Astronauts Train for Starliner Mission, Crew Keeps Up Human Research

The Boeing Starliner spacecraft is lifted from the ground for placement atop the Atlas-V rocket ahead of its launch to the space station. Credit: United Launch Alliance
The Boeing Starliner spacecraft is lifted from the ground for placement atop the Atlas-V rocket ahead of its launch to the space station. Credit: United Launch Alliance

The Expedition 67 crew is ramping up for the arrival of Boeing’s new Starliner crew ship due to launch next week to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the orbital residents continued their ongoing human research, cleaned spacesuits, and maintained lab hardware.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines trained on Wednesday for next week’s launch and docking of the Starliner spacecraft on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2). Both astronauts spent part of the day familiarizing themselves with the OFT-2 mission and Boeing’s Starliner vehicle systems. The duo also reviewed Starliner’s post-docking procedures including leak and pressurization checks, entering the vehicle, and cargo operations.

Boeing rolled out its Starliner vehicle to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) launch facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday. It was attached atop the Atlas-V rocket from ULA later that day. The Starliner crew ship and its rocket now stand vertical at the launch pad counting down to a liftoff targeted for 6:54 p.m. EDT on May 19. The unpiloted Starliner vehicle will automatically dock to the Harmony module’s forward port about 24 hours later where it will stay for cargo and test operations for five to 10 days.

Flight Readiness Review Begins for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2

Lindgren ended his day disconnecting and stowing spacesuit components in the U.S. Quest airlock. ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti started the spacesuit work Wednesday morning swapping and resizing spacesuit components and cleaning suit cooling loops.

Hines and NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins focused their science activities on human research throughout the work day. Hines began his morning attaching sensors to himself to record data for the Cerebral Autoregulation study that examines how microgravity affects brain structure. Watkins processed blood and urine samples for later analysis and also conducted a regularly scheduled hearing test.

Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev partnered together replacing life support gear in the station’s Russian segment. Artemyev also serviced broadband communications equipment and packed obsolete hardware for disposal inside the ISS Progress 80 resupply ship. Matveev completed a 24-hour session that recorded his heart activity while wearing electrodes. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on ventilation systems and video gear and synchronized a camera to station time which is set to Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT.


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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