The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA are working together to identify and take disciplinary action against the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) over their use of a personal space vehicle (PSV) on the ISS during a mission to retrieve samples from the ISS.
On May 30, the FAA announced that the agency will require that the crew members use a PSV for “reusable and non-reusable” missions to the ISS, while the NASA Administrator said that the ISS will continue to support the crew’s use of their personal spacesuits.
The agency will also work with ISS representatives and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to ensure that there are procedures in place to allow the use of personal spacesuit technology on future missions.
The space agency, NASA, and the DOD have announced that they will meet at a briefing on Thursday, May 31, at 9 a.m.
EDT in Washington, D.C. The briefing will be webcast live on the NASA website.
The NASA Administrator, John Grunsfeld, and Administrator of the Department of the Navy, Robert Work, will also attend the briefing.NASA Administrator John Graysbury, who will lead the ISS mission, said in a statement: “This meeting with NASA and the DSS representatives is a critical step toward creating a plan to allow us to safely return to Earth the samples from our samples return, and to demonstrate to the world that this technology is safe for us to use on future flights.”
While it is unclear what specific steps will be taken in this meeting, NASA and DOD are working with the ISS crew to develop a plan for future use of the personal spaces suits that would allow the crew to safely conduct missions in orbit without the need to remove their suits.NASA and the ISS have worked together on several ISS missions in the past, including the mission to return the International Mars Station (IMSS) samples to Earth in January 2011, which successfully completed the ISS’ mission to the International Geostationary Transfer Orbit (IGTO) and was the first time the ISS had returned a sample to Earth since 1998.
In February 2013, the ISS returned the second sample from the IGTO and was scheduled to return to the station in late March.
However, NASA lost contact with the IGS in the early hours of March 8, 2014, when it sent a satellite back to Earth from the orbit of the ISS in order to conduct a gravity assist to the IMS, which had suffered an injury.
This resulted in the loss of the sample from ISS, which would have been the last sample that NASA would have returned to Earth.
During the recovery, the crew managed to recover two more samples from a sample-collecting robot, called the Orbital Sample Return Vehicle (OSRV), and returned the sample to the orbiting lab on April 6, 2014.
On April 20, 2014 the OSRV completed its mission and returned its sample back to the space station.
The next day, the OS ROV returned its second sample to ISS.
On May 1, the Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, successfully landed its Orbital Science Vehicle (OSSV) and its payload, the International Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (ILRO), on the surface of the moon.
On April 29, NASA announced that it had recovered samples from two of the ILSs four Sample Return Vehicles (SRVs), including the sample-collection robot.
The samples recovered from the SRVs have been designated as “LPR-14” and “LDR-14,” respectively, and are scheduled to be returned to the Earth on May 17, 2014 and April 24, 2014 respectively.
NASA and its partners are currently preparing the OSRs SRV samples to return, including all samples and the OSS samples to the surface.
The ISS crew will use personal spaces in all future missions to return and collect samples, and in fact the ISS has already returned samples to orbit in the form of the “Mars Science Laboratory” sample collection robot, the “Robot C” sample recovery robot, and a sample from a robotic spacecraft called “The Dragon.”
NASA’s Space Act Agreement allows the agency to return samples of the surface to the ground and return samples to an orbiting lab if they are returned safely.NASA has previously announced that NASA is working with Orbital Sciences to return one sample from an orbital spacecraft in 2019, and another sample from another orbital spacecraft is expected to be sent to the planet in 2020.