The three Expedition 58 crew members continued studying today the upward flow of fluids inside astronauts’ bodies caused by living in space. The crew also worked on packing a U.S. cargo craft and servicing U.S. spacesuits at the International Space Station.
One easily recognizable symptom of living in space is the “puffy face” astronauts get due to the upward flow of fluids in the body. Underlying impacts of this phenomenon include head and eye pressure changes that occur off Earth which the Fluid Shifts experiment is seeking to better understand.
All three crew members gathered in the Zvezda service module throughout the day using a special suit to temporarily reverse these upward fluid shifts. NASA astronaut Anne McClain wore the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit, which pull fluids downward, while Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques checked her head and eye pressure using a variety of biomedical devices. Commander Oleg Kononenko assisted the duo with guidance from specialists on the ground.
McClain and Saint-Jacques also partnered up before lunchtime to get the Cygnus resupply ship ready for its departure on Feb. 12. The duo reviewed packing procedures and stowed inventory aboard the U.S. space freighter from Northrop Grumman.
McClain started the day installing the new Facet Cell crystal growth experiment in the Kibo laboratory module. She spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning cooling loops on U.S. spacesuits in the Quest airlock as NASA prepares for spacewalks at the orbital lab later this year.
Satellite and combustion technology are being worked on today aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 58 crew also studied botany and psychology while the station raised its orbit in a planned reboost maneuver.
McClain also transferred biomedical hardware for the Fluid Shifts head and eye pressure study into the Zvezda service module for continuing research. She later worked in the Columbus lab module installing a light meter to measure the amount of light nourishing plants inside the Veggie botany facility.
He later typed his mood, thoughts and emotions into an electronic journal for the Behavioral Core Measures experiment. The psychological study seeks to understand how the spacecraft environment, long-term separation from family and friends, loss of day-night cycle and other factors impact crew behavior.
A second docked Progress cargo craft, the 71P, fired its engines shortly after 1:01 p.m. EST to raise the station’s orbit. The reboost comes in advance of upcoming cargo missions and the next crew launch in February.
The Expedition 58 crew focused again today on studying head and eye pressure changes astronauts experience while living in space. The crew then went on to more science hardware and life support maintenance aboard the International Space Station.
Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques worked throughout Thursday morning researching the upward flow of fluids that occurs inside astronauts’ bodies. The duo conducted eye scans with a variety of devices to measure eye pressure changes caused by these fluid shifts in microgravity.
Commander Oleg Kononenko ensured the upkeep of life support gear and other station systems in the Russian segment of the orbital lab. The veteran cosmonaut of three previous Expeditions ended the day exploring how station crew members from around the world interact and learn to live together in space.
Human research took precedence aboard the International Space Station today as the Expedition 58 crew explored how astronauts adapt to living in space. The orbital residents also performed more ordinary roles as computer technicians and plumbers.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain is studying today the fluid shifts from an astronaut’s lower body to the upper body and how they pressure the head and eyes during a spaceflight. She collected her blood samples for the long-running experiment, spinning them in a centrifuge before stowing the samples in a science freezer.
Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques measured his blood pressure beginning operations with the new Bio-Monitor system from the Canadian Space Agency. The wearable device monitors an astronaut’s physiological data in real-time with minimum interference to crew activities.
Commander Oleg Kononenko worked on Russian maintenance in the orbital lab before inspecting and photographing windows in the Russian modules. He wrapped up the day on a pair of ongoing Earth observation studies photographing natural and man-made phenomena.
The unlikely emergency scenarios the crew trains for include events such as depressurization, ammonia leaks and fires. Responses include quickly donning safety gear, closing a module hatch to isolate pressure and ammonia leaks, extinguishing a fire and evacuating the station aboard the Soyuz crew ship.
McClain then moved on to cable and parts work on the Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) that can house a variety of smaller experiments. She wrapped up the day photographing Saint-Jacques as he installed neutron detectors for an experiment to understand how space radiation impacts astronauts.
Kononenko worked today on the Electromagnetic Levitator that exposes materials to extremely high temperatures to explore their thermo-physical properties in the microgravity environment. The four-time station cosmonaut later went on to routine maintenance on life support systems in the orbital lab’s Russian segment.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is back on Earth after splashing down in the Pacific Ocean Sunday night loaded with critical space research and International Space Station hardware. Four spaceships remain parked at the orbital lab including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus resupply ship from the United States.
