Physics, Biology and Spacewalk Preps as SpaceX Crew-1 Ramps Up

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Rubins works in Japan's Kibo laboratory module to set up a small satellite deployer.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Rubins works in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module to set up a small satellite deployer.

Space physics and biomedical research kicked off the work week as the Expedition 64 crew continued its spacewalk preparations. Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew astronauts are in Florida counting down to their launch to the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins started Monday morning checking out samples exposed to extreme temperatures inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The advanced research facility provides insights into the thermophysical properties and the synthesis of new materials.

Rubins then serviced components on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device that helps astronauts maintain muscle strength and mass in microgravity. The two-time station resident wrapped up her science work today collecting and stowing saliva samples for the Standard Measures study. The human research experiment collects biological data from astronauts before, during and after missions to understand how humans adapt to living in space.

A spacewalk is scheduled for Nov. 18 for maintenance and science tasks outside the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and conducted leak checks and valve tests inside their Orlan spacesuits today. The duo then partnered up with Rubins to review tasks and procedures planned for the six-hour spacewalk.

The next crew to visit the space station arrived at the Kennedy Space Center from Houston on Sunday getting ready for a launch on Nov. 14 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon. The quartet from the United States and Japan is planned to dock about eight-and-a-half hours later the following day to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter.

Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi are in quarantine in Florida conducting final mission preparations. They are scheduled for a five-and-a-half-month research mission aboard the station.

NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy and Crewmates Return Safely to Earth

The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft is seen as it lands in Kazakhstan with Expedition 63 crew. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos landed on Earth at 10:54 p.m. EDT in Kazakhstan. The trio departed the International Space Station in their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at 7:32 p.m.

Cassidy now has spent a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest among U.S. astronauts.

After post-landing medical checks, the crew will split up to return home; Cassidy will board a NASA plane back to Houston, and Vagner and Ivanishin will fly home to Star City, Russia.

Remaining aboard the station is the three-person crew of Expedition 64 with NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, and station commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos. Upon the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission targeted to launch in November, the station’s long-duration crew will expand to seven people for the first time with the addition of NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch NASA TV for Crew Return to Earth

The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 62 crew.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft carrying the trio is expected to make its deorbit burn at 10 p.m. to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:55 p.m.

While on station, Cassidy contributed to hundreds of experiments, including a study of the influence of gravity on electrolytic gas evolution, a complex electrochemical process with multiple applications on Earth and in space. Electrolysis generates bubbles that can be used to create pressure differentials in microfluidic devices, such as skin patches, used to deliver medications. Microgravity makes it possible to single out bubble growth and study its effect on the process.

During this latest mission, Cassidy served as commander of Expedition 63, contributed to hundreds of experiments, and welcomed SpaceX Demo-2 crew members Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley of NASA– the first astronauts to launch to the space station on an American spacecraft from American soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Cassidy and Behnken completed four spacewalks, totaling 23 hours and 37 minutes, to upgrade station batteries. The final spacewalk was the 10th for both astronauts, making them two of only four only U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks. Cassidy now has spent a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest among U.S. astronauts.

Cassidy also worked with Astrobee, cube-shaped, free-flying robots that may one day assist astronauts with routine duties, and conducted research for the Onco-Selectors experiment, which leverages microgravity to identify targeted cancer therapies.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Soyuz Departs Space Station

The Soyuz MS-16 crew ship with the Expedition 63 crew inside is pictured just after undocking from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station at 7:32 p.m. EDT, carrying three people back to Earth. NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. for the deorbit burn at 10 p.m. and the spacecraft’s parachute-assisted landing.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are expected to land in their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at 10:55 p.m. on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan (8:55 a.m. Oct. 22 Kazakhstan time).

Cassidy’s mission was filled with milestones for space exploration as well as numerous science experiments helping benefit life back on Earth. Take a look at his time as a space scientist in this video: https://youtu.be/u8L66TSXSxY

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch NASA TV Now for Soyuz Undocking

(From left) Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website of the undocking and departure from the International Space Station of the Soyuz spacecraft that will return NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to Earth later this evening.

The three crew members are concluding a 196-day mission spanning 3,136 orbits of Earth and 83 million miles. Cassidy is completing his third flight for a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest total among U.S. astronauts. Ivanishin is completing his third flight into space, totaling 476 days. This was Vagner’s first spaceflight.

