Human Research and Emergency Drill Week Before Christmas

Docked Soyuz and Progress Spacecraft
The docked Soyuz and Progress spacecraft are seen as the International Space Station orbited over the southern continent of Africa. Credit: Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

The six Expedition 50 crew members from France, Russia and the United States are heading into the final holidays of the year with a muscle study and Earth observations today. The astronauts also checked out fluids and combustion science gear and practiced an emergency escape drill.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet measured his muscle and tendon response today with assistance from Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov. Pesquet used an ultrasound while wearing electrode stimulators around his right calf muscle. The Sarcolab experiment from the European Space Agency seeks to define which muscles are used and not used when living in space.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson worked on replacing gear inside an integrated rack facility that contains two racks. One rack, the Fluids Integrated Rack, studies how fluids behave in space. The other rack, Combustion Integrated Rack, enables the safe research into how flames behave and materials burn in space.

Commander Shane Kimbrough swapped sample cartridges inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace which enables the observation of the levitation, melting and solidification materials. At the end of the workday, he joined his Soyuz crewmates Ryzhikov and veteran cosmonaut Andrey Borisenko for an emergency Soyuz descent drill. The trio practiced the escape routes and procedures they would use in the unlikely event they would need to evacuate the station aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.

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