Lab, Plumbing, and Ultrasounds Keep Crew Busy Before Cargo Delivery – Space Station


A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship approaches the International Space Station on November 27, 2022.

The SpaceX Dragon is en route to deliver cargo to the International Space Station after liftoff on March 14, marking the company’s 27th commercial resupply mission. Meanwhile, the Expedition 68 crew was busy conducting lab work, ultrasound scans, and plumbing.

NASA flight engineer Stephen Bowen spent some time transporting equipment to the dome to oversee Dragon’s docking. The spacecraft is scheduled to autonomously dock with the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module at 7:52 a.m. EDT on Thursday, March 16. NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg will oversee the automatic docking.

Bowen and Hoburg also drew blood samples for the challenge study. Bowen spun tubes of blood in a centrifuge and stashed them in a freezer for later analysis. The results of the study should provide a better understanding of how the immune system changes in space.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio and Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from the UAE (United Arab Emirates) were tasked with removing and replacing a toilet. Alneyadi also repaired paint damage to a stable wall.

Towards the end of the day, Rubio and Bowen had their eyes scanned with an ultrasound machine. Physicians on the ground remotely guide the astronauts during the exam, which examines the health of the retina, cornea and optic nerve. They also performed ultrasound scans of her neck, collarbones, shoulders and behind her knees.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and Andrey Fedyaev boarded the damaged Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft docked with the International Space Station and closed the hatch without a latch for a 3-hour and 45-minute temperature test to check temperature and Temperature to simulate humidity levels that a Soyuz descent module might experience during an accelerated crew return to Earth. The data from the test could be used by engineers, should it ever be necessary, to return a damaged Soyuz in the future.

The Soyuz MS-22 will undock from the station on March 28 for its unmanned parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan. Prokopyev, Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio will return to Earth later this year in the new Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft, which reached the orbital complex in February.

Learn more about station activity by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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