Thursday, October 29, 2015, Astronaut Scott Kelly, Expedition 45 Commander, took a space selfie (above) as he set a new NASA record. He has surpassed the previous record held by Michael Lopez-Alegria. Alegria had spent a record 215 days straight engaged in spaceflight. Kelly’s got him beat as well as Astronaut Michael Fincke who held the record for 382 cumulative days in space. And, Kelly ain’t through yet! He won’t be headed back to Earth until the Spring of 2016.
What does a guy do with all that time in outer space? Well, yesterday Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren conducted a seven hour spacewalk performing routine service and upgrades to the space station, performed a task in a dark matter experiment and rerouted cables that will be used on the future docking port of the Boeing Starliner CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Kelly and Lindgren are not alone in their work on the space station. An entire crew from all over the world is hard at work in the space station. Lindgren was born in Taiwan. Flight Engineer Sergey Volkov is from Ukraine, Mikhail Kornienko is from Russia, Oleg Kononenko was born in Turkmenia, and Kimiya Yui is Japanese. Yui is studying the way plants grow if there’s no gravity around to tell them which way is up or down. Volkov, Kornienko and Kononenko worked on controlling a rover from space.
Expedition 45 originally began its mission September 11, 2015 and will reach the end of its mission December 22, 2015. Some of the objectives are to conduct research in the fields of human biology, biotechnology, and astrophysics research. Yesterday’s spacewalk was one of two that are scheduled to take place. November 6 Kelly and Lindgren will have a repeat performance of today’s spacewalk. The purpose of the spacewalks is to install equipment that will be used to conduct experiments and research in the study of dark matter and cosmic rays. The crew’s discoveries and work will all help continue the slow but steady advance toward Mars.
There are so many things the gringa loves about this little tidbit of NASA info. For one thing, how exciting to see history and records being made right before my eyes! It is also exhilarating to see the astronauts readying the household to welcome the Starliner and Dragon, the first commercial spacecraft that, one day, may deliver passengers like myself to far off places for some space adventures. But, best of all, the gringa is immensely impressed with the fact that, despite all of the political posturing, Russians and Americans are up at the ISS showing everyone that borders and labels and nationalities really just don’t matter when you get down to the heart of what is really important, living and growing and exploring together.
Source & Photo Credit: www.nasa.gov