Astronauts Study Biology and Physics, Work Inside Crew Dragon

A bright aurora crowns Earth's horizon beneath a starry sky as the International Space Station flew into an orbital sunrise.
A bright aurora crowns Earth’s horizon beneath a starry sky as the International Space Station flew into an orbital sunrise.

Human research and combustion science were the main focus of the Expedition 66 crew today. The International Space Station residents are also ensuring a U.S. spaceship and a Russian module stay in tip-top shape.

Two astronauts started their day on Wednesday collecting blood to help scientists understand how living in weightlessness impacts the human body. Commander Thomas Pesquet and Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough drew then spun their blood samples in a centrifuge before placing them in a science freezer for later analysis.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei collected his urine sample this morning before stowing it inside another science freezer. Akihiko Hoshide, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), reviewed a variety of tests he will perform upon returning to Earth, including blood draws, a computer robotics simulation, and a fitness exam.

Vande Hei then moved on and replaced experiment controllers inside the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR), a research device that enables safe experiments with fuel, flames, and soot in microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur swapped oxygen bottles inside the CIR to ensure ongoing combustion research operations.

Kimbrough of NASA also spent the afternoon charging touchscreen tablets and checking seat components inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. He will lead McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet back to Earth inside Endeavour when NASA and SpaceX finalize a splashdown date off the coast of Florida this month.

In the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov continued checking circuit connections between the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and the Zvezda service module. Veteran cosmonaut and four-time station visitor Anton Shkaplerov serviced communications and electronics gear throughout the day on Wednesday.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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