NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Astronauts Enter Quarantine for Mission

NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Astronauts Enter Quarantine for Mission

NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts Suni Williams (left) and Butch Wilmore (right) pose for photo ahead of May 6 flight to the International Space Station
The official crew portrait for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test. Left is Suni Williams, who will serve as the pilot, and to the right is Barry “Butch” Wilmore, spacecraft commander. Photo credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, who are set to launch to the International Space Station on Monday, May 6, entered pre-flight quarantine in preparation for the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test mission.

Flight crew health stabilization is a standard process ahead of any human spaceflight mission to ensure the health and safety of the crew prior to liftoff, as well as prevent sickness of the astronauts at the space station. During quarantine, astronaut contact is limited, and most interactions are remote – although family and some launch team members also may be in quarantine or cleared before interacting with the crew.

Wilmore and Williams will launch aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft on a ULA (United Launch Alliance) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The duo will make history as the first people to fly on the Starliner spacecraft.

Wilmore and Williams will quarantine at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston before traveling to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than Thursday, April 25, where they’ll remain in quarantine until launch.

Meanwhile, teams also are preparing for the Flight Test Readiness Review, which will take place over the course of two days – Wednesday, April 24, and April 25. That review brings together teams from NASA, Boeing, ULA, and its international partners to verify mission readiness including all systems, facilities, and teams that will support the end-to-end test of the Starliner.

Following a successful flight test, NASA will begin certifying the Starliner system for regular crew rotation missions to space station for the agency.

Launch is scheduled no earlier than 10:34 p.m. EDT May 6.

Learn more about NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test by following the mission blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on X, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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Elyna Niles-Carnes

Neurology Study and Spacewalk Preps Kickoff Week

Neurology Study and Spacewalk Preps Kickoff Week

Astronaut Mike Barratt processes brain organoid samples inside the BioServe Tissue Chamber to learn how microgravity affects the central nervous system.
Astronaut Mike Barratt processes brain organoid samples inside the BioServe Tissue Chamber to learn how microgravity affects the central nervous system.

The Expedition 71 crew kicked off a busy schedule on Monday exploring ways to treat neurological diseases while gearing up for a spacewalk planned for Thursday. Cargo operations are also picking up as a U.S. cargo craft gets ready for its departure from the International Space Station.

Researchers use the orbital outpost’s weightless environment to gain insights impossible to achieve on Earth’s surface. Results extrapolated from the space investigations can be applied not only to promoting living in space for crews but also improving health and industry on Earth for humans.

On Monday, NASA Flight Engineers Tracy C. Dyson and Mike Barratt took turns processing brain organoid samples for a neurodegenerative disorder study. Dyson first serviced the specimens and injected a drug treatment into the sample cultures for a microscopic analysis of the therapy’s ability to counteract the effects of microgravity. Barratt processed the samples at the end of the day preparing them for stowage and later analysis. Doctors will use the results to learn how protect a crew member’s central nervous system and provide treatments for neurodegenerative conditions on Earth.

The duo then joined fellow NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps and helped pack the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with cargo ahead of its targeted undocking on Friday, April 26. Soon the crewmates will begin concentrating on stowing completed science experiments, including the brain organoid study, and their critical research samples inside Dragon for the ride back to Earth and analysis in laboratories.

Station Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub are getting ready for the year’s first spacewalk at the orbital lab set to begin at 10:55 a.m. EDT on Thursday. The duo tried on their Orlan spacesuits today checking for pressure leaks and testing their communications and medical systems. The cosmonauts will spend about seven hours in the vacuum of space configuring hardware and installing experiments on the Roscosmos segment of the space station.

Cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin assisted his cosmonaut crewmates helping the duo in and out of their Orlan spacesuits and checking the suits’ components and batteries. Grebenkin then spent the rest of Monday servicing Roscosmos life support hardware and ventilation systems.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Mark Garcia

Advanced Research and Ongoing Spacewalk Preps Pack Schedule

Advanced Research and Ongoing Spacewalk Preps Pack Schedule

Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko is pictured during a spacewalk on Dec. 11, 2018, to inspect the Soyuz MS-09 crew ship.
Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko is pictured during a spacewalk on Dec. 11, 2018, to inspect the Soyuz MS-09 crew ship.

The Expedition 71 crew had its hands full on Thursday with a multitude of research activities filling the schedule. The orbital septet also continued gearing up for next week’s spacewalk amidst ongoing cargo operations aboard the International Space Station.

Advanced space science is continually taking place aboard the orbital outpost with the experiments being run by astronauts, remotely controlled by researchers on the ground, or autonomously operated. The equipment housing and powering the research also requires constant monitoring and maintenance ensuring high quality results that provide valuable insights into microgravity phenomena.

NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps and Tracy C. Dyson split their schedule on Thursday servicing hardware supporting a pair of different investigations. Epps began her day in the Kibo laboratory module cleaning components and swapping samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The high temperature research device explores the thermophysical properties of materials difficult to observe in Earth’s gravity environment. Next, Dyson set up biomedical hardware she will use on Friday to measure how the brain regulates blood flow in the absence of gravity. Results may lead to new therapies and countermeasures for spaceflight-induced and Earthbound blood pressure conditions.

