Nanoparticles and Robotics Research Amid Maintenance Today

Expedition 65 astronauts (from left) Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough talked to elementary school students from New York City on June 9.
Expedition 65 astronauts (from left) Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough talked to elementary school students from New York City on June 9.

The Expedition 65 crew members focused their Friday space research activities on nanoparticles and free-flying robotics. Their International Space Station maintenance activities included updating science communications hardware and replacing life support components.

State-of-the-art space manufacturing techniques being studied on the orbital lab have the potential to improve building technologies on Earth. The new InSPACE-4 study, delivered last month onboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship, seeks to harness nanoparticles and fabricate new and advanced materials. NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei were conducting more runs of the space physics experiment, that has been ongoing for several days, inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox today.

An AstroBee robotic free-flyer was powered up in the Kibo laboratory module Friday morning to demonstrate complex maneuvers in the orbital lab while using less propulsion. Commander Akihiko Hoshide configured the toaster-sized device Friday morning and ground scientists uplinked software commands to control the AstroBee. The Astrobatics robotic mobility study has implications for future space missions and technologies on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough spent the day installing new communications gear inside the Human Research Facility-2 (HRF-2) rack. Located in the Europe’s Columbus laboratory module, the HRF-2 enables studies of the physiological, behavioral and chemical changes that take place in the human body while living in space.

Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) joined Vande Hei and continued replacing aging components inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s carbon dioxide removal assembly. Pesquet later swapped a laptop computer battery and Vande Hei reviewed procedures to support next week’s port relocation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spaceship.

In the station’s Russian segment, first-time space flyer Pyotr Dubrov serviced communications hardware while veteran cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy swapped out a variety of electronics gear.

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