Stem Cell Research Continues, Crew Preps for Cargo Arrival

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O'Hara works on a bone cell study inside the Life Science Glovebox located inside the International Space Station's Kibo laboratory module. O’Hara was working on the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A investigation that may provide a better understanding of space-caused bone loss and aging-related bone conditions on Earth.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara works on a bone cell study inside the Life Science Glovebox located inside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. O’Hara was working on the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A investigation that may provide a better understanding of space-caused bone loss and aging-related bone conditions on Earth.

Stem cell research carried into Friday as the Expedition 70 crew members worked to wrap up an experiment that began earlier in the week. As science continued aboard the International Space Station, a cargo craft is currently in orbit preparing to approach the orbiting laboratory for an automatic docking scheduled for the early morning hours Saturday.

Two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, are gearing up to be on duty monitoring the automated docking of the Progress 87 cargo craft, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress is scheduled to dock to the station at 1:12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. Kononenko and Chub spent Friday preparing for the upcoming cargo delivery by reviewing telerobotically operated rendezvous unit (TORU) procedures, which allows them to remotely control an arriving spacecraft in the unlikely event it could not automatically dock.

In the Kibo Laboratory, another day of stem cell research was underway for four orbital residents. Throughout the morning, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with assistance from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa, processed samples inside the Life Sciences Glovebox for the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A (MABL-A) investigation. The duo carried out the experiment to help scientists assess the effects of microgravity on bone marrow stem cells, which may provide a better understanding of space-caused bone loss and aging-related bone conditions on Earth.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, with assistance from ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen, then took over the work with MABL-A, sampling additional stem cells throughout the afternoon.

O’Hara also spent some time conducting maintenance in the Bishop Airlock. Furukawa removed old and installed new CO2 units in Kibo’s gas supply equipment, Moghbeli conducted some orbital plumbing, and Mogensen analyzed some bacteria samples that were collected earlier in the week.

In the Roscosmos segment, Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov ran a distillation cycle on the water processing unit. Later on, he conducted an experiment to analyze Earth’s nighttime atmosphere in near-ultraviolet.


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Stem Cell Science and Human Research Studies Ahead of Cargo Arrival

The seven-member Expedition 70 crew gathers for a dinner time portrait inside the International Space Station's Unity module. In the front row from left are, Flight Engineers Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, and Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). In the back row are, Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency), NASA Flight Engineer Loral O'Hara, and Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub.
The seven-member Expedition 70 crew gathers for a dinner time portrait inside the International Space Station’s Unity module. In the front row from left are, Flight Engineers Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, and Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). In the back row are, Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency), NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara, and Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub.

A cargo craft loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies is currently in orbit heading to the International Space Station, targeting early Saturday for docking. As the Expedition 70 crew members await the arrival of Progress 87, stem cell science, heart rate data collection and eye exam activities topped their research schedule on Thursday.

Progress 87 successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 14. On Saturday, Feb. 17, the cargo craft will automatically dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 1:12 a.m., with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub on duty to monitor the spacecraft’s arrival.

Aboard station, four orbital residents spent most of the day on the Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Microgravity Induced Bone Loss (MABL-A) investigation. MABL-A—delivered aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th Commercial Resupply Mission—assesses the effects of microgravity on bone marrow stem cells. In the morning, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara collected BioCell samples inside the habitat with assistance from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furkawa. In the afternoon, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli took over the BioCell sampling work with assistance from ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen.

Mogensen also spent part of the day photographing Plant-Microbe Interactions in Space (APEX-10) petri plates—another investigation that launched aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th resupply mission—to examine whether beneficial microbes can mitigate some of the negative effects the space environment can have on plant growth and development.

In the afternoon, O’Hara conducted an array of activities for the CIPHER investigation, including the collection of heart rate data and completing an eye exam. CIPHER, or Complement of Integrated Protocols for Human Exploration Research, is an all-encompassing, total-body approach that examines how humans adapt to spaceflight.

In the Roscosmos segment, Chub worked with Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov to film an educational video that demonstrates the capabilities of Roscosmos scientific hardware aboard station. Meanwhile, Kononenko conducted some routine maintenance in Zarya module. Near the end of the day, Borisov examined the Earth’s nighttime atmosphere in near-ultraviolet for an ongoing investigation aboard the orbital lab.


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Cargo Craft Successfully Launches to Station

The Progress 87 cargo craft launches to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Feb. 14, 2024. Credit: NASA TV
The Progress 87 cargo craft launches to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Feb. 14, 2024. Credit: NASA TV

The unpiloted Roscosmos Progress 87 is safely in orbit headed for the International Space Station following launch at 10:25 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 14 (8:25 a.m. Baikonur time Thursday, Feb. 15) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit, and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned, on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 70 crew members.

