Exercise, Science Gear Work on Station as Next Crew Preps for Launch

The Soyuz MS-24 rocket that will launch three crew members to the space station on Friday, Sept. 15, is pictured standing at its launch pad in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The Soyuz MS-24 rocket that will launch three crew members to the space station on Friday, Sept. 15, is pictured standing at its launch pad in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Tuesday was filled with health research and science hardware maintenance for the Expedition 69 crew. The rocket to launch the next crew to live aboard the International Space Station has also rolled out to its launch pad.

Four flight engineers kicked off the day with a health examination checking vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli set up the medical gear, including the sensors and software that recorded the biomedical data, inside the Destiny laboratory module. She then joined Frank Rubio of NASA along with international astronauts Satoshi Furukawa and Andreas Mogensen for the periodic health checks.

Moghbeli moved on to the Columbus laboratory module reorganizing the ESA (European Space Agency) research facility and swapping research and cargo racks. She was making space inside Columbus to accommodate new exercise gear that will keep astronauts healthy and in shape during long-term space missions.

Mogensen of ESA attached breathing gear and sensors to himself and pedaled on an exercise cycle for an investigation measuring an astronaut’s aerobic capacity in microgravity. Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) assisted Mogensen setting up the exercise gear. He then serviced samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace, a high temperature research device that safely measures thermophysical properties of a variety of materials.

Rubio worked in the Kibo laboratory module readying a plasma monitor for placement outside the orbital outpost and into the external microgravity environment. The ionospheric plasma research device will be robotically installed on the Bartolomeo science platform. After a series of checkouts, it will begin studying how upper atmosphere phenomena like auroras affect radio and satellite signals.

Microbiology and cargo transfers were the focus for the orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts throughout Tuesday. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov spent the day swabbing station surfaces for microbes then stowing the samples for later analysis. Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin studied how to maintain safe and sterile conditions for space biology research. Commander Sergey Prokopyev checked items for packing inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship that will return him, Petelin, and Rubio back to Earth at the end of September.

Meanwhile, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz MS-24 rocket has rolled out to its launch pad counting down to a lift off at 11:44 a.m. EDT on Friday. The Soyuz crew ship will carry NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub on a short ride to the station that will see them dock to the Rassvet module at 2:56 p.m. the same day.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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