Spacewalks, spacecraft, and science: March in orbit on the ISS

The International Space Station (ISS) and its astronauts in March as teams work on spacewalks, welcome new teams, say goodbye to those returning to Earth, and get ready for arrival of the first private missionary at the iconic orbital outpost. Earth science research is always being done using labs and instruments.

The International Space Station Expedition 66 crew – consisting of astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Matthias Maurer, and Kayla Barron, and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, joined after the moon by Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov – March began by conducting a plethora of scientific experiments, all of which investigated the effect of microgravity on the human body.

Specifically, when Marshburn researched skin cells to understand why microgravity accelerates skin aging in astronauts, Vande Hei collected biological samples for later observation. Earth, and Maurer researched how space and microgravity work when astronauts hear it.

NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn records blood samples in a scientific ice crater on the ISS. (Currency: NASA)

While these experiments were being performed, Russian cosmonauts worked to prepare the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft for its return to Earth, which was planned until the end of the month, and changed conditions. live support of the Russian modules of the field.

On March 7, Vande Hei placed units in the ISS’s Integrated Combustion Rack for the Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction Study (SoFIE): a study that explores ways to improve fire extinguishing technologies and the safety of the aircraft in the air. Fire does not have the same effect on microgravity as it does on Earth. Things are different and for a long time, so scientists plan to use data from SoFIE and other experiments to improve fire safety in Earth’s orbit and, later, in missionaries to the Moon and Mars.

March saw the start of Expedition 66 in preparation for two voyages. On March 1, Chari worked on cleaning two cooling vents at U.S. Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuits designed to use EVAs. Others looked at the different tools and procedures used during the spacewalk. On March 3, Barron and Chari began assembling the teams and equipment to be used during the spacewalk.

On March 15, NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron left the ISS and embarked on a six -hour, 54 -minute journey. The main goal of the spacewalk is to prepare the ISS for the launch of two ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA), which are scheduled to be delivered to the base by an upcoming SpaceX Cargo Dragon missionary. ana.

During the train, Barron and Chari assembled the conversion boxes into the ISS truss structure where the sun is attached. In addition, the astronauts have built a support frame where the arrays will be installed. The iROSA projects will help increase the power available at the site from 160 kilowatts to 215 kilowatts when all six are installed.

Work for Expedition 66 did not end after March 15, as passengers had to prepare for the arrival of Soyuz MS-21.

Soyuz departed the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 15:55 UTC (11:55 AM EDT) on March 18, taking the first cosmonaut group-Roscosmos to the ISS in the history of the project, owned by Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov.

After taking off and arriving in orbit, Soyuz MS-21 safely landed the Russian Prichal module at 19:12 UTC (3:12 pm EDT) on the same day. Expedition 66 welcomed the MS-21 cosmonauts after the opening of the Soyuz spacecraft, carrying as many as ten passengers.

As the MS-21 team changed life on the ground, Expedition 66 began preparations for its second flight of the month. The crew continued scientific experiments, research, and home maintenance on the ISS.

The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft approached the ISS on March 18. (Funding: NASA)

On March 23, NASA astronaut Raja Chari and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer began a second walk. Over six hours and 54 minutes, Chari and Maurer worked to complete some ISS repairs, including installing pipes on the Radiator Bean Valve Module, connecting a power supply and a data cable. at the Bartholomew’s European science center, replacing a missile at the ISS spacecraft. and several small upgrades to improve the operating conditions of the outpost.

Each spacewalk is performed on the ISS to support the maintenance, improvement, and integration of the orbital outpost. March’s spacewalks are the 247th and 248th spacewalks to be performed on the ISS.

In addition, the work for the airport crew was not finished after the March 23 march. The next thing on the agenda was the departure of the Soyuz MS-19 mission, and preparations for the arrival of the Axiom-1 missionary aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Axiom-1 is planned to be a full-fledged full-scale mission to the ISS.

On March 24, NASA Crew-3 called on ISS mission officers in Houston to discuss the arrival of Axiom-1 and the Flight Readiness Review, which began on March 25. In a statement four astronauts and Houston, NASA astronauts. Mark Vande Hei and his Soyuz MS-19 crew have begun preparations for their departure from the ISS, with cosmonauts working to connect the spacecraft with objects to be returned to Earth.

Between preparations for arrival and departure, some members of the Expedition 66 team carried out scientific experiments and research and others performed housekeeping tasks, including cleaning up some of the modules after the March 15 and March 23 spacewalks. On March 29, a day before Soyuz MS-19 took off, NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn took command of the ISS from Anton Shkaplerov.

On March 30, the Soyuz MS-19 was released from the ISS, departing at 07:21 UTC (3:21 AM EDT) to take Mark Vande Hei, Anton Shkaplerov, and Pyotr Dubrov home. About four hours after takeoff, Soyuz returned to Earth’s atmosphere and made a parachute landing in the steppe of Kazakhstan at 11:28 UTC (7:28 AM EDT). After landing, Vande Hei flew to Houston, and Shkaplerov and Dubrov returned to Star City in Moscow.

The giving of command to Marshburn and the departure of Soyuz MS-19 ended Expedition 66, with the rest of the crew moving on to Expedition 67.

The return of Mark Vande Hei to Earth marks the longest ever -long voyage for an astronaut in NASA history, covering 355 days in space before landing in Kazakhstan. NASA’s history first stood at 340 days, set by astronaut Scott Kelly between 2015 and 2016. The history of the universe will be maintained by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who used 438 days in orbit during a mission to the Mir space station from January 1994 to March 1995.

(Photo credit: The International Space Station in November 2021. Courtesy: Thomas Pesquet / ESA / NASA)

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