Crew Ends Week on Human Research and Space Physics

Crew Ends Week on Human Research and Space Physics

Russia’s ISS Progress 75 resupply ship is pictured with a Full Moon above the Earth’s horizon after undocking from the station. Credits: NASA
Russia’s ISS Progress 75 resupply ship is pictured with a Full Moon above the Earth’s horizon after undocking from the station. Credits: NASA

The work week is wrapping up with biology and physics aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 65 residents also maintained the upkeep of plumbing, computer, and power systems.

NASA and its international partners take advantage of the weightless environment of the orbiting lab to gain new insights unattainable due to Earth’s gravity. They use the knowledge from the long-term microgravity research to improve conditions for humans on and off the planet.

A new study recently delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour is exploring how the immune system adapts to microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur set up hardware and samples for the Celestial Immunity investigation inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox today. Results may provide new vaccines and medicines for diseases on Earth and increase the potential for commercialization of space.

McArthur also joined fellow NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei logging their meals on a computer to help researchers understand the nutritional requirements for astronauts. Vande Hei spent most of Friday on maintenance replacing life support system components and swapping fuel tanks in the Combustion Integrated Rack.

Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) partnered with Vande Hei for some of the life support work on Friday. Pesquet also transferred the AstroPi science computer to the Columbus laboratory module after joining NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough for orbital plumbing work in the Tranquility module. Additionally, Kimbrough spent a few hours installing power equipment and routing cables inside Tranquility before collecting and stowing his urine samples for later analysis.

Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency started Friday in the Kibo laboratory module retrieving sample cartridges from the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace. The three-time space traveler finally wrapped up the workday turning off the Astrobee robotic free-flyers and consolidating crew provisions.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, also a three-time space visitor, worked on Russian communications gear and power tools before exchanging samples for a semiconductor crystal study. Roscosmos Flight Engineer and first-time space flyer Pyotr Dubrov spent the day on plumbing and ventilation tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

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Catherine Williams

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Astronauts Study how Space Affects Immune System, Exercise

Astronauts Study how Space Affects Immune System, Exercise

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module with the Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants. Credits: NASA
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module with the Astrobee free-flying robotic assistants. Credits: NASA

Human Research and space physics topped the science schedule aboard the International Space Station today. The seven-member Expedition 65 crew also spent Thursday servicing a variety of life support gear.

The new Celestial Immunity study underway aboard the orbiting lab this week is looking at how the human immune system is affected by long-term weightlessness. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei started the day readying blood cell samples for the human research experiment inside the Life Science Glovebox (LSG). In the afternoon, NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur thawed the samples, placed them in a centrifuge, and inoculated them inside the LSG located in the Kibo laboratory module.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide joined Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet for a long-running space workout study today. The duo took turns attaching sensors to themselves then pedaling on an exercise cycle. The exercise study measures an astronaut’s aerobic capacity and the effort required to perform strenuous activities such as spacewalks.

A space physics experiment is looking at the production of semiconductor crystals aboard the orbiting lab. Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos swapped hardware for the study taking place inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. Results may improve the quality of semiconductors to benefit industries on Earth.

Maintenance is key to ensuring life support systems and science hardware stay in tip-top shape on the station. The crew is constantly monitoring and servicing lab hardware with support from mission controllers on the ground.

Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov worked throughout Thursday checking out fans and navigation hardware in the station’s Russian segment. Vande Hei, McArthur, and Pesquet partnered together and replaced components in the U.S. segment’s oxygen generation system throughout the day.

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Catherine Williams

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Life Science, Cargo Packing Midweek Aboard Orbital Lab

Life Science, Cargo Packing Midweek Aboard Orbital Lab

SpaceX Crew-2 Mission Specialists and Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide pose for a portrait together.
SpaceX Crew-2 Mission Specialists and Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide pose for a portrait together.

Life science was the main science topic aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The Expedition 65 crew is also packing a U.S. cargo ship and maintaining orbital lab systems today.

Four astronauts, who rode to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, kicked off the day with the first health checkup of their expedition today. NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet spent a few moments in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module undergoing temperature, blood pressure and ear checks as part of periodic health evaluations.

