Spacewalkers Cleaning Up Before Trio Returns Home Tuesday

Old Camera versus New Camera
The new high-definition video camera installed during Thursday’s spacewalk is now in service and providing better external views.

Two astronauts are cleaning up after a spacewalk while a pair of cosmonauts are getting a Soyuz spacecraft ready for departure after the Labor Day weekend. On the ground, three new crew members are preparing for a launch to the International Space Station at the end of the month.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins completed a spacewalk Thursday, retracting a thermal radiator and installing a pair of high definition cameras. Today, the astronauts are recharging spacesuits and tidying up the Quest airlock by stowing their tools and other spacewalk gear.

The Expedition 48 crew now turns its attention to a change of command on Monday, followed by three crew members returning to Earth on Tuesday. Williams will hand over station control to cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin before going home the following day with Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin.

The trio will undock Tuesday at 5:51 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft officially ending the Expedition 48 mission. After a few hours they will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan after 5-1/2 months in space.

Back on Earth, new station crew members Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko participated in traditional ceremonies and final qualification exams. They will join the Expedition 49 crew two days after their Sept. 23 launch inside the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft.

Astronauts Conclude Second Spacewalk of Expedition 48

Spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins
Spacewalkers Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins completed the second spacewalk of the Expedition 48 mission.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins concluded their spacewalk at 2:41 p.m. EDT.  During the six-hour, 48-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully retracted a thermal radiator, installed two enhanced high definition cameras on the station’s truss and tightened bolts on a joint that enables one of the station’s solar arrays to rotate.

Space station crew members have conducted 195 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,217 hours and 34 minutes working outside the station.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews, at:

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Watch NASA TV Thursday for Live Spacewalk Coverage

Astronaut Kate Rubins
Astronaut Kate Rubins is seen taking taking photographs with the Japanese Kibo lab module behind her during a spacewalk on Aug. 19.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at about 8:10 a.m. EDT Thursday. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m.

Williams and Rubins will retract a thermal radiator that is part of the station’s cooling system. The radiator is a backup that had been deployed previously as part of an effort to fix an ammonia coolant leak. They’ll also tighten struts on a solar array joint, and install the first of several enhanced high-definition television cameras that will be used to monitor activities outside the station, including the comings and goings of visiting cargo and crew vehicles.

Follow @space_station on Twitter and #spacewalk for updates online. For more information about the International Space Station, including current residents, visit:

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Astronauts Ready for Thursday Morning Spacewalk

Japanese Astronaut Takuya Onishi
Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi gets the U.S. spacesuits ready that NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will wear Thursday during a spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk scheduled to begin at 8:05 a.m. EDT and last 6.5 hours. The duo will retract and cover an out-of-service thermal control radiator, tighten struts on a solar array rotary joint and install a high-definition camera.

The spacewalkers finished collecting their tools and reviewing their timeline this morning. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will assist the pair today getting the Quest airlock ready and tomorrow helping them in and out of their spacesuits.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin were back at work today exploring how bones and the immune system are impacted by living in space. Oleg Skripochka researched how the digestive system adapts and how humans experience pain during a long-term space mission.

After the completion of Thursday’s spacewalk, the crew will turn its attention to the Sept. 6 departure of Expedition 48 crew members Williams, Skripochka and Ovchinin. The trio continue loading the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft and getting their launch and entry suits ready. They will undock from the Poisk module and land in Kazakhstan after 5-1/2 months on orbit.

Spacewalk Preps as Station Orbits over Three Hurricanes

Hurricanes Lester, Madeline and Gaston
(From left) Hurricanes Lester, Madeline and Gaston are seen from the International Space Station on Aug. 30. Credit: NASA Johnson YouTube

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are two days away from their second spacewalk in as many weeks. The duo are reviewing the tasks they will perform outside the International Space Station for 6.5 hours of maintenance work beginning Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will assist Williams and Rubins from inside the space station.

They will retract and cover an out-of-service thermal control radiator and install lights and a high-definition camera for better views of the station structure and the Earth below. If time allows, the spacewalkers will perform get-ahead tasks including photographing the condition of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

In the Russian segment of the station, the three cosmonauts concentrated on a variety of human research experiments and crew departure activities. Flight Engineers Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka collected blood and saliva samples to explore how bones and the immune system are impacted by living in space. The pair also practiced an entry simulation drill today inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft they will return home in with Williams on Sept. 6.

The space station cameras spotted three hurricanes today, two in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricanes Lester and Madeline were seen in the Pacific potentially threatening the big island of Hawaii. Hurricane Gaston was seen in the open Atlantic.

Crew Preparing for Second Spacewalk and Soyuz Departure

Astronaut Jeff Williams
0 Astronaut Jeff Williams is pictured Aug. 19 during a spacewalk to install an international docking adapter.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are going back outside the International Space Station Thursday morning for their second spacewalk in less than two weeks. The duo will retract and cover a thermal control radiator no longer being used and install lights and a new high definition camera for better views of Earth and the station structure.

