Space Station Astronauts Ready Free-Flying Robots, Prepare Sample Returns

Astrobees on ISS

Animation of Astrobees on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Aboard the International Space Station, the Expedition 67 crew kept busy yesterday readying free-flying robots, preparing sample returns, and transferring cargo.

Kjell Lindgren, NASA Flight Engineer, set up Astrobee’s free-flying robots for a student robotics contest. For the competition, students write software to control one of the space station’s Astrobee free-flying robots. Finalists have their code downloaded by NASA to the Astrobee platform and observe its performance.

Bob Hines, NASA Flight Engineer, made progress preparing and photographing sample returns for the Genes in Space-9 research study, which evaluates how cell-free technology could be used in microgravity. The technology may provide a portable, low-cost, and low-resource tool with medical and monitoring applications for future space missions.

Astrobee Robots Perform Flight Maneuvers

The free-floating Astrobee robots perform flight maneuvers with support from university ground teams and the astronauts aboard the space station on December 9, 2021. Credit: ESA/NASA

Jessica Watkins, NASA Flight Engineer, continued to purge and take samples of carbon dioxide from the Thermal Amine Scrubber, which tests technology for removing carbon dioxide from the station’s air. Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer, spent time talking with students about life in space and other space-related topics. Watkins and Cristoforetti worked together to transfer cargo from the SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon spacecraft.

In the Russian segment of the station, Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and Cosmonaut Denis Matveev were tasked with locating, photographing, and storing equipment and tools during a meeting with specialists. Cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov spent time replacing a carbon monoxide filter and sensor a part of a gas analyzer.

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