Expedition 52 is continuing to explore a new drug therapy today that may keep humans healthier in space. The trio onboard the International Space Station also worked on standard maintenance activities to keep the orbital complex in ship-shape.
Astronauts living on the station exercise a couple of hours every day to offset the muscle and bone loss experienced in microgravity. A new injectable drug is also being explored as a way to maintain strong bones during spaceflight. Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA are testing that drug today on mice for the fifth version of the ongoing Rodent Research experiment. Rodent Research-5 is testing the drugs ability to stop and reverse bone loss in space and may help patients with bone disease on Earth.
Fischer also worked on light plumbing duties and microbe sampling throughout Thursday. Whitson also worked on microbe sampling and set up life science gear ahead of a new experiment to be delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin checked out Russian life support gear and continued unloading new gear delivered last week inside the Progress 67 (67P) resupply ship. The veteran cosmonaut also repressurized the station’s atmosphere using oxygen stored inside the 67P.
The three orbiting crew members living on the International Space Station today explored the effects of microgravity on mice and microbes to understand how living in space impacts humans. Cargo transfers are also underway on the orbital complex after the arrival of the latest resupply ship.
A pair of life science experiments observing mice are being worked today to research how the weightless environment of space impacts bones, muscles and the immunity system. For the Rodent Research-5 study today, NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer observed how drug therapies on mice may offset the negative health impacts of spaceflight. The duo also set up gear for a new study, the Multi-Omics Mouse experiment, which will be launched on the next Space Dragon mission and will evaluate the impacts of space environment and prebiotics on astronauts’ immune function.
The crew also collected saliva samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later microbial analysis on Earth. Station surfaces were also swabbed and air samples were taken to help scientists identify the microbes living on the station and how they may change on orbit.
Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin continued unloading the 3,000 pounds of food, fuel and supplies delivered last week aboard the Progress 67 resupply ship. The veteran station cosmonaut also had some time set aside to update the station’s inventory system and check on Russian science experiments.
The Expedition 52 crew is loading the SpaceX Dragon with cargo for return back to Earth in less than two weeks. BEAM, the experimental habitat, also received a new radiation shield today that was 3D printed aboard the International Space Station.
Dragon is due to leave the International Space Station July 2 after cargo transfers with the resupply ship are complete. The crew offloaded new science experiments, spacewalking gear and station hardware shortly after it arrived on June 5. Dragon will now be packed with used station gear and research samples for analysis by NASA engineers and scientists after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer opened up BEAM today and entered the expandable activity module for a regular checkup. He replaced an older radiation shield with a thicker shield that covers a radiation sensor inside BEAM. Fischer also sampled BEAM’s air and surfaces for microbes.
Veteran astronaut Peggy Whitson of NASA spent Tuesday sampling the air and surfaces for microbes in the station’s U.S. segment. Whitson also spent some time stowing synthetic DNA samples exposed to radiation in a science freezer and began readying rodent research gear for return next month aboard Dragon.
Robotics controllers completed the unloading and set up of the third and final external experiment delivered last week aboard the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship. Inside the International Space Station, the Expedition 52 crew studied a variety of life science including plant growth, bone loss and cardiac biology.
Over the weekend, engineers on the ground remotely operated the Canadarm2 to extract the Roll Out Solar Array from Dragon. The experiment, also known as ROSA, will remain attached to the Canadarm2 over seven days to test the effectiveness of the advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure.
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson set up the Seedling Growth-3 botany study today that is researching how plant cells respond to lighting conditions in microgravity. Fischer also installed samples in a NanoRacks facility for an educational research project that is studying the effects of radiation damage on synthetic DNA.
Whitson measured bone loss in mice for the Rodent Research-5 study. Results may improve the health of astronauts living in space and humans on Earth with bone diseases. Whitson later moved onto the Cardiac Stem Cells experiment that seeks to understand the accelerated aging process that takes place in space.
Traveling about 250 miles over the Philippine Sea, the unpiloted ISS Progress 67 Russian cargo ship docked at 7:37 a.m. EDT to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station.
