The Expedition 65 crew kicked off the work week with robotics research, combustion, and life science as the International Space Station orbits a little higher today. Three Russian orbital residents are also preparing for their return to Earth this weekend.
NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough worked in the NanoRacks Bishop airlock today installing cameras, work lights and the new GITAI robotic arm technology demonstration. The GITAI tech demo will test the small robotic arm’s ability to push buttons, flip switches, and plug and unplug cables inside the station saving the crew time.
NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur opened up the Combustion Integrated Rack and replaced components for the ACME series of gaseous flame studies today. Akihiko Hoshide, Flight Engineer from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), participated in a cognition test for the Standard Measures experiment before setting up the wearable Bio-Monitor that monitors crew health.
Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) spent most of the day servicing laptop computers and swapping out science hardware in the Columbus laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei had a light duty day as well as conducted a ham radio pass with students from England.
The return to Earth of Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko is still on track for Oct. 17 just after midnight Eastern time. The trio will undock from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).
Novitskiy continued packing the Soyuz MS-18 then joined cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and tested the lower body negative pressure suit that may help crew members adjust to gravity after returning to Earth. Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov studied how microgravity affects the circulatory system before moving on to filmmaking activities with the other two cosmonauts and the two spaceflight participants.
The space station’s Zvezda service module fired it engines for 39 seconds early Tuesday morning lifting the station’s orbit by just over half-a-mile. The orbital reboost readies the station for December’s planned approach and rendezvous of the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship with one Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese spaceflight participants.