Station Deploying Microsatellites as New Crew Prepares for July 20 Launch

Expedition 60-61 Crewmembers
The next crew to launch to the space station is in Russia training for a July 20 launch to their new home in space. From left are, Expedition 60-61 crewmembers Andrew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano.

A satellite deployer ejected a CubeSat into Earth orbit last night from outside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. Today, the three Expedition 60 crewmembers explored microgravity’s effect on humans and plants to support longer spaceflight missions.

The RED-EYE microsatellite is orbiting Earth today to demonstrate satellite communications and attitude control technologies. NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague installed the satellite inside Kibo’s airlock last week for a safe deployment outside the orbiting lab. The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship delivered the CubeSat to the station May 6.

Hague is readying more CubeSats today for deployment later next week outside Kibo. They will orbit Earth demonstrating space tasks such as weather observations, satellite maneuvers and Earth photography. Students and engineers from around the world designed the series of seven microsatellites.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch watered plants growing inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module for the Veg-04 space gardening study. Afterward, she replaced fuel bottles to support flame and fuel research in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s Combustion Integrated Rack.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin spent Friday morning exploring tools and techniques future cosmonauts could use when controlling a spacecraft or a robot on a planetary surface. The two-time station resident then spent the afternoon working on life support systems and plumbing tasks in the station’s Russian segment.

Back on Earth, two veteran station crewmembers and a first-time space-flyer are wrapping up tests in Russia to certify for their July 20 launch to the orbiting lab. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan is in final mission training with experienced space residents Luca Parmitano of the European Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos. The trio will liftoff aboard the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship from Kazakhstan 50 years to the day when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the Moon.

3 thoughts on “Station Deploying Microsatellites as New Crew Prepares for July 20 Launch”

  1. I’m wondering how a plant decides what direction is up when it sprouts in micro gravity. Also what media are the plants grown in? I imagine a hose or watering can would make a big mess. So is some sort of special substance used to provide water and nutrients? Time for me to do some research on the matter.

  2. Well, this is it The final launch for Expedition 60-61!! we will seen you guys on July 20th next month and safe launch and safe docking!!

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