The International Space Station boosted its orbit Wednesday to prepare for the arrival of a pair of Russian spaceships before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Expedition 53 crew continued getting ready for next week’s spacewalk and explored how living in space affects their bodies.
The docked Progress 67 resupply ship fired its engines Wednesday for three minutes and 40 seconds lifting the space station to a higher orbit. The reboost is the first of three with the next two taking place in November. The reboosts will place the station at the correct altitude to receive a Progress 68 resupply ship in mid-October and the Soyuz MS-07 crew ship in mid-December.
Spacewalkers Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei are getting their U.S. spacesuits ready ahead of an Oct. 5 spacewalk. They inspected their suits today, scrubbed the cooling loops and filled them with water. The duo will work outside for about 6.5 hours next Thursday and replace a latching end effector at the tip of the Canadarm2.
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba attached sensors to himself and worked out on the station’s exercise bike today to help scientists understand how microgravity affects physical exertion. The VO2max study is researching how astronauts expend energy in space and how it may impact emergency situations and spacewalks.
Sensors are being installed today in the International Space Station to detect neutron radiation. The crew is also setting up a botany study, conducting human research and getting ready for next week’s spacewalk.
Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy handed over a set of radiation sensors to NASA astronaut Joe Acaba today. Acaba then installed the sensors in the station’s U.S. segment to measure only the neutron radiation levels the orbital lab is exposed to. The data from the Radi-N2 study will help scientists understand the exposure risk to crew members and develop advanced protective measures.
Acaba also continued installing hardware for the Veggie-3 experiment to get the station ready for a new crop of lettuce and cabbage. Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei strapped himself into the station’s exercise bike for the VO2max experiment that observes physical exertion during a space mission.
A pair of spacewalkers took a look at the procedures they will use Oct. 5 to replace a latching end effector at the tip of the Canadarm2. Vande Hei will join Commander Randy Bresnik for that spacewalk and a second planned for Oct. 10. Acaba will join Bresnik for a third spacewalk set for Oct. 18.
The International Space Station is once again providing a platform to test the growth of cabbage and lettuce for future human consumption in space. Aside from today’s botany set up, the Expedition 53 crew also explored how living in space affects the human physiology.
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba began setting up hardware for the Veggie-3 experiment Tuesday morning to grow a variety of lettuce and cabbage. Scientists are studying how plants grow in space to learn how to sustain future crews as NASA plans longer missions farther out in space.
Acaba also joined European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli collecting blood and urine samples for a pair of biomedical experiments. The long-running Biochemical Profile and Repository studies are documenting the various changes the human body experiences during a long-term space mission.
Commander Randy Bresnik continued gathering spacewalk equipment with Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei ahead of an Oct. 5 spacewalk. The pair also checked out their emergency jet packs and sized their spacesuits. This will be the first of three spacewalks in October to replace a latching end effector on the tip of the Canadarm2 and replace a pair of external cameras.
The Expedition 53 crew members continued testing a new exercise device today while also exploring how their bodies are adapting to living in space. The station residents are also gearing up for three spacewalks planned in October.
Commander Randy Bresnik joined Paolo Nespoli for a workout session on the new Miniature Exercise Device-2 (MED-2). The duo tested the MED-2 for its ability to provide motion and resistance during crew workouts. The device is significantly smaller than previous space exercise systems potentially providing more room on future spacecraft.
Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei installed new lights on his crew quarters to test their ability to improve circadian rhythms, sleep, and cognitive performance. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for a pair of experiments observing the physiological changes taking place in space.
Bresnik and Vande Hei are moving ahead with preparations for the first of three spacewalks set to begin Oct. 5. The spacewalkers inspected the tethers that will keep them attached to the station and began setting up their tools. The duo will remove and replace a leading end effector on the tip of the Canadarm2 during the first spacewalk scheduled to last about 6.5 hours.
The Expedition 53 crew is getting ready for a trio of spacewalks next month while helping scientists understand what living in space does to the human body.
NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei trained for a spacewalk emergency today wearing virtual reality gear. The spacewalkers practiced maneuvering specialized jet packs attached to their spacesuits in the unlikely event they become untethered from the station.
The duo will go on a pair of spacewalks on Oct. 5 and 10. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba will join Bresnik Oct. 18 for the third and final spacewalk. The three spacewalkers will replace and lubricate one of two end effectors on the tip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. They will also replace a pair of cameras located on the station’s truss structure.
