Tag Archives: science

Crew Conducts Research to Mitigate the Human Body’s Response to Spaceflight

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Sprint investigation

Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer assess spaceflight-induced changes in muscle volume with the Sprint study.

The crew of Expedition 52 wrapped up an intensive week of research on Friday, concentrating on studies in the field of human health and performance.

On Thursday, the crew conducted their second ultrasound for the Sprint investigation, which studies the use of high-intensity, low-volume exercise training to minimize the loss of muscle, bone and cardiovascular fitness during long-duration space excursions. Using meticulous thigh and calf scans through remote guidance from the ground team, these results will help determine what changes astronauts are experiencing in microgravity and how best to manage those fluctuations for future missions.

Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer today will gather and transfer Fluid Shifts hardware to the station’s Russian segment in preparation for Fluid Shifts Chibis (Lower Body Negative Pressure) operations that begin on Monday. Fluid Shifts investigates the causes for lasting physical changes to astronaut’s eyes—a side effect of human space exploration in a microgravity environment. It’s theorized that the headward fluid shift in space-faring explorers contributes to these changes. In response, a lower body negative pressure device is being evaluated to see if it can perhaps reverse this fluid shift. As an added bonus, what investigators glean from this study may contribute to the development of countermeasures against lasting changes in vision and prevention of eye damage.

The Expedition 52-53 crew that will lift off to the International Space Station within a week is finalizing preparations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, along with astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli, are slated to launch July 28 at 11:41 a.m. EDT for a six-hour journey to the orbiting laboratory. NASA TV will cover all the activities, so tune in.

Crew Researches Exercise, Protein Crystals and High Temps

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Pic of Earth and night sky

This long-exposure photograph of Earth and starry sky was taken during a night pass by the Expedition 52 crew aboard the International Space Station. The Japanese Kibo module and part of the station’s solar array are visible at the top.

A pair of astronauts explored new space exercise techniques today to stay healthy and fit on long duration missions. The crew also observed protein crystals and high temperatures to understand microgravity’s effects on humans and physical processes.

Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer strapped himself in to the space station’s exercise bike this morning with assistance from veteran astronaut Peggy Whitson. The work out study is researching the effectiveness of high intensity, low volume exercise to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in space.

Whitson, who has been living in space since November 2016, then moved on and set up gear for the Two Phase Flow experiment. That study is observing how heat transfers from liquids in microgravity to help improve the design of thermal management systems in future space platforms.

Fischer later checked out protein crystals through a microscope for an experiment researching radiation damage, bone loss and muscle atrophy caused by living in space. At the end of the day, he swapped out samples that were heated up inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The furnace is a facility that allows safe observations and measurements of materials exposed to extremely high temperatures.

New Crew in Final Training Before Late July Launch

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Expedition 52 flight engineers

Expedition 52 flight engineers (from left) Paolo Nespoli of ESA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Randy Bresnik of NASA are training in Star City, Russia, ahead of their July 28 launch to the space station.

Three new Expedition 52 crew members are in Star City, Russia, this week completing final exams ahead of their July 28 launch to the International Space Station. After launch, they’ll take a six-hour ride inside the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft before docking to the station’s Rassvet module. The trio from Italy, Russia and the United States are in final training for the 4-1/2 month-long mission orbiting Earth.

A pair of NASA astronauts living in space right now conducted a variety of activities today in support of life science research. Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer collected their blood, urine and saliva samples for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis. The samples will be studied back on Earth as part of the Fluid Shifts experiment to understand the impacts of microgravity on the human body, in particular the eyes.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos continued his life support maintenance activities on the Russian side of the orbital complex. The experienced, four-time station cosmonaut and one-time shuttle crew member spent the majority of his day replacing pumps and hoses and repressurizing the station’s atmosphere.

An international set of CubeSats also was deployed outside of the Kibo lab module early Friday. The CubeSats belong to Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Nigeria and will be monitored and operated by engineering students in Japan.

