The seven-member Expedition 68 crew will wait a few more days for the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-6 mission. Meanwhile, the International Space Station residents began the work week with a variety of research activities, lab maintenance, and cargo operations.
The space station’s four astronauts and three cosmonauts will soon welcome four SpaceX Crew-6 members who are counting down to a launch at 12:34 a.m. EST on Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The quartet was due to lift off on Monday at 1:45 a.m. aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour before launch controllers detected an issue preventing data from confirming a full load of the ignition source for the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage Merlin engines.
Back aboard the orbital outpost, Flight Engineers Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent about an hour readying food and sleeping bags for the visiting crew. Mann also relocated computers to the cupola to prepare for the upcoming rendezvous and docking monitoring operations. Wakata configured research hardware that will house a new space biology investigation being delivered aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Mann began her day with NASA Flight Engineer Josh Cassada performing blood draws, spinning the samples in a centrifuge, then stowing the samples in a science freezer for later analysis. Cassada would later gather cargo to be stowed aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour after its arrival. NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio started his day on orbital plumbing work before finally watering tomato plants growing for the Veg-05 space botany study.
Roscosmos Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent Monday unpacking cargo recently delivered aboard the ISS Progress 83 resupply ship. Petelin then joined Flight Engineer Anna Kikina and tested a specialized suit that offsets the affects of microgravity potentially helping crew members adjust quicker to gravity after returning to Earth.
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