Crew Tests Lower Body Suit to Protect Vision; Soyuz Rocket Rolls Out Wednesday

Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson looks at the Earth below from inside the seven-windowed cupola.

One of the effects of living in space is the tendency of fluids to shift upward towards an astronaut’s head. This results in the common “puffy face” appearance astronauts experience when they escape Earth’s gravity. However, the more serious effects observed on orbit could include eye and vision damage.

The three Expedition 52 crew members are exploring a unique device that reverses some of these headward fluid shifts and could counter changes to vision in space. Peggy Whitson of NASA tried on the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit today with assistance from Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos. NASA astronaut Jack Fischer joined the commander and conducted brain/ear fluid pressure tests and eye exams on Whitson.

Back on Earth, three new Expedition 52-53 crew members will see their Soyuz MS-05 rocket roll out to its launch pad Wednesday. The trio from the United States, Russia and Italy will blast off inside the Soyuz rocket Friday at 11:41 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy from Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency will live on the orbital complex until mid-December.


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Launch Preps in Kazakhstan; Cancer Therapies Researched on Station

Expedition 52-53 crew with Soyuz rocket
Expedition 52-53 crew members (from left) Paolo Nespoli, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Randy Bresnik, stand in front of the Soyuz rocket that will launch them to space. Credit: Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

A new International Space Station crew is less than a week away from beginning a 4-1/2 month mission living and working in space. The trio from the United States, Russia and Italy is in Kazakhstan counting down to a Friday launch at 11:41 a.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy will command the Soyuz vehicle during the six-hour, 19-minute ride from Earth to the station’s Rassvet module. He will be flanked by crewmates Randy Bresnik of NASA and astronaut Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency. NASA TV will cover the launch and docking activities live.

Meanwhile, the Expedition 52 crew orbiting Earth now explored how microgravity impacts cancer therapies. The trio also worked on various maintenance tasks throughout the orbital lab.

New space research aboard the station is providing insights that may accelerate development of drugs that target only cancer cells. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson peered at cells today through a microscope for the cancer study that started in April this year. Results may create more effective treatments for cancer patients on Earth.

Jack Fischer of NASA moved a variety of science gear around and cleaned a mouse habitat. He also swapped out a hard drive for an experiment that measures the composition of meteors orbiting and entering Earth’s atmosphere.


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All About the Human, and New Crew at Launch Site

Expedition 52-53 crew
Expedition 52-53 crew members Paolo Nespoli (left), Sergey Ryazanskiy (center) and Randy Bresnik (right) arrive at their launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on July 16. Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 52 astronauts furthered investigative data for NASA’s Human Research Program, collecting in-flight data and blood and urine samples over the weekend.

Today, the crew will take additional samples for the Biochem Profile, Repository and Cardio Ox investigations. An ultrasound was also used for the Cardio Ox study, which seeks to determine whether biological markers of oxidative and inflammatory stress are elevated during and after spaceflight, and whether this could result in an increased, long-term risk of the hardening of the arteries for space-faring explorers.

Also on tap is the Mag 3D cell culturing experiment. The crew will fixate the BioCells and insert them into the Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The orbiting laboratory provides a way to manipulate and culture cells in 2D and 3D in space and on the ground, which can help isolate the effects of gravity in experiments and enable biological research previously deemed unfeasible in space.

The next crew to lift off to the International Space Station has arrived at its launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The experienced space travelers from Roscosmos, NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are due to blast off inside the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft July 28 for a six-hour ride to the space station’s Rassvet module. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, with astronauts Randy Bresnik and Paolo Nespoli, are scheduled to live and work in space until mid-December.


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Magnetic Cell Studies and AC Repairs on Orbit Today

Expedition 52 trio
Expedition 52 flight engineers Paolo Nespoli, left, Sergey Ryazanskiy, center, and Randy Bresnik visit Red Square prepare to lay roses at the site where Russian space icons are interred as part of traditional pre-launch ceremonies. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The orbiting Expedition 52 trio continued exploring magnetized cell structures today and worked on advanced repair tasks. Also, a new crew is in Moscow getting ready for its launch in less than three weeks.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson was back at work Tuesday running the Mag 3D cell culturing experiment all day. She peered at magnetic three-dimensional cell cultures through a microscope, specifically looking at the borders of the biocell structures. The biocells were then stowed in a science freezer before being injected with magnetic 3D culture media. Mag 3D observations may improve cell and tissue culture capabilities and research on orbit.

