Crew Studies Foams, Fires, and Liquids to Benefit Humans On and Off the Earth

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins look out from a window on the cupola, the International Space Station's "window to the world."
NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins look out from a window on the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.”

Foams, fires, and liquids in space were the main research topics aboard the International Space Station on Thursday to improve the quality of life for humans living on and off the Earth. The Expedition 67 crew also checked out a new U.S. toilet while gearing up for crew departure activities at the end of the month.

A host of space physics research took place in microgravity on Thursday as the crew explored how weightlessness affects a variety of phenomena that humans are familiar with on Earth. The lack of gravity impacts the characteristics and behavior of Earth-bound phenomena revealing new properties and insights helping scientists and engineers develop advanced products and applications benefitting both astronauts and Earthlings.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins turned her attention on Thursday to the Foams and Emulsions experiment looking at samples in the KERMIT microscope with the purpose of improving the consumer products industry. Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren of NASA swapped samples in the Microgravity Science Glovebox for the Ring Sheared Drop fluid physics study to learn about high-concentration protein fluids and enable production of next-generation medicines for treating cancers and other diseases. Finally, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) reconfigured components for the Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction investigation that explores fire growth and fire safety techniques in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines started his day with a cognition test for the Standard Measures study. The human research experiment seeks to characterize the adaptive responses to and the risks of living in space. Hines then spent the afternoon configuring components and testing the performance of the new U.S. toilet system located in the station’s Tranquility module.

Meanwhile, three cosmonauts are nearing their crew departure after living and working on the space station for six months. Commander Oleg Artemyev staged cargo today for packing inside the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship that has been docked to the Prichal docking module since March 18. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov also kicked off preparations for their ride back to Earth at the end of September. Additionally, Matveev spent Thursday studying how to improve the space lab environment for biotechnology experiments. Korsakov worked throughout the day on Russian electronics and computer maintenance.


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Central Nervous System, Space Physics Studies Benefit Astronauts and Earthlings

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti collects microbe samples from around the space station's Veggie space botany facility for analysis.
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti collects microbe samples from around the space station’s Veggie space botany facility for analysis.

The Expedition 67 crew members kept up their studies today exploring how the human body adapts to weightlessness and ways that space physics can benefit humans on Earth. Europe’s robotic arm is also being tested for its performance on the International Space Station’s Russian segment.

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins partnered together again on Wednesday morning continuing to study how the central nervous system adapts to weightlessness. The duo took turns inside the Columbus laboratory module wearing virtual reality goggles while in a free-flying position for the GRASP experiment sponsored by ESA (European Space Agency). The investigation explores how sight and sound affects the eye-hand/reach-to-grasp coordination without the traditional up and down reference humans are familiar with in Earth’s gravity.

Fluids physics research on the station has a variety of applications that could inform innovations in the pharmaceutical and commercial industries. ESA Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti continued observing emulsion samples in the KERMIT microscope. Results from the Foam and Emulsions study could expand space research opportunities and improve the development of consumer and industrial products. Watkins spent an hour on the Ring Sheared Drop experiment that uses surface tension to contain fluids and learn about high-concentration protein fluids to enable production of next-generation medicines for treating cancers and other diseases. Observations may contribute to advanced therapies improving health for both astronauts and Earthlings.

Cristoforetti also joined NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren in the afternoon for eye checks using a medical imaging device to measure intraocular pressure, or fluid pressure in the eye. Lindgren would work throughout Wednesday checking components on an incubator, collecting and analyzing water samples, then working on orbital plumbing tasks.

The European robotic arm (ERA) continued going through check outs and verifications before it begins payload operations on the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked throughout Wednesday monitoring the ERA’s telemetry and observing its performance while being maneuvered on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Station Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev partnered together again for an exercise study to improve workouts in microgravity. The duo later wrapped up the day preparing for their upcoming return to Earth with Korsakov in the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship planned for the end of September.


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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Crew Studies Space Physics, Cognition, and Exercise and Checks Robotic Arm

Hurricane Danielle is pictured from the space station as it orbited above the northern Atlantic Ocean.
Hurricane Danielle is pictured from the space station as it orbited above the northern Atlantic Ocean.

The Expedition 67 crew was on duty Tuesday focusing its science activities on space physics and human research. Robotics was also a big part of the day as the European robotic arm continued its verification process on the International Space Station.

