The Expedition 64 crew continued setting up a new science and cargo airlock for operations today since its installation last year on the International Space Station. The orbital residents also researched how microgravity affects humans, plants and physics.
The station’s Tranquility module was expanded in December with the addition of the new NanoRacks Bishop airlock. Flight Engineer Kate Rubins is finalizing its configuration today by connecting cables and installing components so Bishop can begin service. She was assisted by fellow NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Victor Glover who began stowing cargo inside Bishop for the first time.
Glover started the morning with NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module researching how the human nervous system adapts to weightlessness. The duo took turns seated in a specialized chair performing a series of dexterous manipulation tasks for the GRIP study. Insights may help engineers and doctors develop better spacecraft interfaces and treat neurological conditions on Earth.
Hopkins then spent the afternoon demonstrating hydroponics for the Plant Water Management study as a way to sustain plants in microgravity from germination through harvest. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi jotted down his meals for the Nutrition study before swapping samples for a crystal growth/semiconductor study.
Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov were back on exercise research today studying how the lack of gravity impacts the effectiveness of a workout. The duo strapped sensors to themselves measuring their heart and breathing rate as they jogged on the Zvezda service module’s treadmill.