Crew Checks Eyes and Ears, Works on Bioprinting and Spacesuits

Astronaut Jeanette Epps works in the BioFabrication Facility portable glovebag to print cardiac cell samples for the Redwire Cardiac Bioprinting Investigation.
Astronaut Jeanette Epps works in the BioFabrication Facility portable glovebag to print cardiac cell samples for the Redwire Cardiac Bioprinting Investigation.

Biomedical research and space physics consumed the Expedition 71 crew’s science schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The seven orbital residents also worked on spacesuits and cargo operations throughout their workday.

Three NASA astronauts participated in eye checks giving doctors insights on microgravity’s effect on the human body. Flight Engineers Matthew Dominick, Mike Barratt, and Jeanette Epps took turns scanning each other’s eyes with the Ultrasound 2 device. Doctors on the ground monitored the scans in real-time viewing the crewmembers’ cornea, lens, and optic nerve. Afterward, Epps operated standard medical imaging hardware and viewed Dominick’s retina and optic nerve for the B Complex eye health investigation.

Dominick and Barratt also worked throughout the day transferring cargo inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. Additionally, Barratt installed new gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack for a study to improve fire safety in space.

Epps earlier split her day between a 3D bioprinting study and physics hardware swaps. First, she operated the BioFabrication Facility and printed cardiac cell samples for an experiment that may see future crews print meals and medicines on demand or doctors create replacement organs and tissues for patients on Earth. Next, she replaced components in the Fluids Integrated Rack for an experiment that could improve thermal systems for both spacecraft and Earth systems.

NASA Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson wrapped up the bioprinting work that Epps began on Wednesday processing the printed cardiac cell samples for incubation. Dyson began her day setting up a wearable acoustic monitor that measures the station’s sound levels that crews experience. She later swapped hardware supporting a semiconductor manufacturing experiment.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and Alexander Grebenkin each spent about an hour on Wednesday participating in a regularly scheduled hearing assessment. The trio from Roscosmos took turns wearing a headset and listening to tones in a quiet area of the orbital lab while specialized software documented the results.

Kononenko and Chub started the day together reviewing software that simulates descending back to Earth inside the Soyuz spacecraft. Afterward, the Roscosmos duo collected Orlan spacesuit components and tested the suits for pressure leaks. The Expedition 71 crew is preparing for its first spacewalk planned for April 25.

Grebenkin continued scanning surfaces inside the Zvezda service module with an ultrasound device during the first half of his day. In the afternoon, he jogged on a treadmill while attached to sensors and electrodes measuring his health parameters for a periodic fitness test.

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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