Spacewalk preparations and cancer research were among the activities scheduled aboard the International Space Station on Thursday. The Expedition 66 crew also unpacked a U.S. cargo craft and explored using virtual reality while exercising.
NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron began readying the U.S. Quest airlock and collecting tools ahead of a pair of spacewalks planned for mid-March. The duo also reviewed step-by-step spacewalk procedures on a computer using 3D graphics. NASA is continuing to set up the space station’s truss structure for a third set of roll out solar arrays augmenting the orbiting lab’s power system.
Chari earlier partnered with ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer investigating how living in space affects visual function. NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn assisted the duo with the research in the morning before spending the afternoon troubleshooting components on the COLBERT treadmill. Maurer ended his day wearing virtual reality goggles while pedaling on an exercise cycle to learn how to improve the work out experience in space.
A new cancer study started this week after arriving aboard the Cygnus space freighter on Monday. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei set up the Life Science Glovebox on Wednesday and began observing tumor cells shipped inside a Cygnus science freezer. On Thursday, Vande Hei continued servicing those samples to better understand the onset and progression of cancer and potentially improve treatments on Earth.
Commander Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos was back on plasma physics research Thursday and also transferred cargo from Russia’s ISS Progress 80 cargo craft. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov inspected Russian station modules before exploring ways to maximize space exercise. The duo rounded out the day with eye scans using the Ultrasound 2 device with remote guidance from doctors on the ground.