NASA and SpaceX managers continue to plan for the departure of four commercial crew astronauts aboard the International Space Station this week. A change of command is also on tap as the 11 orbital residents transition to a seven-member crew before the end of the week.
NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer are nearing the end of their space research mission that began in November. The quartet will first see Marshburn hand over station command to Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev who will lead Expedition 67 until late summer. The following day, the four astronauts will enter the SpaceX Dragon Endurance, undock from the Harmony module’s forward port, then splashdown off the coast of Florida about 24 hours later.
The four departing astronauts have been handing over their responsibilities to the station’s newest quartet that arrived on April 27 aboard the Dragon Freedom. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins with Samantha Cristoforetti from ESA are in the first week of a four-and-a-half-month research mission on the orbiting lab.
Flight Engineers Hines and Watkins partnered once again inside the Columbus laboratory module exploring how microgravity affects their dexterous manipulation. Lindgren worked on cargo operations inside the Cygnus space freighter then took a robotics test that measures behavioral conditions during spaceflight. Cristoforetti worked on exercise machine components and spent time on station familiarization activities.
Over in the Russian segment of the station, Artemyev took turns with Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov working out for a study exploring ways to maximize the effectiveness of exercise in weightlessness. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev worked on resupply activities inside the ISS Progress 80 cargo craft before cleaning ventilation systems.
Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/
Get the latest from NASA delivered every week. Subscribe here: www.nasa.gov/subscribe