Over the course of about six hours, the duo will use this spacewalk to examine a section of the external hull of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft currently docked to station, and if time permits, retrieve external experiments.
In late August, a pressure leak occurred from the space station that was traced to the Soyuz. Within hours after finding the source of the leak, crew members sealed the hole and the station has since maintained steady pressure.
The cosmonauts will take samples of any residue found on the hull and take digital images of the area before placing a new thermal blanket over it. The samples and images will provide additional information that will aid the investigation in the cause of the pressure leak.
A Dragon is chasing the International Space Station today to be gracefully captured by a robotic arm early Saturday. The expanded Expedition 57 crew prepared for Dragon’s arrival while conducting science, spacesuit checks and a variety of other station activities.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft has been orbiting Earth for one day now carrying over 5,600 pounds of science, supplies and hardware for the crew. It is due to arrive Saturday around 6 a.m. when astronauts Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor will command the Canadarm2 to grapple Dragon. The duo along with new Flight Engineer Anne McClain trained today for Dragon’s approach and rendezvous.
Gerst later worked on U.S. spacesuit maintenance cleaning their cooling loops. Serena worked on a cement study inside the orbital lab that could inform the construction of future lunar or Martian habitats.
McClain is getting used to her new home in space with fellow Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques who have been onboard the station since Monday. This is Kononenko’s fourth stint at the station and he is unpacking the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft that launched him and his crew to space. McClain and Saint-Jacques are first-time space residents and they worked on a visual perception and orientation study today. The duo also packed up biology research gear that will be stowed in Dragon for return to Earth after it arrives on Saturday.
Kononenko also joined Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev to ready a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits for a spacewalk on Dec. 11. The duo will inspect the Soyuz MS-09 crew ship that will return Prokopyev, Gerst and Serena back to Earth Dec. 19 U.S. time.
At the post-launch news conference for the Expedition 58 crew, Roscosmos and NASA officials announced that NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, who were forced to abort their recent mission Oct. 11 to the International Space Station, are now scheduled to launch again Feb. 28, 2019, from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Hague and Koch will serve as flight engineers for Expeditions 59 and 60. Ovchinin will serve as a flight engineer on Expedition 59 and the commander of Expedition 60. The trio will return to Earth in October 2019 as members of Expedition 60.
All three crew members will participate in a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston that will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.
This will be Koch’s first spaceflight. Flight dynamics specialists determined Hague and Ovchinin achieved enough altitude on their aborted climb to orbit to qualify for previous spaceflight status, making this Hague’s second spaceflight and Ovchinin’s third.
The arrival briefly restores the station’s crew complement to six until Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and Prokopyev return to Earth Dec. 20. Expedition 58 officially begins once the three departing spacefarers undock from the space station.
McClain, Saint-Jacques and Konenenko will spend more than six months conducting hundreds of science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development, providing the foundation for continuing human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars. Some of the investigations they will conduct are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth. Highlights of upcoming investigations include experiments in forest observation, robotic refueling, and satellite deployment.
The crew is scheduled to be onboard during the first test flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil.
The Soyuz MS-11 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 6:31 a.m. EST Monday, Dec. 3 (5:31 p.m. in Baikonur) and have safely reached orbit. At the time of launch, the station was flying about 250 miles over central Kazakhstan southwest of the capital of Astana, 405 miles ahead of the Soyuz as it leaves the launch pad.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Konenenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos have begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for the next six-and-a-half months.
The arrival will briefly restore the station’s crew complement to six as they join Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, who are scheduled to remain aboard the station until Dec. 20.
Just days after their arrival, the crew members will capture the SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft set to launch Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and deliver more than 5,800 pounds of critical research and supplies.
Following the science briefing, NASA TV will then broadcast beginning at 11:15 a.m. the arrival of the agency’s first asteroid sample return mission as the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is set to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu.
Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV’s media channel and the agency’s website beginning at 11:45 a.m. and be broadcast on all channels following the conclusion of OSIRIS-REx coverage expected at 12:15 p.m., with the spacecraft docking expected at 12:36 p.m.
Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 1:45 p.m.
Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television and the agency’s website for the targeted lift off at 6:31 a.m. EST (5:31 p.m. in Baikonur) of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Konenenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station.