Fluid physics is an important part of the research program on the station as scientists and engineers learn how to develop advanced products and applications for Earth and space. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren set up hardware on Tuesday inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox to observe how liquids are held together by surface tension. The experiment is studying the formation of destructive protein clusters that may be responsible for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) peered at foams and emulsions using the KERMIT microscope to understand why they are more stable in weightlessness. Results from both experiments may provide Earth-bound solutions, that are unobtainable in gravity, for the pharmaceutical, chemical, and consumer products industries.

NASA Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins were back in the Columbus laboratory module on Tuesday exploring how an astronaut’s central nervous system is affected by microgravity. The duo took turns wearing virtual reality goggles while seated in a specialized chair and responding to pre-programmed stimuli. The video-taped observations may help researchers understand how astronauts adapt to the microgravity environment of spaceflight.

Exercise is critical during space missions as muscles and bones become weaker without the pressure of Earth’s gravity. Astronauts work out for two hours every day using the advanced resistive exercise device, a cycle, and a treadmill, to maintain their cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems during long-term space missions. The space workouts also ensure crews are in good health and condition to handle the return to Earth’s gravity after living and working in microgravity for months at a time.

Today, Commander Oleg Artemyev ran on a treadmill while attached to sensors and breathing gear to learn how to exercise more effectively in space. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Denis Matveev assisted the commander with the exercise study before collecting microbe samples from the inside of the Zarya module for analysis.

The orbiting lab’s third and newest robotic arm, the European robotic arm (ERA), continues to be checked out while attached to the Russian segment’s Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov powered on the ERA and spent all day Tuesday verifying its performance, monitoring its telemetry, and observing its motion while still attached to Nauka.


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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Crew Splits Up for Day Off and Departure Preps

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren prepares to enjoy a taco during dinner time aboard the space station.
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren prepares to enjoy a taco during dinner time aboard the space station.

Four of the seven Expedition 67 crew members took the day off on Monday following a busy week of science and maintenance aboard the International Space Station.

Last week saw Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Samantha Cristoforetti focus on upgrading life support systems. The quartet moved the Life Support Rack from the Harmony module to the Tranquility module to demonstrate its capacity to remove carbon dioxide and recover oxygen for the crew. The Oxygen Generation System rack was moved from Tranquility to the U.S. Destiny laboratory module to test its ability to detect hydrogen and protect its systems.

Hines and Watkins would spend Thursday and Friday exploring how cognition and perception is affected when living in space long-term. Scientists are using the data to help astronauts adapt to the differing gravity environments of the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Lindgren wrapped up last week testing the station’s new U.S. toilet system while Cristoforetti tended to vegetables growing using non-soil methods such as hydroponics and aeroponics.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts are preparing for their return to Earth at the end of September completing a six-month mission. Commander Oleg Artemyev was joined by Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov for an early morning conference with support personnel who would retrieve the crew after parachuting to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship. Artemyev and Matveev then tested the Lower Body Negative Pressure (LBNP) suit to adapt for the return to Earth’s gravity. The LBNP suit counteracts microgravity’s tendency to pull fluids toward a crew member’s upper body.

During midday, Korsakov joined his cosmonaut crewmates for the LBNP activities to help prepare their bodies for the gravity adjustment when they return to Earth. Korsakov spent the rest of Monday on computer maintenance in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module as well orbital plumbing duties in the station’s Russian segment.


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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Human Research, Space Botany Wrap Up Crew Workweek

Astronauts (from left) Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Kjell Lindgren talked to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday when she visited the Mission Control Center at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Astronauts (from left) Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and Kjell Lindgren talked to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday when she visited the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The Expedition 67 crew wrapped up its workweek today with a host of advanced space science work while also beginning preparations for next month’s crew departure activities on the International Space Station.

Friday’s research topics looked at human cognition and perception, space botany, and Earth observations. The microgravity investigations take place inside and outside the orbital lab helping scientists and engineers develop solutions benefitting the Earth and space economies.

NASA Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins were back in the Columbus laboratory module on Friday morning exploring how cognition and perception is affected when living in space long-term. The duo took turns lying horizontally inside Columbus while gripping and maneuvering a specialized device in response to pre-programmed stimuli. Observations may provide insights helping astronauts adapt to the differing gravitational environments of deep space travel, planets, moons, and asteroids.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from ESA (European Space Agency) nourished and checked on vegetables growing for the non-soil XROOTS space agricultural study. The experiment explores hydroponic and aeroponic methods as a way to grow larger scale crops during missions beyond low-Earth. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren removed a small satellite deployer from inside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock in the morning after it completed its latest CubeSat deployment mission.

