Eye Checks and Cargo Ops Ahead of Thursday Spacewalk

Astronaut Joe Acaba
Astronaut Joe Acaba calculates his mass inside the Columbus laboratory module using the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD). The device generates a known force against a crew member mounted on an extension arm with the resulting acceleration used to calculate the subject’s mass.

Three Expedition 53 astronauts conducted eye exams Tuesday morning two days ahead of a spacewalk. The crew is also preparing for a pair of upcoming commercial cargo missions.

Commander Randy Bresnik, who is leading all three spacewalks this month, joined his fellow spacewalkers for a periodic eye exam. Bresnik and Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba scanned their eyes using an ultrasound device with guidance from doctors on the ground monitoring the crew’s health.

Paolo Nespoli, from the European Space Agency, did some rearranging inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module today. He is preparing Kibo for new science gear arriving on a pair of private space freighters in November. Orbital ATK’s Cygnus resupply ship is due to launch mid-November and the SpaceX Dragon is planned to launch at the end of November.


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Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific With NASA Science Experiments

Sept.17, 2017: International Space Station Configuration
The departure of the SpaceX Dragon Sunday morning leaves three spaceships parked at the space station including the Progress 67 resupply ship and the Soyuz MS-05 and MS-06 crew ships.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at approximately 10:14 a.m. EDT, southwest of Long Beach, California, and the recovery process is underway, marking the end of the company’s twelfth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Expedition 53 Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and International Space Station Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA released the Dragon spacecraft earlier this morning at 4:40 a.m.

A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours.

The Lung Tissue experiment used the microgravity environment of space to test strategies for growing new lung tissue. The ultimate goal of this investigation is to produce bioengineered human lung tissue that can be used as a predictive model of human responses allowing for the study of lung development, lung physiology or disease pathology.

Samples from the CASIS PCG 7 study used the orbiting laboratory’s microgravity environment to grow larger versions of an important protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease. Developed by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Anatrace and Com-Pac International, researchers will look to take advantage of the station’s microgravity environment which allows protein crystals to grow larger and in more perfect shapes than earth-grown crystals, allowing them to be better analyzed on Earth. Defining the exact shape and morphology of LRRK2 would help scientists to better understand the pathology of Parkinson’s and aid in the development of therapies against this target.

Mice from NASA’s Rodent Research-9 study also will return live to Earth for additional study. The investigation combined three studies into one mission, with two looking at how microgravity affects blood vessels in the brain and in the eyes and the third looking at cartilage loss in hip and knee joints. For humans on Earth, research related to limited mobility and degrading joints can help scientists understand how arthritis develops, and a better understanding of the visual impairments experienced by astronauts can help identify causes and treatments for eye disorders.

Dragon launched to the space station Aug. 14 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and arrived at the station Aug. 16, delivering more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and cargo.

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Dragon Released Carrying Science and Gear Back to Earth

SpaceX Dragon Release
The SpaceX Dragon (far right) begins its departure from the International Space Station after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

At 4:40 a.m. EDT, Expedition 53 Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and International Space Station Commander Randy Bresnik used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the SpaceX Dragon after it was detached from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

Dragon’s thrusters will be fired to move the spacecraft a safe distance from the station before SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, command its deorbit burn. The capsule will splash down at about 10:14 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 3,800 pounds of cargo and research. A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. Splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours of splashdown.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched to the space station Aug. 14 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Aug. 16 carrying more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s twelfth commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA.

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Expanded Crew Looks Ahead to Sunday Dragon Release

The SpaceX Dragon will be detached from the Harmony module on Sunday and released for a splashdown into the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA

Expedition 53 is fully staffed after two NASA astronauts and a Roscosmos cosmonaut completed a near six hour flight to the International Space Station overnight. Now the station residents will begin focusing their attention on the release of the SpaceX Dragon early Sunday.

Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and their Soyuz Commander Alexander Misurkin began a five-month mission aboard the station when their spacecraft hatch opened early Wednesday morning. The new trio joins Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency.

The SpaceX Dragon is being packed with science experiments and station gear for analysis back on Earth. Dragon will be robotically detached from the Harmony module and released for a splashdown and retrieval in the Pacific Ocean Sunday morning. NASA TV will cover the release activities beginning Sunday at 4:30 a.m. EDT.


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Dragon Installed to Station for Month of Cargo Swaps

Space Station Configuration
Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, the Progress 67 resupply ship and two Soyuz crew ships.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 9:07 a.m. EDT. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened as soon as later today.