A Russian spacewalk is planned before three Expedition 57 crew members return to Earth aboard a Soyuz spacecraft just before Christmas. Meanwhile, in the middle of the spacewalk and departure preparations, the International Space Station residents today also explored how living in space impacts the human muscle system.
Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev will work outside the space station Dec. 11 to inspect the Soyuz MS-09 crew vessel. The Russian spacewalker will join veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for a scheduled 6-hour inspection on the outside of the spaceship that will return the Expedition 57 crew home Dec. 19 U.S. time.
Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor then moved on to a study that has been ongoing aboard the orbital lab since September of 2017 observing how muscles adapt to outer space. The duo set up the Columbus lab module for research operations and scanned their head and foot muscles with an ultrasound device. The data may help doctors improve fitness in space and develop treatments for muscle and aging problems on Earth.
Back on Earth, on opposite sides of the globe, a pair of rockets are getting ready to send a new crew and more science and supplies to the space station. Russia’s Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft will launch Kononenko and fellow crew members Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques from Kazakhstan to the station on Monday at 6:31 a.m. EST. The following day at 1:38 p.m. in Florida, the SpaceX Dragon will blast off to the station to deliver more than 5,600 pounds of cargo to resupply the station residents.
December is shaping up to be a heavy traffic period at the International Space Station. Two crews will swap places before Christmas and a U.S. spaceship will deliver new supplies and science. A Russian spacewalk is also planned for a crew vehicle inspection.
Monday and Tuesday are launch days for a new crew and a cargo delivery. Two new astronauts and a veteran cosmonaut are set to blast off first on Monday at 6:31 a.m. EST aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko flanked by new Expedition 58 Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will dock to the station’s Poisk module just six hours and five minutes later.
The very next day, the SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply ship will launch on its 16th mission to the orbital laboratory with a variety of new science experiments at 1:38 p.m. Dragon will orbit Earth for two days before reaching a point about 10 meters from the station where it will be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.
Following those two critical arrivals at the orbital laboratory, cosmonauts Prokopyev and Oleg Kononenko will exit the station for the third Russian spacewalk of the year on Dec. 11. The duo will wear their Orlan spacesuits for about six hours of inspection work on the Soyuz MS-09 crew craft docked to the Rassvet module.
After the vehicle inspection, the Soyuz MS-09 will return to Earth Dec. 20 bringing home the Expedition 57 crew after six and a half months in space. Auñón-Chancellor and Gerst will sit on either side of Soyuz Commander Prokopyev as he leads the trio to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan at 12:03 a.m.
In a replay similar to the weekend before Thanksgiving, two rockets on the opposite sides of the world are poised to launch one day after another to replenish the International Space Station with a new crew and cargo.
Three new Expedition 58 crew members are preparing to blast off to the space station on a Russian Soyuz crew ship early next week. The following day, SpaceX will launch its Dragon cargo craft to the orbital lab atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
New astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques with veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will take a six-hour ride to the station on Monday Dec. 3. The trio will lift off inside their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft at 6:31 a.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About six hours later they will reach their new home in space and dock to the Poisk module beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission.
The SpaceX Dragon is targeted to begin its ascent to space from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 4. Dragon will orbit Earth for two days loaded with new science before it is captured with the station’s Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module.
Back in space, three Expedition 57 crew members are getting ready for the arrival of both spacecraft while staying focused on microgravity science and spacewalk preparations.
Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev is configuring the station’s Russian segment for a spacewalk targeted for Dec. 11. He and Kononenko will inspect the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module before the Expedition 57 trio returns to Earth on Dec. 20.
The Expedition 57 crew aboard the International Space Station conducted human research and space physics today while maintaining life support systems. The space trio also continued U.S. and Russian cargo operations as another crew on Earth prepared for its launch early next week.
Back on Earth in Kazakhstan, three Expedition 58 crew members are in their final week of mission preparations before beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission aboard the orbital lab. Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will join Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for a six-hour ride aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft to the station. The new trio will launch Dec. 3 at 6:31 a.m. EST and dock to the Poisk module at 11:36 a.m. NASA TV will broadcast live the launch, docking and crew greeting.