The eleven orbital residents aboard the International Space Station spent Thursday gearing up for a crew split as the four newest members continue to settle into their daily routines in weightlessness and four other Expedition 69 crew members prepare for their ride home to Earth.
Two crews are in the process of swapping places as NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, UAE (United Arab Emirates) Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev spent most of their day handing over responsibilities, including training new crew members on station procedures and the use of station exercise equipment.
Sunday saw the arrival of NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov to the station as the SpaceX Dragon Endurance Spacecraft docked to the Harmony module. The international quartet is quickly adjusting to orbital tasks and spent some of Thursday on the firsts of many science and maintenance activities they’ll perform in microgravity during their six-month stay.
After breakfast, Moghbeli completed a round of eye exams with NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos. Later in the evening, the first-time orbital resident continued to unpack Dragon, which will remain docked to the station for six months until Crew-7 returns to Earth. Meanwhile, Mogensen deployed dosimeters in the Columbus Laboratory Module that will detect levels of radiation doses inside the station, while Furukawa carried out some maintenance on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device or ARED.
The four Crew-6 members—Hoburg, Bowen, Alneyadi and Fedyaev—are nearing the end of their six-month research mission and spent the afternoon prepping and packing SpaceX’s Dragon Endeavour spacecraft for departure no earlier than Sept. 2. This will bring the space station’s population down to seven before further crew swaps take place in September.
After lunchtime, Alneyadi scheduled some time for maintenance activities, installing and examining the station’s new Potable Water Dispenser. Hoburg collected biological samples for the ongoing Standard Measures investigation, while Bowen completed cargo tasks in the Cygnus spacecraft which has been docked to the station since Aug. 4.
Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin will soon reach a year in space after arriving to the station on Sept. 21, 2022, and are gearing up for their trek home in late September. The three long-time station residents continued to help with crew handover activities on Thursday and completed some station maintenance tasks of their own.
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