Space Station Crew Focuses on Scientific Advancements, Technological Upgrades, and Earth Observations

by Hiroshi Tanaka
Space station activities

As the International Space Station (ISS) gracefully circles the Earth 270 miles above the South Atlantic islands known as the Falkland Islands, a captivating scene unfolds. On the right side of the image, the Russian segment of the ISS emerges, while partially visible on the left are a pair of solar arrays, testifying to the station’s reliance on advanced technology. This snapshot captures the spirit of the ISS Expedition 69 crew, who have been fully engaged in a multitude of tasks, ranging from station upgrades to scientific research.

The week began with a flurry of activities and a strong focus on both hardware updates and scientific advancements. On July 10, the crew delved into a series of tasks, including hardware updates, installation of science technology, Earth observations, and rigorous training sessions.

Astronaut Stephen Bowen, representing NASA, commenced his day by preparing for an imminent water refill and the installation of Plant Habitat-03B, a groundbreaking investigation aiming to assess the transferability of adaptations observed in plants grown in space across generations. In the afternoon, Bowen successfully installed new scientific equipment within the habitat and replenished its water reservoir. As the day drew to a close, he diligently organized and stowed the day/night glasses, essential in safeguarding astronauts from harmful radiation.

Another NASA astronaut, Woody Hoburg, embarked on his morning tasks by removing CubeSat deployers from the Multipurpose Experiment Platform situated within the Kibo Laboratory. This followed the deployment of six CubeSats the previous week. Subsequently, Hoburg proceeded to install a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer, which will enable the deployment of future mini satellites within the Japanese Experiment Module.

During an orbital night pass, the crew had the opportunity to observe and capture an image of Xiamen, a vibrant Chinese port city located on the coast of the South China Sea. This bustling city, with its population exceeding 5.1 million, provided a captivating sight from the ISS, which orbited at a distance of 258 miles above. The crew relished this opportunity while continuing their busy schedule.

Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi, representing the United Arab Emirates (UAE), dedicated his time to preparing the Dreams headband for an upcoming assessment. This assessment will focus on monitoring astronauts’ sleep quality, a critical aspect of their well-being in space. Alneyadi also collaborated with Hoburg to review procedures for forthcoming maintenance activities scheduled for the station’s Tranquility module. In the final hours of his day, Alneyadi reconfigured Extravehicular Mobility Units, ensuring they are ready for future spacewalks.

NASA’s Flight Engineer Frank Rubio, along with Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin from Roscosmos, devoted their morning to comprehensive training on station egress procedures. Building on this training series, Rubio then transitioned to the Window Observational Research Facility, where he meticulously observed and photographed Earth, documenting its stunning features. In the afternoon, Rubio analyzed water samples from the orbital lab’s Water Recovery System and examined microbial samples collected from various surfaces and the air through previous swabbing exercises.

After completing his training, Petelin focused on finalizing a cargo unload plan that he had initiated the previous week, in preparation for the upcoming ISS Progress 85 mission. Meanwhile, Cosmonaut Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev took charge of the EarthKAM software, an ingenious program empowering students to remotely control a digital camera mounted on the ISS. With this system, students can capture mesmerizing photographs of mountain ranges, coastlines, and other captivating views of Earth that pique their curiosity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Space station activities

What activities are the space station crew engaged in?

The space station crew is involved in a range of activities, including upgrades to the station, hardware updates, scientific research, Earth observations, and training.

What is the purpose of the Plant Habitat-03B investigation?

The Plant Habitat-03B investigation aims to assess if adaptations observed in plants grown in space can be transferred to the next generation.

What tasks did astronaut Woody Hoburg perform?

Astronaut Woody Hoburg removed CubeSat deployers from the Multipurpose Experiment Platform and installed a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer for future mini satellites.

What is the Dreams headband used for?

The Dreams headband is being prepared for an upcoming assessment to monitor the sleep quality of astronauts.

What training did the crew members undertake?

The crew members underwent training on station egress procedures and completed training on various tasks, including cargo unloading and remote camera control using the EarthKAM software.

What did Flight Engineer Frank Rubio observe and analyze?

Flight Engineer Frank Rubio observed and photographed Earth from the Window Observational Research Facility, analyzed water samples from the Water Recovery System, and examined microbial samples collected from different surfaces and the air.

What is the purpose of the cargo unload plan?

The cargo unload plan is being prepared for the upcoming ISS Progress 85 mission to efficiently unload cargo and supplies.

What can students do with the EarthKAM software?

With the EarthKAM software, students can remotely control a digital camera on the space station to capture photographs of mountain ranges, coastlines, and other interesting Earth views.

More about Space station activities

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AstroKid July 11, 2023 - 9:04 am

can students really control a camera on the space station?? that’s sooo cool, wish i could take pictures from space!

SleepyDreamer July 11, 2023 - 9:14 am

i need that Dreams headband to monitor my sleep too, wonder if it works for earthlings

Stargazer27 July 11, 2023 - 2:23 pm

frank rubio is so lucky getting to take photos of Earth from space, bet the views are amazing!

SpaceEnthusiast99 July 11, 2023 - 4:20 pm

gotta love the ISS, so much happening up there, always something new to learn, can’t wait for the next mission!

AstroFan12 July 12, 2023 - 6:41 am

wow the space station crew is doing a lot of stuffs, like upgrades and scienfic research and earth observation so cool!!!

SatelliteGeek July 12, 2023 - 7:15 am

woody hoburg must be having so much fun deploying those satellites, i wish i could do that too #dreamjob

SpaceExplorer88 July 12, 2023 - 8:31 am

i wonder what kind of adaptations those plants in space will have?? will they be super plants or something??


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