The International Space Station welcomed a new cargo craft overnight as mission managers postponed the launch of the SpaceX Crew-7 mission for 24 hours. The Expedition 69 crew members have begun unpacking the new cargo while servicing a variety of science equipment aboard the orbital lab.
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin went to bed Friday mid-afternoon after monitoring the Roscosmos Progress 85 resupply ship as it docked to the Zvezda service module’s aft port at 11:45 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The duo worked through leak and pressure checks, opened the Progress 85 hatch, then spent the next several hours offloading some of the nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies to replenish the lab residents.
As the Roscosmos resupply ship approached the station, four SpaceX Crew-7 crew members in Florida were informed their launch to join the Expedition 69 crew would wait one more day. Liftoff of the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket is now scheduled for 3:27 a.m. EDT on Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Mission managers decided to use the extra day to review Dragon’s safety and life support systems.
Crew-7 Commander Jasmin Moghbeli will lead Pilot Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Mission Specialists Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos, during their flight to the station. The Commercial Crew quartet aboard Endurance will automatically dock to the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 8:39 a.m. on Sunday. Soon after, the foursome will enter the station, greet the Expedition 69 crew, and begin a six-month microgravity research mission.
Meanwhile, the seven station crew members orbiting Earth are all but ready to welcome their four new crewmates. While the two cosmonauts were wrapping up Progress 85 activities and getting ready for bed, the other five lab residents worked on advanced research hardware and investigated ways to treat heart ailments.
NASA Flight Engineers Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg worked in the Tranquility module preparing the NanoRacks Bishop airlock for its upcoming depressurization and demating. The Canadarm2 robotic arm will grapple and remove Bishop from Tranquility early next week for an experiment to measure temperature, vibrations, and radiation on external payload sites.
UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi stowed hardware and reconfigured the Microgravity Science Glovebox following an investigation to manufacture superior material structures in space. Flight Engineer Frank Rubio of NASA worked in the Kibo laboratory module swapping samples of stem-cell derived heart micro-tissues inside the Life Science Glovebox. Rubio’s research work may help doctors discover new therapies for space-caused cardiac abnormalities and Earth-bound heart diseases.
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