Advanced Housekeeping Keeps Station in Tip-Top Shape
The Expedition 65 crew focused on a variety of advanced housekeeping activities today aboard the International Space Station. There was also time for robotics research, crew departure preparations, and filmmaking activities.
Five station astronauts had their hands full on Friday working on everything from electronics, cleaning, plumbing, and setting up temporary crew quarters. Some of the crewmates also had time to continue ongoing research, which is the main mission of the orbiting lab.
McArthur also turned on an Astrobee robotic free-flyer and tested its maneuvering abilities using a perching arm. Kimbrough removed a science freezer from the Cygnus space freighter and installed it in the Kibo lab. Vande Hei called down to NASA nutritionists and discussed his views about the station’s food menu.
All three cosmonauts also participated in filmmaking activities in the station’s Russian segment with spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko. The two space station guests will return to Earth on Oct. 16 with Novitskiy as he leads the pair to a parachute landing in Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.
Eye Checks, Science Work and Departure Preps Keeping Crew Busy
The Expedition 65 crew had a busy day on Thursday with eye checks, space science, and Soyuz crew departure preparations on the schedule. The 10 residents aboard the International Space Station also joined each other in the afternoon to review emergency procedures.
NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Shane Kimbrough swapped roles as crew medical officer today during a series of eye exams. Vande Hei kicked off the first session Thursday morning using an ultrasound device scanning the eyes of fellow astronauts Kimbrough, Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide, and Commander Thomas Pesquet. Kimbrough took charge in the afternoon measuring fluid pressure in his crewmates eyes then using near-infrared imaging gear to examine their retinas.
Veteran cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Anton Shkaplerov checked computers and electronics gear inside the docked Soyuz MS-18 and Soyuz MS-19 crew ships. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov joined Novitskiy and Shkaplerov and also assisted the two spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko with their filmmaking activities today.
Novitskiy will command the Soyuz MS-18 back to Earth in just over a week with the two filmmakers. Shkaplerov will complete his mission at the end of March next year inside the Soyuz MS-19 leading Vande Hei and Dubrov back home after their near year-long mission.
All 10 residents aboard the station joined each other for an hourlong session in the afternoon to review their roles and responsibilities in the unlikely event of an emergency on the station. They located safety gear, ensured the crew vehicles were ready for an evacuation, and practiced communication and coordination with mission control centers around the world.
Astronauts, Cosmonauts and Filmmakers Work Together on Station
Ten people are living and working aboard the International Space Station today following the arrival of three Russian crewmates on Tuesday morning. The five astronauts, three cosmonauts, and two spaceflight participants will work together on science, maintenance, and filmmaking activities until the departure of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on Oct. 16.
The other two NASA Flight Engineers, Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, assisted Vande Hei with cargo work inside Cygnus which has been attached to the Harmony module since August. McArthur also serviced a variety of hardware throughout the day including a cordless vacuum cleaner, science rack light bulbs and a carbon dioxide monitor. Kimbrough worked on, then activated and checked out the Tranquility module’s treadmill.
Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was in the cupola during the morning photographing tiny satellites deployed outside the Kibo laboratory module. The Japanese astronaut, who swapped station command with Pesquet on Monday, also assisted McArthur with the vacuum work then moved on to ventilation work inside Tranquility.
Four-time station visitor Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos got right to work Wednesday following his three-and-half ride to the orbiting lab on Tuesday. He unpacked cargo delivered aboard the new Soyuz MS-19 crew ship and worked on video gear and a Russian science experiment with fellow cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. Novitskiy then began collecting station hardware for return to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft.
Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov worked on water transfers from the docked ISS Progress 78 resupply ship then moved on to hardware checks inside the Rassvet module. Dubrov also helped the new spaceflight participants, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, adapt to life on the station as the pair begin several days of movie filming work.
The hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft officially opened at 11 a.m. EDT. The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already aboard for Expedition 65 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10.
This is the fourth flight into space for Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko are making their first flights into space and will spend 12 days on the space station, filming segments for a movie titled “Challenge” under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities.
Peresild and Shipenko will return to Earth with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy Oct. 16 (Oct. 17 Kazakhstan time) on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, which is currently docked at the space station, for a parachute-assisted landing on the Kazakh steppe. Shkaplerov will remain aboard the station through next March, returning with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, and Roscosmos cosmonaut and Pyotr Dubrov on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft. The return of Vande Hei and Dubrov will mark the end of a 355-day mission. Vande Hei will have completed the longest single spaceflight by an astronaut in U.S. history.
Russian Soyuz Crew Docks to Station, Hatches Open Soon
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko docked to the International Space Station at 8:22 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above Earth to the north of the Philippine islands.
When the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks, the trio will join Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.
Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at 9:30 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for about 10 a.m.