Multitude of Research Today Focuses on Space Effects on Biology and Station

NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir
NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir pose for a portrait inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.”

Today’s space biology work aboard the International Space Station observed samples swabbed from an astronaut’s skin and bone cells living in media bags. Other ongoing studies explored space piloting techniques and microgravity’s effects on the orbiting lab’s structure.

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan swabbed his nose, forehead and forearm early Tuesday before stowing the samples in a science freezer. Scientists on the ground will analyze the samples for the Standard Measures study that seeks to understand how humans adapt to spaceflight.

In the afternoon, Morgan joined fellow Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir for more robotics training ahead of the SpaceX Dragon resupply mission due to launch Friday at 11:50 p.m. EST. The duo practiced on a computer the techniques they would use to capture the U.S. space freighter with the Canadarm2. Meir also activated the command panel that sends and receives vehicle telemetry and commands from Dragon as it approaches the station.

NASA TV will begin its live launch broadcast Friday at 11:30 p.m. Dragon’s rendezvous and capture coverage starts Monday at 5:30 a.m. with its robotic capture planned for 7 a.m.

Meir tackled a pair of advanced life sciences studies during the afternoon checking hardware that enables the printing of human tissue and the nourishment of bone cells. First, she tested the operation of the BioFabrication Facility that seeks to overcome the detrimental effects of printing biological structures in Earth’s gravity. Afterward, Meir replenished the media used to support bone cells being observed to gain therapeutic insights into Earth ailments such as osteoporosis.

Roscosmos Commander Oleg Skripochka spent Tuesday morning exploring how to pilot a spacecraft or control a robotic rover under a variety of microgravity conditions. Later, he checked heart research gear before looking at data on the physical stresses that mission events such as spacecraft dockings place on the station.

Crew Gears Up for Dragon Cargo Mission amid Earth Studies

The Strait of Gibraltar connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea
The Strait of Gibraltar connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain on the European continent from Morocco on the African continent.

The Expedition 62 crew is gearing up for next week’s space delivery aboard a U.S. cargo craft continuing the upkeep of International Space Station systems.

SpaceX has completed a successful static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon resupply ship will be perched atop the Falcon 9 when it blasts off toward the station on Friday at 11:50 p.m. EST.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan will be in the cupola Monday to capture Dragon at approximately 7 a.m. Morgan will command the Canadarm2 to reach out and grapple Dragon as Meir monitors its approach and rendezvous. NASA TV will broadcast both the launch and capture activities live.

The NASA duo practiced their robotics activities today and configured the station to receive the more than 5,600 pounds of cargo packed inside Dragon. Morgan started the day setting up a specialized habitat to house mice being delivered next week aboard the U.S. space freighter. Meir was also making space and organizing the Japanese Kibo laboratory module to make room for the new hardware.

Commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos worked on Earth observation research today ending one experiment and starting another. He finalized a run of the student-operated EarthKAM investigation this morning shutting down gear and stowing hardware. In the afternoon, the veteran cosmonaut set up and activated an experiment that observes the atmosphere at nighttime in near-ultraviolet wavelengths.