International Space Station Crew Prepares to Split Up While Research Continues

ISS From Nauka Module

Key portions of the International Space Station are pictured on August 12, 2021, from a window on Russia’s newest addition to the orbiting lab, the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module. From left to right are Japan’s Kibo laboratory module with its attached Exposed Facility where a variety of experiments are placed in the vacuum of space, including: the Japanese robotic arm attached to Kibo; the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module attached to the Tranquility module; and the seven-windowed cupola and the Bigelow Expandable Module, or BEAM, attached to Tranquility. Credit: NASA

Tuesday was a busy day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as the 11 crew members split their time between advanced space research and maintenance of the orbital lab. Four astronauts also began turning their attention to returning home to Earth, ending a mission that began in April.

Two of the new Expedition 68 crewmates focused their science activities on growing crops in space and maneuvering free-flying robots. For the XROOTS space botany study, NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio nourished vegetables and photographed their growth progress. The experiment investigates using hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to support crop growth and sustain astronauts living in microgravity. Astronaut Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) turned on the Astrobee robotic free-flyers and observed as the toaster-sized devices carried out image processing and laser pointing tasks using pre-programmed algorithms.

Astronauts Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti Talk to Journalists

Astronauts (from left) Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Samantha Cristoforetti talk to journalists on Earth about their space station mission. Credit: NASA TV

First-time NASA Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada spent most of their day on maintenance and crew orientation activities. Mann collected a water sample and replaced a sensor in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s oxygen generation system. Cassada swapped components on the station’s bathroom, or Waste and Hygiene Compartment, and later joined Rubio and reviewed how to install and remove helmets on the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuits. Mann and Cassada also trained on the operation of station exercise gear including the Destiny module’s exercise bike and the COLBERT treadmill.

Four astronauts are preparing to return to Earth soon aboard the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship. The foursome consisting of Freedom Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Bob Hines and Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti spent Tuesday packing up cargo and personal items, charging computer tablets, and downloading deorbit data necessary to target Freedom’s reentry into Earth’s atmosphere and splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Watch the four departing astronauts’ farewell remarks from the space station:

The three cosmonauts onboard the ISS focused on station research and lab upkeep tasks on Tuesday. Two-time station visitor Sergey Prokopyev worked on computer hardware and then researched how international crews and mission controllers can improve interactions. First-time space flyer Dmitri Petelin checked the Zvezda service module’s ventilation system and then studied advanced Earth photography methods. New Flight Engineer Anna Kikina, who has been aboard the station less than a week, explored future spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques and later joined Petelin for the Earth photography session.

1 Comment on "International Space Station Crew Prepares to Split Up While Research Continues"

  1. Lamont Johnson | May 11, 2024 at 8:58 am | Reply

    Understand space botanist astronauts when you understand how the space in the universe emerges plants flower and roses with gravity and Life Source then you understand that every store that sells any equipment that’s connected to plants and roses and Vines uses Tom gravity Universe energy connected to the sky and the ground and directly with in front of you because the universe is connected to the word r o o t and the word r o t s a root is a birth of Life created through timing and the universe movement through humans understanding metaphorically Ways to Think like sperm could be a seed plants could be what you think about when you plant and your conscience in your mind figure that out and you understand the universe the Galaxy plants fruit vegetables and what you can grow

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.