ISS

3 ISS astronauts return to Earth after 186 days in space

3 ISS astronauts return to Earth after 186 days in space

Most people would agree there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed after a decent amount of time away from home, but for these three astronauts, they're probably just happy to be back on Earth, regardless of where they sleep. Early Saturday morning saw the return of NASA's Commander Tim Kopra, the European Space Agency's Tim Peake, and Yuri Malenchenko of Russia's Roscomos after spending 186 consecutive days in space.

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BEAM inflatable ISS module hatch opened for the first time this week

BEAM inflatable ISS module hatch opened for the first time this week

In late March, a resupply capsule lifted off and headed to the ISS and among the gear and supplies on board was the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module known as BEAM. After many weeks of work, the BEAM module was finally inflated and astronaut Jeff Williams entered the BEAM module for the first time this week. Upon entering the new module, Williams checked sensors, installed air ducts, and reported to controllers on Earth that the module was in working order.

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NASA successfully inflates space habitat on second try

NASA successfully inflates space habitat on second try

Saturday saw NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully inflate an expandable habitat — basically a pod that acts as an additional, experimental room. It was their second attempt at doing so, after the first try on Thursday didn't work due to higher forces of friction than expected. Now that the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is inflated, it measures 10.6 feet across and 5.6 feet long, although it is not yet at maximum capacity.

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The ISS is full of microbes, and NASA may get a shipment of them today

The ISS is full of microbes, and NASA may get a shipment of them today

The International Space Station is home to all manner of experiments, being used to test everything from how plants grow in space to how whiskey is affected. The ISS is also home to to various Earth microbes that are being exposed to a microgravity environment, presenting researchers with a chance to study how such an environment affects them. The space agency is performing a three-part study on these microbes, and it might get its final batch in a shipment from space today.

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SpaceX Dragon capsule made it to the ISS without a hitch

SpaceX Dragon capsule made it to the ISS without a hitch

Last summer catastrophe hit SpaceX when its Dragon capsule exploded during an attempted resupply mission to the ISS. SpaceX was returned to flight status after the disaster and its latest resupply mission to the ISS has been completed without any issues. This resupply mission had one very cool bit of tech onboard in the form of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM.

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NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

NASA sending fungi into space to study drug development

A team of researchers from NASA and the University of Southern California will be the first in the world send fungi into space with the goal of developing medical drugs. The fungi, which are known to produce molecules called secondary metabolites, will hitch a ride to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket scheduled to launch on April 8th. Secondary metabolites can be used to create beneficial medicine for humans, such as the antibiotic penicillin.

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BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

BEAM inflatable room launches for ISS next week

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, also known as BEAM, will be making its way to the International Space Station per next week’s launch. BEAM is an inflatable habitat (a room) designed by Bigelow Aerospace, and it will be attached to the ISS for testing. During its time, astronauts will occupy the habitat for a handful of hours at a time, doing so a few times each year for the next two years. Bigelow’s researchers will gather data from the habitat and learn how it holds up in space.

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Scott Kelly is back on earth, let the science continue! [UPDATE]

Scott Kelly is back on earth, let the science continue! [UPDATE]

2015 and 2016 will probably be remembered as some of the best years for space science, exploration, and travel in a long time. We've witnessed the historic encounter between the New Horizons spacecraft and Pluto. We've witnessed the historic successful landings of orbital and sub-orbital rockets. And today we're witnessing the return to Earth of astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko from the International Space Station, marking not just the longest mission for the ISS but also the acquisition of a potential treasure trove of scientific and medical data in the person of the astronauts.

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ISS commander, astronaut Scott Kelly answering questions live on Tumblr right now

ISS commander, astronaut Scott Kelly answering questions live on Tumblr right now

If you've ever wanted to participate in a live, Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)-like session with an astronaut in space, your chance is RIGHT NOW. All you have to do is head on over to Tumblr, where NASA astronaut, and current commander of the International Space Station, Scott Kelly is answering questions from space. He's participating in an "Answer Time" session, or Tumblr's take on the AMA, where readers can ask any question they like, with the chance Kelly will respond.

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NASA: moldy bags delay ISS cargo run

NASA: moldy bags delay ISS cargo run

A scheduled cargo run to the International Space Station has been delayed, NASA announced yesterday, due to packing bags that have developed black mold. The bags are used to pack food, clothes, and other supplies being sent the ISS, and they’re made of fabric. Of them, two were found to have black mold present, and more possibly could be affected. The black mold's cause has not been determined at this point, but the space agency is looking into the matter.

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ISS astronaut plays ping-pong with a ball of water

ISS astronaut plays ping-pong with a ball of water

Life on the ISS is never boring and you can do things in microgravity that you could never think of when you are on Earth. You can make floating balls of water for instance simply by squeezing water out of a straw. Astronaut Scott Kelly has shown off something cool that you could never do on Earth, play ping-pong with a floating orb of water.

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Astronaut shows how coffee is made aboard the ISS

Astronaut shows how coffee is made aboard the ISS

Doing the simple and mundane things we do every morning here on Earth takes on a completely new challenge in space. The challenge in microgravity is that things just don’t work the same way they do here on Earth in normal gravity. For instance making a simple cup of coffee becomes a complex process that requires specially engineered systems.

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