Station Visitors Near Launch as Crew Stays Busy with Research

The Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft stands at the launch pad on a foggy day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos
The Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft stands at the launch pad on a foggy day at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Roscosmos

The Expedition 66 crew is getting ready to welcome three new visitors to the International Space Station on Wednesday. In the meantime, the seven orbital residents have started the work week on human research, space physics, and artificial intelligence.

In Kazakhstan, the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship has rolled out from its processing facility and is now standing vertical at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It will blast off on Wednesday at 2:38 a.m. EST (12:38 pm Kazakh time) carrying Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano to the orbiting lab. Just over six hours later, the veteran Roscosmos cosmonaut and the two Japanese space visitors will dock to the Poisk module beginning an 11-day stay at the space station. Live NASA TV coverage of the launch begins Wednesday at 2 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

Back in space, artery scans, eye checks and a hearing test filled a portion of the crew day. The astronauts are also continuing to clean up following last week’s spacewalk.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn spent Monday morning attaching electrodes to his right leg and scanning his femoral artery using an ultrasound scan device. Ground doctors monitored the activities in real-time to understand the accelerated aging characteristics that appear in an astronaut’s arteries.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer checked the eyes of NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari using medical imaging gear. NASA astronaut Kayla Barron had a hearing assessment before joining Chari collecting and stowing blood and saliva samples for later analysis.

Barron also partnered with Marshburn stowing the tools they used to replace a failed antenna system during a six-hour and 32-minute spacewalk last week. Chari also helped out cleaning the spacesuit’s cooling loops that keep spacewalkers comfortable in the extreme environment of microgravity.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei spent the day swapping samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory to explore ways microgravity can improve the development of new and existing materials. Maurer set up the CIMON hardware to study how artificial intelligence could provide future support to astronauts.

Station cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov readied the Poisk module for Wednesday’s docking of the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship. The station duo also familiarized themselves with the visiting crew’s timeline and prepared the Russian segment for the new guests.

NASA Astronauts Replace Antenna System Ending Spacewalk

NASA spacewalker Thomas Marshburn rides the Canadarm2 robotic arm to the worksite to replace a station antenna system.
NASA spacewalker Thomas Marshburn (upper right) rides the Canadarm2 robotic arm to the worksite to replace a station antenna system.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron concluded the first Expedition 66 spacewalk at 12:47 p.m. EST, after 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Marshburn and Barron successfully installed an S-band Antenna Subassembly (SASA) on the Port-1 truss structure and stowed the failed antenna. Additionally, the pair completed get-ahead tasks on the Port-4 truss structure, including resetting the torque on a set of bolts.

This was the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, the first for Barron, and the 13th spacewalk at the International Space Station this year. Marshburn has now spent a total of 31 hours and one minute spacewalking, and Barron’s spacewalking time is now 6 hours and 32 minutes. Space station crew members have now spent a total of 64 days, 12 hours, and 26 minutes working outside the station conducting 245 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

Earlier this month, the International Space Station surpassed its 21-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. During that time, 249 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory, which has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.


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

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NASA Astronauts Begin Spacewalk to Replace Antenna System

Spacewalkers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.
Spacewalkers (from left) Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are reviewing the procedures they will use during Thursday’s spacewalk. The duo will exit the International Space Station after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:15 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk. photographed the condition of electronics gear that supports commercial spaceflight operations. Maurer checked tested electrical hardware and switches inside the Columbus laboratory module.


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

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Astronauts Getting Ready for Spacewalk Live on NASA TV

Spacewalkers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.
Spacewalkers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 66 are preparing to go outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 7:10 a.m. EST and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in their spacesuits in the airlock in preparation to exit the space station and begin today’s activities that will focus on replacing a faulty antenna system. NASA Flight Engineers Raja Chari and Mark Vande Hei are assisting Marshburn and Barron in preparations before they exit the station.

Marshburn and Barron will work at the Port 1 (P1) truss structure, where the antenna is mounted. The antenna recently lost its ability to send signals to Earth via NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. Although its degradation has had limited impact on station operations, mission managers decided to install a new antenna to ensure communications redundancy. The space station has additional low-rate S-band systems, as well as the high-rate KU-band communications system that relays video.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Vincent LaCourt with support from Art Thomason as the lead spacewalk officer and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan acting as the capsule communicator, or CAPCOM, to the crew.


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

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Crew Preps for Thursday Spacewalk During Station Upkeep, Research

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.
The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are reviewing the procedures they will use during Thursday’s spacewalk. The duo will exit the International Space Station after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:10 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk.

Marshburn and Barron are getting ready to replace a faulty antenna system outside on the orbiting lab’s Port-1 truss structure. Live NASA TV coverage of the spacewalk begins Thursday at 5:30 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

The pair were joined by fellow flight engineers Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer, including spacewalk specialists on the ground, for a spacewalk procedures conference on Wednesday. Vande Hei and Chari from NASA will help Marshburn and Barron in and out of their spacesuits as well as monitor the pair during the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. Maurer from ESA (European Space agency) will be commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm maneuvering Marshburn and gear during the antenna swap work.

While the two spacewalkers gear up for Thursday’s excursion, the station’s other three astronauts and two cosmonauts still had time for electronics and communications servicing while conducting microgravity research.

Vande Hei replaced a failed global positioning system receiver as Chari photographed the condition of electronics gear that supports commercial spaceflight operations. Maurer checked tested electrical hardware and switches inside the Columbus laboratory module.

