Expedition 69 astronauts are concluding a space biology study and preparing for a series of spacewalks at the International Space Station. They are also packing the equipment inside the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for return to Earth, including numerous experiments conducted aboard the station.
The Expedition 69 astronauts are finalizing a space biology study this week before packing it inside a cargo craft for return to Earth. The cosmonauts are also relaxing today ahead of more preparations for a series of spacewalks at the International Space Station (ISS).
Return cargo operations are underway at the orbiting lab as the astronauts finalize a variety of experiments and pack station hardware inside the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. Samples and research gear from numerous experiments that have been taking place aboard the station will parachute back to Earth inside Dragon after it undocks from the station on Saturday at 11:05 a.m. EDT. SpaceX and NASA personnel will retrieve Dragon off the coast of Florida several hours later so scientists and engineers can begin analyzing the completed space research and used station gear.
NASA Flight Engineers Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, and Frank Rubio worked throughout the day on a study that will soon be completed and loaded inside Dragon. The trio serviced biological samples being observed to understand how an astronaut’s body adapts to living long-term in weightlessness. At the end of the week, the crew will wrap up the biology science operations and pack the microgravity-exposed research samples inside Dragon for analysis in laboratories on Earth.
UAE (United Arab Emirates) Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi worked on a pair of different technology experiments on Wednesday. He first worked on a 3D printer to demonstrate manufacturing tools, components, and even experiments on the orbital outpost. Afterward, he collected and stowed samples in a science freezer for a study exploring the biomanufacturing of pharmaceuticals in space.
Three cosmonauts from Roscosmos had the day off on Wednesday in commemoration of Cosmonautics Day following several days of spacewalk preparations. The trio consisting of Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Dmitri Petelin and Andrey Fedyaev will continue on Thursday readying Orlan spacesuits, organizing spacewalking tools, and studying procedures for a series of spacewalks set to begin on April 18.
Prokopyev and Petelin will exit the Poisk module during all three spacewalks and maneuver toward the Earth-facing side of the station. From there, the duo will move a radiator and an experiment airlock from the Rassvet module to the Nauka science module. Fedyaev will be inside the station operating the European robotic arm during the excursion assisting the spacewalkers.