Space Bubbles, Advanced Optics Benefiting Earthlings, Astronauts

Japan's HTV-9 resupply ship is pictured dwarfing the Moon behind it
Japan’s HTV-9 resupply ship is pictured dwarfing the Moon behind it. Nearly hidden at the top center is the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.

A pair of space freighters from Russia and Japan docked to the International Space Station are getting attention today as the Expedition 63 crew works on a variety of space experiments.

NASA Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have nearly finished unpacking Japan’s HTV-9 cargo craft which arrived May 25. They have been carefully transferring several tons of new station hardware and science experiments and distributing it throughout the station.

Both astronauts also continued their research into space bubbles and how they behave in microfluid systems. Results from the study may improve spacecraft oxygen generation systems and drug delivery applications in skin patches.

One new science experiment being configured today is a high-resolution binocular telescope to be tested outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Station Commander Chris Cassidy is setting up the device to demonstrate low-cost, advanced optical payloads for use by public and private institutions. Designed to be affordable and quickly developed, the cutting-edge technology imager will provide detailed views of natural phenomena and critical infrastructure on Earth.

One of two Russian resupply ships, the Progress 74 (74P), at the station is being readied for its departure in July. Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin checked out navigation gear and packed trash inside the 74P that has been parked at the Pirs docking compartment since Dec. 6, 2019. The 74P will wrap up its seven-month cargo mission in early July for a fiery atmospheric disposal above the south Pacific.

He and fellow cosmonaut Ivan Vagner also ensured the upkeep of Russian life support systems. The duo later split up for an Earth photography session and the study of group dynamics between space crews and mission controllers.

6 thoughts on “Space Bubbles, Advanced Optics Benefiting Earthlings, Astronauts”

  1. How many things can be docked to the ISS? It seems full up there, with the Russian supply ship, the Japanese supply ship, Crew Dragon, and the Soyuz capsule.

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