Tag Archives: spacex

Brain, Vision Research Ahead of June Crew and Cargo Missions

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Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer

This week, Commander Peggy Whitson evaluated Flight Engineer Jack Fischer’s calf and thigh for the Sprint study to assess spaceflight-induced changes in muscle volume. Doctors are evaluating the effectiveness of high intensity, low volume exercise to keep astronauts healthy in space.

Expedition 51 is wrapping up a week of ongoing research into how living in space affects an astronaut’s brain and vision. The International Space Station also boosted its orbit ahead of crew and cargo missions coming and going in June.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer strapped himself in a device for the NeuroMapping experiment today that tests how the human brain structure and function changes in space. The study also compares brain changes, motor control and multi-tasking when an astronaut is in a free-floating state.

Doctors have noted how microgravity causes a headward fluid shift of blood and other body fluids. As a result, astronaut’s experience face-swelling and elevated head pressure.

The Fluid Shifts study is exploring a way to offset the upward flow using unique suit known as the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit. Commander Peggy Whitson wore the suit today and underwent ultrasound scans and eye checks to help scientists determine its effectiveness against lasting changes in vision and eye damage.

The space station is orbiting a little higher above Earth this week to prepare for the departure of two crew members on June 2. The SpaceX Dragon is due to launch June 1 and arrive at the station three days later. Mission managers are working a plan dependent on an on-time Dragon launch that could see the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft depart in early June or mid-July.

Crew Gears Up for Three Spacewalks as Dragon Heads to Port

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Spacewalker Shane Kimbrough

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

The Expedition 50 crew is gearing up for three spacewalks over two weeks to continue the external maintenance at the International Space Station. Also, the SpaceX Dragon is returning to port today after completing a month-long stay at the station.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will begin the first spacewalk Friday at 8 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will begin live coverage of the 198th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance Friday at 6:30 a.m.

The two spacewalkers will spend 6.5 hours disconnecting cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3), lubricating the tip of the Canadarm2, inspecting a radiator and replacing cameras. Computer relay boxes will also be replaced. The new hardware contains software upgrades for future dockings of commercial crew vehicles.

Friday’s cable work on the PMA-3 will prepare it for its relocation from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module on March 30. The relocation readies the PMA-3 for the future installation of the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future cargo mission.

The SpaceX Dragon is heading to its port today in southern California after a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Sunday morning. NASA support personnel will retrieve the numerous research samples stowed in Dragon’s cargo hold and deliver them to scientists for analysis. The results of the advanced space science may improve disease therapies and injury treatments on Earth.

Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific Ocean

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Dragon Splashdown

The SpaceX Dragon is pictured seconds before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 10:46 a.m. EDT, about 200 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, marking the end of the company’s tenth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Expedition 50 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station’s robotic arm right on schedule, at 5:11 a.m.

A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. The Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation had crew members observe cell growth and other characteristics in microgravity. This information will provide insight into how human cancers start and spread, which aids in the development of prevention and treatment plans. Results from this investigation could lead to the treatment of disease and injury in space, as well as provide a way to improve stem cell production for human therapy on Earth.

Samples from the Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect study, a U.S. National Laboratory investigation sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, studied what prevents vertebrates such as rodents and humans from re-growing lost bone and tissue, and how microgravity conditions affect the process. Results will provide a new understanding of the biological reasons behind a human’s inability to grow a lost limb at the wound site, and could lead to new treatment options for the more than 30 percent of the patient population who do not respond to current options for chronic non-healing wounds.

The Dragon spacecraft launched Feb. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Feb. 23.

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

www.nasa.gov/station

Get breaking news, images, videos and features from the station on social media at:

https://www.facebook.com/ISS

http://instagram.com/iss

http://www.twitter.com/Space_Station

SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Departs Space Station

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The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was released from space station at 5:11 a.m. ET on March 19 after delivering more than 5,500 pounds of cargo.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was released from space station at 5:11 a.m. ET on March 19 after delivering more than 5,500 pounds of cargo.

Expedition 50 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Shane Kimbrough of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station‘s robotic arm at 5:11 a.m. EDT.

With the spacecraft a safe distance from the station, SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, will command its deorbit burn around 10 a.m. The capsule will splash down at about 10:54 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 5,400 pounds of cargo. The cargo includes science samples from human and animal research, external payloads, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities.

The deorbit burn and 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 Feb. 19 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Feb. 23 for the company’s 10th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission.

Harvest Day on Station as Kids Space Research Begins

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Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson seemingly juggle apples and oranges floating in the microgravity environment inside the space station.

The crew is harvesting plants today grown on the International Space Station that will be returned to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon. Also, a variety of student experiments submitted from schools across the United States were activated inside the orbital laboratory.

Dragon is due to return to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean March 19. The resupply ship will carry back gear and science samples for analysis by NASA personnel. Plants that were grown on petri plates for the APEX-04 study will also be returned aboard Dragon. Astronaut Peggy Whitson harvested those plants today helping researchers study the molecular changes that plants experience when grown in space.

