The Expedition 59 crew has been unpacking Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft over the weekend and began science operations on the newly delivered space research. The 17th SpaceX Dragon mission is now due to launch next week to replenish the International Space Station.
Three NASA astronauts and one Canadian Space Agency astronaut split the workday measuring the mass of 40 mice shipped to the station aboard Cygnus last week. Flight Engineers Anne McClain and Christina Koch started the first half of the day with Flight Engineers Nick Hague and David Saint-Jacques wrapping up the rodent research work in the afternoon. The quartet used the mass measurement device inside the Life Sciences Glovebox beginning the study to learn how microgravity impacts the immune system.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is due to join the five other spacecraft parked at the station after it launches from Florida April 30. Dragon is scheduled to arrive May 2 and Saint-Jacques will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture the cargo vessel. Dragon will deliver over 5,000 pounds of new science, supplies and hardware to the orbital lab.
Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin stayed focused on the Russian side of the station with their complement of orbital science and lab maintenance. Commander Kononenko updated communications gear, cleaned fans and filters and explored enzyme behaviors. Flight Engineer Ovchinin offloaded cargo from the new Progress 72 resupply ship and studied radiation exposure.