The International Space Station raised its orbit today to get ready for an upcoming Russian resupply mission due to launch at the end of June. Meanwhile, the Expedition 65 crew continued its biology studies, spacewalk preparations and orbital lab maintenance on Thursday.
The ISS Progress 77 cargo craft, docked to the Pirs docking compartment, fired its thrusters shortly after 1 p.m. EDT today slightly lifting the station’s orbit. The half-mile orbital boost readies the orbiting lab for the ISS Progress 78 resupply ship due to launch on June 30 from Kazakhstan and dock to the Poisk module two days later.
Immune system research has been underway all week with NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur collaborating on the Celestial Immunity experiment. Vande Hei once again started his day retrieving donor cells from a science freezer, thawing them and spinning the samples in a centrifuge. McArthur followed that work treating the samples to document differences from sample cultures harvested on Earth. Results could lead to improved vaccines and treatments for diseases on Earth, as well as advance the commercialization of space.
Commander Akihiko Hoshide set up the Confocal Microscope today to get ready for the Cell Gravisensing study that seeks to understand how individual animal cells detect gravity. The three-time station visitor also collected and stowed his saliva samples for the Standard Measures study then checked his blood pressure for the Vascular Aging investigation.
NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough continued his orbital plumbing duties today with more troubleshooting in the Tranquility module’s Water Processing Assembly (WPA). Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency assisted Kimbrough with the WPA work and also serviced computers and cables throughout the day.
The year’s sixth spacewalk is set for June 2 for external maintenance and science experiment installations on the station’s Russian segment. Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, who spent Thursday morning inspecting their Orlan spacesuits, will spend about six-and-a-half hours outside the lab during their first career excursions. The duo split up in the afternoon and worked on a variety of life support and ventilation systems.