Three astronauts and one cosmonaut are headed to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship today. The seven-member Expedition 68 crew worked half-a-day today before sleep-shifting Thursday afternoon to prepare for the rendezvous and docking of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission.
Crew-5 Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada, both NASA astronauts, with Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, are due to dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 4:57 p.m. EDT today. About two hours later, the commercial crew quartet will open the vehicle’s hatch and enter the orbiting lab. Finally, all 11 station crew members will gather for welcoming remarks at 8:05 p.m. NASA TV is providing live coverage of the rendezvous, docking, and crew greeting activities on the agency’s app and website.
In the meantime, NASA Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins spent the morning collecting their blood samples, spinning the samples in a centrifuge, and stowing them in a science freezer for later analysis. Afterward, the pair joined ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren and tested wearing a specialized garment that can manage blood pressure in microgravity. The orthostatic intolerance garment may help astronauts quickly adapt to the return to Earth’s gravity. The foursome is due to board the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship and parachute to a landing off the coast of Florida about a week after the Crew-5 mission arrives.
Astronaut Frank Rubio of NASA, just over two weeks into his first spaceflight, spent his morning on human research collecting and stowing his saliva and urine samples for later analysis, taking a hearing test, then completing a periodic health exam. First time cosmonaut Dmitri Petelin replaced electronics and ventilation components in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, on his second station mission, serviced an oxygen generator as part of standard life support maintenance.
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