Astro Lab Chronicles: Blood, Sweat, and Gears With Expedition 70

Sun’s Glint Beams off a Clear Blue North Atlantic Ocean

The sun’s glint beams off a clear blue North Atlantic Ocean as the International Space Station orbited 261 miles above. In the foreground, a pair of main solar arrays drape across the right with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and its fine-tuned robotic hand Dextre extending from the left. Credit: NASA

Life science and spacesuit maintenance topped the schedule at the beginning of the week for the Expedition 70 crew. The orbital residents also pursued Earth observation and space manufacturing research aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Scientific Studies and Maintenance

Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) started Monday morning treating blood samples then spinning them in a centrifuge for the Immunity Assay experiment. Afterward, he stowed the samples inside a Kubik research incubator located inside ESA’s Columbus laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli helped Mogensen start up the human research study that observes how microgravity affects cellular immune functions in blood samples. The pair would then spend the afternoon on a variety of life support maintenance tasks.

Astronauts Wear Headbands Packed With Sensors Monitoring Health

(From left) Expedition 70 Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, both from NASA, wear Bio-Monitor headbands packed with sensors that monitor an astronaut’s health and physiological parameters while minimally interfering with their crew activities. Credit: NASA

Medical Checks and Equipment Maintenance

Astronauts Loral O’Hara and Satoshi Furukawa joined each other for chest scans and blood pressure checks with guidance from doctors on the ground. O’Hara from NASA first powered on the Ultrasound 2 device and set it up for data downlinks. Then she and Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) took turns collecting the biomedical measurements for the cardiovascular portion of the CIPHER investigation.

O’Hara and Furukawa also took turns cleaning cooling loops inside a pair of spacesuits worn during last week’s spacewalk. O’Hara continued cargo operations inside the Cygnus space freighter while Furukawa began setting up breathing gear that measures aerobic capacity while pedaling on the Destiny laboratory module’s exercise cycle.

Soyuz MS-24 Crew Ship Docked to the Rassvet Module

The Soyuz MS-24 crew ship is docked to the Rassvet module in this photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited 267 miles above the Tasman Sea in between Australia and New Zealand. At left, is the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter and one of its prominent cymbal-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays. Credit: NASA

Spacecraft Drills

At the end of the day, the crew members representing SpaceX Crew-7, including Moghbeli, Mogensen, Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, practiced undocking and departing procedures in the Dragon Endurance spacecraft. The quartet has been aboard the station since August 27 and is in the midst of a planned six-month research mission.

Roscosmos Activities

Borisov started his day setting up a camera in the Harmony module and pointing it toward Earth allowing students to remotely photograph landmarks on the ground. 3D printing was also on the Roscosmos research schedule as Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub tested the ability to make tools and supplies in space reducing dependency on resupply missions. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko filmed himself during an exercise session for analysis then spent the rest of the day on standard lab upkeep tasks.

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