Science Hardware Work Kicks Off Week on International Space Station

ESA Astronaut Matthias Maurer Materials Science Laboratory

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer swaps samples inside the Materials Science Laboratory, a physics research device. Credit: NASA

The seven-member Expedition 66 crew started the last day of January working on a wide variety of research gear supporting biology, physics, and Earth science. Spacewalk tool work and vision tests were also on Monday’s schedule aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron and Thomas Marshburn kicked off Monday servicing science components, flight hardware and life support gear. Barron started the morning inside the Kibo laboratory module installing a small satellite orbital deployer onto an experiment platform that will soon be placed into the vacuum of space. Marshburn also worked inside Kibo installing ice bricks to condition science freezers. Barron later replaced a robotic hand controller while Marshburn worked on water transfer tasks.

ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer once again wore the Metabolic Space medical monitoring device measuring his heart rate and breathing function while riding the station’s exercise bike. The astronaut from Germany also worked on the Mochii electron-scanning microscope then reloaded firmware supporting an array of wireless instrumentation.

NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari worked on pistol grip tools that spacewalkers use when removing or attaching bolts on the outside of the space station. He also joined Barron and Marshburn participating in vision tests checking for visual acuity using a standard eye chart. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei took Monday morning off before spending the afternoon checking cable connections and assisting the cosmonauts with Russian hardware.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos started the day studying ways to pilot future spacecraft and robots on planetary missions. He then joined Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov for a technology study exploring advanced methods to locate landmarks for Earth photography. Dubrov also swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack that supports safe research into flames and fuels in microgravity.

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