Biotech and Digestion Studies Top Thursday’s Research Schedule

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps poses for a portrait inside the seven-window cupola while orbiting 259 miles above Greece.
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps poses for a portrait inside the seven-window cupola while orbiting 259 miles above Greece.

Biotechnology and human research were the main science topics on Thursday as the Expedition 71 crew explored ways to improve health on Earth and in space. The seven International Space Station residents also completed advanced plumbing work and staged emergency equipment in preparation for an upcoming mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Jeanette Epps set up research hardware in the Harmony module and explored how microgravity affects surface tension. She observed the microgravity behavior of fluid samples and filmed the experiment activities to help researchers develop therapies for respiratory conditions and reduce contamination in tubes. Results may benefit both the health care and food industries.

NASA Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson wrapped up two days of orbital plumbing work with assistance from NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick. The pair replaced a catalytic reactor in the Tranquility module’s restroom, also called the Waste and Hygiene Compartment.  The reactor introduces oxygen in the water recovery system and oxidizes its wastewater ahead of recycling.

Dominick then joined NASA Flight Engineer Mike Barratt at the end of the day and cleaned up Tranquility returning the module to its normal configuration. Barratt began his day cleaning electronics vents in the Kibo laboratory module. Barratt then collected emergency hardware and staged the gear in preparation for the arrival of NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams on Boeing’s Crew Flight Test, which is now targeted for launch on Saturday, June 1.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub once again scanned their stomachs with an ultrasound device after breakfast Thursday morning. The duo is continuing its research helping doctors understand how the human digestion system adapts to long-term weightlessness. Kononenko then tested communication systems and cleaned surfaces in the Zvezda service module. Chub spent the rest of his day inventorying spacewalk tools.

Flight Engineer Alexander Grebenkin had a pair of photography sessions pointing his camera out a window and capturing Earth landmarks and wildfires. Grebenkin also spent time servicing life support gear and video hardware in the Roscosmos segment of the orbiting lab.

Mission managers from NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) work toward 12:25 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 1, for the launch of the agency’s Crew Flight Test to the space station. For more information visit

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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