Crew Studies Muscles, Skin Healing During Spacewalk Preps

The sun's glint beams off the Indian Ocean in this photograph from the space station as it soared 260 miles above.
The sun’s glint beams off the Indian Ocean in this photograph from the space station as it soared 260 miles above.

Space biology kicked off the week for the Expedition 67 crew on Monday to help NASA and its international partners support astronauts on long spaceflight missions. Two cosmonauts are also preparing for a spacewalk to continue outfitting the International Space Station’s third robotic arm.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines began Monday morning with muscle measurements inside the Columbus laboratory module. Using the Myotones device the pair measured the biochemical properties of their neck, back, and leg muscles. By understanding how weightlessness impacts muscular tone, stiffness, and elasticity, doctors can better evaluate crew health and develop effective space fitness strategies.

Lindgren downloaded the muscle data captured from the Myotones device to a laptop computer connected to Columbus’ European Physiology Module, a research rack that supports neuroscientific, cardiovascular, and physiological studies. Afterward, the two-time station resident collected and stowed urine samples in a science freezer for later analysis.

Hines then went over to the Kibo laboratory module to continue studying how wounds heal in space. He joined Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and practiced surgical techniques such as biopsies, suture splints, and wound dressing, inside Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox. Researchers are exploring the molecular processes behind space-caused skin aging that may impact the way wounds heal and possibly improve skin healing treatments for both astronauts and Earthlings.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev continued setting up their tools and Orlan spacesuits today ahead of another planned spacewalk to configure the European robotic arm (ERA) for payload operations on the station’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov spent his morning on computer maintenance inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module before switching to orbital plumbing duties during the afternoon.


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

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Biomedical Research, Spacewalk Preps Wrap Week on Station

An orbital sunrise illuminate's Earth's atmosphere silhouetting the cloud tops as the space station soared 264 miles above South America.
An orbital sunrise illuminate’s Earth’s atmosphere silhouetting the cloud tops as the space station soared 264 miles above South America.

Biomedical research topped the science schedule for the Expedition 67 crew members at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the International Space Station is ramping up for another spacewalk to configure its third robotic arm.

An astronaut’s skin experiences accelerated aging in microgravity and scientists are exploring if the space-caused molecular processes affect the way wounds heal. Observations of the skin healing biological mechanisms may inform advanced wound treatments and therapies for astronauts and Earthlings. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, all from NASA, with Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), have been supporting the biomedical experiment taking place inside the Kibo laboratory module this week. On Friday, the quartet continued practicing surgical techniques such as biopsies, suture splints, and wound dressing, inside Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox.

Two cosmonauts spent Friday reviewing procedures for an upcoming spacewalk to continue outfitting the European robotic arm (ERA). Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev reviewed the tasks and maneuvers they will use when they exit the Poisk module’s airlock and translate towards the ERA in their Orlan spacesuits. The duo previously worked outside the station on Aug. 17, 2022, configuring the ERA when Artemyev’s spacesuit experienced a power issue officially ending the spacewalk after four hours and one minute.

The station’s third robotic arm, from ESA, is attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and being tested for commanding and operations by Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov. He partnered with his cosmonaut crewmates for the spacewalk procedures review on Friday and will assist Artemyev and Matveev in and out of their spacesuits and maneuver the ERA when they conduct their upcoming robotics spacewalk.


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

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SpaceX, Soyuz Crew Swaps Ramping Up as Life Science Continues

The SpaceX Crew-5 crewmates pose for a portrait. From left are, Anna Kikina of Roscosmos; Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, both from NASA; and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Credit: SpaceX
The SpaceX Crew-5 crewmates pose for a portrait. From left are, Anna Kikina of Roscosmos; Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, both from NASA; and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX have announced the date for the upcoming Crew-5 launch to the International Space Station. The space station is also orbiting higher today to prepare for next month’s Soyuz crew vehicle swap.

The fifth crewed operational mission aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has been given a launch date of Oct. 3 from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The four SpaceX Crew-5 crewmates, Commander Nicole Mann, Pilot Josh Cassada, and Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata and Anna Kikina will dock Dragon Endurance to the forward port on the station’s Harmony module about 24 hours later.

Several days after that, the four SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts will enter the Dragon Freedom crew ship and undock from Harmony’s space-facing port for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida. Freedom Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Bob Hines, with Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti, have been living and working on the orbital lab as Expedition 67 Flight Engineers since April 27.

The space station received an orbital boost on Wednesday night when Russia’s ISS Progress 81 cargo craft, docked to the Zvezda service module’s aft port, fired its engines for just over six minutes in preparation for a pair of Soyuz crew ships coming and going in late September. NASA astronaut Frank Rubio will take a ride to the station with cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin aboard the Soyuz MS-22 crew ship when they launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sept. 21.

Later in September, Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev with Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov will return back to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft. The trio joined the Expedition 67 crew on March 18 following a short trip to the station’s Prichal docking module that began with a launch from Baikonur.

Meanwhile, space research benefitting humans living on and off the Earth is still ongoing aboard the orbital lab. Lindgren, Hines, Watkins, and Cristoforetti were back inside the Kibo laboratory module today exploring how skin heals in microgravity. The quartet, using the Life Science Glovebox, is observing space-caused molecular processes that may inform advanced wound treatments and therapies for astronauts and Earthlings.

