A Dragon, Sweat, Urine and Blood, and Superheroes

I was going to say this has been another busy week, but I think I would be able to start every entry this way. 

All of the Mission Control Centers (Houston, Huntsville, Munich, Tsukuba and Moscow) do a great job of maximizing our time on orbit in order for us to live and work efficiently.  This week ended the milestone Dragon mission.  Our main tasks were to unload and then repack the vehicle for its return trip and then send it on its way.  We worked really well as a team and finished ahead of schedule with the packing.  After finishing that, our focus shifted to the un-berthing of Dragon and releasing it from the Space Station.  There is a lot of work involved with closing the hatches between Dragon and the Space Station and installing the controllers for the mechanisms that hold these two together.  It is not as easy as just closing a couple of doors.  Due to the fact there was an approximately 30-minute window for the actual release of Dragon, we had to get up a couple of hours earlier than normal.  Luckily I am a morning person so that was not too painful.  Just like the Capture, the Release went as planned.  The cool thing about Dragon is that about 5 hours after we release it, it is taking its plunge into the Pacific Ocean.  Again, it was great working with Don and Andre and the Control Centers in Houston, TX and Hawthorne, CA.


The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is about to be released by Canadarm2 robotic arm on May 31.

Apart from Dragon, I had a lot of medical tests and data collection to do.  We do Periodic Fitness Evaluations where we put on some electrodes and a blood pressure cuff while we ride the stationary bike.  Not only is it good to see how we are medically doing, but it also provides information on how the body may change while on orbit.  As part of another experiment I had to eat a special diet for 4 days and part of the deal is that you need to eat everything they put on the menu (If you can’t eat it all, you just need to let them know so they have a very accurate account of what you consumed).  It is very interesting because they are looking at how our diet may affect bone density while on orbit.  This could be very important when we plan on very extended missions to places further than low Earth orbit.  As part of this and a couple of other studies, I had to collect my urine for 24 hours, spin the samples in a centrifuge and then place them in our -80/-90 degree Celsius freezer.  I am sure most people have had to give urine samples before while visiting a doctor or hospital.  No problem, right?  Without getting too graphic, it is no easy chore to urinate into a bag while in microgravity.  It does take up a good part of your day.  To finish off the successful week, I had to have blood drawn on Friday morning.  Luckily Andre is a doctor and he did a great job.  We do train however to draw blood from ourselves.  I don’t do well with blood, so it was a big achievement for me to do that as part of our training in Houston.  One of the many cool things about being is space is the wide variety of tasks we get to do every week.  I look forward to seeing what is in store for me in the future.


The SpaceX Dragon splashed down May 31 at 11:42 a.m. EDT west of Baja California, Mexico.

NASA worked with Marvel and Disney to get The Avengers sent up to us.  While in Russia, I missed the opening of this movie by less than a week.  I am a big comic/superhero fan and had been looking forward to seeing it.  Once I knew we were getting it, I told the crew and we got together on Saturday night for a movie night.  How cool is it to watch The Avengers while in space?  That is one movie viewing I won’t forget.  Thanks to NASA, Marvel and Disney for providing us with a nice evening and a chance to relax at the end of great week.

15 thoughts on “A Dragon, Sweat, Urine and Blood, and Superheroes”

  1. Now all they need to do is get you a big-screen TV with surround sound up there so you can really see the movies.

  2. Greetings up there! I hope you have a productiv and nice time. In a few days there is good time to see “you” flying by again. I like the Webcam by the way! Keep up your inspiring work and have some nice time in space (I envy you for that)

    Regards Daniel.

  3. Joe,

    I spent the week transfixed to the live footage of the Dragon launch, capture, cargo unpacking/packing and release. It was great seeing footage of you guys in the ISS, and great reading your blogs. Makes it very personal and real.

    I wish I could go to the ISS, but will have to make do with living vicariously through you guys.

    Best wishes,
    Andrew in Australia

  4. Just wondering if you had popcorn with the movie? We saw it last week and it was funny.

  5. I wonder what Stan Lee thinks of you guys watching that in space! I bet it tickles him pink! I really enjoyed the movie myself, and look forward to owning a copy when it comes out on disc.

    Thank you for the blog, it makes space more personal and fun. It would be cool to meet you in person some day, and shake your hand.

  6. Movies in space. I can’t wait for my turn! Is it possible to pop popcorn while in space?

  7. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening? What time is it for you? Thanks a lot for being in space for us. I have many questions from my children (9 Jonatán David and Emanuel Javier 11 years old) and many questions from myself.
    What kind of foods do you eat in space? How do you take a shower? How do you clean your clothes? Do you sweat in space? What do you do with the garbage? I know you recycle urine, but what else do you recycle? Is there rain?
    Thanks again for reading this post. We hope the experiments you and your partners are doing help us to be better people here in earth.
    We live in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Take care. May the Lord bless you!

  8. I think that Dragon mission is incredible and very complex, I have no strong knowledge about this kind of topics but is really interesting, , thanks for share

  9. Do y’all not get well scared up there sometimes? Fair play to y’all, you’ve got to have the best job on (or off) Earth 😀

  10. I’m extremely happy for SpaceX, that they had a successful mission to the ISS and back…. Now it’s on it’s way to the Texas Facility of SpaceX…

    BRAVO !!!

    Alex Oliveira

  11. Congratulations to SpaceX and ISS crew and all other people involved for this phenomenal achievement.
    It was truly a privilege to sit in front of our TV screens or pc internet in South Africa and watch all the exciting actions. Unbelievable what you have accomplished!

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