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Full House in Space: 10 Astronauts, Circadian Lighting, and Chocolate Mousse

Soaring 262 miles over the Northeastern coast of Australia, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen captured this photo from the International Space Station. Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, which has been docked to the station since August 4, 2023, is positioned to the right of the image, displaying its prominent cymbal-shaped solar arrays. Credit: NASA

It’s a full house aboard the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>International Space Station as 10 residents are living on orbit following Friday’s arrival of a new crew. Tuesday, September 19, saw a variety of tasks split amongst the residents as three members continue to adjust to life in weightlessness, and another prepares for their journey back home to Earth next week.

New Residents and Their Tasks

First-time orbital residents, Loral O’Hara of NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA and Nikoali Chub of RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Roscosmos are taking on some of the firsts of many maintenance tasks they’ll complete throughout their stay. O’Hara processed water samples to help determine water quality aboard the station, while Chub partook in an experiment that assesses cardiovascular and respiratory function.

Last Friday brought the arrival of the two to the station, along with Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, who is at the start of his fifth mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. The trio launched aboard the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, now docked to the station for the next year. Kononenko spent some of his day transferring cargo from Soyuz and adjusting to another mission in low-Earth orbit.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli Collects Water Samples for Microbial Analysis

NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli collects water samples for microbial analysis inside the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory module. Credit: NASA

Preparations for Departure and Daily Tasks

Astronaut Frank Rubio of NASA, Commander Sergey Prokopyev, and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos spent part of the day prepping for their departure next week on September 27. While Rubio helped his new crew members familiarize themselves with life on orbit, Prokopyev and Petelin completed training on manual controlled descent of the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft they’ll take home. Ahead of departure prep, Rubio spent his morning in the Tranquility Module, inspecting and cleaning overhead vent diffusers.

Expedition 69’s Other Endeavors

Another set of Expedition 69 crew members have quickly adapted to their new routines and are taking on orbital tasks in full force after their arrival in August. Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA spent the morning collecting blood pressure data, while Flight Engineer Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>European Space Agency) tested a new lighting system that aims to help astronauts maintain circadian rhythm. Additionally, Mogensen installed a food processing system to make chocolate mousse, which he later taste-tested before bed.  In the evening, Moghbeli completed an exam to assess the intraocular pressure of the eyes.

In other tasks, Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent the morning performing maintenance tasks on the Internal Ball Camera in the Japanese Experiment Module. After lunch, he repaired and replaced cables on the Life Support Rack. Meanwhile, Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos spent the day on orbital plumbing tasks.

Source: SciTechDaily