Robotics, Biomedicine Research Today During Crew Departure Preps

Sunrise casts long shadows from the clouds across the Philippine Sea
Sunrise casts long shadows from the clouds across the Philippine Sea as the International Space Station orbited about 200 miles east of Taiwan.

The Expedition 63 crew focused on robotic assistants and biomedicine today while preparing for two crew members to depart this weekend. The International Space Station residents are also cleaning U.S. spacesuits and unloading a Russian cargo craft.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are packing up for their return to Earth this weekend after two months aboard the orbiting lab. The duo is scheduled to enter their SpaceX Crew Dragon on Aug. 1 and undock from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter for a nominal splashdown the next day, they will be retrieved by SpaceX and NASA personnel. NASA TV is covering all the events live including briefings this week highlighting the agency’s first crewed mission aboard a commercial spacecraft.

Hurley still managed to work a pair of different experiments today as he trained to operate the AstroBee free-flying robots and explored light-manipulating materials. Behnken continued his post-spacewalk activities throughout Monday as he cleaned and serviced the spacesuits he and Commander Chris Cassidy wore during last week’s spacewalk.

Cassidy began his workday retrieving and stowing a small satellite deployer inside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The station commander next checked out hardware that analyzes how DNA from a variety of organisms adapts to microgravity.

In the Russian segment of the station, veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin continued unpacking the Progress 76 resupply ship that docked last week to the Pirs docking compartment. First-time space flyer Ivan Vagner juggled two different studies as he observed the enzymes of microorganisms and photographed the Earth to help forecast natural and man-made catastrophes.

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