On Friday, the 11 crew members now living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) had a short day following Thursday’s arrival of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission. The eight astronauts and three cosmonauts had a long night after the docking of the SpaceX Dragon Endurance crew ship.
Now the four Crew-5 members are officially Expedition 68 flight engineers and will spend the next few days getting used to life on orbit as they spend time familiarizing themselves with space station systems. NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, have a long list of space experiments they will conduct during their stay on the orbital laboratory. Among multiple other types of research, the commercial crew quartet will study microgravity’s effects on the cardiorespiratory system, 3D bioprinting of human organs and tissues for implantation, and modeling heart tissue to improve therapies for spaceflight-caused health issues.
As the new crew members get up to speed with their new home in space, the other seven ISS crewmates continued their normal station science and lab maintenance activities for half a day on Friday.
NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Frank Rubio worked on a pair of different studies during the afternoon exploring how to grow crops and manufacture products in space. Watkins checked on vegetables growing for the XROOTS space agriculture study that uses hydroponic and aeroponic nourishing techniques. Rubio investigated taking advantage of weightlessness to improve the production and quality of fiber optic cables.
Commander Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) joined NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren in collecting and processing their blood samples. Afterward, Lindgren partnered with Mann and transferred emergency hardware from the station into the newly-arrived Endurance crew ship.
Cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin spent their afternoon on their contingent of space research and life support maintenance in the Russian segment of the space station.