Less than a week after they complete that spacewalk, Williams will return to Earth with his Expedition 48 crewmates Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin. The two cosmonauts are checking their Sokol launch and entry suits today and packing the Soyuz before next week’s ride home. They will undock from the Poisk module Sept. 6 inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft and land in Kazakhstan ending their 5 ½-month mission.

As always, advanced space science is continuing aboard the orbital laboratory. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi gathered research samples for return to Earth aboard the home-bound Soyuz spacecraft. Over the weekend, Rubins completed a DNA sequencing process for the Biomolecule Sequencer study that could possibly benefit crew health and identify life in space. Body samples were also collected today for the Multi-Omics study observing the changes to an astronaut’s metabolism and immune system.

 

Robotic Arm Releases SpaceX Dragon for Splashdown

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon is released from the Canadarm2. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 6:11 a.m. EDT. The capsule will begin a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station for its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 11:47 a.m. EDT, approximately 326 miles west of Baja California.

Following splashdown, Dragon will be recovered from the ocean and put on a ship for transportation to a port near Los Angeles, where some cargo including research will be removed and returned to NASA within 48 hours.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crew members, at: www.nasa.gov/station

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Watch Robotic Arm Release SpaceX Dragon Friday Morning

The SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon arrives at the International Space Station on July 20, 2016, as astronauts Kate Rubins (left) and Jeff Williams prepare to capture it with the Canadarm2.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 5:45 a.m. EDT. Dragon was detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module last night by robotics controllers who maneuvered Dragon into place for its release under the control of and Expedition 48 Flight Engineers Takuya Onishi of JAXA and Kate Rubins of NASA at 6:10 a.m. EDT.

Dragon launched to the space station July 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying almost 5,000 pounds of supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s ninth commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA. The spacecraft arrived at the station two days later.

Among the cargo delivered was the first of two International Docking Adapters (IDA) that will enable future commercial spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to dock to the space station, including Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. The IDA was installed Aug. 19 during a six-hour spacewalk by NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Rubins. The second IDA is being built and will be delivered to the space station no earlier than SpaceX CRS-14.

Release of the spacecraft by the station’s robotic arm will begin the Dragon’s return to Earth carrying more than 3,000 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization responsible for managing research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station.

The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 11:47 a.m. EDT, approximately 326 miles west of Baja California.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crew members, at: www.nasa.gov/station

Get breaking news, images, videos and features from the station on social media at:

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Dragon Packed for Friday Morning Departure and Splashdown

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon is pictured as the International Space Station orbited over the English Channel.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft has been packed with science experiments and gear for return to Earth and analysis by NASA engineers. Robotics controllers on the ground will maneuver the Canadarm2 to detach Dragon from the Harmony module Thursday afternoon.

Astronauts Takuya Onishi and Kate Rubins will command Canadarm2 to release Dragon at 6:10 a.m. EDT Friday. It will splashdown off the Pacific coast of Baja California a few hours later, then be retrieved and shipped back to Los Angeles by SpaceX personnel.

Less than two weeks later, a trio of Expedition 48 crew members will return to Earth inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft. Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin are due to end their stay at the International Space Station on Sept. 6 and land in Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, the space station crew is still participating in a wide variety of ongoing space research to benefit people living on Earth and in space. The crew conducted human research activities today exploring how long-term space missions affect an astronaut’s metabolism, digestion and blood pressure.

Williams Breaks Kelly’s Cumulative Time in Space Record

Cumulative Days In Space
Astronaut Jeff Williams surpassed former astronaut Scott Kelly’s record today for the most cumulative days in space by a NASA astronaut.

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams established a new record for most time spent in space by a NASA astronaut today, surpassing 520 days in space over his four missions. Williams will have a total of 534 cumulative days by the time he lands Sept. 6 in Kazakhstan. Former astronaut Scott Kelly had set the record on his year-long mission, and still holds the record for longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut at 340 days.

The International Space Station raised its orbit today ahead of Williams’ departure Sept. 6 with cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin. After the trio undocks in their Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft, ending Expedition 48, they will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan about 3-1/2 hours later.

SpaceX’s Dragon will depart the station first early Friday morning for a splashdown in Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins continue loading Dragon with gear and science samples for analysis on Earth. Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will be at the controls of the robotics workstation when they command the Canadarm2 to release Dragon at 6:10 a.m. EDT Friday.

In parallel with the upcoming spacecraft departure activities, the crew continues to dedicate time to research a multitude of space experiments taking place on the orbital laboratory. The crew conducted research looking at heart function, plant growth in microgravity and executed a variety of student designed experiments. Researchers use the data collected from the advanced space experiments to improve health treatments on Earth, benefit a wide variety of industry sectors and help NASA plan journeys farther into space

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