Human Research Ahead of Spacewalk Preview on NASA TV

From left, astronauts Andreas Mogensen, Loral O'Hara, and Jasmin Moghbeli are pictured in their spacesuits training for spacewalks on Earth. Credit: NASA
From left, astronauts Andreas Mogensen, Loral O’Hara, and Jasmin Moghbeli are pictured in their spacesuits training for spacewalks on Earth. Credit: NASA

Spacesuit preparations took a break on Thursday as the Expedition 70 crew turned its attention it to human research including behavioral studies, eye exams, and a fitness evaluation. The International Space Station residents also focused on an array of science hardware maintenance and orbital plumbing tasks.

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara spent her day participating in the CIPHER human research study to understand how living in space affects an astronaut’s mind and body. She practiced simulated robotics maneuvers on a computer to assess changes in her cognition and brain function. She also processed blood and urine samples for insights into her immune and heart health. The experiment is observing the combined effects of radiation, isolation, long distances, microgravity, and closed environments on crews.

Two flight engineers, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA and Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), had a busy day of science hardware work, robotics training, and eye checks. Moghbeli started her schedule replacing components on the Cold Atom Lab and inspecting the quantum physics research facility. Furukawa began his shift configuring cameras and lights that will be installed outside the space station later. The pair then joined each other after lunch reviewing robotics procedures for an upcoming spacewalk. Finally, Furukawa examined Moghbeli’s eyes using standard medical imaging gear found in a doctor’s office on Earth.

NASA managers will discuss two spacewalks scheduled for Oct. 12 and 20 for science and maintenance at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday on NASA TV. For the first spacewalk, astronauts O’Hara and Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) will collect external microbe samples for analysis. The second spacewalk will see O’Hara and Moghbeli remove and replace communications and solar array hardware.

Mogensen, commander of Expedition 70, spent Thursday afternoon in the Tranquility module servicing life support components. Before that, he joined his crewmates Moghbeli and Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov for a medical emergency training session. The astronauts gathered together locating medical hardware, coordinating rescue roles, and practicing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, as part of the training session. The foursome launched to the orbital lab as members of the SpaceX Crew-7 mission on Aug. 26, 2023.

Earlier, cosmonaut Nikolai Chub assisted Borisov as he attached sensors to himself and pedaled on an exercise cycle for a physical fitness evaluation. Doctors evaluate the downlinked exercise data to understand a crew member’s aerobic and cardiovascular conditioning in weightlessness. Chub would spend the rest of the day on electronics and computer maintenance.

The orbiting lab’s most experienced crew member, cosmonaut and five-time station visitor Oleg Kononenko, started his day in the Zvezda service module replacing orbital plumbing parts. Afterward, Kononenko swapped gases for a space physics study and synchronized clocks on cameras to station computers.

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