Expedition 70: Preparing for Spacewalks, Conducting Human Research, and Maintaining the Space Station

by Santiago Fernandez
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Expedition 70 Activities

Astronauts Andreas Mogensen, Loral O’Hara, and Jasmin Moghbeli are captured in their spacesuits during training for spacewalks on Earth. (Image Credit: NASA)

On Thursday, October 5, the crew of Expedition 70 temporarily set aside their spacesuit preparations to focus on a range of activities aimed at enhancing human research, including behavioral studies, eye examinations, and fitness evaluations. Concurrently, the residents of the International Space Station (ISS) attended to crucial tasks related to science hardware maintenance and orbital plumbing.

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara dedicated her day to participating in the CIPHER human research study, which seeks to unravel the impact of living in space on an astronaut’s mental and physical well-being. Her activities encompassed simulated robotics maneuvers on a computer, designed to assess changes in her cognitive abilities and brain function. Additionally, she processed blood and urine samples, providing valuable insights into her immune and heart health. This experiment diligently examines the cumulative effects of radiation, isolation, long-duration spaceflight, microgravity, and confined environments on space crews.

Jasmin Moghbeli, a NASA flight engineer, and Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), another flight engineer, had a packed schedule that included tasks ranging from science hardware maintenance to robotics training and eye examinations. Moghbeli initiated her day by replacing components on the Cold Atom Lab and inspecting the quantum physics research facility. Furukawa’s duties began with configuring cameras and lights intended for installation outside the space station at a later stage. Following their respective activities, both engineers united after lunch to review robotics procedures for an upcoming spacewalk. Furukawa concluded his day by conducting eye examinations on Moghbeli using standard medical imaging equipment, similar to what one would find in a doctor’s office on Earth.

Commander Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) assisted NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli in donning her spacesuit and testing its components within the International Space Station’s Quest airlock, all in preparation for an impending spacewalk.

Looking ahead, NASA managers are slated to discuss two upcoming spacewalks on October 12 and 20 during a NASA TV broadcast at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday. The first spacewalk will involve astronauts O’Hara and Andreas Mogensen (ESA), who will collect external microbe samples for subsequent analysis. The second spacewalk will see O’Hara and Moghbeli removing and replacing communications and solar array hardware.

Commander Mogensen, responsible for leading Expedition 70, devoted his Thursday afternoon to servicing life support components within the Tranquility module. Prior to this, he and his fellow crew members, Moghbeli and Furukawa, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, engaged in a medical emergency training session. This session involved the coordinated location of medical equipment, assigning rescue roles, and practicing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Notably, these four astronauts arrived at the orbital laboratory as members of the SpaceX Crew-7 mission on August 26, 2023.

Cosmonaut Nikolai Chub began his day by assisting Borisov as he affixed sensors to himself and engaged in a session of cycling for a physical fitness evaluation. The exercise data collected is subsequently assessed by medical professionals to gauge a crew member’s aerobic and cardiovascular condition in the weightless environment of space. Chub’s remaining tasks for the day centered around electronics and computer maintenance.

Oleg Kononenko, the most experienced crew member aboard the orbiting lab, commenced his day within the Zvezda service module, where he replaced orbital plumbing components. Following this essential maintenance work, Kononenko turned his attention to a space physics study, involving the swapping of gases, and synchronized the clocks on cameras with the station’s computers.

Expedition 70 continues its diligent work on the International Space Station, encompassing a diverse array of activities ranging from scientific research to equipment maintenance, all aimed at advancing our understanding of space and supporting future missions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Expedition 70 Activities

What is Expedition 70 all about?

Expedition 70 involves a range of activities on the International Space Station (ISS), including spacewalk preparations, human research studies, and space station maintenance tasks.

What kind of human research is being conducted?

The CIPHER human research study is investigating how living in space impacts astronauts’ minds and bodies. It involves simulated robotics maneuvers, cognition assessments, and analysis of blood and urine samples to understand immune and heart health in space conditions.

What are the upcoming spacewalks for Expedition 70?

Expedition 70 is scheduled for two spacewalks on October 12 and 20. During the first, astronauts will collect external microbe samples, and the second involves the replacement of communications and solar array hardware.

Who are the key members of Expedition 70?

Expedition 70 is led by Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA and includes astronauts and cosmonauts from various space agencies, including NASA, JAXA, and Roscosmos.

What are the fitness and maintenance activities carried out?

Crew members undergo physical fitness evaluations, with exercise data analyzed to assess aerobic and cardiovascular conditioning. Maintenance tasks include equipment servicing and space physics studies.

What is the overall goal of Expedition 70?

Expedition 70 aims to advance scientific research, enhance understanding of space conditions, and support future space missions through a diverse range of activities on the ISS.

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