Though the space station is an orbiting laboratory, it is also a home that needs regular maintenance. Flight Engineer Jack Fischer put on his repairman’s hat today replacing a failed water separator inside the Tranquility module. The water separator is part of the Common Cabin Air Assembly that controls the station’s temperature and humidity.

Three upcoming station crew members are spending their final week in Moscow before heading to the launch site in Kazakhstan on Sunday. The experienced space trio will launch to space aboard the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft July 28 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Expedition 52-53 crew members Randy Bresnik, Paolo Nespoli and Sergey Ryazanskiy will live aboard the station for 4-1/2 months.


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New Crew in Final Training Before Late July Launch

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.


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Russian Cargo Craft Delivers Over Three Tons of Supplies

Space Station Configuration
Today’s docking of the Progress 67 resupply ship to the Zvezda service module makes four spacecraft docked to the International Space Station.

Traveling about 250 miles over the Philippine Sea, the unpiloted ISS Progress 67 Russian cargo ship docked at 7:37 a.m. EDT to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station.

Read more about visiting vehicle launches, departures and arrivals at the station.

For more information about the current crew and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.


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Dragon Attached to Station for Cargo Transfers

Dragon Installed to Harmony Module
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is installed to the Harmony module. The Progress 66 cargo craft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment and the Soyuz MS-04 crew vehicle is docked to the Poisk module.

A little over two hours after it was captured by Expedition 52 Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, the unpiloted SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was attached to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module of the International Space Station. Ground controllers at Mission Control, Houston reported that Dragon was bolted into place at 12:07 p.m. EDT as the station flew 258 statute miles over central Kazakhstan.

Earlier, the Dragon was grappled by Fischer and Whitson using the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 9:52 a.m. EDT at the completion of a flawless two-day journey for the resupply vehicle following its launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on Saturday.

The station crew expects to open Dragon’s hatch later today to begin transferring time-critical scientific experiments. Dragon will remain attached to the complex until July 2, when it will be detached from Harmony and robotically released for its deorbit back into the Earth’s atmosphere and a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.


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Expedition 51 Crew Back on Earth After 196 Days

Soyuz MS-03 Landing
The Expedition 51 crew descends to a parachuted landing inside the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft. Credit: European Space Agency

After spending 196 days in space, Expedition 51 crew members Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) landed their Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft in Kazakhstan at approximately 10:10 a.m. EDT. Russian recovery teams are helping the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

The duo arrived at the International Space Station on Nov.19, 2016, along with NASA’s Peggy Whitson, who will remain on the space station and return home with NASA’s Jack Fischer and Roscosmos’ Fyodor Yurchikhin. That landing is targeted for September.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 52 began aboard the station under Yurchikhin’s command. Along with Whitson and Fischer of NASA, the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members. Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of ESA are scheduled to launch July 28 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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Expedition 51 Duo Undocks and Heads to Earth

Soyuz MS-03 Spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft (foreground) is seen docked to the Rassvet module at the International Space Station.

After spending 194 days aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 51 crew members Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) undocked from the station at 6:47 a.m. EDT to begin their voyage home. The undocking marked the official start of Expedition 52 aboard the space station.

NASA Television will air live coverage of the Soyuz deorbit burn and landing beginning at 8:45 a.m.

The duo is set to land in Kazakhstan at 10:10 a.m. (8:20 p.m. Kazakhstan time).

Together, the Expedition 51 crew members pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory. Their return will wrap up 196 days in space, since their launch on Nov. 17, 2016.


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Station Changes Command Before Friday Crew Return

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (front row, center) hands over station command to cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin (front row, right). To Whitson’s right is astronaut Jack Fischer. Behind the trio are (from left) Expedition 51 crew members Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy who return to Earth on Friday. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin in a traditional Change of Command ceremony, which began at 11:50 a.m. EDT. Expedition 52 will officially begin under Yurchikhin’s command when the Soyuz spacecraft carrying Expedition 51 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) undocks from the space station early Friday morning.

Their return will wrap up 196 days in space, since their launch on Nov. 17, 2016.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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