Station Crew Awaits Starliner Mission on Launch Day

Station Crew Awaits Starliner Mission on Launch Day

Launch pad spotlights illuminate Boeing's Starliner crew ship atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Launch pad spotlights illuminate Boeing’s Starliner crew ship atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission is counting down to a liftoff at 6:54 p.m. EDT today to begin a 24-hour trip to the International Space Station. The Expedition 67 crew focused primarily on human research and cargo operations while also preparing for the OFT-2 mission’s arrival on Friday.

Starliner will launch uncrewed atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will automatically dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday where it will stay for approximately five days of cargo and test operations. NASA TV begins live launch coverage on the NASA app and its website at 6 p.m. today.

On Wednesday, flight controllers notified the space station crew of the possibility of a close pass by orbital debris late Thursday, May 19 and the station executing a debris avoidance maneuver. Additional tracking data received overnight shows there is no longer concern for a close pass and no avoidance maneuver is required.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren spent Thursday afternoon setting up hardware and software that will help monitor the arrival of Boeing’s Starliner crew ship on the OFT-2 mission. Earlier, he conducted a pair of tests measuring his cognition and hearing levels to understand microgravity’s long-term effects on humans.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins joined ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti conducting cargo operations inside the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter. The commercial cargo craft arrived at the station on Feb. 21 delivering 8,300 pounds of experiments and hardware. Cygnus will depart the station in mid-June loaded with trash and discarded gear for a fiery, but safe destruction above the south Pacific Ocean.

Hines and Watkins started the day collecting and stowing their blood samples for later analysis. Hines later serviced a variety of life support and research hardware. Watkins monitored her glucose level to understand the cardiovascular risk of living and working in space. Cristoforetti collected air samples to demonstrate analyzing trace atmospheric contaminants using the ANITA-2 (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2) device.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev packed the docked ISS Progress 79 crew ship with obsolete gear and checked its systems ahead of its departure in early June. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov worked on Russian life support gear and panel inspections inside the Zvezda service 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.

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

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Mark Garcia

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Starliner Launching Thursday, Crew Works Science and Medical Training

Starliner Launching Thursday, Crew Works Science and Medical Training

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, arrives at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing’s Starliner crew ship sits atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance counting down to its launch from Florida to the International Space Station on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew concentrated on medical training, exercise systems maintenance, and a variety of advanced space science on Wednesday.

Two NASA astronauts continued preparing for the arrival of Boeing’s uncrewed Starliner spaceship on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines reviewed Starliner systems and approach and rendezvous procedures ahead of the spacecraft’s automated docking to the Harmony module’s forward port at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday. The uncrewed spacecraft is targeted to launch at 6:54 p.m. on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The duo will be on duty Friday monitoring Starliner during its three-and-a-half hours of automated approach maneuvers.

Lindgren started his day servicing the advanced resistive exercise device which mimics free weight exercises in microgravity. Hines collected and stowed his urine samples in a science freezer for later analysis to understand the long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body.

Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) worked on a variety of orbital plumbing tasks during Wednesday morning. Watkins also wrapped up a blood pressure measurement session and prepared the health data for downlinking to doctors on Earth. Cristoforetti trained on a computer to increase her proficiency when commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The quartet also joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov, for a medical emergency training session on Wednesday. The four astronauts and three cosmonauts practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation, reviewed medical hardware, and discussed coordination of care in the event of an emergency on the space station.

Artemyev, the commander of the orbiting lab, also tested using ultrasound sensors for more accurate Earth photography sessions. The veteran cosmonaut then studied ways to improve international coordination between space crews and mission controllers. Matveev joined Artemyev participating in the photography tests and the crew coordination study. Korsakov inventoried and stowed medical gear and also inspected and photographed windows in the Zvezda service 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.

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

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Mark Garcia

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Starliner Nears Launch, Crew Works Space Botany and Human Research

Starliner Nears Launch, Crew Works Space Botany and Human Research

The Moon, with Earth's shadow draping across it during a lunar eclipse, is pictured from the International Space Station.
The Moon, with Earth’s shadow draping across it during a lunar eclipse, is pictured from the International Space Station.

The International Space Station is gearing up for the targeted arrival of Boeing’s Starliner crew ship on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Meanwhile, the Expedition 67 crew is continuing its ongoing life science activities while maintaining orbital lab systems.

Weather forecasters are predicting a 70% chance for favorable weather when Boeing’s OFT-2 mission is scheduled to launch at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The Starliner spacecraft will lift off atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Starliner will take a 24-hour automated trip to the station where it will dock to the Harmony module’s forward port for five to 10 days of cargo and test operations.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines spent an hour on Tuesday reviewing procedures for Starliner’s approach and docking. The duo will be on duty Friday monitoring Starliner during its three-and-a-half hours of automated approach maneuvers before docking at 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Lindgren later spent the afternoon participating in a robotics proficiency test before installing seed cartridges and root modules for the xROOTS space botany study. Hines worked on U.S. spacesuit maintenance, partnering with astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), swapping and stowing components planned for return on an upcoming SpaceX cargo mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins finished wearing a headband and vest after 24 hours for the Bio-Monitor experiment that monitors an astronaut’s health without interfering with mobility. Watkins also checked her blood pressure throughout the day for the Vascular Echo study that examines changes in blood vessels and cardiac activity in microgravity.