Lindgren and Hines also joined each other on Friday afternoon and practiced on a computer the procedures they would use to return to Earth inside the Crew Dragon Freedom spaceship. Freedom Commander Lindgren and Pilot Hines, along with Dragon Mission Specialists Watkins and Cristoforetti, are targeting undocking from the space station next month and ending their mission which began on April 27.

Lindgren, Hines and Watkins received a call from Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday morning when she visited the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). The Vice President is in Houston with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson for a meeting of the National Space Council and a tour of JSC’s facilities.

Roscosmos Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov partnered together in the afternoon for an Earth observation study in the station’s Russian segment. The duo filmed their activities for educational purposes as they photographed landmark’s on the ground using powerful cameras and ultrasonic techniques. Artemyev had earlier checked seat components inside the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship while Korsakov trained to operate the European robotic arm. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev spent his day on Russian life support maintenance and payload operations.


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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Crew Studies Adapting to Microgravity, Scans Retinas

The sun's glint beams across the English Channel and the North Sea in between England and the northern European coast as the station as it orbited 263 miles above. Credit: Thomas Pesquet/ESA
The sun’s glint beams across the English Channel and the North Sea in between England and the northern European coast as the station orbited 263 miles above. Credit: Thomas Pesquet/ESA

More human research, including how astronauts move around in microgravity as well as the effect of weightlessness on vision, packed the science program aboard the International Space Station on Thursday. The seven-member Expedition 67 crew also continued its ongoing focus on life support, orbital plumbing, and electronics systems maintenance.

The lack of an up and down reference while living in microgravity affects how astronauts manipulate and grip objects. Researchers want to get a closer understanding of that behavior to keep astronauts safe in the differing gravitational environments of deep space travel, planets, moons, and asteroids. NASA Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins took turns seated inside the Columbus laboratory module on Thursday for the long-running GRIP experiment. The duo gripped and maneuvered a specialized device in response to pre-programmed stimuli so scientists can gain insights into a crew member’s cognition and perception during spaceflight.

Hines would go on to orbital plumbing duties filling water containers in the Unity module. Watkins wrapped up her day installing radio frequency identification (RFID) readers inside Unity. The installation work is part of the RFID Smart Sensing study that seeks to improve inventory accuracy and item location on the station.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti checked radiation detection hardware and collected microbe samples from the area around the Veggie space botany facility for analysis. NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren stowed biology research hardware and then tested the station’s new toilet system located in the Tranquility module.

Eye checks were back on the schedule on Thursday for Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov. The duo took turns scanning each other’s retinas using medical imaging hardware with real-time support from doctors on the ground. The eye exams help researchers understand how weightlessness affects vision and the shape of the eye. Flight Engineer Denis Matveev spent his day servicing Russian life support gear and stowing hardware for disposal inside the ISS Progress 80 resupply ship docked to the Poisk module.


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 Agriculture and Eye Checks Promoting Healthy Crews

 The International Space Station flies into an orbital sunrise 261 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northwestern Spain.
The International Space Station flies into an orbital sunrise 261 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northwestern Spain.

Space botany and eye checks were at the top of the research schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. Life support system upgrades also continued during the middle of the week for the Expedition 67 crew members.

Understanding how plants and humans are affected by long-term exposure to microgravity is key to prolonging mission success beyond low Earth orbit and to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. NASA and its international partners are learning how crews can sustain themselves independently of ground support for longer periods of time.

Growing vegetables on space missions is critical so astronauts can feed themselves without the support of cargo missions regularly launching from Earth to replenish crews. The XROOTS space agriculture study does not use soil and is exploring growing radishes and mizuna greens on the station using hydroponic and aeroponic methods. Today, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren recirculated fluids for the botany experiment and checked the condition of the growing plants. The study takes place inside the Columbus laboratory module and may inform ways to grow crops on larger scales during missions farther away from Earth.

