Space Biology and Fire Research as Station Orbits Higher

NASA astronaut Christina Koch
NASA astronaut Christina Koch handles media bags that enable the manufacturing of organ-like tissues using the BioFabrication Facility, a 3-D biological printer.

The Expedition 61 crew is learning how to live and work in space and researching ways to adapt to long-term human spaceflight. Meanwhile, the International Space Station is orbiting higher today to support Russian spacecraft activities planned for 2020.

Rodents are being studied aboard the orbiting lab today since their physiology is similar to humans and reacts the same way to microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan set up the Life Sciences Glovebox to research therapies that may prevent space-caused muscle and bone loss in mice. Commander Luca Parmitano and Flight Engineer Jessica Meir supported the research activities cleaning the rodent habitats and feeding the mice.

Safety in a spacecraft is crucial for the success of long-term mission to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Combustion research on the station helps scientists understand how a variety of materials burn and how flames expand in weightlessness. NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch used the Microgravity Science Glovebox today observing how different fabrics burn under controlled conditions. Results could improve fire safety on Earth and in space.

Veteran cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka conducted a variety of space research in the orbital lab’s Russian segment. The duo partnered together in the morning for an exercise study. Skvortsov also explored ways to detect micrometeoroid impacts on the station. Skripochka routed and installed cables supporting a study to observe and forecast Earth catastrophes.

Overnight, a docked Progress 74 cargo craft fired its engines in a sequence of two burns raising the space station’s orbit. The orbital maneuvers set the stage for upcoming Soyuz crew ship and Progress cargo craft missions scheduled in 2020.

4 thoughts on “Space Biology and Fire Research as Station Orbits Higher”

    1. When the station raises its orbit its altitude above the Earth’s surface increases but its direction of travel remains the same. At the time of the last orbital reboost the station’s new altitude was 265 statute miles (its highest point above Earth, or apogee) x 254 statute miles (its lowest point above Earth, or perigee).

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