• 2 Exp52/53 Nespoli Ryazansky Bresnik Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan 2017
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ISS Expedition 52 launch (2017) Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

On site as Soyuz MS-05 successfully launched EXP 52 to the International Space Station 11:41 a.m. EDT Friday, July 28

EXP 52 to the International Space Station

Sergey Ryazansky (RU), Randy Bresnik (US), Paolo Nespoli (IT)

My apologies for the delay in reporting. I am on route to Baikanour to support the Expedition 52/53 Crew launch to the International Space Station. ESA's Italian Astronaut Paolo Nespoli is a friend, collaborator and mentor of mine, and I am honoured to support him from a human-factors vantage, and continue an exchange in support of my creative research into Performing Astronautics. If there is good connectivity from the Cosmodrome, I will report live from the "Cosmonaut Hotel" farewell, final debriefing, tree-planting ceremony, and launch. Hashtag #ArtistAstronaut #VITAMission

T-3, 25 July 2017: Hello Kazakhstan
Enter Baikonur the world's first and largest operational space launch facility.

Depart Moscow Domodedovo airport. Join crew family and friends onboard Flight 7R5555. Touchdown at Krayniy airport Kasakstahn. Roscosmos representative escort to enter the Cosmodrome. Check in at “Sputnik” hotel. Transfer to Launch Site Num. 2. of the Baikonur spaceport. Cosmonautics Museum Tour, including the memorial houses of Korolyov and Gagarin, visit the “Buran” orbital ship. Explore a unique collection of exhibits such as personal belongings of Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, artefacts and drawings by the first artist in space Alexi Leonov, Lunar globe, first artificial Earth satellite, Souyz capsule, capsules for animal crew Belka and Strelka, and many other exhibits). Traditional Pre-Launch traditions including a flag-raising ceremony, signing the museum wall and memorabilia, and dressing for a traditional Kazakh tea ceremony occur before I arrive, but I follow in these footsteps.

T-2, 26 July 2017: Positions please
Soyuz FG rocket rolled out of MIK integration facility to the historic Launch site num.1.

Pre-dawn transfer to the Launch site num.112. of the Baikonur spaceport. Viewing the carrier rocket “Souyz-FG” transportation from a processing facility accompanied by Backup Astronaut crew: Aleksandr Misurkin, Norishiga Kanai, Mark Vande Hei. Tradition dictates that guests put coins on the railroad tracks for the rocket to flatten and to bring good luck, but I did not see this occur. Arrival to the railway hub of the Launch site num.1. Viewing of the carrier rocket “Souyz FG” transportation to the launching site for a further installation; Transfer to the “Gagarin launch” site Num.1.: Viewing the carrier rocket installation from a safe distance, then attendance of the first artificial Earth satellite. Transfer to the Baikonur town (parks, monuments, Gagarin gazebo, Soyuz carrier rocket monument, memorial in honor of passed away cosmonauts); Baikonur spaceport history museum tour (here we learn, how the Baikonur spaceport was founded, what are the challenges and the way ahead. There are dedicated expositions to the people that were making history of renowned Baikonur spaceport: about scientists and designers, commanders and organizers of the industrial military complex of the Soviet Union and about those who went unnoticed: thousands of workers, engineers, clerks, test pilots for the space vehicles and military constructors). The prime and backup crews get haircuts.

T-1, 27 July 2017: Ready to Fly
Crew Final Pre-Launch Press Conference & State Commission Meeting

Transfer to the 250A launching site of the Baikonur spaceport; Viewing the launch site num.250A. from a control center of the “Energia” launch vehicle; Transfer to the launch site num.110. of the Baikonur spaceport; Visiting the “Energia” launch facility from the side of a road; Transfer to the launching site num.200. and num.81. of the Baikonur spaceport; Visiting the launch facility of the “Proton” rocket carrier (entering the restricted areas is prohibited) – Proton rockets, which put satellites into orbit and delivers new modules to the ISS, is launched from this site; Transfer to the launch site num.23. (“Saturn”) of the Baikonur spaceport; Transfer to the launch site num. 23 (“Saturn”) of the Baikonur spaceport; Crew Final Pre-Launch Press Conference & State Commission Meeting. We join in from "Sputnik" as the crew watch a 1969 Russian movie "White Sun of the Desert" as a good-luck tradition.

T-0, 28 July 2017: Launch Day
Soyuz MS-05 Launches at Sunset to the International Space Station

International Space School tour including exhibits of “Orlan” space suit, space capsule, and a model rocket classroom. Transfer to the “Cosmonaut” hotel; the Crew toast the morning with champagne, and vodka; and sign the back of their door. Seeing cosmonauts off: farewell the crew as they leave the “Cosmonaut” hotel with Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova and other dignetaries and depart to the spaceport; Visiting Cosmonaut Alley. Transfer to the launch site num 254 of the Baikonur spaceport (“Energia” corp.) Witnessing the spacecraft crew reports to the chairman of the state committee about their readiness for the launch; Transfer to the launch site num.2. Waiting for spacecraft launch in the Baikonur spaceport museum. Transfer to the viewing point, taking place; Watching the launch of a “Souyz” rocket carrier (from a distance of 1.4 kilometers from a launch site); Crew safely to orbit in nine minutes. Salute with Vodka.