Artemyev and Matveev continued researching on Thursday how weightlessness affects the human digestive system. Once again, the duo performed ultrasound scans following their breakfast period to learn more about the digestion process to improve crew health and treat Earth-bound conditions. Korsakov participated in an ear, nose, and throat study in the morning, then moved on to learn how international crews and mission controllers can communicate more effectively.


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

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Space Biology, Psychology Studies Help NASA Plan Future Missions

A waxing gibbous Moon is pictured on Aug. 11, 2022, from the space station as it orbited 258 miles above the Pacific Ocean north of the Hawaiian island chain.
A waxing gibbous Moon is pictured on Aug. 11, 2022, from the space station as it orbited 258 miles above the Pacific Ocean north of the Hawaiian island chain.

Life science continued dominating the research schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday to benefit humans living on and off the Earth.  The seven Expedition 67 orbital residents explored how living in microgravity affects tissue regeneration, crew psychology, and the human digestion system.

Learning to heal wounds in space is critical as NASA and its international partners plan crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Four station astronauts have been partnering together this week for the skin healing study taking place inside the Kibo laboratory module. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, all from NASA, with Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), are studying surgical techniques such as biopsies, suture splints, and wound dressing, inside Kibo’s Life Science Glovebox.

Scientists on Earth seek to identify the molecular mechanisms that occur during tissue regeneration in weightlessness. Observations may offer advanced therapies and provide insights into how space-caused accelerated skin aging affects an astronaut’s healing properties. The biomedical experiment may also contribute to better wound healing techniques on Earth.

Three of the astronauts also had time today for a cognitive assessment in between the skin healing study. Lindgren, Hines, and Watkins all took turns practicing the simulated robotic capture of a spacecraft on a computer to understand how an astronaut might perform stressful activities during future space missions. One of six tests that are part of the Behavioral Core Measures human research experiment, the robotics session is helping researchers reliably assess adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions that astronauts may experience during a long-term spaceflight.

Two cosmonauts conducted ultrasound scans of their digestive system after having breakfast during Wednesday morning. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev are exploring this week how microgravity affects the digestion process with potential applications for Earth-bound conditions. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov spent the day testing the commands and operations on the European robotic arm attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Tissue Regeneration Research Benefits Humans On and Off the Earth

A brilliant aurora streams above Earth's horizon in this photograph from the space station as it orbited 270 miles above the Indian Ocean.
A brilliant aurora streams above Earth’s horizon in this photograph from the space station as it orbited 270 miles above the Indian Ocean.

The orbital residents aboard the International Space Station continued exploring ways to heal wounds in space today. A host of other space research was under way on Tuesday to understand how living in microgravity affects humans.

Four astronauts partnered together again today exploring how skin heals in weightlessness. Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, all from NASA, with Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), studied surgical techniques such as biopsies, suture splints, and wound dressing, throughout Tuesday.

The quartet worked inside the Kibo laboratory module conducting the medical research in the Life Science Glovebox. The advanced study seeks to identify the biological changes that affect tissue regeneration in space. Results may improve wound therapies and treatments for humans living on and off the Earth.

Lindgren also had time on Tuesday to review procedures for a nighttime photography session using the AstroPi science computer in the Harmony module. AstroPi will enable European students to conduct experiments using a pair of different lenses on the computer in conjunction with a variety of station sensors. The academic study seeks to promote interest in and guide students toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

The three cosmonauts of the Expedition 67 crew focused on their contingent of microgravity research and lab maintenance today. Commander Oleg Artemyev juggled several experiments in the station’s Russian experiment as he explored space exercise methods, Earth photography using ultrasound sensors, and the human digestive system. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev checked radiation detectors and worked on power systems inside the Zarya module. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov analyzed urine samples during the morning then spent the afternoon collecting air samples in the Zvezda, Poisk, and Nauka modules.

Biomedical Research in Space Today Benefits Astronauts and Earthlings

The seven-member Expedition 67 crew poses for a portrait inside the International Space Station's Harmony module.
The seven-member Expedition 67 crew poses for a portrait inside the International Space Station’s Harmony module.

International Space Station studies about wound healing and cardiology kicked off the week for the Expedition 67 crew following last week’s departure of a U.S. resupply ship. A variety of other space research, spacesuit cleaning, and maintenance rounded out the day for the seven orbital residents.

Four astronauts spent the majority of the day on Monday exploring surgical techniques to heal wounds in microgravity. The quartet, including Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, all from NASA, with Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), worked throughout the day inside the Kibo laboratory module conducting research operations in the Life Science Glovebox. The medical study may provide advanced skin healing therapies both in space and on Earth.

Lindgren then installed an AstroPi science computer in the Harmony module where Cristoforetti would adjust its camera lens allowing European students to take night time photography of the Earth below. Watkins recorded video of the AstroPi activities and downlinked it for viewing by the participating students on Earth. Hines checked fluids and plants growing for the XROOTS botany study that uses hydroponics and aeroponics techniques to promote space agriculture.