During this latest mission, Cassidy served as commander of Expedition 63, contributed to hundreds of experiments, and welcomed SpaceX Demo-2 crew members Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley of NASA– the first astronauts to launch to the space station on an American spacecraft from American soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Cassidy and Behnken completed four spacewalks, totaling 23 hours and 37 minutes, to upgrade station batteries. The final spacewalk was the 10th for both astronauts, making them two of only four only U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks. Cassidy now has spent a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest among U.S. astronauts.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Hatches Between Soyuz and Station Closed

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 63 crewmembers Ivan Vagner (left) and Anatoly Ivanishin (center) of Roscosmos and Chris Cassidy of NASA (right) pose for pictures March 25 in front of their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft as part of pre-launch training activities.

At 4:24 p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to undock their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at 7:32 p.m.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the undocking beginning at 7 p.m.; their landing in Kazakhstan is targeted for approximately 10:55 p.m.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 64 will begin aboard the station, with Kate Rubins of NASA, new station commander Sergey Ryzhikov and cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos comprising a three-person station crew until the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission targeted to launch in November. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will launch on the first long-duration commercial crew mission to the station.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV live for Crew Farewell and Hatch Closure

(Front row from left) Expedition 64 crew members Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov join Expedition 63 crew members (back row from left) Ivan Vagner, Anatoly Ivanishin and Chris Cassidy inside the space station's Zvezda service module.
(Front row from left) Expedition 64 crewmembers Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov join Expedition 63 crew members (back row from left) Ivan Vagner, Anatoly Ivanishin and Chris Cassidy inside the space station’s Zvezda service module.

NASA is providing live coverage on NASA TV and its website beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT as NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos prepare to conclude their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station and return to Earth.

The trio will say goodbye to NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, new station commander Sergey Ryzhikov and cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and close the hatch to their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft at 4:10 p.m. EDT in preparation for their departure. They will conduct a series of leak checks before undocking at 7:32 p.m. from the Poisk module’s space-facing port. A parachute-assisted landing is set for 10:55 p.m. EDT (8:55 a.m. Oct. 22 Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

Follow along with landing activities and get more information at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crews Change Command on Tuesday; Leak Temporarily Sealed

The sun's first rays burst over the Earth's horizon during an orbital sunrise as the International Space Station orbited above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia.
The sun’s first rays burst over the Earth’s horizon during an orbital sunrise as the International Space Station orbited above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia.

Two veteran International Space Station residents will have a Change of Command ceremony on Tuesday before the Expedition 63 crew returns to Earth the following day. Meanwhile, the Russian portion of the crew has temporarily sealed a leak on the orbiting lab.

Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA will hand over control of the space station to cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov on Tuesday. The duo will be joined by the rest of their crewmates for the traditional event live on NASA TV starting at 4:15 p.m. EDT.

Cassidy will spend one more night in space with Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner before departing the station on Wednesday inside the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. They will undock from the Poisk module at 7:32 p.m., re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere just over three hours later and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:55 p.m. (Oct. 22, 7:55 a.m. Baikonur time). All the activities will be broadcast live on NASA TV.

Expedition 64 officially begins when Cassidy undocks with his two Russian crewmates. New station Commander Ryzhikov will stay in space until April with Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos.

Russian crew members were able to temporarily seal the air leak teams have been investigating aboard the station. The leak, which has been investigated for several months, continues to pose no immediate danger to the crew at the current leak rate. Roscosmos engineers are working with the station crew to develop a forward plan to permanently seal the suspected leak location.

Expedition 64 Crew Docks to Station to Begin Six-Month Mission

The Soyuz MS-17 crew ship with the Expedition 64 crew inside is pictured just a few meters away from the Rassvet module's docking port.
The Soyuz MS-17 crew ship with the Expedition 64 crew inside is pictured just a few meters away from the Rassvet module’s docking port.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov docked to the International Space Station at 4:48 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 261 miles above the Mediterranean Sea.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 6 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for 6:45 a.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV Broadcasting Launch of Expedition 64 Crew to Station

The Soyuz rocket that will launch three Expedition 64 crewmates to the station on Wednesday stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos
The Soyuz rocket that will launch three Expedition 64 crewmates to the station on Wednesday stands its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 1:45 a.m. EDT (10:45 a.m. in Baikonur), of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will begin a three-hour journey to the International Space Station. Their journey will be the first time a Soyuz crew has taken the fast-track, two-orbit rendezvous path to the space station.

The new crew members will dock to the station’s Rassvet module at 4:52 a.m. They will join Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who will complete their station mission and land on Earth on the steppe of Kazakhstan Wednesday, Oct. 21, U.S. time, in the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that brought them to the station on April 9.

About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and the six crew members will greet each other.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.