Progress will dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module two days later at 1:12 a.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 17. Live coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 12:30 a.m. Progress will deliver almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the space station.


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Progress Cargo Craft Launching Live on NASA TV

The ISS Progress 75 resupply ship is pictured with a Full Moon above the Earth’s horizon after undocking from the station. Credits: NASA
The ISS Progress 75 resupply ship is pictured with a Full Moon above the Earth’s horizon after undocking from the station. Credits: NASA

NASA+, NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app are providing live coverage of the launch of a Roscosmos cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The unpiloted Progress 87 is scheduled to lift off on a Soyuz rocket at 10:25 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 14 (8:25 a.m. Baikonur time Thursday, Feb. 15) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Progress will dock to the aft port of the Zvezda service module two days later at 1:12 a.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 17 . NASA coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 12:30 a.m.


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Crew Replaces Scientific Hardware; Cargo Craft Readies for Launch

The ISS Progress 81 resupply ship from Roscosmos is pictured 265 miles above the Pacific Ocean after undocking from the Zvezda service module's rear port on Feb. 7, 2023.
The ISS Progress 81 resupply ship from Roscosmos is pictured 265 miles above the Pacific Ocean after undocking from the Zvezda service module’s rear port on Feb. 7, 2023.

The Expedition 70 crew is counting down to the arrival of new cargo as Progress nears its launch on Wednesday. Aboard the International Space Station, scientific hardware replacements and cargo audits topped the schedule for the seven orbital residents.

The Progress 87 cargo craft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress will dock to the station around 1:12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, where it will remain for approximately six months.

In the Kibo Laboratory, Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent the day working on the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF). ELF allows safe thermophysical research in microgravity, providing scientists and engineers the opportunity to observe what happens to materials exposed to high temperatures in the space environment. With assistance from Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara of NASA, Furukawa retrieved ELF, then replaced sensor controllers on the device before reinstalling it.

O’Hara completed some orbital plumbing tasks in the morning, and after assisting Furukawa, she swapped the sleeves in the Life Sciences Glovebox, which is a sealed work area astronauts use to conduct various life sciences and technology investigations.

In the Destiny module, Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) installed new sample cartridges in the Materials Science Laboratory, a payload used for materials research in microgravity. Afterward, Mogensen collected water samples from the station’s Potable Water Dispenser, before completing a VR for Exercise and VR Mental Care session.

As part of ongoing science, crew members study burning in microgravity to determine how material flammability is affected by fuel temperatures through an experiment called SoFIE-GEL. In the morning, Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA replaced experiment samples for the investigation. She then moved on to cargo ops, unloading supplies and science that were delivered aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission.

In the Roscosmos segment, the trio of cosmonauts—Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and Konstantin Borisov—kept busy with inventory and cargo audits throughout the day. Borisov also ran a Pilot-T session, an ongoing experiment that allows crew members to practice piloting techniques.


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Tech Installs and Maintenance for Crew Ahead of Cargo Launch

Expedition 70 Flight Engineers (from left) Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara, both from NASA, pose for a portrait inside the Destiny laboratory module.
Expedition 70 Flight Engineers (from left) Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, both from NASA, pose for a portrait inside the Destiny laboratory module.

Equipment installs and station maintenance topped the in-orbit schedule aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday. The Expedition 70 crew members expanded on work that began yesterday while completing some maintenance around station as they await the arrival of an upcoming cargo craft.

The Progress 87 cargo craft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress will dock to the station around 1:12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17.

As one cargo resupply ship readies for launch, two cosmonauts—Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub—were on duty last night, Feb. 12, to monitor the departure of the Progress 85 cargo craft. Progress undocked from the orbital lab at 9:09 p.m. before it reentered Earth’s atmosphere three hours later and harmlessly burned up over the Pacific Ocean.

Kononenko and Chub had a light duty day afterward, focusing on cargo audits and preparations for future experiments.

Meanwhile, ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen spent the bulk of his day working in the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock. He installed the Nanoracks-GITAI S2 modular robotic arm, which demonstrates the design, build, and operations of extravehicular robotic systems. This tech demonstration aims to aid in the development of robots for in-space assembly and manufacturing, supporting future commercial lunar missions.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli spent her day on a few different tasks, collecting blood pressure data for the Vascular Aging investigation, stowing the Bio-Monitor garment and headband she donned yesterday, and collecting atmosphere samples throughout the station.