Future scientists had their experiments activated today inside the NanoRacks commercial space research facility aboard the station. Students from five U.S. schools will be exploring ways to reduce infections, improve muscle injury treatments, grow plants on Mars, filter bacteria and solve common slippery surface problems.

Trio Surpasses 100 Days as Dragon Unloads Earth Science

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson shows off posters signed by hundreds of personnel who have supported her mission.

Three Expedition 50 crew members recently surpassed 100 days in space and will come home in June. Also, SpaceX Dragon external experiments are being unloaded for installation on the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has been living in space with her Expedition 50 crewmates for over 100 days now. She and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency and Oleg Novitskiy from Roscosmos will return to Earth June 2 after 197 days in space. The trio launched Nov. 17 beginning a two-day trip to the station.

Whitson has reached out to her supporters on the ground and mentioned them with her “NASA Village” campaign from space. She launched to the station with posters signed by hundreds of support personnel and recently showed them off on orbit.

Watch Peggy Whitson describe the “NASA Village”
Visit Peggy Whitson’s Facebook page

A pair of Earth observation experiments delivered last week on the SpaceX Dragon have been robotically removed from the resupply ship. Both experiments will be installed on specialized pallets on the outside of the orbital laboratory and activated for years of research.

The first experiment, SAGE-III, will observe how tiny particles interact with Earth’s sunscreen, or ozone, possibly affecting the climate. The second, Lightning Image Sensor, will monitor lightning around the globe to improve weather forecasting, enhance climate models and increase aviation safety.


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

Crew Checks Spacesuits and Explores New Life Science

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Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson set up the Microgravity Science Glovebox inside the Destiny lab module.

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency cleaned U.S. spacesuit cooling loops and collected water samples for a periodic maintenance check today. Afterward, he began charging spacewalking gear including helmet lights and tool batteries.

Commander Shane Kimbrough and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson worked on life support maintenance today. They removed and disassembled valves and ducts to access old carbon dioxide filters that needed replacing inside the Destiny lab module. The duo will be back at work Wednesday installing newer generation filters.

One of the main objectives of the International Space Station is to provide an orbital laboratory to research how living in space long-term affects humans. New and ongoing experiments conducted today may provide benefits for humans on and off Earth.

Kimbrough checked on rodents being observed for a tissue regeneration study. Whitson continued researching stem cells with a new microscope delivered last week aboard the SpaceX Dragon. Cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko studied how viruses behave in space while his fellow cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitskiy, explored non-invasive ways to monitor a crew member’s health and methods to keep their skills sharp on and off Earth.


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

Brand New Dragon Experiments Activated on Station

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SpaceX Dragon

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft is seen Feb. 23, 2017, during final approach to the International Space Station.

The Expedition 50 crew began activating new science experiments delivered last week aboard the SpaceX Dragon. The various life science studies will study bones and muscles, stem cells, botany and protein crystals.

Rodents delivered aboard Dragon were placed in their habitats over the weekend for the Rodent Research-4 study. That experiment is observing how bone and tissue regenerate in microgravity.

Stem cells were also unloaded from Dragon and stowed in a science freezer. The crew will research the replication of stem cells which may benefit clinical trials on Earth for new disease treatments. Astronaut Peggy Whitson used a specialized microscope to view the stem cells as the experiment got under way over the weekend.

The crew is also exploring how plants grow in space in order to provide food and oxygen for future long-duration missions. Plant samples were removed from a science freezer and placed in the Veggie facility for growth and observation. The spaceflight environment can change a plant’s genetic expression and growth pattern.

High-quality crystals are being grown on the International Space Station that otherwise couldn’t be grown on Earth due to gravity. The crystal samples are being studied for the Light Microscopy Module Biophysics-1 experiment to help researchers design new disease-fighting drugs.


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

Russian Cargo Craft Docks 24 Hours After Dragon Arrives

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Feb. 24 Space Station Configuration

Today’s arrival of the Progress 66 cargo craft, just 24 hours after the capture ofthe Space X Dragon, makes four spaceships at the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Traveling about 250 miles over the south Pacific, the unpiloted Progress 66 Russian cargo ship docked at 3:30 a.m. EST to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station.

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


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

Dragon Attached to Station’s Harmony Module

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Feb. 23 Space Station Configuration

The SpaceX Dragon was successfully installed to the Harmony module a few hours after it was captured with the Canadarm2. Credit: NASA

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 8:12 a.m. EST. The hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Harmony module of the space station is scheduled to be opened this afternoon. The capsule will spend about four weeks attached to the station.

For an overview of the science delivered to station aboard Dragon, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/SX10_science

With Dragon now berthed to station, the Expedition 50 crew will focus on its next cargo delivery, which is scheduled to arrive in less than 24 hours. The Russian Progress 66 was launched on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from Kazakhstan. It will arrive on station Friday morning for an automated docking at 3:34 a.m. EST and remain on the station until June. NASA Television will cover its arrival beginning at 2:45 a.m. EST.


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

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