Week Kicks Off with Space Physics, Biology Before Visitors Depart

Expedition 66 Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer is pictured inside the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station's "window to the world."
Expedition 66 Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer is pictured inside the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.”

It was a busy Monday for the 10 individuals living aboard the International Space Station as they worked on human research and space physics. The Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for next week’s departure of three lab visitors as well as a cargo delivery before Christmas.

NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn juggled a pair of life science studies throughout Monday. He first collected blood samples for the Vascular Aging experiment, then set up rodent research hardware for an upcoming visual function study. NASA astronaut Kayla Barron assisted Marshburn with the blood collection work. The duo also began packing station gear to be returned to Earth on the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission due to launch Dec. 21.

Barron also partnered with fellow NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari continuing cleanup activities in the U.S. Quest airlock following Barron’s spacewalk with Marshburn on Dec. 2. Chari also serviced radiation research hardware before auditing cargo packed in the Harmony module.

Working inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei studied ways to harness nanoparticles for a space manufacturing study. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer conducted blood pressure checks for the Vascular Aging study then spent the afternoon on maintenance work in the Columbus laboratory module.

Station Commander Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos worked on cargo transfers from the docked ISS Progress resupply ship. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov checked out Russian electronics and life support gear.

The orbiting lab’s three recent station visitors, cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and Japanese spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano, are due to return to Earth on Dec. 19. Three-time space visitor, Misurkin started gathering items to be packed inside the Soyuz MS-20 crew ship the trio will undock and land in. The other two space guests researched how microgravity affects the way blood flows from the limbs to the head.

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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