Crew Tries On Spacesuits, Conducts Heart and Meteor Research

Spacesuit Checks
Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams try on their U.S. spacesuits. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi and cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin assisted the duo. Credit: NASA TV

A pair of astronauts tried on U.S. spacesuits this morning ahead of a spacewalk next week. Afterward, the crew explored heart cells, fluid pressure in the head and the eyes and the composition of meteors.

NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins are due to work outside the International Space Station on Aug. 19 for 6.5 hours. The duo tried on the spacesuits today they will wear during the spacewalk to complete the installation of the first of two International Docking Adapters to the Harmony module. Commercial Crew vehicles are being developed by Boeing and SpaceX that will dock to the new adapters in the future.

Rubins then moved on to observing heart cells with a specialized microscope. The heart cells are derived from stem cells that were manufactured from human skin cells.

Williams joined cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin for ultrasound scans and vision checks. That work was part of the Fluid Shifts study that is exploring how the lack of gravity influences head pressure and eye shape possibly affecting an astronaut’s vision.

Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi replaced a hard drive on a laptop computer that collects data on the composition of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere. Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin participated in a study that seeks to improve the ability of a crew member to pilot a spacecraft.

Eye Exams and Spacesuit Checks Today

Fluids Shifts
Fluids shift toward the upper body in space since they don’t have to fight against gravity. This results in familiar phenomena such as a puffy face. The fluid shifts also affect intra-cranial pressure and eye shape. Credit: NASA Johnson YouTube

The Expedition 48 crew continued more eye exams and ongoing research to understand how microgravity shifts body fluids toward the upper body. Two NASA astronauts also checked out U.S. spacesuit safety gear and tools.

All six crew members participated in variety of eye exams throughout the day. Some of the eye checks also coincided with the Fluid Shifts study. That research observes how fluid pressure in space affects a crew member’s head and eyes, possibly affecting vision.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are getting ready for an Aug. 19 spacewalk to install an International Docking Adapter. The docking port, delivered by the SpaceX Dragon last month, will enable future commercial crew spacecraft from Boeing and SpaceX dock to the station. The spacewalkers checked their spacesuit safety jetpacks they would use in the unlikely event they became separated from the International Space Station.

 

Spacesuit Checks amid Life Science and Emergency Training

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams
Astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams work on spacesuits in the Quest airlock.

Two astronauts are getting ready for a spacewalk amidst ongoing heart and genetics research this week. The crew also practiced the techniques necessary to care for a crew member during a medical emergency in space.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins are due to complete the installation of a new International Docking Adapter during a spacewalk Aug. 19. The duo are setting up their spacesuits today, including a new one delivered on the SpaceX Dragon, and verifying the functionality of the suit systems.

Rubins started her day peering into a microscope exploring cell samples for the Heart Cells experiment. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi kept the Mouse Epigenetics habitat stocked with food and water for the experiment observing genetic alterations in mice and DNA changes in their offspring.

Rubins and Onishi joined cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin in the afternoon for a medical emergency training session. The crew members familiarized themselves with medical gear and locations, chest compression techniques and practiced communication and coordination.

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

Astronauts Exploring Head, Eye Pressure and Genetic Alterations

Astronaut Kate Rubins
Astronaut Kate Rubins conducts research for the Heart Cells experiment inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox located in the U.S. Destiny lab module.

The crew aboard the International Space Station continued exploring the numerous ways living in space affects the human body and other organisms. The station residents also participated in an emergency simulation exercise.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka this week are exploring fluid shifts from an astronaut’s lower body to the upper body during long-term space missions. This phenomena that occurs in microgravity increases pressure on a crew member’s brain and eye structure potentially affecting vision.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins relocated an incubator that houses Heart Cells research samples from one science rack to another. Those samples will be analyzed on Earth when the SpaceX Dragon returns the research at the end of August. Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi continued the upkeep of an experiment that is researching genetic alteration in mice and their offspring due to the microgravity environment.

All six Expedition 48 crew members joined each other in the afternoon to practice their response to an unlikely emergency situation. The astronauts and cosmonauts practiced communication and coordination in conjunction with Houston and Moscow control centers in response to emergency simulators.

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

Crew Kicks off August on Variety of Advanced Space Research

South Pacific Ocean
The South Pacific Ocean was pictured as the station orbited at an altitude of 220 nautical miles and over a thousand miles away from the coast of South America. Credit: Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

The six-member Expedition 48 crew participated in a series of experiments today exploring how living in space affects the human body. Also, a set of bowling ball-sized experimental satellites was set up for a student contest.

Scientists are sampling crew respiration today to understand the health impacts of living in the International Space Station’s closed atmosphere. Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi used a portable device measuring the amount of nitrogen that is exhaled and diffused in the blood.

Onishi also collected biological samples for the Multi-Omics study that is observing how the human immune system functions in space. Commander Jeff Williams set up hardware to research how upper body fluid shifts affect a crew member’s head and eye structure.

Williams then joined cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka configuring tiny internal satellites for a planned high school student competition next week. The contest, known as SPHERES Zero Robotics, uses student written algorithms to control small SPHERES satellites performing functions similar to a space mission.

