New Space Research Kicks Off Ahead of Wednesday Cargo Launch

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are pictured working inside the Unity module which connects the International Space Station’s U.S. segment with the Russian segment.

Microgravity research is ramping up aboard the International Space Station with brand new science payloads and an expanded Expedition 60 crew. July will see one more mission going up to the orbiting lab as a Russian cargo craft counts down to a Wednesday launch and docking.

The Cell Science-02 experiment is underway on the station to explore bone-healing therapies. Astronauts Nick Hague and Luca Parmitano activated the Life Sciences Glovebox this morning to conduct the new bone research. Hague then retrieved bone cell samples to observe healing and tissue regeneration properties to promote human health on Earth and in space.

Parmitano then photographed samples inside the Kubik incubator for the new Biorock space-mining study. Harnessing the power of microbes could help future astronauts extract precious minerals from the surface of the Moon and Mars.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan completed setting up habitats housing mice shipped aboard the SpaceX Dragon space freighter. Scientists are comparing the space rodents to a sample of mice back on Earth to understand biological changes caused by microgravity.

Russia’s Progress 73 (73P) cargo craft is standing at its launch pad in Kazakhstan counting down to a liftoff Wednesday at 8:10 a.m. EDT. It will take a three-and-a-half-hour trip to the station’s Pirs Docking Compartment carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the crew. NASA TV is broadcasting the fast-track launch and docking activities live starting at 7:45 a.m.

Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov will be monitoring the 73P’s automated approach and rendezvous Wednesday. Today, the veteran station residents split their time between human research, computer maintenance and hardware inspections.

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