CRS-12 is scheduled to deliver more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and payloads to the station, including a sweet treat for the astronauts: ice cream. The small cups of chocolate, vanilla and birthday cake-flavored ice cream are arriving in freezers that will be reloaded with research samples for return to Earth when the Dragon spacecraft departs the station mid-September.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.


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Robotic Arm Reaches Out and Grapples Dragon

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured approaching the International Space Station on Wednesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

While the International Space Station was traveling over the Pacific Ocean north of New Zealand, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured the Dragon spacecraft at 6:52 a.m. EDT using the station’s robotic arm. It then will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.

NASA Television coverage of installation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

For more information about the SpaceX CRS-12 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station.


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Expedition 52 Awaits Wednesday Dragon Arrival, Thursday Spacewalk

Expedition 52 Crew Portrait
The Expedition 52 crew poses for a unique portrait. Pictured clockwise from top right are, Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Jack Fischer, Peggy Whitson, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.

The SpaceX Dragon is hauling advanced space research for delivery Wednesday morning to the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the seventh station spacewalk this year set to begin Thursday morning.

Dragon is less than 24 hours from its approach and rendezvous with the space station for SpaceX’s third resupply mission this year. Astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will be in the Cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Dragon at 7 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA TV will begin live coverage of Dragon’s arrival at 5:30 a.m.

Dragon will stay open at the station’s Harmony module for a month of cargo swaps. The astronauts will offload new life science studies to improve therapies against Parkinson’s disease and explore ways to grow lung tissue as well as other research. A new pair of external experiments will also be deployed including a cosmic ray study to be installed outside of the Kibo lab module and a nanosatellite technology demonstration.

Two cosmonauts are trying on their Orlan spacesuits today to ensure they are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy will exit the Pirs airlock at 10:45 a.m. for about six hours of science and maintenance work. Thursday’s spacewalk highlight will be when Ryazanskiy manually deploys five nanosatellites, including the first 3D printed CubeSat, into Earth orbit.


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Station Boosts Orbit, Dragon Launch Slips a Day

Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson works on the Combustion Integrated Rack in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

A docked Russian cargo craft fired its engines today slightly raising the orbit of the International Space Station. The orbital boost sets up next month’s crew swap. The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft also received a new target launch date while the crew gets ready for a spacewalk next week.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will return to Earth on Sept. 2 with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin wrapping up their Expedition 52 mission. Fischer and Yurchikhin will each have lived 135 consecutive days in space while Whitson will have 289 days. The next crew, with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, launches Sept. 13 to begin a 167-day mission in space.

SpaceX announced a one-day launch slip of its Dragon cargo craft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon is now targeted to launch Monday at 12:31 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. Fischer and astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are training for Dragon’s arrival and capture planned for Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for a spacewalk amidst the cargo mission and crew swap preparations. The experienced Russian spacewalkers, Yurchikhin with eight career spacewalks and Sergey Ryazanskiy with three, performed leak checks, installed batteries and sized up their Orlan spacesuits and ahead of their Aug. 17 spacewalk.


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Dragon Cargo Craft Flies Away From Station

SpaceX Dragon Release
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is seen departing the space station after its release from the space station’s Canadarm2. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 2:41 a.m. EDT.

Dragon’s thrusters will be fired to move the spacecraft a safe distance from the station before SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, command its deorbit burn. The capsule will splash down at about 8:41 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 4,100 pounds of cargo. This cargo will include science from human and animal research, biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities.

Splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours of splashdown.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched June 3 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station June 5 for the company’s eleventh NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission carrying almost 6,000 pounds of cargo and research supplies.

Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crew members, at:

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SpaceX Dragon Departure Slips to Monday

SpaceX Dragon
The SpaceX Dragon was pictured May 31, 2012, moments before its release from the grip of the Canadarm2 and its departure from the space station.

Due to a forecast of unacceptable sea states in the Pacific Ocean in the prime opportunity splashdown zone, SpaceX and NASA have elected to delay the return of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft to Monday, July 3. The splashdown zone for Monday has an acceptable weather forecast and is closer to port in Long Beach, California. Splashdown is expected around 260 miles southwest of the California coast.

NASA TV coverage of the departure of Dragon Monday, July 3 will begin at 2:00 a.m. EDT for a release at 2:28 a.m.


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