Human Research in Space; Next Crew Preps for Launch on Earth

Expedition 58 crew members in front of their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft
Expedition 58 crew members (from left) Anne McClain, Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques pose Nov. 20 in front of their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft during a vehicle fit check.

The Expedition 57 crew aboard the International Space Station conducted human research and space physics today while maintaining life support systems. The space trio also continued U.S. and Russian cargo operations as another crew on Earth prepared for its launch early next week.

Commander Alexander Gerst started his day with astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and scanned her eyes with an ultrasound device helping doctors understand how microgravity impacts vision. Gerst then observed protein crystals associated with Parkinson’s disease to help improve treatments on Earth. Auñón-Chancellor jotted down her space experiences for a psychological study then set up hardware for a semiconductor crystal experiment.

Gerst also gathered items to be packed inside the next SpaceX Dragon cargo vessel due to launch Dec. 4 and arrive at the station for capture Dec. 6. Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev transferred fluids for disposal aboard the Russian Progress 70 cargo craft which will depart from the Pirs docking compartment Jan. 25.

Back on Earth in Kazakhstan, three Expedition 58 crew members are in their final week of mission preparations before beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission aboard the orbital lab. Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will join Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for a six-hour ride aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft to the station. The new trio will launch Dec. 3 at 6:31 a.m. EST and dock to the Poisk module at 11:36 a.m. NASA TV will broadcast live the launch, docking and crew greeting.

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