NASA Flight Engineers Mike Barratt and Matthew Dominick spent their morning supporting two space biology investigations looking at separate but critical phenomena. Barratt attached electrodes to his chest and used an ultrasound device to scan his vascular system with remote guidance from doctors on Earth. The medical data is being used to assess the cardiovascular risk of living in space and is one part of the CIPHER human research study. Dominick swabbed surfaces throughout the station’s U.S. segment collecting microbe samples for analysis. The specimens will be treated on the orbital lab and examined on Earth to determine microbial resistance to antibiotics and the risk to crew health.

Dominick then partnered up with Barratt mid-afternoon testing portable breathing gear. At the end of the day, Dominick joined Dyson and swapped cargo in and out of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. Dragon is due to complete its cargo mission and depart the station on April 26. Dyson earlier collected microbe samples for incubation and analysis. Epps wrapped up her shift installing a computer with a camera pointed out a window in the Destiny laboratory module for Earth observations.

Spacewalk preparations have been well underway this week as cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub get ready for a seven-hour excursion to swap hardware outside the space station on April 25. The Roscosmos duo began the day pedaling on an exercise cycle for a pre-spacewalk fitness evaluation. Afterward, the crewmates checked their Orlan spacesuit systems and components inside the Poisk airlock.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Alexander Grebenkin remained focused on life support maintenance and orbital plumbing tasks in the cosmonaut’s portion of orbital outpost. Later in the afternoon, he participated in the spacewalk preparations staging standard medical equipment and tools in Poisk.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Mark Garcia

Crew Works Cargo, Biomedical Ops, and Spacewalk Preps

Crew Works Cargo, Biomedical Ops, and Spacewalk Preps

Astronaut MIke Barratt installs a small satellite orbital deployer inside the Kibo laboratory module's airlock.
Astronaut MIke Barratt installs a small satellite orbital deployer inside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock.

Cargo operations and spacewalks preparations topped the schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The Expedition 71 crew members also worked on biomedical research and reviewed procedures for a simulated emergency.

NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Mike Barratt kicked off their day swapping cargo in and out of the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft that arrived at the orbital outpost on March 23. Afterward, NASA Flight Engineers Matthew Dominick and Jeanette Epps took over the cargo transfers and wrapped up the work before lunchtime. Dragon is due to undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing port and return to Earth at the end of the month.

The quartet regrouped in the afternoon and participated in a pair of space biology activities to help doctors understand how the human body adapts to weightlessness. First, Barratt operated the Ultrasound 2 device and scanned Dyson’s neck, shoulder, and leg veins as part of regularly scheduled medical checkups. Barratt then joined Dominick and Epps to try on and test a garment that may help crews adjust quicker to the return to Earth’s gravity after a long-term space mission. The threesome then measured the circumference of the waist and right leg during the garment fit check.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub continue preparing for this year’s first spacewalk. The duo from Roscosmos were once again collecting tools, configuring spacesuits, and readying the Poisk airlock for their planned seven-hour spacewalk scheduled for April 25. The pair also took turns during the morning wearing a cap packed with sensors while practicing on a computer futuristic spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques that may be used on planetary missions. Flight Engineer Alexander Grebenkin worked throughout the day servicing a variety of life support hardware and video gear in the space station’s Roscosmos segment.

At the end of the day, all seven orbital residents gathered together and watched a video describing the operation of emergency simulation software. Next, the crewmates familiarized themselves with emergency hardware, such as breathing masks, and procedures, including closing hatches and evacuation paths.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Mark Garcia

Space Science and Spacewalk Preps Keep Crew Busy

Space Science and Spacewalk Preps Keep Crew Busy

Astronaut Jeanette Epps smiles for a portrait after she finished conducting a HAM radio session with Italian students.
Astronaut Jeanette Epps smiles for a portrait after she finished conducting a HAM radio session with Italian students.

The Expedition 71 crew members continued ongoing biology and physics research, as well as spacewalk preparations on Tuesday. The seven International Space Station residents also kept up more CubeSat work, cargo operations, and lab maintenance throughout their shifts.

Eye checks were on the schedule Tuesday as NASA Flight Engineers Tracy C. Dyson and Mike Barratt contributed to the CIPHER human research study. The duo participated in a pair of eye exams looking at the retina and optic nerve for one portion of the investigation that examines ocular structure and function in microgravity. Results may inform countermeasures that protect an astronaut’s vision on long-term space missions farther away from Earth.

Dyson earlier replaced cardiac cell samples inside the Advanced Space Experiment Processor, a research incubator, that were printed using the BioFabrication Facility. Barratt installed a small satellite orbital deployer into the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock. The Japanese robotic arm will grapple the deployer and point it away from the station where it will release a series of CubeSats into Earth orbit for scientific and technology research.

NASA Flight Engineers Jeanette Epps and Matthew Dominick joined each other during the afternoon finalizing hardware swaps inside the Cold Atom Lab. During the installation work the duo also cleaned filters and checked power readings on the research device that observes the quantum behavior of atoms chilled to near absolute zero.

Dominick began his day processing blood samples with Dyson spinning them in a centrifuge for later analysis. The duo later took turns transferring cargo in and out of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub continue preparing for an April 25 spacewalk that will see the Roscosmos duo work outside in the vacuum of space for about seven hours. The two crewmates spent the afternoon gathering spacewalking tools and preparing their Orlan spacesuit components for upcoming operations. During the morning, the pair took turns studying spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques that may be used on future planetary missions.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Alexander Grebenkin spent the majority of his day servicing life support components inside the Zvezda service module. At the end of the day, Grebenkin moved to the Tranquility module and worked out on the advanced resistive exercise device for an exercise evaluation.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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Mark Garcia