ISS Crew Wraps Up Packing SpaceX Dragon for Earth Return

SpaceX Dragon Resupply Ship Approaches Space Station July 2022

A SpaceX Dragon resupply ship carrying over 5,800 pounds of new science experiments and crew supplies, pictured from a window on the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship, approaches the International Space Station above the south Atlantic Ocean in July 2022. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 70 crew finished packing a U.S. cargo craft on Wednesday before it departs the International Space Station. The seven orbital residents also collaborated on a variety of human research studies to learn how to keep humans healthy in space.

Four astronauts worked together on Wednesday to coordinate final cargo transfers inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. Dragon, which has been docked to the station since November 11,  was slated to undock at 9:05 p.m. EST on Wednesday from the orbital outpost’s forward port on the Harmony module. Due to weather, it is now scheduled to depart at 5:05 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 21.

The agency will provide live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure starting at 8:45 p.m. on the NASA+ streaming service via the web or the NASA app. Coverage also will air live on NASA Television, YouTube, and on the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

SpaceX Dragon Resupply Ship Approaches Internationsl Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the International Space Station in April 2023 carrying more than 6,200 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo, to replenish the Expedition 68 crew. Both spacecraft were flying 269 miles above the Indian Ocean near Madagascar at the time of this photograph. Credit: NASA

Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Andreas Mogensen began the science return work in the morning transferring frozen research samples from station science freezers and into insulated Dragon science transport bags. Astronauts Loral O’Hara and Satoshi Furukawa continued the sample handovers inside the Destiny, Kibo, and Columbus laboratory modules and packed them aboard Dragon. NASA flight engineers O’Hara and Moghbeli wrapped up the research by stowing fresh astronaut blood samples inside Dragon for retrieval and analysis on Earth. Moghbeli will be the last crew member inside Dragon before exiting and closing its hatch a few hours before its departure.

Expedition 70 ISS Crew Poses for Portrait

The seven-member Expedition 70 crew poses for a portrait inside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. In the front row (from left) are, Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara. In the back are, Roscosmos Flight Engineers Nikolai Chub, Konstantin Borisov, and Oleg Kononenko; and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa. Credit: NASA

All four crewmates started their shifts collecting blood and saliva samples for the CIPHER suite of 14 experiments examining how living in weightlessness affects the human body. O’Hara also took a cognition test to understand how the brain functions in space. Moghbeli downloaded medical data stored on a health-monitoring vest and headband. At the end of the day, Furukawa and Mogensen, from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and ESA (European Space Agency) respectively, used the Ultrasound 2 device and scanned each other’s neck, shoulder, and leg veins.

The three cosmonauts living and working aboard the station stayed focused on their contingent of Roscosmos-based science experiments and lab maintenance. Flight Engineers Konstantin Borisov and Nikolai Chub took part in a pair of different fitness evaluations. Borisov started first pedaling on an exercise cycle before Chub jogged on a treadmill while both were attached to sensors measuring their aerobic output. Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko conducted another 3D printing session to demonstrate manufacturing tools and supplies in microgravity.

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