Japan is preparing to launch its sixth cargo mission to the International Space Station Friday morning. The Expedition 50 crew is training for the cargo ship’s arrival while studying how living in space affects the human body and maintaining station systems.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is getting ready to roll out its H-IIB rocket Thursday afternoon for a launch Friday at 8:26 a.m. Eastern time (10:26 p.m. Japan time) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The H-IIB is carrying the Kounotori HTV-6 cargo craft that will deliver over 4.5 tons of cargo to the International Space Station. Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet continue studying the robotic procedures they will use to capture the HTV-6 when it arrives Tuesday morning.
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson, who is on her third station mission, spent the entire day researching how microgravity pulls fluids towards the head. Doctors have noted how these fluid shifts apply pressure to the back of astronauts’ eyes potentially causing damage and affecting vision.
Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko joined Whitson throughout the day for ultrasound scans and eye checks as part of the Fluid Shifts study. Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy measured how activities on the station affect its magnetic field and microgravity environment.
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