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ISS Activity Surge: Ultraviolet Earth Glows, Sleep Science, Microbial Research, and Crew Handovers

Earth’s atmosphere glows as the International Space Station soared roughly 260 miles above Egypt. Credit: NASA

Ten orbital residents had a full schedule on Wednesday, September 20, attending to a mix of tasks including eye exams, station maintenance, and training. While new members of the Expedition 69 crew familiarize themselves with hardware and equipment, others are completing more prep work ahead of their departure from 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 next week.

Sleep Studies and Spacewalk Preparations

After wearing the Sleep in Orbit hardware overnight, 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) astronaut Andreas Mogensen started his day filling out a questionnaire that helps researchers gain insight into astronauts’ sleep in space and compare that data to sleep on Earth. Midmorning, he was joined by NASA astronauts and first-time station residents, Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli, to make adjustments to their spacesuits that will be used on future spacewalks.

Mount Baker From International Space Station

Mount Baker reaches over 10,700 feet of elevation in the state of Washington. The active glacier-covered stratovolcano was seen from the International Space Station as it orbited 265 miles above. Credit: NASA

Medical Exams and Microbial Research

After lunch, Mogensensen and Moghbeli were joined by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa to conduct ultrasound eye exams. Furukawa spent most of his morning collecting surface samples for microbial analysis ahead of the exam. Afterward, he moved on to collecting air samples to continue the microbial research.

Preparations for Departure

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 astronaut Frank Rubio spent Wednesday gearing up for his trek home to Earth next week following a record-breaking mission. He spent part of his day working in the Japanese Experiment Module conducting maintenance before moving on to departure prep, including crew handover activities and prepping items that will return home with the crew on the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft.

Space Station Orbits Above Queensland, Australia

The Soyuz MS-23 crew ship is pictured docked to the Prichal docking module as the International Space Station orbited 264 miles above Queensland, Australia, near the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria on May 11, 2023. Credit: NASA

Rubio, as well as 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 Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, launched to the space station on September 21, 2022, and will undock on September 27 after spending over one year in space. The two cosmonauts joined Rubio in crew handover and departure prep activities today as they prepared for a change in command and continued to train the newly arrived crew.

Orientation and Nighttime Atmospheric Study

Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, who arrived at the orbital outpost last Friday along with O’Hara, completed crew orientation early on in the day. In the evening, the two were joined by Mogensen, O’Hara, and Prokopyev to familiarize themselves with hardware and equipment throughout various station modules.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov of Roscosmos spent most of the day conducting an experiment that studies the glow of Earth’s atmosphere at night in near ultraviolet.

Source: SciTechDaily