All seven Expedition 67 crew members are enjoying a quiet Monday on station as the four astronauts and three cosmonauts relaxed for a three-day weekend. However, science is always ongoing on the International Space Station as researchers continuously explore how to stay healthy and work effectively in microgravity.
The septet will get back to a full work day on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week maintaining space station systems and conducting an array of advanced space research, including robotics and botany. However, NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines did spend an hour-and-a-half on Monday tending to mizuna greens and radishes growing for the XROOTS space gardening study. Commander Oleg Artemyev from Roscosmos retrieved a set of nanosatellites from the Progress 81 resupply ship for assembly and future deployment.
Cargo craft operations will soon be keeping the crew busy as it plans for the departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter slated to leave the station’s Unity module next week. Cygnus will be completing a four-month stay at the orbital lab when the Canadarm2 robotic arm releases the resupply ship from Unity for a fiery, but safe atmospheric reentry above the Pacific Ocean.
NASA and SpaceX officials met today to discuss the initial findings from additional inspections and testing of the Dragon spacecraft after teams measured elevated vapor readings of mono-methyl hydrazine (MMH) in an isolated region of the Dragon propulsion system. After offloading propellant from that region, SpaceX was able to narrow down the source of the issue to a Draco thruster valve inlet joint. Teams will now remove the specific hardware to replace it ahead of flight. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than July 11 for launch of the CRS-25 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.
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