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara assisted Mogensen with the Nanoracks-GITAI S2 install before photographing Plant-Microbe Interactions in Space (APEX-10) petri plates, which launched aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the station. The new investigation examines whether beneficial microbes can mitigate some of the negative effects the space environment can have on plant growth and development.

In the Kibo Laboratory, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa spent his day recording space demonstrations suggested by students for JAXA’s Try Zero-Gravity educational activity. Students can vote for and suggest tasks for JAXA astronauts to carry out on station, such as putting in eye drops, performing push-ups on the ceiling, and more, to allow the youth to interact with station residents and learn about living and working in microgravity.

In the Roscosmos segment, Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov completed some orbital maintenance tasks and ran a distillation cycle on the Roscosmos water management system.


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Crew Conducts Stem Cell Research and Training as Cargo Craft Nears Launch

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flght Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli works inside the Life Science Glovebox for the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A investigation.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flght Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli works inside the Life Science Glovebox for the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A investigation.

A busy week of science and prep for an upcoming cargo delivery kicked off aboard the International Space Station on Monday as the Expedition 70 crew set its sights on new stem cell research and orbital training.

Two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, are gearing up to be on duty monitoring the automated docking of the Progress 87 cargo craft, which is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress will dock to the station around 1:12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. In preparation of the upcoming cargo delivery, the cosmonauts trained on the telerobotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU, which allows them to remotely control an arriving spacecraft in the unlikely event it could not automatically dock.

Meanwhile, the Progress 85 cargo craft, which arrived to the station about six months ago, will undock from the station at 9:09 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12 About three hours later, it will be commanded to deorbit before harmlessly burning up over the Pacific Ocean.

While training for the upcoming mission was underway, two NASA Flight Engineers, Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, focused a majority of their day on the Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Microgravity Induced Bone Loss (MABL-A) investigation. MABL-A, which was delivered aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th Commercial Resupply Mission nearly two weeks ago, assesses the effects of microgravity on bone marrow stem cells. The duo worked separately throughout the day to sample BioCells inside the habitat with assistance from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa.

Later on, Moghbeli donned the Bio-Monitor garment and headband, which monitors and records vital signs while crew members perform daily activities. Afterward, she was joined by Furukawa, ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen, and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov to complete orbital training in the unlikely event an emergency were to occur on station.

Near the end of the day, Mogensen, with assistance from Furukawa, unstowed the NanoRacks External Platform then mounted a pressure management device to it before configuring power and data cables.


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Cygnus Installed on Station; Cargo Ops Begin

The Cygnus space freighter is pictured attached to the space station as the Canadarm2 robotic arm prepares to grapple the cargo craft.
The Cygnus space freighter is pictured attached to the space station as the Canadarm2 robotic arm prepares to grapple the cargo craft.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft installation on the International Space Station is now complete. Cygnus, carrying over 8,200 pounds of cargo and science experiments. At 4:59 a.m., NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli acting as backup, captured Cygnus using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The mission launched at 12:07 p.m. EST Jan. 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until May when it will depart the orbiting laboratory at which point it will harmlessly burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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Cygnus Installation Underway Live on NASA TV

The Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV
The Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television’s live coverage of installation of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is underway.

At 4:59 a.m. EST, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Cygnus is carrying 8,200 pounds of supplies, hardware, and science experiments.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the space station for NASA. The spacecraft is named the S.S. Patricia “Patty” Hilliard Robertson in honor of the former NASA astronaut.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until May when it will depart the orbiting laboratory at which point it will harmlessly burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.


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NASA Astronauts Capture Cygnus with Robotic Arm

The Canadarm2 robotic arm, operated by NASA astronaut Loral O'Hara, captures Northrop Grumman's Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV
The Canadarm2 robotic arm, guided by NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, captures Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. Credit: NASA TV

At 4:59 a.m., NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli acting as backup, captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft using the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Capture of the unpiloted spacecraft was slightly delayed as flight control teams on the ground reconfigured a redundant radio communications system on Cygnus, which links up with the space station’s C2V2 (Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles) system. C2V2 is the primary communications system between the space station and visiting spacecraft.

Mission control in Houston will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to position Cygnus to its installation orientation and then will guide it in for installation on the station’s Unity module Earth-facing port.

NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website will provide live coverage of the spacecraft’s installation at 6:30 a.m.

The spacecraft is named the S.S. Patricia “Patty” Hilliard Robertson in honor of the former NASA astronaut. The mission launched at 12:07 p.m. EST Jan. 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This is Northrop Grumman’s 20th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a supply of 8,200 pounds of scientific investigations and cargo to the orbiting laboratory.


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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