In the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov studied how stress during and after a space mission affects the immune system. Station Commander Anton Shkaplerov worked on Russian video equipment and began setting up additional crew quarters for an upcoming Soyuz crew ship mission.


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

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Station Spacewalk Now Planned for Thursday

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday, Dec. 2.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled for a spacewalk on Thursday, Dec. 2.

After receiving additional information about a late notification debris event on Monday, NASA determined the orbit of the debris does not pose a risk to a scheduled spacewalk by Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron or to International Space Station operations. Delaying the spacewalk provided an opportunity for NASA to evaluate the risk from the debris notification. The spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system on the station’s truss structure is now planned for Thursday, Dec. 2.

NASA Teams Delay Spacewalk After Debris Notification

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were slated to perform a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron were slated to perform a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system.

The evening of Monday, Nov. 29, NASA received a debris notification for the International Space Station. Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the spacewalk planned for Tuesday, Nov. 30 until more information is available. The space station schedule and operations are able to easily accommodate the delay of the spacewalk. The latest information and future spacewalk dates will be shared on https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation.


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

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NASA TV Covers Station Spacewalk Live on Tuesday

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will go on a spacewalk on Tuesday for station maintenance work.
NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will go on a spacewalk on Tuesday for station maintenance work.

NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Tuesday for a spacewalk that will focus on replacing an S-band Antenna Subassembly (SASA) with a spare already available on the station’s truss structure.

Live coverage of the spacewalk will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning Nov. 30 at 5:30 a.m. EST, with the crew members scheduled to set their spacesuits to battery power about 7:10 a.m., signifying the start of their spacewalk.

Marshburn and Barron will work at the Port 1 (P1) truss structure, where the antenna is mounted. The antenna recently lost its ability to send signals to Earth via NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. Although its degradation has had limited impact on station operations, mission managers decided to install a new antenna to ensure communications redundancy. The space station has additional low-rate S-band systems, as well as the high-rate KU-band communications system that relays video.

During the planned six-and-a-half hour spacewalk, Marshburn will position himself at the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm, working in tandem with Barron. Astronaut Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) will control the robotic arm from inside the space station.

This will be the 245th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Marshburn will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), with red stripes on his spacesuit, while Barron will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), with an unmarked suit.

This will be the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, the first spacewalk for Barron, and the 13th spacewalk on the space station this year. The pair arrived for a six-month science mission at the space station Nov. 11 with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance.


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

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Astronauts Ready for Tuesday’s Spacewalk

The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021.
The space station was pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure on Nov. 8, 2021. View the latest photographs of the orbiting lab here.

Two NASA astronauts are preparing for a spacewalk on Tuesday to replace a faulty antenna system on the International Space Station. Flight Engineers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron will exit the orbiting lab tomorrow after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:10 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk.

The duo was joined on Monday by three of their fellow Expedition 66 flight engineers collecting tools and reviewing procedures planned for the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. NASA astronaut Raja Chari partnered with Marshburn and Barron gathering and organizing tethers, cameras, and pistol grip tools. The three astronauts then joined NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer for a procedures conference with spacewalk specialists on the ground.

Chari and Vande Hei will be on duty throughout Tuesday monitoring the two astronauts during the spacewalk and helping them in and out of their spacesuits. Maurer will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm assisting the spacewalkers at the Port-1 truss structure worksite. NASA TV begins its live coverage on Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. on the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov and Commander Anton Shkaplerov, spent their day on a variety of space research and maintenance tasks in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Dubrov photographed the condition of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module following the Prichal module’s docking on Friday. Shkaplerov swapped out life support hardware and began unpacking cargo from the newly arrived Prichal docking port.


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

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New Module Heads to Station During Spacewalk Preps and Science Today

A Russian Progress spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan at 8:06 a.m. EST (6:06 p.m. Baikonur time) today carrying the Prichal docking module into Earth orbit.
A Russian Progress spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan at 8:06 a.m. EST (6:06 p.m. Baikonur time) today carrying the Prichal docking module into Earth orbit.

Russia’s newest docking port, the Prichal module, launched today and will arrive on Friday at the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the seven-member Expedition 66 crew is continuing spacewalk preparations while keeping up with ongoing advanced space research.

A Russian Progress spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan at 8:06 a.m. EST (6:06 p.m. Baikonur time) today carrying the five-ton Prichal docking module into Earth orbit. The new module, controlled by the Progress vehicle, will automatically dock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module on Friday at 10:26 a.m. Once attached Prichal will provide five additional docking ports and fuel transfer capability to the orbiting lab.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov will be on duty Friday monitoring Prichal’s arrival. Friday’s approach and docking will be covered live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Two NASA astronauts have begun focusing on an upcoming spacewalk planned for Nov. 30. Flight Engineers Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron checked out spacewalking tools and emergency jetpacks today they would use in the unlikely event they became untethered from the station. The duo is timelined to spend about six-and-a-half hours replacing a faulty antenna system on the Port-1 truss segment.

Flight Engineers Raja Chari of NASA and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) focused on human research strapping sensors to themselves for a pair of exercise studies. Chari performed a fitness test on an exercise cycle to measure his aerobic capacity in space. Maurer then took his turn on the exercise bike wearing a mask and a heart monitor to demonstrate cardio-pulmonary diagnosis aboard the orbiting lab. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei serviced the COLBERT treadmill inspecting and cleaning its components.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 5:06 a.m. EST for launch of the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon will bring food, supplies, and scientific investigations to the orbiting crew, including a protein crystal growth study that could improve the delivery of cancer treatment drugs and a handheld bioprinter that could one day be used to print tissue directly onto wounds to faster healing.


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