The seven Expedition 68 crew members split their day between spacesuits and space science. A spacewalk to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system is planned soon as advanced microgravity research is ongoing aboard the orbital lab.
Astronauts Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) partnered together inside the Quest airlock readying a pair of Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), or spacesuits, for an upcoming spacewalk. The pair were joined by NASA Flight Engineers Frank Rubio and Josh Cassada checking EMU components and preparing Quest ahead of the next spacewalk to prepare the station for its next roll-out solar array.
Meanwhile, space research is continuously taking place aboard the space station whether the experiments are operated manually by the astronauts, remotely by scientists on Earth, or autonomously with little to no inputs from crew members or payload specialists.
Wakata started his day in the Kibo laboratory module working on video components and cables to support research observation activities. Mann swapped a hard drive and installed new software on a laptop computer providing scientific data and command capabilities for an EXPRESS rack.
Cassada worked on a pair of research facilities on Thursday swapping fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then watering tomato plants growing inside the Veggie space botany system. Rubio serviced the Confocal space microscope that provides fluorescence imagery of biological samples providing fundamental insights into cellular and tissue characteristics.
Commander Sergey Prokopyev set up Earth observation hardware on Thursday morning before activating a 3-D printer and printing test samples. Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin studied the physics of fluids exposed to magnetic and electric fields in microgravity. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina spent her day on electronics maintenance charging equipment and checking cable connections.
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