Russian Ship Rolls to Launch Pad as Japanese Ship Descends to Earth

ISS Progress 61 Cargo Craft
The ISS Progress 61 cargo craft stands at its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of Thursday afternoon’s launch. Credit: RSC Energia

The latest Russian resupply ship, the Progress 61, rolled out to its launch pad today, getting set for a Thursday launch at 12:49 p.m. EDT (4:49 p.m. UTC) and a docking to the Zvezda service module at 6:54 p.m. Meanwhile, Japan’s cargo craft, the “Kounotori” HTV-5, is descending to Earth this afternoon after completing a five-week delivery mission attached to the International Space Station’s Unity module.

The six-member Expedition 45 crew, including the One-Year Crew, worked a variety of science Tuesday looking at plants, performing eye exams and studying crew metabolism and the human respiratory system. The ongoing research is helping scientists and crews prepare for long-term deep space missions and NASA’s Journey to Mars. The space residents also worked on robotic inspections, replaced combustion experiment hardware and swapped batteries on a set of free-floating internal satellites known as SPHERES.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren are getting ready for the first of two U.S. spacewalks scheduled for Oct. 28. The duo will lubricate the Canadarm2’s leading end effector (LEE) systems. The LEE is used to grapple, maneuver and release cargo craft, as well as latch on to external station systems. Kelly photographed the LEE today from the seven-window cupola to document its condition and prepare for the upcoming spacewalk.

Station Power Back Up as Crew Trains for Japanese Cargo Mission

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kimiya Yui
ISS044E033352 (08/05/2015) — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (left) assists Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Kimiya Yui (right) with measurements for the ongoing Ocular Health study.

The International Space Station experienced a temporary power loss Tuesday night while backup systems maintained power to critical systems. Power was restored quickly and there were no impacts to station operations and the six-member crew was always safe.

Astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui are training for the robotic capture next week of Japan’s fifth “Kounotori” HTV cargo ship (HTV-5). The HTV-5 will launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center Sunday morning and take a four day trip to the station. The duo will be inside the cupola Aug. 20 to capture the HTV-5 with the Canadarm2. Lindgren also checked on U.S. spacewalk tools while Yui cleaned and inventoried gear inside the Japanese Kibo lab module.

Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko are cleaning up after Tuesday’s 5-hour, 31-minute spacewalk. The cosmonauts also talked to Russian spacewalk specialists on the ground Wednesday about the previous day’s external activities.

Cosmonauts Complete Russian Spacewalk

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko
Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko gets ready to close the hatch to the Pirs airlock ending the spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

International Space Station Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency completed a spacewalk lasting 5 hours, 31 minutes at 3:51 p.m. EDT. The spacewalkers rigged new equipment on the Russian segment of the complex and conducted a detailed photographic inspection of the exterior of the outpost.

This was the 188th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,177 hours, or the equivalent of 49 days. Padalka’s ten spacewalks total 38 hours, 37 minutes. Kornienko’s two spacewalks total 12 hours, 13 minutes.

While the cosmonauts were working outside the station, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren, along with Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, sampled lettuce from the Veggie plant growth system on the International Space Station at 12:46 p.m. EDT. Lindgren first harvested half the crop and cleaned the “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce. NASA is maturing Veggie technology aboard the station to provide future pioneers with a sustainable food supplement — a critical part of NASA’s journey to Mars. This is the first time a station-grown crop has officially been on the menu for station crew members. The remaining lettuce will be frozen on the station until it can be returned to Earth for scientific analysis.

Video of the crew sampling the lettuce is on NASA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=D_723qwjULM

More details about the Veggie harvest is here: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/meals_ready_to_eat

Learn more about the International Space Station at https://www.nasa.gov/station

Cosmonauts Working Outside for Russian Spacewalk

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko
Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko is seen working outside the International Space Station in a Russian Orlan spacesuit. Credit: NASA TV

International Space Station Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency began a planned approximately 6-hour spacewalk from the Earth-facing Pirs Docking Compartment at 10:20 a.m. EDT.

Padalka will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) and Kornienko will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2). Both will wear Russian Orlan spacesuits bearing blue stripes. Their suits are equipped with NASA helmet cameras to provide close-up views of the work they are performing outside the station.

This is the 188th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

The spacewalking duo will install devices called gap spanners on the hull of the station that will facilitate the movement of crew members on future spacewalks. They also will clean residue off of the windows of the Zvezda Service Module, install fasteners on communications antennas, replace an aging antenna used for the rendezvous and docking of visiting vehicles at Russian docking ports, and photograph a variety of locations and hardware on Zvezda and nearby modules. An experiment designed to measure the space environment first deployed in 2013 will be retrieved and brought inside for its return to Earth.