Crew Studies Space Impacts on Humans and Tech

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson was pictured June 28 conducting a live video interview with reporters on Earth.

Expedition 52 continued exploring today how microgravity impacts humans and technology to improve future spaceflight and benefit life on Earth. The trio also conducted an array of maintenance activities including space plumbing.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson took a look today at how living in space affects her ability to work on interactive tasks. The Fine Motor Skills study, which has been taking place for over two years, is researching the skills necessary for astronauts to interact with next-generation space technologies. Observations may impact the design of future spacecraft, spacesuits and habitats.

Jack Fischer, a first time space flyer from NASA, wrapped up operations with the Group Combustion Module experiment today. The combustion study was exploring how flames spread as the composition of fuel changes in space. Results could benefit the development of advanced rocket engines and improve cleaner, more efficient engines on Earth.

Whitson and Fischer also worked on a variety of plumbing tasks including collecting water samples and swapping and filling recycle tanks on the Urine Processing Assembly. Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin connected power and network cables before moving on to activating an antenna and more plumbing work.

Dragon Cargo Craft Flies Away From Station

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SpaceX Dragon Release

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is seen departing the space station after its release from the space station’s Canadarm2. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 2:41 a.m. EDT.

Dragon’s thrusters will be fired to move the spacecraft a safe distance from the station before SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, command its deorbit burn. The capsule will splash down at about 8:41 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 4,100 pounds of cargo. This cargo will include science from human and animal research, biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities.

Splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours of splashdown.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched June 3 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station June 5 for the company’s eleventh NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission carrying almost 6,000 pounds of cargo and research supplies.

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

www.nasa.gov/station

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Dragon Packing Ahead of Weekend Departure

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Aurora and Starry Night

The aurora and the starry night are pictured above Earth’s atmosphere in this photograph taken from the space station’s cupola June 19, 2017.

Onboard the International Space Station today, the Expedition 52 crew continued packing the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for its departure Sunday morning. The crew is loading Dragon all week with scientific samples and station hardware for splashdown and retrieval in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX personnel will take a two-day boat ride with Dragon onboard and return it to port in southern California. NASA engineers will then unload Dragon on shore and ship the cargo back to Houston for analysis.

Meanwhile, the three station residents today continued exploring space science and gearing up for a Russian spacewalk. The trio also inspected safety gear and maintained station life support systems.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer worked on the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that levitates, melts and solidifies materials for physical research. He later joined Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson and stowed frozen science samples inside Dragon. Commander Fyodor replaced gear on a Russian spacesuit and checked it for leaks.

Crew Preps for Solar Array Jettison and Dragon Departure

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ROSA Jettison

The ROSA, Roll Out Solar Array, is pictured shortly after it was jettisoned from the tip of the Canadarm2.

An experimental solar array demonstration was jettisoned while the Expedition 52 crew continued preparing the SpaceX Dragon for its release on Sunday. The three crew members also studied how microgravity impacts their bodies.

Following a week of successful science operations on the experiment for the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA), attempts to retract the array were unsuccessful. The ISS Mission Management Team met Monday morning and made the decision to jettison ROSA directly from its location at the end of the space station’s robotic arm, where it remained fully deployed in a normal configuration.

The original plan called for ROSA to be stored back inside the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon which is detached and burned up in the atmosphere during Dragon reentry. The Operations team executed the jettison procedure that was developed as part of the pre-flight planning process that covered various scenarios. Once jettisoned, ROSA will not present any risk to the International Space Station and will not impact any upcoming visiting vehicle traffic.

ROSA is an experiment to test a new type of solar panel that rolls open in space and is more compact than current rigid panel designs. The ROSA investigation tests deployment and retraction, shape changes when the Earth blocks the sun, and other physical challenges to determine the array’s strength and durability.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is one week away from departing the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson continued packing Dragon this morning with used hardware and research samples for analysis back on Earth. Dragon will be released from the Canadarm2 Sunday at 11:38 a.m. EDT and splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 5-1/2 hours later.