Today, the three-member Expedition 58 crew is exploring a wide array of microgravity science to improve life for humans on Earth and in space. The orbital residents also worked on life support systems and upgraded computer hardware.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain set up a specialized microscope in the morning for the Biophysics-5 study to research the production of protein crystals. Afterward, she deactivated Dragon communications gear then swapped out hard drives on several laptop computers.
Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and replaced optics gear inside the flame and soot research device. He later swapped a hydrogen sensor inside the Oxygen Generation System before inspecting and cleaning some of its parts.
A pair of tiny internal satellites, better known as SPHERES, were set up by Commander Oleg Kononenko today inside the Kibo laboratory module. High school students write algorithms and submit them in a competition to control the SPHERES to demonstrate spacecraft maneuvers and formation-flying for future space missions.
Astronaut Anne McClain monitored the activities from the cupola and watched Dragon perform a series of departure burns as it separated itself to a safe distance from the orbital lab. Integrated operations between mission controllers in Houston and SpaceX controllers in California stop when Dragon reaches a point about one kilometer away from the station.
SpaceX personnel will retrieve Dragon after it parachutes to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Monday at 12:15 a.m. (9:15 p.m. Sunday Pacific time) then tow it to port in southern California. This will be the first nighttime splashdown and recovery for the Dragon with plenty of moonlight to track its entry.
The commercial cargo vessel is taking home a variety of critical space research that will immediately be picked up by NASA engineers and distributed to scientists across the nation. Station hardware will also be extracted for analysis, refurbishment or discarding.
The next Dragon mission to the space station will be its first uncrewed demonstration mission designated SpaceX DM-1. The Commercial Crew Program’s first launch is currently targeted for February and will demonstrate ground systems, orbit to docking activities and landing operations.
To take advantage of calmer sea states in a different location in the Pacific Ocean, SpaceX and the International Space Station Program agreed to move the departure of the SpaceX-CRS-16 Dragon cargo craft from the station from early Sunday morning to late Sunday afternoon, setting up the first night splashdown and recovery of a Dragon vehicle.
Dragon’s hatch will be closed Sunday morning, and the spacecraft will be detached from the Harmony module around 3 p.m. EST Sunday.
Ground controllers will now release Dragon from the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. NASA TV coverage of the operation without commentary will begin at 6:15 p.m. NASA Flight Engineer Anne McClain will monitor the release from the station’s cupola.
Dragon’s deorbit burn to begin its descent back to Earth is now scheduled at approximately 11:19 p.m. with splashdown scheduled at around 12:10 a.m. Monday (9:10 p.m. Pacific time) just west of Baja California.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft had its stay extended at the International Space Station a few more days. Mission managers observed inclement weather at Dragon’s splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean and decided against Dragon’s return to Earth today.
Meanwhile, Dragon’s hatch remains open and the Expedition 58 crew is tending to time-sensitive experiments targeted for return and analysis back on Earth. The Canadarm2 robotic arm has the Dragon firmly in its grips while the cargo vehicle is still attached to the Harmony module.
Robotics controllers will command the Canadarm2 to uninstall Dragon from Harmony on Saturday afternoon then slowly maneuver the U.S. space freighter to its release position. The Canadarm2 will then be commanded to release Dragon Sunday at 3:36 a.m. EST as astronaut Anne McClain monitors from the cupola. NASA TV will broadcast the departure live without commentary starting Sunday at 3:15 a.m.
Today, the three space station residents are back on science and maintenance duties with Dragon poised for a weekend departure. McClain of NASA is checking out and preserving the space research meant for return inside Dragon.
Flight Engineer David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency assisted McClain first thing Thursday morning. He then moved on to the Vascular Echo study scanning his leg’s femoral artery with an ultrasound device to understand how living in space affects the cardiovascular system.
Back on Earth, NASA and SpaceX are continuing to work on the activities leading toward the Demo-1, uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station.NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than February for the launch of Demo-1 to complete hardware testing and joint reviews. NASA and SpaceX will confirm a new target date after coordination with the Eastern Range and the International Space Station Program.
Astronauts Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency are wrapping up final transfers of completed science experiments in Dragon today. The duo is loading science samples from several experiments for return to Earth, where they will quickly be delivered to investigators around the country for analysis.
Engineers on the ground are testing communications and control gear that will be used to monitor and command Dragon after its release from the station. Robotics controllers are also powering up the Canadarm2 robotic arm today to grapple Dragon before its removal from the Harmony module.