Boeing Starliner Update: Valves Continue to be a Problem, No Launch Date in Sight

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft returned Aug. 19, 2021, from the United Launch Alliance Vertical Integration Facility to the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where teams will work to diagnose and resolve a valve issue detected during the Aug. 3 launch attempt of NASA Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Boeing PR) — The NASA, Boeing team continues to make progress on the investigation of the oxidizer isolation valve issue on the Starliner service module propulsion system that was discovered ahead of the planned uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station in August.

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NASA Seeks Commercial Spacesuit Services Proposals

Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. NASA’s Artemis mission will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Artemis moonwalkers exploring the lunar South Pole will wear revolutionary spacesuits that stand up to the Moon’s harsh environment and keep them safe. NASA is embracing commercial partnerships to optimize spacesuit technology and inspire pioneering in the space market.

NASA published a request for proposal (RFP) Sept. 29  for companies to compete for the agency’s future purchase of spacesuits and support services for spacewalks on the International Space Station, during Artemis lunar surface missions, and as needed on Gateway in lunar orbit. 

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Cosmonauts Prepare Soyuz for Return to Earth

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. (Credit: NASA TV)

MOSCOW, October 7, 2021 (Roscosmos PR) — Russian crewmembers of the 65th long-term expedition to the International Space Station work in accordance with the flight task. Today, October 7, 2021, in preparation for the upcoming landing, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft crew is swapping the Soyuz MS-19 and Soyuz MS-18 seat liners. Return to Earth is scheduled for October 17, 2021.

The crew also continues to work on filming the scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’. The health condition of the cosmonauts and spaceflight participants is good.

The seat liners act as shock absorbers evenly distributing the loads to protect the crew during the landing. Each seat liner is made individually for each cosmonaut as part Kazbek-UM chair shock-absorbing chair of Soyuz MS spacecraft, where the cosmonaut (or spaceflight participant) stays during the flight.

Three times in the history of Russian cosmonautics the seat liners saved the lives of the crews returning from Earth orbit in 1969 (Boris Volynov), in 1980 (Valery Kubasov and Bertalan Farkash), in 1997 (Vasily Tsibliev, Alexander Lazutkin). The impact on the ground was so strong that the astronauts survived largely thanks to the seat liners.

The spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, who flew to the International Space Station as part of the scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’ will return to Earth on October 17 on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft together with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, who has been at the ISS since April. Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov will spend another 174 days at the station.

According to preliminary data from the TsNIImash Mission Control Center (part of Roscosmos), the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft is scheduled to undock at 01:12 UTC on October 17, 2021. The descent capsule is expected to land at 04:36 UTC of the same day, 147 km from the city of Zhezkazgan.

NASA Announces Astronaut Changes for Upcoming Commercial Crew Missions

NASA crew members of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. Pictured from left are NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has reassigned astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada to the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

Mann and Cassada will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the Crew-5 mission. Additional crew members will be announced later.

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Russian Cosmonaut, Actress & Director Arrive at ISS to Shoot a Movie

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. (Credit: NASA TV)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The crew members of the Soyuz MS-19 manned transport spacecraft docked on October 5, 2021 to the Rassvet Small Research Module of the Russian Segment of the International Space Station, opened the passageways and boarded the ISS. Then the first communication session of the crew of the 65th long-term expedition with the Baikonur cosmodrome and the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) took place.

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SpaceX CRS-23 Successfully Completes Mission, Returning Critical Science Back to Earth

Cargo Dragon CRS-23 atop a Falcon 9 booster. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), October 1, 2021 (CASIS PR)  – On September 30, SpaceX completed its 23rd Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) when its Dragon spacecraft safely splashed into the water off the coast of Florida. SpaceX CRS-23, contracted by NASA, brought back more than 25 payloads representing science and technology demonstrations sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. These investigations aim to leverage the unique space-based environment of the orbiting platform to bring value to our nation and drive a robust market in low Earth orbit.

Below highlights some of the ISS National Lab-sponsored investigations that returned on SpaceX CRS-23.

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Crews of the Soyuz MS-19 Mission Continue Training for Oct. 5 Flight to ISS

Actress Yulia Peresild, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and film director Klim Shipenko. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — At the Test Training Complex of the Yu.A. Gagarin of the Baikonur cosmodrome, training of the main and backup crews of the Soyuz MS-19 manned transport vehicle continues . Its launch to the International Space Station is scheduled for October 5, 2021.