T+1, 29 July 2017: ISS Rendezvous
Expedition 52 Crew Trio Arrives at ISS after Express Soyuz Rendezvous

The 134th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft employed the accelerated six-hour rendezvous profile included four orbit raising-maneuvers on its first two orbits around Earth followed by a fully automated rendezvous to set up for docking to the Station’s Rassvet Module at 21:54 UTC. Inclination: 51.64 Degrees. Period: 92.65mins. Soyuz MS-05 made a safe & on-time docking to the crew’s orbital workplace for the next four and a half months. After a hard mate is formed between the Rassvet module and Soyuz, the crew initiate a typical leak check for ~90 mins to verify the seal between the two spacecraft is holding pressure. Finally, the hatch opens, and the two crews to greeting one another. Salute with Vodka.

VITA Mission: Paolo Nespoli's next 2,224 orbits of Earth
An ASI Italian space agency mission through a barter agreement with NASA

VITA’s scientific programme will include experiments in biology, human physiology plus space environment monitoring, materials science and technology demonstrations. Paolo will continue and run experiments for international partners and act as a test subject for some of them. For example, Paolo provides measurements on his bone density and metabolism for the "Energy Experiment", and fills in a weekly questionnaire as part of the "Space Headaches" experiment. He and his colleagues are taking care of some plants as part of the "Veg-03 experiment", and testing the integration of new technologies such the "ARAMIS experiment" (Augmented Reality Application for Maintenance, Inventory and Stowage) in daily maintenance such as searching for objects in the on-board inventory or logging object location in the racks. Other ASI supported experiments include: "ARTE – Thermal Exchange", "Mini‐EUSO/UV‐Atmosphere", "NANOROS", "Orthostatic Tolerance", "CORM", "Lidel", "Serism", "IN SITU Bioanalysis", "MyoGravity", and of course, continuing to test the "ISSpresso" machine. Nepoli's outreach activities includes supporting Mission-X: Train Like an Astronaut, the European Astro Pi Challenge, and performing the Multi-trop: Youth ISS Science” competition winning experiment aimed at verifying the role of water and nutrients on the direction of root growth in microgravity. See http://paolonespoli.esa.int/

SPECIAL INTEREST #1 Performing Astronautics - Paolo's interactions with an Aquatic Wearable

I had "vested interest" in the preliminary validation of the shielding effectiveness of the "PERSEO experiment" (PErsonal Radiation Shielding for intErplanetary missiOns). Paolo tested a simple proof-of-concept water-filled vest: a garment that would provide mobile protection from the radiation that would allow astronauts to continue their scientific and daily maintenance activities, during solar storms when, for safety reasons, they are usually forced to take shelter in areas of the station with thicker walls. The aquatic-wearble passed initials tests in November, when Paolo filled it with 22 litres of water and wore it to test its practicality. Having recommended this solution for many years, I am delighted to see these TRL milestones. The successful outcome of this experiment represents an important breakthrough in space radiation shielding, opening to the development of similarly conceived ergonomic devices and regular use as PPE in missions.

SPECIAL INTEREST #2 Artistic Practice - Paolo's collaboration on a global cultural Artwork

Paolo is an expert and prolific extraterrestrial photographer. His father was an artist, and he values the interconnection of arts, sciences and engineering. Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto began his cooperation with ESA for the development of the official mission patch of Paolo Nespoli’s VITA mission, which includes the artist’s symbol of his Third Paradise concept in the artwork designed by ESA for ASI, the Italian space agency. The SPAC3 app is developed by ESA, European Space Agency with RAM radioartemobile, platform for contemporary art, in cooperation with ASI, Italian Space Agency, and Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto to raise awareness on preserving Earth and engage the public by creating a social artwork. The SPAC3 application pairs Nespoli's photos to global issues: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership. Global participants combine the space photos by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli with Earth images by the user within the mission symbol of the “Third Paradise” by the Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. The images generated with this combination become part of a large, interactive mosaic and dynamic “social artwork”.

T+138, 14 December 2017: Back to Earth
Soyuz MS-05 Landing 147km S-E of Zhezkazghan

Soyuz Hatch Closure: 2:00 UTC. Undocking: 5:14 UTC. Deorbit Burn: 7:44 UTC. Landing: 8:38 UTC. Landing Site: 147km S-E of Zhezkazghan. Nominal landing. Hatch Opened. Crew appear well. That's the end of the Vodka.


I would like to thank Her Excellency, Irina Bruk, Honorary Consul-General for the Russian Federation in Brisbane; Astronaut Frank de Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Centre; Victoria, Adventure Manager at the Country of Space Tourism; and a heartfelt thanks to Astronaut Paolo Nespoli and his team for the opportunity to support this mission. The experience provided insight, immersion and tacit knowledge otherwise unavailable to astronaut aspirants or supporters.

Australia Council Logo

This research is part of the Performing Astronautics project assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

MS-05 Insignia.

ISS Expedition 52/53 Mission Patch

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 (T-3)
Enter Baikonur Cosmodrome space launch facility.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017 (T-2)
Soyuz FG rocket installation Launch site num. 1.

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Thursday, 27 July 2017 (T-1)
Crew Final Pre-Launch Press Conference.

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Friday, 28 July 2017 (T-0)
Lift off! Soyuz MS-05 Launches to the ISS.

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Saturday, 29 July 2017 (T+1)
Rendezvous, docking, hatch opening and crew welcome.

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PERSEO, water-filled wearable prototype experiment
Nespoli validates a radiation countermeasure technology.

 Space3 Nespoli, ESA, RAM, ASI, Pistoletto collaboration promo 2017

SPAC3, the artistic and cultural project
With ESA, RAM radioartemobile, ASI and Pistoletto.


Tuesday, 14 Dec 2017 (T+138)
Touch Down! Soyuz MS-07 Exp 53 Landing back on Earth.

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