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ISS Crew Wraps Up Packing SpaceX Dragon for Earth Return

A SpaceX Dragon resupply ship carrying over 5,800 pounds of new science experiments and crew supplies, pictured from a window on the SpaceX Dragon Freedom crew ship, approaches the International Space Station above the south Atlantic Ocean in July 2022. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 70 crew finished packing a U.S. cargo craft on Wednesday before it departs 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>International Space Station. The seven orbital residents also collaborated on a variety of human research studies to learn how to keep humans healthy in space.

Four astronauts worked together on Wednesday to coordinate final cargo transfers inside the SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. Dragon, which has been docked to the station since November 11,  was slated to undock at 9:05 p.m. ESTEST is an abbreviation for Eastern Standard Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing standard time (autumn/winter). It is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and the Kennedy Space Center are in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>EST on Wednesday from the orbital outpost’s forward port on the Harmony module. Due to weather, it is now scheduled to depart at 5:05 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 21.

The agency will provide live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure starting at 8:45 p.m. on the 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>NASA+ streaming service via the web or the NASA app. Coverage also will air live on NASA Television, YouTube, and on the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

SpaceX Dragon Resupply Ship Approaches Internationsl Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the International Space Station in April 2023 carrying more than 6,200 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo, to replenish the Expedition 68 crew. Both spacecraft were flying 269 miles above the Indian Ocean near Madagascar at the time of this photograph. Credit: NASA

Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Andreas Mogensen began the science return work in the morning transferring frozen research samples from station science freezers and into insulated Dragon science transport bags. Astronauts Loral O’Hara and Satoshi Furukawa continued the sample handovers inside the Destiny, Kibo, and Columbus laboratory modules and packed them aboard Dragon. NASA flight engineers O’Hara and Moghbeli wrapped up the research by stowing fresh astronaut blood samples inside Dragon for retrieval and analysis on Earth. Moghbeli will be the last crew member inside Dragon before exiting and closing its hatch a few hours before its departure.

Expedition 70 ISS Crew Poses for Portrait

The seven-member Expedition 70 crew poses for a portrait inside the International Space Station’s Kibo laboratory module. In the front row (from left) are, Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineers Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara. In the back are, Roscosmos Flight Engineers Nikolai Chub, Konstantin Borisov, and Oleg Kononenko; and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa. Credit: NASA

All four crewmates started their shifts collecting blood and saliva samples for the CIPHER suite of 14 experiments examining how living in weightlessness affects the human body. O’Hara also took a cognition test to understand how the brain functions in space. Moghbeli downloaded medical data stored on a health-monitoring vest and headband. At the end of the day, Furukawa and Mogensen, from JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>European Space Agency) respectively, used the Ultrasound 2 device and scanned each other’s neck, shoulder, and leg veins.

The three cosmonauts living and working aboard the station stayed focused on their contingent 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”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>Roscosmos-based science experiments and lab maintenance. Flight Engineers Konstantin Borisov and Nikolai Chub took part in a pair of different fitness evaluations. Borisov started first pedaling on an exercise cycle before Chub jogged on a treadmill while both were attached to sensors measuring their aerobic output. Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko conducted another 3D printing session to demonstrate manufacturing tools and supplies in microgravity.

Source: SciTechDaily