The Expedition 68 crew members serviced a variety of advanced space hardware today and conducted cargo operations inside a trio of docked space freighters. Four astronauts aboard the International Space Station also called down to Earth preparing for the next crew swap mission from SpaceX.
A 3-D bio-printer and an ultra-high resolution video camera were the top science priorities aboard the orbital outpost on Tuesday. NASA Flight Engineer Josh Cassada continued testing the performance of the BioFabrication Facility inside the Columbus laboratory module. The research device seeks to take advantage of the microgravity environment and demonstrate printing organ-like tissues in space which may lead to the future manufacturing of human organs.
NASA Flight Engineer Nicole Mann set up the SphereCAM-1 inside the cupola, the space station’s “window to the world,” and then the Tranquility module to record Earth views and crew activities on Tuesday. The ultra-high resolution video camera is demonstrating its ability to provide groundbreaking views of Earth, space, and spacecraft hardware for both audiences on Earth and space industry professionals.
Mann also joined astronauts Frank Rubio of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) packing the Cygnus resupply ship for its eventual departure. The trio took turns loading trash and discarded gear inside Cygnus which has been berthed to the Unity module’s Earth-facing port since Nov. 9, 2022.
All four astronauts also joined each other after lunch time and called down to their replacements ahead of an upcoming crew swap. The station quartet launched to the orbital lab as the SpaceX Crew-5 mission aboard the Dragon Endurance on Oct. 5, 2022. The new Crew-6 astronauts, who are in Houston today, are Commander Stephen Bowen and Pilot Warren “Woody” Hoburg of NASA, and Mission Specialists Sultan Alneyadi from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Andrey Fedyaev from Roscosmos. The Crew-6 mission will launch aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour from Florida no earlier than Feb. 26 and swap places with the Crew-5 astronauts.
Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Anna Kikina partnered together on Tuesday morning unpacking some of the nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies delivered Saturday inside the ISS Progress 83 resupply ship. The duo then split up in the afternoon working on various electronics maintenance and scientific tasks. Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin refilled station water tanks with water stowed inside the ISS Progress 82 cargo craft then photographed operations during a space biology experiment.