The Expedition 58 crew focused again today on studying head and eye pressure changes astronauts experience while living in space. The crew then went on to more science hardware and life support maintenance aboard the International Space Station.
Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques worked throughout Thursday morning researching the upward flow of fluids that occurs inside astronauts’ bodies. The duo conducted eye scans with a variety of devices to measure eye pressure changes caused by these fluid shifts in microgravity.
Commander Oleg Kononenko ensured the upkeep of life support gear and other station systems in the Russian segment of the orbital lab. The veteran cosmonaut of three previous Expeditions ended the day exploring how station crew members from around the world interact and learn to live together in space.
Politicoreports that plans to have Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin to visit the United States to consult with NASA officials and tour American space facilities is not going over very well with some in Washington. The trip would require the government to lift sanctions on the Russian leader, who is currently banned from visiting the United States.
Yet lawmakers from both parties and former national security officials are crying foul, saying the invitation undermines U.S. sanctions and would give a government-approved platform to an anti-American bigot.
“It absolutely sends the wrong message to lift sanctions, even temporarily, for the purpose of inviting him to speak to students at one of our nation’s premier universities,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a leader of the committee’s investigation into 2016 Russian election interference.
“This is appalling,” said Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia in the Obama administration. “It’s utterly inappropriate given who he is and the fact that he is on our sanctions list.”
In an email, [NASA spokeswoman Megan] Powers also defended Bridenstine’s invitation.
“The U.S. / Russian relationship in space dates back to the 1970s,” she wrote. “NASA has historically invited the head of the Russian space agency to visit the United States. Following this precedent, and Administrator Bridenstine’s October visit to Russia to participate in crew launch activities to the International Space Station, NASA invited the Director-General of Roscosmos to visit NASA facilities in the United States and discuss our ongoing space-related cooperation.”
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on 27 December 2018, at 5:07 am Moscow time, Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with Fregat booster and Earth remote sensing (ERS) satellite vehicles №5 and №6 of the Kanopus-B series was successfully launched from the launch pad of the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
In accordance with the launch sequence, following two impulses of the service propulsion system of Fregat booster, satellite vehicle Kanopus-B №5 and satellite vehicle Kanopus-B №6 were routinely detached from the booster at 6:06 am and 6:12 am Moscow time respectively.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — INVITRO, a leading medical company, and 3D Bioprinting Solutions biotechnology laboratory announced a successful completion of the first stage of the Magnetic 3D Bioprinter space experiment. On December 3, 2018, the Organaut bioprinter was delivered to the ISS on board the Soyuz MS-11 manned spacecraft. For the first time on orbit, cosmonaut-researcher Oleg Kononenko printed human cartilage tissue and a rodent thyroid gland using a Russian bioprinter.
The Organaut was already aboard the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on October 11, 2018, but its crew returned to Earth 20 minutes later after an emergency situation. The bioprinter landed in the habitation module and was significantly damaged by overload. The backup was prepared and the crew’s repeated training was organized in the shortest possible time.
VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on 27 December 2018, at 5:07am Moscow time, Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with Fregat booster and Earth remote sensing (ERS) satellite vehicles №5 and №6 of the Kanopus-B series, as well as 26 hosted payload space vehicles, was successfully launched from the launch pad of the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
In accordance with the launch sequence, following two impulses of Fregat booster’s service propulsion system, satellite vehicle Kanopus-B №5 and satellite vehicle Kanopus-B №6 were routinely detached from the booster at 6:06 am and 6:12 am Moscow time respectively.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three residents of the International Space Station, including one NASA astronaut, are scheduled to wrap up their stay aboard the orbital laboratory Wednesday, Dec. 19. Live coverage of their return to Earth will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
India and Russia will strengthen cooperation in space programmes, including manned space missions, under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries in October.
The MoU will provide an impetus for development of technologies and advanced systems required for the human space flight programmes, such as radiation shielding, life support systems, crew module, rendezvous and docking systems, space suit, training for astronauts etc.
The MoU will lead to a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity. It will also help in the setting up of a joint working group, which will further work out the plan of action, including the time-frame and the means of implementing the provisions of the agreement.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The largest and most complex international construction project in space began on the steppes of Kazakhstan 20 years ago today. Atop its Proton rocket, on Nov. 20, 1998, the Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB) thundered off its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome into cold wintry skies. Zarya was built by the Khrunichev in Moscow and served as a temporary control module for the nascent ISS.
HOUSTON (NASA & Roscomos PRs) — Traveling about 252 miles over Algeria, the unpiloted Russian Progress MS-10 cargo ship docked on Sunday at 2:28 p.m. EST to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment of the International Space Station.
Russia plans to deliver a magnetic 3-D bioprinter capable of growing living tissues and eventually organs.to the International Space Station (ISS) next month, TASS reports.