The station’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos focused on their list of science and maintenance tasks in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov updated software and replaced a laptop computer then explored ways to improve communications between station crew members and mission controllers from around the world. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev joined each other Tuesday morning and serviced exercise gear. The duo then split up to work on broadband communications gear and inventory tools.

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Mark Garcia

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Advanced Robotics, Life Science Today; Station Boosts Orbit for New Missions

Advanced Robotics, Life Science Today; Station Boosts Orbit for New Missions

Astronaut Kayla Barron, posing with astronauts (from left) Samantha Cristoforetti, and Jessica Watkins, is pictured in her SpaceX flight suit before departing for Earth on May 5.
Astronaut Kayla Barron, posing with astronauts (from left) Samantha Cristoforetti, and Jessica Watkins, is pictured in her SpaceX flight suit before departing for Earth on May 5.

Robotics and human research were the dominant research themes aboard the International Space Station on Monday. The Expedition 67 crew also began the workweek maintaining a variety of exercise equipment and life support gear aboard the orbiting lab.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren turned on the Astrobee robotic free-flyers and let them roam around inside the Kibo laboratory module on Monday. The cube-shaped devices, powered by fans and programmed using algorithms, photographed imagery of Kibo’s racks and systems to demonstrate their ability to autonomously monitor and maintain spacecraft systems. Lindgren also tended to the XROOTS space botany study before tightening gas connections on the Combustion Integrated Rack.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins wore the Bio-Monitor’s vest and headband today testing its ability to monitor crew health without interfering with crew activities. Watkins also assisted NASA astronaut Bob Hines who began the six-month maintenance and inspection tasks on the COLBERT treadmill located in the Tranquility module.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti spent Monday testing the rHEALTH ONE medical device demonstrating its ability to identify cells, microorganisms, and proteins in microgravity. She also shared photographs of the lunar eclipse from the station as it orbited above the Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev joined Flight Engineer Denis Matveev on Monday on ventilation systems and radiation detection tasks in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov started his day exploring future planetary piloting techniques before servicing a Russian oxygen generator.

The space station is orbiting higher after the ISS Progress 79 cargo craft fired its engines on Saturday afternoon. The orbital reboost places the station at the correct altitude for Russia’s next cargo craft, the ISS Progress 81, slated to launches on June 3 and docks to the Zvezda service module’s rear port about three-and-a-half hours later.

NASA and Boeing are still proceeding toward the launch of the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 mission at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday. Boeing’s Starliner crew ship is targeted to dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 24 hours later where it will stay for up to 10 days of cargo and test operations.


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.

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

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Mark Garcia

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Crew Preps for Starliner During Human Research and Robotics

Crew Preps for Starliner During Human Research and Robotics

The International Space Station flies into an orbital sunset at an altitude of 266 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Africa.
The International Space Station flies into an orbital sunset at an altitude of 266 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Africa.

The International Space Station is getting ready to welcome Boeing’s new Starliner crew ship due to lift off next week on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission. Meanwhile, the seven-member Expedition 67 crew conmtinued its human research and robotics work today.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines continued training for the arrival of the Starliner spacecraft targeted for 7:10 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 20. The duo reviewed the OFT-2 mission profile and practiced the remote commanding of Starliner on a computer. The device that sends and receives data from approaching commercial crew vehicles, Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2), was activated earlier this week. Starliner will lift off atop the Atlas-V rocket from United Launch Alliance at 6:54 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Lindgren and Hines also started the day collecting and stowing their blood samples for later analysis. Hines then activated the Astrobee robotic free-flyer assistants inside the Kibo laboratory module. Lindgren later stowed the toaster-sized, cube-shaped robots after the autonomous devices spent the day demonstrating ways to detect and repair faulty station hardware.

Astronaut Jessica Watkins familiarized herself with Astrobee procedures and swapped components in the station’s waste and hygiene compartment located in the Tranquility module. Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti from ESA (European Space Agency) spent all day Friday testing the rHEALTH ONE medical device for its ability to identify cells, microorganisms, and proteins in microgravity.

Over in the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev worked throughout Friday transferring water from the ISS Progress 80 cargo craft into the Zvezda service module. He also packed old station gear for disposal inside the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev worked on ventilation systems and photographed the condition of panels inside Zvezda. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov continued testing the mobility of the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka multipurpose 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.

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

Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe

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Mark Garcia

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