Full House in Space: 10 Astronauts, Circadian Lighting, and Chocolate Mousse

ISS Over Northeastern Coast of Australia

Soaring 262 miles over the Northeastern coast of Australia, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen captured this photo from the International Space Station. Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, which has been docked to the station since August 4, 2023, is positioned to the right of the image, displaying its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays. Credit: NASA

It’s a full house aboard the International Space Station as 10 residents are living on orbit following Friday’s arrival of a new crew. Tuesday, September 19, saw a variety of tasks split amongst the residents as three members continue to adjust to life in weightlessness, and another prepares for their journey back home to Earth next week.

New Residents and Their Tasks

First-time orbital residents, Loral O’Hara of NASA and Nikoali Chub of Roscosmos are taking on some of the firsts of many maintenance tasks they’ll complete throughout their stay. O’Hara processed water samples to help determine water quality aboard the station, while Chub partook in an experiment that assesses cardiovascular and respiratory function.

Last Friday brought the arrival of the two to the station, along with Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, who is at the start of his fifth mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. The trio launched aboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, now docked to the station for the next year. Kononenko spent some of his day transferring cargo from Soyuz and adjusting to another mission in low-Earth orbit.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli Collects Water Samples for Microbial Analysis

NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli collects water samples for microbial analysis inside the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Preparations for Departure and Daily Tasks

Astronaut Frank Rubio of NASA, Commander Sergey Prokopyev, and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos spent part of the day prepping for their departure next week on September 27. While Rubio helped his new crew members familiarize themselves with life on orbit, Prokopyev and Petelin completed training on manual controlled descent of the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft they’ll take home. Ahead of departure prep, Rubio spent his morning in the Tranquility Module, inspecting and cleaning overhead vent diffusers.

Expedition 69’s Other Endeavors

Another set of Expedition 69 crew members have quickly adapted to their new routines and are taking on orbital tasks in full force after their arrival in August. Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA spent the morning collecting blood pressure data, while Flight Engineer Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) tested a new lighting system that aims to help astronauts maintain circadian rhythm. Additionally, Mogensen installed a food processing system to make chocolate mousse, which he later taste-tested before bed.  In the evening, Moghbeli completed an exam to assess the intraocular pressure of the eyes.

In other tasks, Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent the morning performing maintenance tasks on the Internal Ball Camera in the Japanese Experiment Module. After lunch, he repaired and replaced cables on the Life Support Rack. Meanwhile, Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos spent the day on orbital plumbing tasks.

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