Dragon Cargo Transfer, Installations, and Eye Exams Cap Crew Week

The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured above Earth's horizon from the International Space Station as it orbited 260 miles above eastern China near the Yellow Sea coast on Feb. 2, 2023.
The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured above Earth’s horizon from the International Space Station as it orbited 260 miles above eastern China near the Yellow Sea coast on Feb. 2, 2023.

The Expedition 68 crew members wrapped up their week aboard the International Space Station by removing payloads for a resupply mission, installing equipment for microgravity research, and performing eye exams for a routine checkup.

NASA Flight Engineers Frank Rubio and Woody Hoburg and Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) made progress transferring supplies from the SpaceX cargo Dragon. Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen from NASA gathered hardware delivered by the spacecraft for the Heart-Tissue 2 study. The investigation will test whether clinically approved drugs reduce microgravity-induced changes in heart cells and tissues.

Outside of Dragon cargo operations, Rubio migrated double-cold bags for transporting samples from the station’s Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubators (MERLIN) to the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL). He also harvested tomatoes from the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) for the Veg-05 space botany study.

Hoburg performed installations to the Nanoracks Nanod, which provides power and data transfer capabilities for carrying out studies in microgravity. Additionally, he made configurations to the HAM radio used to communicate with students on Earth, cleaned vents and removed cartridges in air quality monitors, and performed an inspection of the station’s bathroom.

Bowen completed a training session that teaches astronauts docking and grappling techniques. He also exercised using the advanced resistive exercise device (ARED) and Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS) device.

Meanwhile, Alneyadi performed installations to a research facility called ICE Cubes, which hosts different experiments in microgravity with the aid of small, modular containers that slot into a rack drawer. He also recorded a video for a diabetes study inside the facility. Near the end of the day, Alneyadi installed 24 Kubik experiment containers for the ESA (European Space Agency) – Biofilms investigation, which analyzes bacterial biofilm formation and the antimicrobial properties of different metal surfaces in space.

Planning ahead, the cosmonauts aboard the station met for a conference to prepare for next week’s tasks. Later, Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos spent time arranging tools and cleaning smoke detectors. Near the end of the day, Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin completed a routine Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) eye exam, which uses an imaging technique analogous to ultrasound imaging with light instead of sound.


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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Biology, Botany, and Training Fill Crew Schedule Ahead of Cargo Launch

A view of red dwarf tomato plants growing in the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the International Space Station as part of the Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System (Veg-05) investigation from Feb. 5, 2023.
A view of red dwarf tomato plants growing in the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the International Space Station as part of the Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System (Veg-05) investigation from Feb. 5, 2023.

The Expedition 68 crew members spent their day carrying out biological research, harvesting vegetables, and prepping for a commercial resupply mission delivering more than 6,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is set to launch at 8:30 p.m. EDT this evening from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft is providing the crew with new science investigations, food, fuel, and supplies. Dragon is slated to dock autonomously to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module Thursday morning.

NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg is scheduled to monitor Dragon’s automated docking. In the meantime, he completed a session using the Robotics On-board Trainer, which teaches astronauts docking and grappling techniques.

NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen continued to work on the Immunity Assay study. The study aims to monitor how the immune system changes in response to the stresses of space by analyzing biological samples taken before, during, and after flight. Bowen was tasked with uninstalling containers and prepping test tubes for the experiment.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio plucked tomatoes from the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) for the Veg-05 space botany study. The investigation seeks to determine the best horticultural practices for growing fresh vegetables in space. Rubio and Bowen both capped the evening with a remotely guided eye exam.

Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) had a chance to record a video for an educational series focused on demonstrating scientific concepts in space for students and teachers. He later fit in an exercise session on the treadmill.

The cosmonauts aboard the station gathered to shoot a series of video greetings as well. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Dmitri Petelin, and Andrey Fedyaev of Roscomsos also reviewed a procedure together for checking the temperature and humidity conditions during the undocking and descent of a Soyuz spacecraft.

At 7:54 a.m. the ISS Progress 83 thrusters performed a 2-minute, 35-second burn to provide extra distance from a fragment of Russian Cosmos 1408 satellite debris. NASA and Russian flight controllers worked together to conduct the maneuver. Without the maneuver, which will have no impact on the rendezvous profile for the Dragon cargo craft or downstream vehicle operations, it is estimated that the fragment could have passed within 1/10th of a mile of the station. Crew were notified of the conjunction in advance and were never in danger.


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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Expedition 68 Adjusts to Life in Space Following Crew-5 Return

Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) harvests tomatoes grown aboard the International Space Station and stows samples in a bag for later analysis as part of the Veg-05 space botany investigation on Mar. 7, 2023.
Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from UAE (United Arab Emirates) harvests tomatoes grown aboard the International Space Station and stows samples in a bag for later analysis as part of the Veg-05 space botany investigation on Mar. 7, 2023.

The Expedition 68 crew is adjusting to life aboard the International Space Station after four Crew-5 members safely returned to Earth last Saturday. The remaining crew members kickstarted the week by continuing to carry out a mix of science experiments and operational tasks.

NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen spent the morning collecting and storing blood and saliva samples for the Immunity Assay investigation. The study aims to monitor how the immune system responds to the stresses of human spaceflight with the aid of a functional immunity test. Until recently, the test could only be performed before and after flight. Conducting the test inflight will help provide researchers with a clearer idea about how the immune system changes in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg spent a portion of the day training on how to use the Veggie Vegetable Production System (Veggie) for the Veg-05 space botany study. He later checked leaves and tomatoes inside the unit for signs of microbial growth. Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) also had a chance to harvest plants from the growth chamber.

Among the station’s three cosmonauts, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin tag teamed preparing biological samples for another study focused on the immune system. Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev of Roscosmos was tasked with performing an inventory of medical kits and closed the day communicating with students on Earth using a ham radio.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio was off duty today. He rounded off his evening with a combination of aerobic and resistive exercises. The newest residents aboard the space station, Bowen, Hoburg, Alneyadi, and Fedyaev, were each afforded an hour to orient themselves to the spaceflight environment as well.

Looking ahead, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is set to liftoff Tuesday evening from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will deliver new science investigations, supplies, and equipment for the international crew. Hoburg will monitor Dragon’s automated docking to the Harmony module’s forward port on March 16.


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 Kickstarts Week Configuring Plant Habitat, Transferring Cargo, and Completing Vision Tests

NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins are pictured inside the cupola, the International Space Station's "window to the world," after monitoring the successful rendezvous and docking of the SpaceX Dragon space freighter on its 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission on July 16, 2022.
NASA astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins are pictured inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world,” after monitoring the successful rendezvous and docking of the SpaceX Dragon space freighter on its 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission on July 16, 2022.

The Expedition 67 crew members kickstarted their week aboard the International Space Station by configuring a plant habitat, transferring cargo, and completing vision tests.

NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines made adjustments to the plant growth chamber. The system monitors vegetables grown in space that could help sustain astronauts on future missions.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren was tasked with retrieving a couple of cargo items and taking photos with them for a conference and outreach events. Lindgren and Hines also had a chance to move cargo from the SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon spacecraft.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti spent the early day retrieving air samples for analysis with the ANITA-2 (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2) device. Cristoforetti and Lindgren also worked on setting up the Rodent Research-22 experiment. She and the other NASA astronauts completed a remotely guided eye exam toward the end of their day as well.

Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos fit in an exercise session using the tranquility module’s advanced resistive exercise device (ARED) before carrying out maintenance work. Cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov squeezed in exercise on the VELO ergometer bike in between performing maintenance work on a laptop. Cosmonaut Denis Matveev spent an hour on the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS) device and finished the day taking measurements of Freon in the atmosphere using the Freon Leak Analyzer/Detector (FIT).


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’s Wednesday Schedule Focuses on Exercise, Science, and Maintenance

Expedition 67 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins works on electrical system components inside the International Space Station's Harmony module on July 7, 2022.
Expedition 67 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins works on electrical system components inside the International Space Station’s Harmony module on July 7, 2022.

The Expedition 67 crew members focused on exercise, science beneficial to humans on Earth and future crews in space, and routine maintenance checks as part of their activities aboard the International Space Station today.

The seven station residents prioritized space exercise and took turns working out. They used the Tranquility module’s advanced resistive exercise device (ARED) to perform exercises such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts. Crews workout on average two hours per day in space. Routine exercise helps astronauts counter the bone and muscle loss that accompanies living and working in microgravity.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Hines worked on the new Genes in Space-9 (GIS-9) study. Cell-free technology is a platform for protein production that does not include living cells. GIS-9 evaluates two approaches for using this technology in microgravity: cell-free protein production and biosensors that can detect specific target molecules. The technology could provide a portable, low-resource, and low-cost tool with potential applications for medical diagnostics, on-demand production of medicine and vaccines, and environmental monitoring on future space missions.

NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Watkins checked on the AC inverters in the laboratory and transferred cargo from the SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon spacecraft. Later, Hines and Watkins took turns completing a Robotic On-Board Trainer for Research (ROBoT-r) session as part of the Behavioral Core Measures experiment.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren spent most of his morning installing material sample carriers onto the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) airlock slide table. Lindgren followed up his ARED exercise session with a fitness test on an exercise cycle. He attached sensors to his chest and pedaled for an hour on a device more formally known as the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization, or CEVIS. He also transferred supplies from the Dragon spacecraft.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti harvested radishes and mizuna greens growing without soil for the XROOTS space gardening study today. The experiment uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow edible plants so future crews can sustain themselves on deep space missions.

In the station’s Russian segment, the three cosmonauts exercised and completed maintenance duties. Station Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos replaced hardware in the exercise bike while Flight Engineer Denis Matveev completed monthly maintenance checks of routers in the Zvezda service module. Cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov worked on testing the European Robotic Arm manipulator.


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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