Crew Explores Space Biology, Radiation Exposure Before Independence Day

Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA
Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA playfully demonstrates how fluids behave in the weightless environment of microgravity aboard the International Space Station.

The Expedition 60 crew explored space biology and radiation exposure aboard the International Space Station today. The orbital residents also filmed a virtual reality experience and oversaw the deployment of a set microsatellites.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch tended plants and stored microalgae samples for a pair of biology studies investigating ways to support long-term missions farther away from Earth. The two-part VEG-04 study is researching space agriculture as a method to nourish future crews as NASA prepares to go to the Moon and beyond. Microalgae is being observed for the Photobioreactor experiment that aims to demonstrate a hybrid life support system.

A series of seven CubeSats were deployed outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module today. NASA Flight Engineer Nick Hague configured the seven microsatellites last week and installed them in a Kibo’s small satellite deployer. An international team of engineers and students designed the CubeSats for a variety of experiments and technology demonstrations.

Both astronauts teamed up in the afternoon for another filming session depicting life aboard the orbital outpost. The crew has been videotaping a cinematic, virtual reality experience on the station to share with audiences on Earth.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin set up radiation detectors throughout the station’s Russian segment this morning. The Matroyshka experiment is observing the amount of radiation the station and the crew are exposed to on its flight path.

The orbiting trio will take a day off on July 4 and relax aboard the station. Back on Earth, a new set of Expedition 60 crewmates will fly from Russia on the U.S. Independence Day to their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are in final preparations with cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov for a July 20 liftoff to their new home in space. Their launch comes 50 years to the day NASA landed humans on the Moon for the first time.

Life Support Work Aboard Lab as Next Crew Preps for Mission

Earth's atmospheric glow, highlighted by the Moon and a starry orbital nighttime
Earth’s atmospheric glow, highlighted by the Moon and a starry orbital nighttime background, are pictured as the International Space Station orbited 256 miles above the Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Hawaiian island chain.

The three Expedition 60 crewmembers aboard the International Space Station focused primarily on keeping the orbiting lab in tip-top shape today. At the end of the workday, the trio split up for some space gardening and Earth photography.

NASA Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Nick Hague teamed up on Tuesday replacing components in the station’s Water Recovery System (WRS). The time-consuming maintenance work requires the rotation of racks and a treadmill to access the WRS in the Tranquility module. The life support device processes water vapor and urine and converts it into drinkable water.

Hague wrapped up his workday servicing a science freezer before watering plants growing for a space botany study. Koch worked out on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device then called down to Mission Control for a conference with flight surgeons.

On the Russian side of the station, Commander Alexey Ovchinin explored advanced photography techniques before an afternoon of lab cleaning work. In the evening, the veteran cosmonaut photographed Earth targets documenting the effects of human and natural catastrophes.

The orbiting trio will take a day off on July 4 and relax aboard the station. Back on Earth, a new set of Expedition 60 crewmates will fly from Russia on the U.S. Independence Day to their launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are in final preparations with cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov for a July 20 liftoff to their new home in space. Their launch comes 50 years to the day NASA landed humans on the Moon for the first time.

Station Trio Works CubeSats, Space Plumbing Ahead of Historic July 20 Launch

Upcoming Expedition 60 crewmembers
Upcoming Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Drew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov and Luca Parmitano pose for pictures at the Kremlin Wall at Red Square in Moscow on June 28.

The Expedition 60 crew is configuring more CubeSats for deployment and working on space plumbing aboard the International Space Station today. Back on Earth, three crewmembers from the U.S., Italy and Russia are in training for their launch to the station on July 20.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague installed hardware that will deploy seven CubeSats outside of the Kibo laboratory module this week. Engineers and students from around the world designed the series of seven microsatellites for a variety of experiments and technology demonstrations.

NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch relocated a science freezer before some space gardening during Monday morning. She and Hague then took turns during the afternoon swapping filters and components in the station’s Water Recycling System.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin worked throughout the day in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. The two-time station visitor tested laptop computer batteries, transferred urine to a Russian cargo craft and maintained life support systems.

In Russia, three upcoming station residents from NASA, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos are in final preparations ahead of their historic July 20 launch. Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan, Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov are launching 50 years to the day humans first landed on the Moon. The trio will liftoff aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft to their new home in space.