Kimbrough and Hoshide then took turns loading the Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman with trash and old gear before its departure in a few weeks. Kimbrough spent the rest of the afternoon setting up hardware inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for a semiconductor crystal experiment. Hoshide serviced fluid systems and cleaned electrical hardware.

McArthur charged computer tablets delivered aboard Endeavour and organized cargo in the Tranquility module. Pesquet replaced components on the Destiny lab’s exercise cycle ahead of a space workout study planned on Thursday.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei collected donor samples delivered aboard Endeavour and transferred to the station’s science freezers for the new Celestial Immunity study. The experiment seeks to understand how weightlessness affects the immune system, potentially impacting the development of new vaccines and medicines.

The two cosmonauts aboard the station, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, had hearing tests today aboard the orbiting lab. The duo then spent most of the day on a variety of Russian computer and electrical maintenance tasks. Novitskiy also spent a few moments on a study investigating how international space crews get along and work together. Dubrov gathered Russian discarded items for disposal on the U.S. Cygnus resupply ship.

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Mark Garcia

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Crew-1 Takes Questions Thursday, Station Busy with Human Research

Crew-1 Takes Questions Thursday, Station Busy with Human Research

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, with four astronauts aboard, is pictured from the station reentering Earth's atmosphere on May 2, 2021.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, with four astronauts aboard, is pictured from the station reentering Earth’s atmosphere on May 2, 2021.

The SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are back in Houston after splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday completing a 168-day mission. The quartet will have a news conference on NASA TV then participate in a Facebook Live event on Thursday.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Victor Glover with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will talk to reporters and answer social media questions on Thursday. The NASA TV news conference starts at 3:45 p.m. EDT. The Facebook Live event will begin at 4:35 p.m. and last 20 minutes.

Back in space, seven Expedition 65 crew members will be orbiting Earth on the International Space Station until October. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts are participating in a variety of research today to understand how living in space affects the human body.

Microbes can change characteristics in microgravity and scientists are testing anti-microbial coatings on the station. Today, an astronaut touched a sample with the coating representing a high-touch surface. The sample was stowed in a science freezer and will be returned later to Earth for analysis. Results could mitigate health issues on spacecraft and planetary surfaces.

The Celestial Immunity study taking place today on the orbiting lab is exploring how the immune system adapts to weightlessness. The astronauts look at human blood cells for age-associated effects giving scientists insights into the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases.

Some of the crewmates also had ultrasound scans today to understand how long-term microgravity affects their muscle’s biochemical properties such as tone, stiffness and elasticity. Samples, including blood, saliva and urine, were also collected and stowed for the Standard Measures and Repository biology studies.

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Mark Garcia

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Crew Staying in Space Until October for Research Mission

Crew Staying in Space Until October for Research Mission

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur is at the robotics workstation participating in Canadarm2 robotic arm training.
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur is at the robotics workstation participating in Canadarm2 robotic arm training.

The seven-member Expedition 65 crew aboard the International Space Station will be orbiting Earth until October after watching the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts depart over the weekend. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts staying behind prepared for the next SpaceX Cargo mission and researched a variety of space phenomena today.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting June 3 for the launch of the next Cargo Dragon mission to resupply the orbital lab. NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough and station Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency began getting the station ready for the upcoming space shipment. The duo organized the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the Kibo laboratory module today to make room for the new cargo.

Monday’s science activities ran the gamut of robotics, human research and drug development. Research on the orbiting lab can improve the health of humans on and off the Earth, benefit a range of industries, and advance the commercialization of space.

The Astrobee robotic assistants were flying around inside Kibo testing automated rendezvous techniques as Kimbrough monitored the activities. Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency wore a virtual reality headset and reached for virtual objects to help scientists understand how weightlessness affects the central nervous system.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur cleaned up the Microgravity Science Glovebox after closing out the Transparent Alloys physics study. Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei of NASA checked out emergency hardware then set up gear for an immune system study that may promote the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases.

Roscosmos cosmonaut and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy worked on inventory updates and cargo transfers from the ISS Progress 77 resupply ship. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov installed hardware for a Russian experiment that monitors the Earth’s atmosphere in ultraviolet light.

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Mark Garcia

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