Ten people are living aboard the International Space Station following Friday’s arrival of three crewmates aboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft. However, at the end of the month another trio of orbital lab residents will return to Earth after a year in space.
NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara is in her first week aboard the space station along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Nikolai Chub and Oleg Kononenko. O’Hara and Chub are getting used to life in space for the first time as they familiarize themselves with station operations and systems. O’Hara also worked throughout the day on life support tasks while Chub installed Earth imaging hardware in the Harmony module.
Kononenko is beginning his record fifth mission as a space station crew member. The experienced cosmonaut spent Monday on a variety of activities including charging video camera batteries and unpacking cargo delivered aboard the new Soyuz crew ship. Kononenko will stay in space for a year with Chub, while O’Hara will live aboard the station until spring for a six-month mission.
Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is nearing a year in space with his crewmates Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos. The trio is now turning its attention to parachuting back to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship on Sept. 27. The threesome joined each other midday on Monday and checked out the Sokol launch and entry suits they will wear inside the Soyuz during the ride home. Prokopyev and Petelin also tested the lower body negative pressure suit that may help their bodies adjust quicker to Earth’s gravity.
The station’s other four Expedition 69 flight engineers are in their fourth week aboard the orbital lab having arrived on Aug. 27 aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft. The quartet has completed its familiarization and orientation activities and are working full-time on space research and lab maintenance.
Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA and Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) kicked off Monday with life science in the Columbus laboratory module. Moghbeli set up a pair of Kubik incubators that Mogensen used to stow blood samples. The duo later conducted a vision test in the Destiny laboratory module using similar tools found in a doctor’s office.
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa spent Monday on housekeeping tasks cleaning up the Harmony module, reorganizing food packs, and transferring cargo in and out of the Cygnus space freighter. Cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov primarily spent his day on electronics maintenance and wiping down surfaces for microbes in the Roscosmos segment of the orbiting lab.
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