Daylong Robotics as Crew Tests Advanced Attire aboard Station

Expedition 67 crew members pose with fresh fruit flying weightlessly in microgravity delivered recently aboard the Progress 81 cargo craft
Expedition 67 crew members pose with fresh fruit flying weightlessly in microgravity delivered recently aboard the Progress 81 cargo craft

Wednesday saw daylong automated robotics activities as the crew tested advanced attire while working aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 67 crew also ensured communications and life support systems continued operating in tip-top shape today.

The Kibo laboratory module from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is the site of a pair of robotics free-flyers, known as Astrobees, autonomously navigating and performing maneuvering techniques today. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins cleared Kibo of obstacles in the morning then activated the Astrobees for a day full of automated robotics operations.

The toaster-sized, cube-shaped devices are using uplinked command algorithms while downlinking video so scientists can monitor their automated abilities in real-time from the ground. Researchers are testing the robotic assistants for their ability to aid astronauts with routine tasks and monitor station systems, thus increasing mission effectiveness in space.

Watkins also continued testing the comfort and mobility of wearing a specialized radiation protection vest while working aboard the orbiting lab. She then serviced hardware supporting advanced combustion and physics experiments.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti tested another experimental garment today that monitors crew health. She wore a smart-shirt that is integrated with sensors and wirelessly transmits data about the performance of a crew member’s cardiovascular system in microgravity.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines worked throughout Wednesday on a variety of station maintenance activities. Lindgren replaced components on the advanced resistive exercise device before inspecting hatch seals in the station’s U.S. segment. Hines measured airflows throughout the station then installed a scratch pane on a window inside the cupola.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov were back on exercise research duty today studying ways to maximize the effectiveness of a workout in microgravity. Artemyev then set up Earth observation hardware while Korsakov checked out life support gear inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev tested different methods of communicating with students on Earth then worked on ventilation systems and video recording hardware.

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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