The six-member Expedition 59 crew conducted a routine, periodic drill for response to emergencies today in the middle of a science-packed day. The astronauts also researched space biology while preparing for next week’s SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.
The space residents practiced communications, roles and responsibilities, and evacuating the station in the unlikely event of an emergency. The crew would split up, board their Soyuz spacecraft and undock quickly for a ride back to Earth. The two Soyuz crew ships docked to the International Space Station each hold three crewmembers.
NASA Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain set up the ultrasound and optometry instruments today for more Fluid Shifts studies. Flight surgeons are exploring what happens to an astronaut’s veins and eyes due to the head-ward flow of fluids caused by microgravity.
Hague later checked out command and communications gear he and astronaut David Saint-Jacques will use when the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship arrives next week. Saint-Jacques will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Dragon early Friday, May 3, two days after it launches from Florida. Hague will monitor Dragon’s telemetry during its approach and rendezvous. NASA TV is broadcasting the pre-flight activities and mission events live.
Saint-Jacques and Flight Engineer Christina Koch also split the day feeding mice and cleaning cages for the Rodent Research-12 experiment. The study is investigating the immune system’s response to the conditions of long-term spaceflight.
Commander Oleg Kononenko focused much of his attention today on life support maintenance in the Russian segment of the orbital lab. Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin studied ways to maximize the effectiveness of exercise in the weightless environment of microgravity.