More Immunity Studies as Crew Preps for Cargo Mission, Spacewalks

Expedition 65 Flight Engineers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Oleg Novitskiy unpack science hardware for installation inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.
Expedition 65 Flight Engineers (from left) Shane Kimbrough and Oleg Novitskiy unpack science hardware for installation inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

The International Space Station hummed with activity on Thursday as the Expedition 65 crew gets ready for the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission and continues immune system research. All seven crew members also joined together and practiced their emergency response skills.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide teamed up with ESA Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet during the morning, gathering and organizing items for return to Earth on the next resupply mission from SpaceX. The upgraded Cargo Dragon vehicle is targeted for launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket on June 3 from Kennedy Space Center. It will deliver the first two of six new solar arrays, a kidney disease therapy study, plant and microbe experiments and more, about two days after liftoff.

The Kibo laboratory module’s Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) once again was the center of activity for NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur. The duo continued servicing donor cell samples inside the LSG, which are being compared to cells on Earth, as scientists document the significant differences in microgravity. The Celestial Immunity study’s results may provide insights into new vaccines and drugs and advance the commercialization of space.

At the end of the day, Vande Hei had his veins scanned with an ultrasound device operated by NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough. Kimbrough earlier joined Pesquet and inspected tethers to be used during a pair of upcoming spacewalks. The spacewalks are planned for June and will see the installation of the soon-to-be delivered solar arrays on the station’s Port 6 truss structure.

Finally, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov joined their five crewmates and simulated an emergency aboard the station in conjunction with mission controllers on the ground. The drill consisted of locating emergency gear, practicing procedures and decision-making, and coordinating communications with controllers in Houston and Moscow.

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