Flight controllers at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside of Moscow, are providing primary support for the spacewalk and coordinating with Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA Television is providing live coverage of the spacewalk at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

NASA TV Provides Live Coverage of Today’s Spacewalk

Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka
Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka takes a photograph during a spacewalk three years ago.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of a Russian spacewalk conducted from the International Space Station beginning at 9:45 a.m. EDT. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 10:14 a.m. and run about six hours.

Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency will venture outside the orbiting outpost where they will rig new equipment on the Russian segment of the complex and conduct a detailed photographic inspection of its exterior.

Watch the spacewalk live on NASA Television or at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

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

Russian and U.S. Spacesuit Work Ahead of August Spacewalk

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren
Astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Kjell Lindgren are in the Quest airlock servicing a U.S. spacesuit. Credit: NASA TV

Two cosmonauts are getting ready for the first spacewalk from the International Space Station since March. Two NASA astronauts are also working to bring a U.S. spacesuit back to service.

The three newest Expedition 44 crew members joined Commander Gennady Padalka during their afternoon for a familiarization session with emergency equipment inside the orbital lab. Having arrived just last week, new flight engineers Oleg Kononenko, Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui are still getting used to their new home in space.

Padalka and One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko checked out Russian spacesuit gear ahead of an Aug. 10 spacewalk. The duo will replace external experiments and photograph the exterior condition of the space station’s Russian segment.

Lindgren and One-Year crew member Scott Kelly worked on a U.S. spacesuit replacing internal parts to return the unit to service. Kelly also continued more research for the Twins study comparing him to his Earth-bound twin brother and ex-astronaut Mark Kelly.

Spacesuit Cleanup Work as Soyuz Crew Preps for Departure

Soyuz 40 Crew Members
JSC2014-E-079951 (19 June 2014) — NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore (left), Expedition 41 flight engineer and Expedition 42 commander; Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova, both Expedition 41/42 flight engineers, attired in Russian Sokol launch and entry suits, take a break from training in Star City, Russia to pose for a portrait. Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

As a pair of astronauts cleans up their spacesuits after completing a set of spacewalks, more nanosatellites were deployed from Japan’s Kibo lab module. The International Space Station also raised its orbit Tuesday morning to set the stage for the upcoming crew departure.

Astronauts Barry WiImore and Terry Virts scrubbed the cooling loops inside the spacesuits after their third and final spacewalk on Sunday. They also sampled the water from the loops and talked about their experiences with spacewalk experts on the ground.

Wilmore is also getting ready to return home March 11 with Soyuz crewmates Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova. Samokutyaev and Serova spent Tuesday getting their Soyuz spacecraft ready for next week’s undocking and packing gear for the return home.

Dovesat Nanorack
One of four Dovesat NanoRacks satellites is seen launching from the deployer mechanism outside the Kibo laboratory. Credit: NASA TV

Virts and Wilmore Complete Spacewalk Trilogy

Spacewalker Terry Virts
Spacewalker Terry Virts works outside the Quest airlock. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore ended their spacewalk at 12:30 p.m. EST with the repressurization of the Quest airlock. Virts and Wilmore completed installing 400 feet of cable and several antennas associated with the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system known as C2V2. Boeing’s Crew Transportation System (CST)-100 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon will use the system in the coming years to rendezvous with the orbital laboratory and deliver crews to the space station. They completed one additional task to retrieve a bag to cover equipment on the outside of the station.

The 5-hour, 38-minute spacewalk was the third for Virts and the fourth for Wilmore. Virts has now spent 19 hours and 2 minutes outside during his three spacewalks. Wilmore now has spent 25 hours and 36 minutes in the void of space during his four excursions.

Crews have now spent a total of 1,171 hours and 29 minutes conducting space station assembly and maintenance during 187 spacewalks.

 

Virts and Wilmore Install Booms and Antennas

Astronaut Terry Virts
Astronaut Terry Virts completes boom and antenna installation work on the Port 3 Truss. Credit: NASA TV

Approximately one hour into today’s spacewalk, NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore each installed a boom with two antennas for the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) system. Virts worked on the port side while Wilmore put the starboard side boom and antennas in place. They are running slightly ahead of the timeline.

Next they will work together to connect the C2V2 to GPS and antenna systems aboard the space station. Then they will spend the remainder of the spacewalk installing 400 feet of cable for the system along the truss of the space station.

Both astronauts have reported dry conditions inside their spacesuits during periodic checks with ground controllers.

Watch the spacewalk at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Virts and Wilmore Start Third Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov assist spacewalkers Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts before they begin their mission’s third spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:52 a.m. EST, signifying the start of today’s planned 6-hour, 45-minute spacewalk.

Virts is wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and is designated EV1. His helmet camera displays the number 20. Wilmore is wearing a spacesuit with no stripes and is designated EV2. His helmet camera displays the number 18. This is third spacewalk for Virts and the fourth for Wilmore.

Virts and Wilmore will install 400 feet of cable along the space station’s truss and other equipment associated with the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2). The system will be used by crewed commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the space station in the coming years.

NASA Television is broadcasting the spacewalk at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.