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

Cygnus Leaves Station Tuesday Morning

Cygnus Arrives at Station
The Cygnus spacecraft is pictured arriving at the station March 26. The tip of the Canadarm2 that captured Cygnus moments later is at top right.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 9 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 14. Release from the space station’s Canadarm2 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

About five hours after departure, the Saffire-I experiment will take place onboard the uncrewed cargo craft. Saffire-I provides a new way to study a realistic fire on a spacecraft. This hasn’t been possible in the past because the risks for performing such studies on crewed spacecraft are too high. Instruments on the returning Cygnus will measure flame growth, oxygen use and more. Results could determine microgravity flammability limits for several spacecraft materials, help to validate NASA’s material selection criteria, and help scientists understand how microgravity and limited oxygen affect flame size. The investigation is crucial for the safety of current and future space missions.

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

For more information about Orbital ATK’s mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk.

For more information about the International Space Station, and its research and crews, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

More Cubesats Deployed as Crew Studies Bones and Muscles

Commander Tim Kopra
Commander Tim Kopra, from Austin, Texas, poses inside the cupola as the station orbits over the Earth below.

A new wave of Cubesats was shot into space today for a wide variety of Earth observations and communications research. The crew also explored life science and worked on high-flying plumbing tasks.

Today’s set of Cubesat deployments from the Kibo lab module’s airlock was the second of three consecutive days of deployment operations. The Dove Satellites deployed today are built and operated by Planet Labs Inc. and take images of Earth for several humanitarian and environmental applications.

Back inside the International Space Station, the crew took bone density measurements in mice in the Microgravity Science Glovebox to learn how living in space affects muscles and bones. The Rodent Research-3 experiment is testing an antibody used on Earth that may prevent muscle and bone wasting in space possibly improving the health of astronauts and humans on the ground.

The Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC), one of the orbital lab’s restrooms, experienced a problem last week requiring some part replacement work. That maintenance work coincided with the installation of a new Advanced Recycle Filter Tank Assembly in support of transition to new pre-treat formula which aims to increase the amount of urine that is recycled into potable water.

Station Reaches 100,000 Orbits, Deploys Cubesats

Milky Way and Lightning
This image taken from a time lapse sequence aboard the space station shows the Milky Way and a lightning strike on Earth.

The International Space Station completed its 100,000th orbit early this morning after its first component, the Zarya cargo module, launched Nov. 20, 1998. That is over 2.6 billion miles traveled, nearly the distance from Earth to Neptune (2.9 billion miles), or ten round trips from Mars to Earth.

A few hours after the station reached this morning’s orbital benchmark, a several types of Cubesats were deployed from the Kibo lab module’s airlock. More Cubesats will deployed through Wednesday contributing to a wide variety of research designed by students and scientists.

The crew is measuring the grip strength of mice today for the Rodent Research experiment. That study is exploring an antibody used on Earth that may prevent the weakening of muscles and bones in space.

A laptop computer is being readied ahead of next week’s expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). The computer will monitor sensors and prepare for upcoming BEAM operations.

Robotic Arm Inspects Dragon Today amid Advanced Science

South Africa and Cape Town
The very bottom tip of Africa is imaged here as captured by the crew of the International Space Station on April 3rd, 2016. South Africa’s capitol Cape Town is located at the bottom left of this beautiful Earth picture captured on a sunny day.

Expedition 47 continues exploring how the lack of gravity affects astronauts and technology to help NASA plan longer missions farther out into space. Meanwhile, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, has been maneuvered into position before it releases the SpaceX Dragon on Wednesday.

The crew set up the Fluid Shifts experiment again today utilizing a specialized body suit. The suit measures fluid movements between the upper and lower body. These fluid shifts have been known to increase head pressure potentially affecting a crew member’s eyesight.

Surface and air samples were taken today inside the International Space Station to study the diversity of microbes on the orbital lab. Hardware was also set up to download imagery taken for the Strata-1 study which is exploring how soil from other planetary bodies might behave. That research may help scientists design future spacesuits and space gear.

SpaceX is getting ready for the release and splashdown of its Dragon cargo craft on May 11. The 57.7-foot Canadarm2 robotic arm is inspecting Dragon’s thermal protection system and will grapple the spacecraft later today.

Fluid Pressure Research and Robotic Preps for Dragon Release

Bahama Island Chain
Oblique south-looking view of the main Bahama island chain as seen from the International Space Station.

The astronauts onboard the International Space Station are researching how microgravity affects fluid shifts in a crew member’s body. Ground controllers are also guiding Canada’s robotic arm into position before next week’s grapple and release of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

The Fluid Shifts experiment will wrap up operations this week with the crew wearing specialized body suits. The suits, known as Chibis Lower Body Negative Pressure devices, measure how fluids move from the lower body to the upper body while living in space. The research also observes fluid shifts in and out of cells and blood vessels which may impact head pressure potentially affecting vision.

Robotics controllers are remotely guiding the Canadarm2 to the Harmony module where it will grapple Dragon ahead of the spacecraft’s May 11 release and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Yesterday, the controllers surveyed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s condition with the Canadarm2 and its cameras.

Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka is on his second mission aboard the space station. His first mission during Expedition 25/26 lasted 159 days. Currently, he is Expedition 47 Flight Engineer and today is his 47th day aboard the orbital lab since his March arrival with fellow crew members Jeff Williams and Alexey Ovchinin.