More muscle and bone research continued today as cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy joined Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli for the Sarcolab-3 study. The research observes leg muscle and tendon changes caused by microgravity using an ultrasound scan and other sensors during an exercise session. Bresnik collected his breath sample to help document any bone marrow and blood cell changes his body may be experiencing in space.
The Expedition 53 crew worked on a variety of astronomy gear today that looks at meteors in Earth orbit and harmful radiation from deep space. The crew also explored how microgravity affects human bones and muscles.
Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei worked on a camera for the Meteor experiment, ongoing since March 2016, which peers out of a specialized window in the Destiny laboratory module. The camera observes meteors and meteor showers and analyzes the imagery to determine their physical and chemical composition.
Flight Engineer Joe Acaba installed the Fast Neutron Spectrometer in the Unity module today to explore a new technique that measures deep space radiation. The new technology may be used to provide a more accurate assessment of the mixed radiation future crews and spacecraft may be exposed to.
Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy strapped himself into the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES) chair today for a look at his calf muscle and tendons. Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli assisted Ryazanskiy into the MARES chair and Commander Randy Bresnik collected ultrasound imagery of his leg. The data is being collected for the Sarcolab-3 experiment that is observing space-induced chemical and structural changes in muscle fibers.
Expedition 53 is gearing up for three maintenance spacewalks set to take place in October over a period of two weeks. Meanwhile, the six-member crew continued researching today how their long-term missions in space affect their bodies.
Commander Randy Bresnik began unpacking spacewalking gear today ahead of the first of three spacewalks set to begin Oct. 5. He will lead all three spacewalks with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba. Vande Hei will join him on the first two and Acaba will participate in the final spacewalk. The trio will replace one of the two end effectors on the Canadarm2 robotic arm, lubricate the new component and replace cameras at two locations on the station’s truss.
Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli and Sergey Ryazanskiy are exploring how living in space impacts their bone marrow. The study takes a look at blood and breath samples with the blood being processed in a centrifuge. Bresnik is also collecting his blood and urine samples that scientists will later analyze for any physiological changes caused by microgravity.
At 4:40 a.m. EDT, Expedition 53 Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and International Space Station Commander Randy Bresnik used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the SpaceX Dragon after it was detached from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.
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 10:14 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 3,800 pounds of cargo and research. A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. 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 to the space station Aug. 14 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Aug. 16 carrying more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s twelfth commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA.
Get breaking news, images, videos and features from the station on social media at:
Three new crew members have arrived to the International Space Station. The hatches on the space station and Soyuz MS-06 opened at 1:08 a.m. EDT, marking the arrival to the orbiting laboratory for Expedition 53-54 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos.
Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of the ESA (European Space Agency) welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.
Momentarily, the crew will speak to their family and friends from Baikonur in a welcoming ceremony that will air live on NASA TV.
The crew will support more than 250 experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth.
Bresnik, Ryazanskiy and Nespoli are scheduled to remain aboard the station until December and Vande Hei, Acaba and Misurkin are scheduled to return in February 2018.
You can follow the crew’s activities and experiences in space on social media:
The three orbiting Expedition 53 crew members explored growing new lung tissue, foods that affect the immune system and microscopic particles suspended in liquids. Another trio of crew members is just a day away from launching to the International Space Station and beginning a five-and-a-half month stay in space.
Over the weekend, the crew wrapped up the Lung Tissue experiment. The study is using the latest bioengineering techniques to grow lung tissue in space and observe how microgravity affects the process.
Another study is looking at which foods can improve the gut environment and immune system while living in space. Scientists on Earth will take a look at microbe and metabolite samples taken from mice living aboard the station to determine the diet’s effectiveness.
A specialized microscope is being worked on inside the Fluids Integrated Rack. The advanced light imaging microscope facility will be used for the upcoming ACE-T6 study that is researching ways to improve the manufacturing process for consumer products. The microscope will be used to peer at tiny particles suspended in liquids, called colloids, which affect the way products separate, clump together and spoil.
Back on Earth, two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are a day away from beginning their Expedition 53-54 mission. Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin will lead the near six-hour flight from Kazakhstan to the station’s Poisk docking compartment with Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei.