Station, Starliner Crews Working Advanced Science Ahead of Spacewalks

Station, Starliner Crews Working Advanced Science Ahead of Spacewalks

The Starliner spacecraft on NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test is pictured docked to the Harmony module's forward port on the International Space Station.
The Starliner spacecraft on NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s forward port on the International Space Station.

The seven Expedition 71 crew members and the two astronauts on NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test started the week with spacewalk preparations and an array of advanced microgravity research. The nine residents aboard the International Space Station also maintained electronic, life support, and orbital plumbing systems.

Two spacewalks are now scheduled for June 24 and July 2. The first spacewalk will see two spacewalkers remove faulty radio hardware and swab station surfaces for microorganisms. The tasks planned for the second spacewalk include removing and replacing a gyroscope assembly, relocating an antenna, and preparing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer for future upgrades.

Throughout Monday, NASA Flight Engineers Matthew Dominick, Mike Barratt, and Jeanette Epps worked on a variety of spacesuit tasks, including cleaning cooling loops inside a spacesuit and swapping spacesuit components in the Quest airlock.

Epps started her day in the Kibo laboratory module removing camera hardware inside Kibo’s airlock for reconfiguration and stowage with assistance from Barratt. Epps then worked in the Destiny laboratory module swapping sample cartridges inside the Materials Science Laboratory, a research facility used to discover new applications for existing materials and new or improved materials. Barratt inspected and serviced components on the Tranquility module’s advanced resistive exercise device, workout gear that mimics the inertial forces on Earth when lifting free weights.

NASA Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson set up biomedical gear then wore a sensor-packed vest and headband that recorded her heart and lung data while she pedaled on an exercise cycle. Afterward, she worked on space botany hardware removing water bags ahead of a plant experiment.

Starliner Pilot Suni Williams started her day transferring wastewater between station modules then replaced a video camera in the Columbus laboratory module. Afterward, she moved to the Kibo lab and watered the Advanced Plant Habitat to prepare for upcoming science operations.

Starliner Commander Butch Wilmore worked in the Harmony module’s maintenance work area setting up hardware and researching liquid flows to improve the health care and food industries. The Gaucho Lung study is exploring ways to optimize drug delivery for respiratory conditions, treat infants with respiratory distress syndrome, and prevent contamination of tubes with intermittent flows of liquids.

NASA and Boeing will discuss Starliner’s mission and departure from the orbital outpost as part of the agency’s Crew Flight Test in a media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 18. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on NASA’s website at https://nasa.gov/nasatv.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub spent his day testing the operations of a 3D printer while fellow cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin studied the vibrations the space station experiences while orbiting Earth. Cosmonaut and station Commander Oleg Kononenko worked throughout Monday replacing smoke detectors in the space station’s Russian segment.


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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Mark Garcia

Spacewalks Rescheduled Before Station Boosts Orbit

Spacewalks Rescheduled Before Station Boosts Orbit

The space station is pictured from the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour during its departure and flyaround on Nov. 8, 2021.
The space station is pictured from the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour during its departure and flyaround on Nov. 8, 2021.

The Expedition 71 crew members are relaxing today following the delay of Thursday’s spacewalk. Mission planners rescheduled the spacewalk for June 24 when two spacewalkers will remove faulty radio hardware and swab station surfaces for microorganisms. A second spacewalk to remove and replace a gyroscope assembly, relocate an antenna, and prepare for future Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer upgrades is planned for July 2. Meanwhile, the two Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts from NASA continued vehicle testing.

NASA and Boeing will discuss Starliner’s mission and departure from the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test in a pre-departure media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 18. Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, who have previously visited the orbital outpost, called down to Boeing mission controllers on Friday and discussed their upcoming departure. Afterward, the duo entered Starliner and reviewed the spacecraft’s flight operations and procedures.

Roscosmos’ Progress 87 resupply ship, docked to the Zvezda service module, will fire its engines late Friday night boosting the space station’s orbit. The reboost maneuvers occur regularly restoring the orbiting lab’s altitude as it degrades over time due to Earth’s gravity and atmospheric drag.

The three cosmonauts working aboard the space station stayed busy on Friday with their standard complement of space research and life support maintenance duties. Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub wrapped their work shift with eye scans using a medical imaging device looking at the retina, optic nerve, and cornea. Flight Engineer Alexander worked throughout the day on computer maintenance, vent cleaning, and orbital plumbing.


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

NASA, Boeing Target June 22 for Flight Crew Test Return

NASA, Boeing Target June 22 for Flight Crew Test Return

This view from a window on the cupola overlooks a portion of the International Space and shows the partially obscured Starliner spacecraft from Boeing docked to the Harmony module's forward port.
This view from a window on the cupola overlooks a portion of the International Space and shows the partially obscured Starliner spacecraft from Boeing docked to the Harmony module’s forward port. Photo credit: NASA

NASA and Boeing now are targeting no earlier than Saturday, June 22, to return the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test mission from the International Space Station. The extra time allows the team to finalize departure planning and operations while the spacecraft remains cleared for crew emergency return scenarios within the flight rules.

NASA and Boeing leadership will discuss the details of the new return target, flight status, and weather considerations for landing during a pre-departure media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 18. NASA will provide additional media teleconference details soon.

“We are continuing to understand the capabilities of Starliner to prepare for the long-term goal of having it perform a six-month docked mission at the space station,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “The crew will perform additional hatch operations to better understand its handling, repeat some ‘safe haven’ testing and assess piloting using the forward window.”

NASA and Boeing teams also prepared plans for Starliner to fire seven of its eight aft-facing thrusters while docked to the station to evaluate thruster performance for the remainder of the mission. Known as a “hot fire test,” the process will see two bursts of the thrusters, totaling about a second, as part of a pathfinder process to evaluate how the spacecraft will perform during future operational missions after being docked to the space station for six months. The crew also will investigate cabin air temperature readings across the cabin to correlate to the life support system temperature measurements.

“We have an incredible opportunity to spend more time at station and perform more tests which provides invaluable data unique to our position,” said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, Commercial Crew Program, Boeing. “As the integrated NASA and Boeing teams have said each step of the way, we have plenty of margin and time on station to maximize the opportunity for all partners to learn – including our crew.”

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, who are serving as Starliner’s crew for the mission, arrived at the International Space Station on June 6. They’ve completed numerous flight objectives required for NASA certification of Boeing’s transportation system for flights to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Over the past three days, Wilmore and Williams have performed tasks as part of the space station team, including installing research equipment, maintaining the lab’s hardware, and helping station crewmembers Matt Dominick and Tracy Dyson prepare for a spacewalk. After NASA called off Thursday’s spacewalk, Williams worked to help the crew out of their spacesuits.

Engineering teams continue to increase their understanding of previous observations from Starliner propulsion systems on the spacecraft’s service module.

Pending spacecraft return readiness and acceptable weather conditions, Starliner will undock from the space station for a parachute and airbag-assisted landing in the southwestern United States. Get the latest mission updates by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on X, and commercial crew on Facebook.

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Elyna Niles-Carnes

NASA Provides Updated U.S. Spacewalk Dates

NASA Provides Updated U.S. Spacewalk Dates

(From left) NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Matthew Dominick are pictured during spacewalk training in Houston, Texas.
(From left) NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Matthew Dominick are pictured during spacewalk training in Houston, Texas.

The U.S. spacewalk 90 planned Thursday at the International Space Station did not proceed as scheduled due to a spacesuit discomfort issue.

NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Matthew Dominick completed taking off their spacesuits about an hour before the crew was anticipated to exit the Quest airlock.

With consideration to NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test and other spaceflight operations, the next spacewalk will be Monday, June 24, followed by another on Tuesday, July 2, as was previously planned. The June 24 spacewalk will focus on radio frequency group hardware removal, while the content of the July 2 spacewalk is under evaluation and will be shared as available. The crew members on the station are healthy, and spacesuits are functioning as expected.


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

Spacewalk Postponed Due to Spacesuit Discomfort Issue

Spacewalk Postponed Due to Spacesuit Discomfort Issue

The space station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure and flyaround on Nov. 8, 2021.
The space station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during its departure and flyaround on Nov. 8, 2021.

The spacewalk today, June 13, at the International Space Station did not proceed as scheduled due to a spacesuit discomfort issue.

NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Matt Dominick completed taking off their spacesuits about an hour before the crew was anticipated to exit the Quest airlock. NASA will continue to provide additional information on the space station blog.

 


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 updates from NASA Johnson Space Center at: https://roundupreads.jsc.nasa.gov/

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Abby Graf