Crew Works Space Biology, Preps for Next Spacewalk

Astronaut Jessica Watkins enjoys a personal size pizza during dinner time aboard the space station.
Astronaut Jessica Watkins enjoys a personal size pizza during dinner time aboard the space station.

The Expedition 67 crew continued exploring how humans and plants adapt in microgravity while testing robotic free-flyers on Wednesday. The orbital residents are also preparing for another spacewalk at the International Space Station to continue outfitting a new robotic arm.

NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins and Bob Hines partnered together during the morning studying how living in space affects dexterous manipulation. The duo took turns during an hourlong session performing gripping and motion tasks while seated in a specialized chair inside the Columbus laboratory module. Observations may provide scientists a deeper understanding of the human nervous system and help engineers design intelligent spacecraft interfaces.

Afterward, Watkins checked on mizuna greens and radishes growing for the XROOTS space botany study demonstrating soilless agricultural methods, such as hydroponic and aeroponic techniques. Hines later activated a pair of toaster-sized Astrobee robotic free-flyers and watched while they navigated autonomously using smartphone technology inside the Kibo laboratory module.

NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren opened up the Cell Biology Experiment Facility and serviced components inside the biology research device equipped with an artificial gravity generating incubator. Lindgren then spent the afternoon documenting the amount of food stowed aboard the orbiting lab as part of a regularly scheduled audit.

The next spacewalk is expected to take place on July 21 beginning at 10 a.m. EDT with Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency). The pair spent Wednesday morning studying their spacewalk tasks, maneuvers, and safety procedures. Five-time spacewalker Artemyev will lead Cristoforetti on her first spacewalk to continue configuring the European robotic arm for operations during the planned seven-hour excursion.

Flight Engineer Denis Matveev assisted Artemyev with the spacewalk preparations during the afternoon collecting and inspecting tools planned for the upcoming excursion. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov spent his day working on assorted electronics gear and checking ventilation systems in the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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