Crew Starts Week With Maintenance, Science Prep, and Health Exams

Expedition 71 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut MIke Barratt is pictured relaxing aboard the International Space Station'.
Expedition 71 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Mike Barratt is pictured relaxing aboard the International Space Station.

Five spacecraft are parked at the International Space Station following yesterday’s undocking of a cargo craft. Aboard the orbiting complex, the Expedition 71 crew is looking ahead to a Dragon relocation mid-week and the arrival of two new crew members next week. On Monday, the septet spent the day conducting routine maintenance, prepping for upcoming science activities, and performing health exams.

A Dragon cargo spacecraft is currently orbiting Earth preparing to splash down off the coast of Florida at approximately 1:38 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30. Dragon, which spent about a month docked to the station, departed at 1:10 p.m. Sunday, April 28, and is carrying more than 4,100 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments back to researchers on Earth.

Aboard station, four orbital residents—NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps, Matthew Dominick, Mike Barratt, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin—are preparing to relocate their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on Thursday, May 2 to the zenith port of the Harmony module. This relocation will make room for the Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test, scheduled to launch Monday, May 6. Starliner will carry NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the station for about a one week stay.

While mission preparations are underway, Dominick set up hardware to perform an eye exam on Epps and measure her blood pressure using a new thigh cuff. The hardware examines whether cuffs on the legs change the way fluid moves around the body. The microgravity environment often causes fluids to shift toward the head, which can result in changes to vision and eye structure. Scientists are exploring whether the new hardware could be useful for astronauts to wear in the future as a normal part of spaceflight.

In the Destiny laboratory module, Barratt swapped out cartridges inside the Materials Science Laboratory and prepared it for an upcoming sample run. The facility is used to investigate the behavior of different types of materials at high temperatures in microgravity. Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson changed out two water resupply tanks in the water storage system, then moved on to perform routine maintenance on the station’s Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, or ARED.

Over in the Roscosmos segment, Grebenkin practiced his piloting techniques during a Pilot-T session. His crewmates, Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub, stowed tools they used during a four-hour and 36-minute spacewalk on Thursday, April 25.

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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