Recall that the main crew of the ISS-66 expedition: Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko, actress Yulia Peresild. Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, cameraman Alexei Dudin, actress Alena Mordovina, respectively, became their stunt doubles.

On Friday, October 1, 2021, as part of the preparatory program with cosmonauts and space flight participants, classes on onboard documentation and ballistics of the upcoming flight on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft were held, as well as practical exercises on working with photographic equipment. In addition, the crews studied the flight program of the 66th long-term expedition to the ISS.

The program also included a training session on interaction between the ship’s crew and the Search and Rescue Service. Traditionally, the main and backup crews were engaged in preparation for space flight factors and underwent daily medical examinations.

SpaceX CRS-23 Dragon Returns Experiments on Brain, Muscles, Liver to Earth

Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide works aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

by Melissa Gaskill
International Space Station Program Research Office

HOUSTON — The 23rd SpaceX commercial resupply services mission returned samples from scientific experiments on the International Space Station. Back on Earth, scientists anticipate quick access to their experiments for additional observations and analyses.

Dragon undocked from the space station Sept. 30 and and splashed down near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the evening.

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NASA TV Coverage Set for Russian Film Production Launch

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket is launched with Expedition 65 NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Roscosmos cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy, Friday, April 9, 2021, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of a Tuesday, Oct. 5 launch that will carry a Russian cosmonaut, actress, and film producer to the International Space Station, where they will film segments for a movie. The launch will mark the expansion of commercial space opportunities to include feature filmmaking.

Making his fourth flight into space, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will join actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko for the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:55 a.m. EDT Oct. 5 (1:55 p.m. Baikonur time). Their Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft will make a fast-track, two-orbit journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module.

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Russian Nodal Module for Space Station Completes Vacuum Chamber Test

Prichal nodal module (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosomos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, tightness tests of the Prichal nodal module in the vacuum chamber of the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 have been completed.

In accordance with the work schedule, specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation and the Yuzhny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities) performed a cycle of pneumatic vacuum tests of the Prichal module, which lasted from September 21, 2021. The module is currently installed in its workplace and connected to ground test equipment to continue prelaunch preparation.

The Prichal universal nodal module designed and manufactured by RSC Energia named after S.P. Korolev is designed to expand the technical and operational capabilities of the Russian segment of the ISS. The launch of the Prichal into a near-earth orbit and its docking with the nadir node of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are planned for November 2021.

Eytan Stibbe to Take Historic Jewish Coin, Space Art on Private Axiom Space Mission to International Space Station

Eli Eskosido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and future astronaut Eytan Stibbe. (Credit: Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority)

TEL AVIV (Rakia Mission PR) — In early 2022, the Rakia Mission is scheduled to launch into space, and onboard will be Eytan Stibbe, Israel’s second man in space and the first to fly to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Nine Ways We Use AR and VR on the International Space Station

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Even the most highly trained and experienced person sometimes needs a hand. For astronauts aboard the International Space Station, that helping hand comes from other crew members, experts on the ground, and increasingly, in the form of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

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Russian Government Allocates $60.6 Million for Future Soyuz Tourist Flight

The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 62 crew members Jessica Meir and Drew Morgan of NASA, and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, Friday, April 17, 2020. Meir and Skripochka returned after 205 days in space, and Morgan after 272 days in space. All three served as Expedition 60-61-62 crew members onboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

The Russian government has allocated $60.6 million (4.4 billion rubles) to the Roscosmos subsidiary Glavkosmos to produce a Soyuz 2.1a rocket and Soyuz MS spacecraft for a space tourism flight scheduled for 2024, according to Space Daily.

Glavkosmos head Dmitry Loskutov said in May that the company was already in talks with potential space tourists and was simultaneously working on putting together a reserve of Soyuz spaceships to make the first tourist flight possible in late 2023.

Now that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is carrying astronauts to the station, Russia has restarted spaceflights for paying customers. On Oct. 5, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko to the International Space Station (ISS). Peresild and Shipenko will shoot scenes for a movie titled, “Challenge,” during a spaceflight lasting 12 days.

On Dec. 8, the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and Maezawa’s assistant Yozo Hirano to ISS on a 12-day spaceflight.