Monday, May 20, 2024

Astronauts Work on Science Gear, Cosmonauts Take Day Off

NASAAstronauts Work on Science Gear, Cosmonauts Take Day Off

Astronaut Tracy C. Dyson checks out an Astrobee robotic free-flyer for the Zero Robotics tech demonstration for an educational contest to write robot-controlling software.

The four astronauts aboard the International Space Station had a full schedule of science activities on Thursday while the three cosmonauts took the day off and spent time relaxing in the microgravity environment.

The Expedition 71 crew services not only life support systems and electronics gear, but also research hardware to ensure the ongoing operation and integrity of a multitude of science experiments. Thursday was no exception as the four on-duty astronauts from NASA worked on a multipurpose science rack, a fluid physics rack, and a CubeSat deployer.

Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson began her morning in the Columbus laboratory module replacing computer hardware in an EXPRESS rack. The rack, one of ten aboard the station, hosts and supports a variety of payloads and experiments. Astronauts as well as scientists on the ground can also monitor and control the rack facilities.

Working in the Destiny laboratory module, Flight Engineer Mike Barratt also replaced computer gear but inside the Fluids Integrated Rack. This rack enables research to understand how liquids behave in weightlessness potentially informing the design of fuel tanks and hydraulic systems for spacecraft.

The computers that support the different science hardware can store and downlink the research data. They also enable communications between payloads and other station components including the ability to command and control the space investigations.

Over in the Kibo laboratory module, Flight Engineer Matthew Dominick removed an empty CubeSat deployer from inside Kibo’s airlock. The deployer is routinely packed with CubeSats, grappled by the Japanese robotic arm in the depressurized airlock, and pointed away from the station to release the shoe box-sized satellites into Earth orbit. The CubeSats are developed by international educational and governmental organizations for numerous public research objectives.

Dominick and Barratt also partnered together and reviewed SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft procedures to maintain their operational proficiency. Dominick and Barratt are Commander and Pilot, respectively, for the SpaceX Crew-8 mission along with Mission Specialists Jeanette Epps of NASA and Alexander Grebenkin of Roscosmos. All four are also Expedition 71 Flight Engineers.

Epps and Barratt also took turns working in the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, the orbital lab’s bathroom, located in the Tranquility module. Barratt reinstalled and activated hardware that had been removed earlier in the week for orbital plumbing maintenance. Epps wrapped up the work stowing gear that had been replaced inside Tranquility.

The orbital outpost’s three cosmonauts including Grebenkin, Commander Oleg Kononenko, and Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub relaxed on Thursday taking time out for their regularly scheduled workouts. The trio from Roscosmos will be back on duty Friday for more science, cargo, and lab upkeep duties.

For the latest on Boeing’s Crew Flight Test please visit NASA’s blog. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are targeted to launch aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to the orbital lab no earlier than 6:16 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 17.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on X, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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