Russia’s Progress 67 (67P) cargo craft is orbiting Earth and on its way to the International Space Station Friday morning carrying over three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Meanwhile, the three member Expedition 52 crew researched a variety of space science on Thursday while preparing for the arrival of the 67P.
Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will monitor the automated docking of the 67P to the Zvezda service module Friday at 7:42 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will broadcast live the resupply ship’s approach and rendezvous beginning at 7 a.m. The 67P’s docking will mark four spaceships attached to the space station.
Fischer spent the morning photographing mold and bacteria samples on petri dishes as part of six student-led biology experiments that are taking place inside a NanoRacks module. In the afternoon, he removed protein crystal samples from a science freezer, let them thaw and observed the samples using a specialized microscope.
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson tended to rodents Thursday morning cleaning their habitat facilities and restocking their food. In the afternoon, she moved to human research swapping out samples for the Cardiac Stem Cells study that is exploring why living in space may accelerate the aging process.
Two external experiments have been extracted from the trunk of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship and attached to the outside of the International Space Station. Ground controllers commanded the Canadarm2 to reach inside Dragon, grapple both experiments and install them on EXPRESS logistics carriers.
The first experiment, MUSES, or Multiple User System for Earth Sensing, was removed June 6 the day after Dragon’s arrival. It was installed two days later on the starboard side of the station’s truss structure. MUSES is an Earth-imaging platform that may improve navigation, agriculture and benefit emergency responders and the petroleum industry.
NICER, or Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, was extracted Sunday afternoon and will be installed this evening. It will search for new insights into the physics of neutron stars and help scientists develop a pulsar-based, space navigation system.
A third experiment will be extracted June 17 to test a new advanced solar array. The roll-out solar array, or ROSA, rolls out like a tape measure with solar cells on a flexible blanket. The ROSA, which could power future NASA spaceships and communication satellites, will be stowed back inside Dragon’s trunk after seven days of data collection while attached to the station’s robotic arm.
The three-member Expedition 52 crew is settling down with science and cargo transfers this week after a trio of space ships arrived and departed at the International Space Station. NASA also introduced 12 new astronaut candidates Wednesday who could fly farther into space on newer spacecraft than any astronaut before them.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson looked after a student experiment today that is exploring how molds and bacteria adapt to microgravity. Afterward, she measured the lighting in the Destiny and Kibo lab modules to help engineers understand how light affects the habitability of spacecraft.
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA installed and activated new science hardware delivered aboard the latest SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Fischer also joined Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin to prepare the station for the departure and arrival of a pair of Russian cargo ships next week. The Progress 66 resupply ship will depart June 13 followed three days later with a new space delivery aboard the Progress 67 cargo craft. Both spaceships are uncrewed.
On Wednesday, NASA celebrated the introduction of 12 new astronaut candidates. The 2017 class will officially report for duty in August and begin training for potential missions aboard NASA spacecraft as well as SpaceX and Boeing commercial spaceships.
A little over two hours after it was captured by Expedition 52 Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, the unpiloted SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was attached to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module of the International Space Station. Ground controllers at Mission Control, Houston reported that Dragon was bolted into place at 12:07 p.m. EDT as the station flew 258 statute miles over central Kazakhstan.
Earlier, the Dragon was grappled by Fischer and Whitson using the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 9:52 a.m. EDT at the completion of a flawless two-day journey for the resupply vehicle following its launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on Saturday.
The station crew expects to open Dragon’s hatch later today to begin transferring time-critical scientific experiments. Dragon will remain attached to the complex until July 2, when it will be detached from Harmony and robotically released for its deorbit back into the Earth’s atmosphere and a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
While the International Space Station was traveling about 250 miles over the south Atlantic ocean east of the coast of Argentina, Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA captured Dragon a few minutes ahead of schedule at 9:52 a.m. EDT.
Following its capture, the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship will be maneuvered by ground controllers operating the International Space Station’s robotic arm for installation onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. For updates on installation and more information about the SpaceX CRS-11 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/spacex.
To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Dragon on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and use #Dragon.