The Organ-Avt bioprinter, built by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, is a copy of one that was lost in the abort of the Soyuz MS-10 mission on Oct. 11. Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague parachuted to safety after a malfunction of their Soyuz-FG booster.
The bioprinter, which also can be used to used to study the effects on living organisms during long-duration spaceflights. will be carried to ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. The spacecraft is set to lift off from the Baiknour Cosmodrome on Dec. 3 with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, American astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques aboard.
Roscomos State Space Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin said an international effort based on parity and “mutually respectful cooperation is needed to send humans back to the moon, TASS reports.
If the United States is unable to work on that basis, Russia will cooperate with other international partners, he added.
Rogozin added that Russia should be able to develop a system for human lunar flights by 2024.
“Today the Russian Federation has the sole space transport system so far. We have carrier rockets and manned spacecraft. Ballistics specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation have made calculations of our possibilities. In about 6-7 years, we will be able, using already the Angara-A5 rocket, in case that it blasts off from the Vostochny spaceport beginning from 2023-2024, we will be able, even using the current manned spacecraft, to ensure the permanently operating transport system capable of reaching the Moon and working in the lunar orbit,” the Roscosmos chief said.
Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky says that human missions to Mars should be undertaken as an international effort as well, TASS reports.
“Mars should become a global task. We should strive for it. The youth will join the effort, investments will come and, most importantly, the flight can be implemented, in principle. Another thing is that other technologies should be developed to make the flight quicker and safer and all of them will recoup investments in the Martian project because they will be in demand on Earth,” said Ryazansky, who called the moon an “intermediate step” toward the Red Planet.
Russia plans to leapfrog Elon Musk’s “old tech” by developing nuclear-powered engines that will make human missions to Mars faster and safer for crews, the head of a research center told Russian media.
“Elon Musk is using the existing tech, developed a long time ago,” said Vladimir Koshlakov, head of the Keldysh Research Center. “He is a businessman; he took a solution that was already there, and applied it successfully. Notably, he is also doing his work with help from the government.”
Keldysh is working on a nuclear engines that will make human exploration of the Red Planet feasible within the near future, he added. The engines will allow cosmonauts to make the voyage in seven months.
“A person should not spend more than a year or two in space. Nuclear-powered spacecraft will allow a relatively fast journey, and, most importantly, a return flight. This technology has special significance for interplanetary flights and research of far planets,” Koshlakov said.
The Keldysh center has successfully conducted the first ground test of the nuclear engine’s cooling system, he added.
Loaded with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies, a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:14 p.m. EST Friday, Nov. 16 (12:14 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, Baikonur time), to resupply the International Space Station.
The launch of the unpiloted Russian Progress 71 and docking to the space station will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 1 p.m.
The spacecraft is set to dock to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 1:45 p.m.
Progress 71 will remain docked at the station for more than four months before departing in March for its deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.
The abort of a crewed Soyuz launch to the International Space Station last month was caused by a damaged sensor pin in a mechanism designed to separate one of the rocket’s four strap-on boosters from the core stage, Roscosmos has announced.
“The abnormal separation was caused by the non-opening of the lid of the nozzle intended to separate a side Block D oxidizer tank due to the deformation of the separation sensor pin,” the space corporation said in a press release. “It was damaged during the assembling of the strap-on boosters with the core stage (the Packet) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The LV [launch vehicle] failure cause is of the operational nature and spreads to the stock of already assembled packets of the Soyuz rocket.”
Oleg Skorobogatov, who headed up the investigation, said at a press conference that the nose of the strap-on booster hit the core stage in the area of the fuel tank, resulting in a decompression that triggered the abort. Skorobogatov is deputy director general of TsNIImash.
Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague landed safely under parachute in their MS-10 Soyuz spacecraft. Neither one was injured.
“The Emergency Crew Rescue System of Soyuz MS-10 spaceship functioned properly,” Roscosmos said in its press statement. “The crew was acting as required by the on-board instructions and those given by the Mission Control Center.”
Roscosmos has taken steps to prevent a recurrence of the incident and approved a plan to resume launches to the space station.
“The State Committee has approved the launch dates under the International Space Station Program as follows: the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket with Progress MS −10 cargo spaceship to go on November 16, 2018, and the launch of Soyuz MS-11 manned spaceship to go on December 3, 2018. The crew of Soyuz MS-09 — Alexander Gerst (ESA), Sergey Prokopiev (Roscosmos) and Serina Auñón-Chensellor (NASA) — will return to the Earth on December 20, 2018,” the corporation said.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Supervisory Board of Roskosmos approved the new structure of the State Corporation and the composition of the Board, and also appointed new deputy general directors.
On October 26, the first meeting of the Supervisory Board of the Roscosmos State Corporation was held in a new composition, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Yury Ivanovich Borisov. The main issue was the approval of the new structure of the State Corporation and the appointment of deputy general managers.