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship completed its cargo mission after 34 days attached to the space station on Friday. It undocked from the Harmony module’s forward port at 11:05 a.m. EDT and parachuted to a splashdown off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday at 2:53 p.m. Shortly afterward, support personnel retrieved the commercial cargo craft, packed with scientific cargo and station gear, floating in the Atlantic.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev continued stowing spacewalking gear today after last week’s spacewalk to outfit the European robotic arm for payload operations on the station’s Russian segment. The duo also researched cardiology onboard the station today exploring how weightlessness affects blood circulation. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov also participated in the heart research before he and Artemyev studied how to pilot spacecraft and maneuver robots on future planetary missions.

Dragon Splashes Down With Scientific Cargo for Analysis

Aug. 19, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.
Aug. 19, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom and Russia’s Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships.

SpaceX’s uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down at 2:53 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 20, north of Cape Canaveral off the Florida coast, marking the return of the company’s 25th contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The spacecraft carried more than 4,000 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo back to Earth.

Some of the scientific investigations returned by Dragon include:

  • Space’s impact on materials: The Materials International Space Station Experiment-15-NASA (MISSE-15-NASA) experiment tests, qualifies, and quantifies the impact of the low-Earth orbit environment on new materials and components, such as spacecraft materials and wearable radiation protection. Successful experiment results could have applications both in the harsh environments of space and on Earth.
  • Spacesuit cooling: Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment (SERFE) demonstrates a new technology using water evaporation to remove heat from spacesuits and maintain appropriate temperatures for crew members and equipment during spacewalks. The investigation determines whether microgravity affects performance and evaluates the technology’s effect on contamination and corrosion of spacesuit material.
  • Cell signaling in microgravity: The ESA (European Space Agency) sponsored investigation Bioprint FirstAid Handheld Bioprinter (Bioprint FirstAid) enables the rapid use of formerly prepared bio-inks, containing the patient’s own cells, to form a band-aid patch in the case of injury.

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

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Dragon Departs Station to Return Scientific Cargo to Earth

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft backs away from the space station moments after undocking from the Harmony module's forward port during an orbital sunrise. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft backs away from the space station moments after undocking from the Harmony module’s forward port during an orbital sunrise. Credit: NASA TV

At 11:00 a.m. EDT, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the uncrewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module. At the time of release at 11:05 a.m., the station was flying about 259 miles over the Pacific Ocean.

The Dragon spacecraft successfully departed the space station one month after arriving at the orbiting laboratory to deliver about 4,000 pounds of scientific investigations and supplies.

Tomorrow, ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will command a deorbit burn. After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will make a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida. NASA TV will not broadcast the de-orbit burn and splashdown, and updates will be posted on the agency’s space station blog.

Dragon arrived at the space station July 16, following a launch two days prior on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the company’s 25th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA.


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

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Dragon Resupply Ship Departing Station Live on NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship (at top) is pictured docked to the Harmony module's forward port on the space station.
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship (at top) is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s forward port on the space station.

Live coverage of the departure of SpaceX’s uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station is underway on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

Ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will send commands at approximately 11:00 a.m. EDT for Dragon to undock from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module and fire its thrusters to move a safe distance away from the station. Tomorrow, controllers will command a deorbit burn.

After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will make a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida. NASA TV will not broadcast the de-orbit burn and splashdown. Updates will be posted on the agency’s space station blog.


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

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Dragon Departing Friday; Cosmonauts Clean Up After Spacewalk

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station during an orbital sunrise above the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station on July 16, 2022, during an orbital sunrise above the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 67 crew will wait an extra day before seeing a U.S. space freighter depart the International Space Station. In the meantime, the cosmonauts are cleaning up following a shorter-than-planned spacewalk after a power issue on a Russian Orlan spacesuit.

Mission managers representing NASA and SpaceX waved off Thursday’s undocking of the Dragon cargo craft due to adverse weather conditions at the splashdown site off the coast of Florida. Dragon is now due to leave the Harmony module’s forward port at 11:05 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Four of the station’s astronauts including Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, all from NASA, with Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), will finish packing Dragon with critical research samples early Friday morning before closing the commercial resupply ship’s hatch. Dragon is scheduled to parachute back to Earth on Saturday loaded with over 4,000 pounds of cargo including completed scientific experiments for analysis. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its live undocking coverage at 10:45 a.m. on Friday.

During a four-hour and one-minute spacewalk on Wednesday, Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev installed a pair of cameras on the European robotic arm (ERA) and removed parts attached to the arm’s end effector. Today, the cosmonauts powered down their Orlan spacesuits and removed suit components. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov reconfigured the Poisk module back to normal operations.

Just over two hours after Thursday’s spacewalk began, Artemyev informed Russian mission controllers his spacesuit was experiencing abnormal battery readings. Mission controllers directed Artemyev to return to the Poisk’s airlock and connect his spacesuit to the station’s power supply. Matveev continued his tasks before cleaning up and heading back to Poisk after managers called off the robotic maintenance excursion. Korsakov maneuvered the ERA to a safe post-spacewalk configuration while the cosmonaut spacewalkers were never in any danger.