Whitson then joined Flight Engineer Jack Fischer in the afternoon to wrap up the Seedling Growth-3 experiment. The botanical study is exploring how the lack of gravity impacts light sensing and growth in plants. Plant samples from the study will be returned to Earth on Sunday inside the Dragon resupply ship.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, along with Whitson and Fischer, took body measurements today to help scientists understand how living in space affects body size. The crew also collected blood, urine, saliva and breath samples for more insight on astronaut health.

Crew Explores Cardiac Research and Tiny Satellites Today

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Expedition 52 Crew Members Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer

Expedition 52 crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin (middle foreground) and Jack Fischer were inside the Zvezda service module monitoring the docking of a Russian Progress 67 cargo ship on June 16, 2017.

The Expedition 52 trio worked throughout Friday on human research studying cardiac biology and the microbes that live on humans. Tiny satellites inside the International Space Station were also investigated for future remote or autonomous use in space.

NASA astronaut Jack Fisher collected microbe samples from his body and stowed them inside a science freezer for later analysis on Earth. He also activated an ultrasound and scanned his legs for the Vascular Echo study that is exploring how veins and arteries adapt during a spaceflight mission.

Three-time station crew member Peggy Whitson retrieved stem cell samples for observation to determine if living in space speeds up the aging process. Whitson then set up the SPHERES Halo experiment that is exploring the possibility of using satellites to clean up space debris and assemble objects such as space telescopes and habitats.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin worked in the station’s Russian segment maintaining life support systems. The veteran cosmonaut also explored pain sensation in space then wrapped up the work day with Earth photography documenting human and natural impacts across the globe.

Crew Studies Bone Loss Reversal and Unloads New Cargo

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson checks out new science gear inside the Harmony module. The SpaceX Dragon is attached to the Earth-facing port of Harmony.

Expedition 52 is continuing to explore a new drug therapy today that may keep humans healthier in space. The trio onboard the International Space Station also worked on standard maintenance activities to keep the orbital complex in ship-shape.

Astronauts living on the station exercise a couple of hours every day to offset the muscle and bone loss experienced in microgravity. A new injectable drug is also being explored as a way to maintain strong bones during spaceflight. Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA are testing that drug today on mice for the fifth version of the ongoing Rodent Research experiment. Rodent Research-5 is testing the drugs ability to stop and reverse bone loss in space and may help patients with bone disease on Earth.

Fischer also worked on light plumbing duties and microbe sampling throughout Thursday. Whitson also worked on microbe sampling and set up life science gear ahead of a new experiment to be delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin checked out Russian life support gear and continued unloading new gear delivered last week inside the Progress 67 (67P) resupply ship. The veteran cosmonaut also repressurized the station’s atmosphere using oxygen stored inside the 67P.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Crew Researches Mold, Rodents and Stem Cells as Cargo Ship Chases Station

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NASA Astronaut Jack Fischer

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer checks out science gear inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

Russia’s Progress 67 (67P) cargo craft is orbiting Earth and on its way to the International Space Station Friday morning carrying over three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Meanwhile, the three member Expedition 52 crew researched a variety of space science on Thursday while preparing for the arrival of the 67P.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will monitor the automated docking of the 67P to the Zvezda service module Friday at 7:42 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will broadcast live the resupply ship’s approach and rendezvous beginning at 7 a.m. The 67P’s docking will mark four spaceships attached to the space station.

Fischer spent the morning photographing mold and bacteria samples on petri dishes as part of six student-led biology experiments that are taking place inside a NanoRacks module. In the afternoon, he removed protein crystal samples from a science freezer, let them thaw and observed the samples using a specialized microscope.

Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson tended to rodents Thursday morning cleaning their habitat facilities and restocking their food. In the afternoon, she moved to human research swapping out samples for the Cardiac Stem Cells study that is exploring why living in space may accelerate the aging process.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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