Space Station Monday morning carrying more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, payloads and critical research.

› Read more about Saturday’s launch and television coverage
› Read more about the SpaceX CRS-5 mission

Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts worked on readying the ATV-5 resupply craft for it’s undocking from the Zvezda service module and departure Feb. 27. It will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

Read more about the launch and docking of the ATV-5 last summer.

Station Trio Prepares for Departure amid Ongoing Science

Max Suraev and Alexander Gerst
Expedition 41 crew members Max Suraev and Alexander Gerst check procedures in the Destiny laboratory.

Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst are in their final week aboard the International Space Station. All three homebound crew members spent time on Monday preparing for their departure. Expedition 41 will end Nov. 9 when it undocks inside the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft at 7:29 p.m. EST.

Gerst also drew his blood samples for stowage in a science freezer and he also worked on the Zebrafish Muscle experiment in the Kibo laboratory. Wiseman worked on plumbing tasks, then set up cameras for the Sally Ride EarthKAM experiment.

› Read more about Zebrafish Muscle
› Read more about Sally Ride EarthKAM

Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, who is staying in space until March, checked for leaks and worked on a fan in a U.S. spacesuit. His Expedition 41/42 crewmate Elena Serova sampled the station’s air and surfaces for microbes. Cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev transferred cargo from the ISS Progress 57 spacecraft then assisted Wiseman with the EarthKAM study.

Fourteen years ago on Nov. 2 the first International Space Station crew, Expedition 1, docked to the young orbital laboratory in their Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft. The space station at the time consisted of just three modules — the Unity node, the Zarya cargo module and the Zvezda service module. Commander William Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko returned home aboard space shuttle Discovery after 141 days in space.

› Read more about the first station crew

Reid Wiseman
Astronaut Reid Wiseman talks to reporters from CBS Radio Network and Baltimore’s WJZ-TV

Station Prepares for November Crew Swap

Astronauts Talk to Blue Angels
Expedition 41 astronauts (from left) Reid Wiseman, Barry Wilmore and Alexander Gerst talk to the Blue Angels pilots who visited Mission Control Center in Johnson Space Center Friday morning. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 41 trio of Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst and Max Suraev are returning home November 9. They checked their Sokol suits, which are worn during a Soyuz launch and entry, for leaks and started preparing for their departure.

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, who will be in space until March, worked on the Zebrafish Muscle experiment in Japan’s Kibo lab module. Cosmonaut Elena Serova participated in Crew Medical Officer training then moved on to a variety of science and maintenance tasks. Alexander Samokutyaev worked on cargo transfers from the new ISS Progress 57 resupply ship and preventative maintenance in the Pirs docking compartment.

› Read about the Zebrafish Muscle experiment

Another space station crew is in Star City, Russia, counting down to its Nov. 23 launch to the orbital laboratory. Today is also the 14th anniversary of the launch of Expedition 1, the first crew to live and work aboard the International Space Station.

› Read about Expedition 42
› Read about Expedition 1

Expedition 41 Opens Progress Hatch as Orbital Sciences Conducts Investigation

Alexander Gerst
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst talks to German journalists.

Cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev opened the hatch to the ISS Progress 57 space freighter which arrived Wednesday morning. Suraev also joined NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman for descent training in advance of their Nov. 9 landing in the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft.

Flight Engineers Barry Wilmore and Alexander Gerst scrubbed cooling loops in the U.S. spacesuits throughout the day. Gerst also changed the water in the Kibo laboratory’s Aquatic Habitat.

Orbital Sciences Corp. has completed an initial assessment of its launch facility in Virginia after Tuesday night’s catastrophic failure of the Antares rocket.

› Visit NASA’s Orbital Sciences page for the latest information

New Progress Resupply Craft Arrives at Station

Traveling about 261 miles over the Atlantic Ocean, the unpiloted ISS Progress 57 Russian cargo ship docked at 9:08 a.m. EDT to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station.

The craft is delivering almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies, including 1,940 pounds of propellant; 48 pounds of oxygen; 57 pounds of air; 926 pounds of water; and 2,822 pounds of spare parts, supplies and experiment hardware for the six members of the Expedition 41 crew currently living and working in space. Progress 57 is scheduled to remain docked to Pirs for the next six months.

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

Progress Arrives at Station
The ISS Progress 57 is moments from docking to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station.

Watch NASA TV for Live Coverage of Progress Arrival at Station

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT, NASA Television will provide live coverage of the docking of a Russian Progress spacecraft carrying nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 41 crew aboard the International Space Station.

Docking of ISS Progress 57 to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the space station is scheduled for 9:09 a.m.

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

Launch of ISS Progress 57 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan occurred at 3:09 a.m. (1:09 p.m. local time in Baikonur) this morning. The spacecraft will remain docked to the station for six months.

The Expedition 41 crew will monitor key events during Progress 57’s automated rendezvous and docking.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 57 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISS and #ISScargo. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Progress Approaches Station
An ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station in January 2012.

Progress Cargo Craft on Way to Station

Progress 57 Launches
The ISS Progress 57 space freighter launches on time from Kazakhstan for a six-hour trip to the International Space Station.

Carrying more than 5,700 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 57 cargo craft launched at 3:09 a.m. EDT (1:09 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying about 261 miles over southern Russia, just north of the border with 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 four orbits of Earth during the next six hours before docking to the orbiting laboratory at 9:09 a.m.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m., NASA Television will provide live coverage of Progress 57’s arrival to the space station’s Pirs Docking Compartment. Watch live on NASA TV and online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 57 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISS and #ISScargo.

Watch NASA TV for Live Progress Launch Coverage

At 2:45 a.m. EDT, NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch of a Russian Progress spacecraft carrying nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 41 crew aboard the International Space Station.

Launch of ISS Progress 57 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is planned for 3:09 a.m. (1:09 p.m. local time in Baikonur).

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

Following a four-orbit, six-hour trip, Progress 57 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 9:09 a.m. It will remain docked to the station for about six months.

The Expedition 41 crew will monitor key events during Progress 57’s automated rendezvous and docking.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 57 on Twitter, follow the hashtags #ISS and #ISScargo. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Progress Resupply Vehicle
An ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the International Space Station Feb. 11, 2013.