Two Expedition 67 astronauts are unloading cargo delivered inside Boeing’s Starliner crew ship and testing its systems ahead of its departure this week. Meanwhile, the other residents aboard the International Space Station are juggling advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance.
NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines have been unpacking some of the 500 pounds of NASA cargo delivered aboard Starliner on Friday. The duo has also been testing the commercial crew vehicle’s communications and power systems.
They will turn their attention on Tuesday to readying Starliner for its undocking and return to Earth on Wednesday. Lindgren and Hines will pack Starliner with 600 pounds of return cargo, close the vehicle’s hatch, and monitor its departure set for 2:36 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. It will parachute to a landing in White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 6:49 p.m. (4:49 p.m. Mountain Time) the same day.
Science is always underway on the orbiting lab with the crew exploring a multitude of phenomena to benefit humans living on Earth and in space. Today, NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins attached electrodes to herself and scanned her neck, chest and leg with an Ultrasound device for the Vascular Echo study. The experiment investigates how microgravity affects an astronaut’s arteries and veins with insights possibly improving cardiovascular conditions on Earth.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) worked on complex research hardware and supported a space botany experiment on Monday. Cristoforetti replaced a sensor on the Materials Science Laboratory then swapped components inside the DECLIC device that supports fluid and material physics research. She also refilled water and nutrients in the XROOTS facility that explores growing plants in space using hydroponics and aeroponics.
Over in the station’s Russian segment, Commander Oleg Artemyev checked thermal control system pipes then serviced the Elektron oxygen generator. He also joined Flight Engineer Denis Matveev and tested communication systems aboard the ISS Progress 79 cargo craft. Matveev also installed radiation detectors then unpacked cargo from the inside the ISS Progress 80 resupply ship. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on ventilation and orbital systems then set up gear for the future installation of a glovebox facility inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
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