The Expedition 68 crew members wrapped up their week aboard the International Space Station by removing payloads for a resupply mission, installing equipment for microgravity research, and performing eye exams for a routine checkup.
NASA Flight Engineers Frank Rubio and Woody Hoburg and Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) made progress transferring supplies from the SpaceX cargo Dragon. Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen from NASA gathered hardware delivered by the spacecraft for the Heart-Tissue 2 study. The investigation will test whether clinically approved drugs reduce microgravity-induced changes in heart cells and tissues.
Outside of Dragon cargo operations, Rubio migrated double-cold bags for transporting samples from the station’s Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubators (MERLIN) to the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL). He also harvested tomatoes from the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) for the Veg-05 space botany study.
Hoburg performed installations to the Nanoracks Nanod, which provides power and data transfer capabilities for carrying out studies in microgravity. Additionally, he made configurations to the HAM radio used to communicate with students on Earth, cleaned vents and removed cartridges in air quality monitors, and performed an inspection of the station’s bathroom.
Bowen completed a training session that teaches astronauts docking and grappling techniques. He also exercised using the advanced resistive exercise device (ARED) and Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS) device.
Meanwhile, Alneyadi performed installations to a research facility called ICE Cubes, which hosts different experiments in microgravity with the aid of small, modular containers that slot into a rack drawer. He also recorded a video for a diabetes study inside the facility. Near the end of the day, Alneyadi installed 24 Kubik experiment containers for the ESA (European Space Agency) – Biofilms investigation, which analyzes bacterial biofilm formation and the antimicrobial properties of different metal surfaces in space.
Planning ahead, the cosmonauts aboard the station met for a conference to prepare for next week’s tasks. Later, Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos spent time arranging tools and cleaning smoke detectors. Near the end of the day, Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin completed a routine Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) eye exam, which uses an imaging technique analogous to ultrasound imaging with light instead of sound.
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