Lindgren later assisted his fellow astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins of NASA, including Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), as they wrapped up two days of life support system upgrades. The quartet moved the oxygen generation system (OGS) rack from the Tranquility module to the U.S. Destiny laboratory module, then moved the Life Support Rack (LSR) from the Harmony module to Tranquility. The foursome finished rack power and data cable connections as well as fluid umbilical installations. The LSR is demonstrating capturing carbon dioxide from the cabin air and recovering 50% of its oxygen for crew use. New sensors are also being tested to detect hydrogen and protect the OGS rack.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos began and ended their day with eye checks. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov took turns in the morning scanning each other’s eyes using the Ultrasound 2 device, part of the station’s Human Research Facility-1. In the afternoon, Korsakov took charge as Crew Medical Officer and used medical imaging gear to picture Matveev’s retinas. The eye exams help doctors understand how weightlessness affects vision and the shape of the eye. The trio then spent the rest of the day stowing spacewalk tools, working on life support and electrical systems, and analyzing the Zvezda service module’s atmosphere.


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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Full Day of Life Support and Computer Maintenance on Station

(Clockwise from left) Astronauts Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti pose for a portrait during dinner time in the space station's Unity module.
(Clockwise from left) Astronauts Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti pose for a portrait during dinner time in the space station’s Unity module.

Life support and computer maintenance filled the Expedition 67 crew schedule on Tuesday following a busy Labor Day aboard the International Space Station.

The station’s four astronauts focused on a variety of biology and physics research on the U.S. holiday as they photographed growing vegetables and explored how fuel behaves in space. In the orbiting lab’s Russian segment, the crew’s three cosmonauts continued cleaning up after last week’s spacewalk and studied how to exercise effectively in weightlessness.

On Tuesday, the crew’s attention turned to servicing orbital hardware ensuring the space station’s life support systems and computer networks operate continuously.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren removed the Tranquility module’s oxygen generation system (OGS) rack and installed it in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. He was assisted by fellow Flight Engineers Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins who helped remove gear and clear the path for the transfer of the refrigerator-sized OGS rack. The trio completed the installation and cable connections during the afternoon.

Watkins also had time to join ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti as she transferred the Life Support Rack from the Harmony module to Tranquility. Hines and Lindgren wrapped up the day reconfiguring the modules and reinstalling the station’s bathroom, the Waste and Hygiene Compartment located in Tranquility, following the rack transfers.

Roscosmos Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev spent the afternoon installing a computer desktop in the Zvezda service module. The new work area is wide enough to hold three laptop computers supporting a variety of operations including monitoring Russian spaceships arriving and departing. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on a pair of human research experiments on Tuesday, the first exploring ways to maintain space fitness and the second researching how international crews and mission controllers can communicate successfully.


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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Cosmonaut Spacewalkers Complete Robotics Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Oleg Artemyev (bottom left) and Denis Matveev (right) extend the Russian Strela cargo crane from the Zarya module toward the Poisk module following work on the European robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV
Spacewalkers Oleg Artemyev (bottom left) and Denis Matveev (right) extend the Russian Strela cargo crane from the Zarya module toward the Poisk module following work on the European robotic arm. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev, both of Roscosmos, concluded their spacewalk at 5:12 p.m. EDT after 7 hours and 47 minutes.

Artemyev and Matveev completed their major objectives, which included relocating an external control panel for the European robotic arm from one operating area to another and testing a rigidizing mechanism on the arm that will be used to facilitate the grasping of payloads. In addition, the duo extended a Strela telescoping boom from the Zarya module to the Poisk module.

Additional spacewalks are planned to continue outfitting the European robotic arm and to activate Nauka’s airlock for future spacewalks. The work on the European robotic arm will be used to move spacewalkers and payloads around the Russian segment of the station.

This was the eighth spacewalk in Artemyev’s career, and the fourth for Matveev. It was the eighth spacewalk at the station in 2022 and the 253rd spacewalk  for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.


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Spacewalkers Exit Station to Continue Outfitting European Robotic Arm

The European robotic arm is seen attached to the Nauka module of the International Space Station, the worksite for today’s spacewalk by two cosmonauts.
The European robotic arm is seen attached to the Nauka module of the International Space Station, the worksite for today’s spacewalk by two cosmonauts.

Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev, both of Roscosmos, began a spacewalk at 9:25 a.m. EDT to continue outfitting the European robotic arm on the International Space Station’s Nauka laboratory by opening the hatch of the Poisk docking compartment airlock. Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

The duo is relocating an external control panel for the arm from one operating area to another and testing a rigidizing mechanism on the arm that will be used to facilitate the grasping of payloads.

Artemyev is wearing a Russian spacesuit with red stripes, while Matveev is wearing a Russian suit with blue stripes. This will be the eighth spacewalk in Artemyev’s career, and the fourth for Matveev. It is the eighth spacewalk at the station in 2022 and the 253rd spacewalk for space station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades.


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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