Four new Expedition 69 flight engineers are in their second week aboard the International Space Station spending more time on microgravity research and lab maintenance. Another trio of station crewmates is nearing one year in space and will soon turn its attention to departure at the end of the month.
Two of the station’s newest new flight engineers, Jasmin Moghbeli from NASA and Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), worked Tuesday on the NanoRacks Bishop airlock inside the Tranquility module. The duo inspected cameras and installed components on the commercial doorway that enables larger payloads to be moved inside and outside the station. Earlier, mission controllers had spent about a week maneuvering Bishop in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm for an experiment to measure temperature, vibrations, and radiation on external payload sites.
The other two new crewmates, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, worked on biomedical science and station upkeep tasks throughout the day. Mogensen spun blood samples in a centrifuge then processed them for incubation to study how cellular immune functions are affected by microgravity. Borisov spent his day on battery maintenance and orbital plumbing duties in the orbital lab’s Roscosmos segment.
NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is nearing 365 continuous days in space along with Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos. The trio, which has been on the station since Sept. 21 of last year, is due to leave the orbital lab at the end of the month inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.
In the meantime, Rubio worked Tuesday removing and replacing components inside the Cold Atom Lab that chills atoms to extremely low temperatures to observe quantum characteristics. Prokopyev inventoried personal items aboard the station and continued transferring cargo from the Roscosmos Progress 85 resupply ship. Petelin attached electrodes to himself and recorded his heart activity for a cardiac investigation.
Five spacecraft are still parked at the orbital outpost following the undocking on Sunday of the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour with four Commercial Crew members aboard. Dragon Endeavour, commanded by Stephen Bowen and piloted by Woody Hoburg, both from NASA, with Mission Specialists Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Andrey Fedyaev from Roscosmos splashed down early the next day off the coast of Florida. The quartet split up soon after reaching shore and headed home to their individual countries.
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