The SpaceX Dragon Freedom spacecraft carrying the four-member Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) crew is pictured approaching the International Space Station 260 miles above China north of the Himalayas. Credit: NASA
Eleven astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world are living and working together aboard the International Space Station (ISS) today, January 22. The four Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) private astronauts met the seven Expedition 70 crew members on Saturday beginning two weeks of dual operations.
The Ax-3 crew spent the weekend getting familiar with space station systems and emergency procedures before starting Monday with a full schedule of science and media activities. Ax-3 Commander Michael López-Alegría joined Pilot Walter Villadei and studied how microgravity affects the biochemistry of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s to improve health on Earth and in space. The duo later inserted samples into a fluorescence microscope for a study seeking to prevent and predict cancer diseases to protect crews in space and humans on Earth.
Inside the Plant Habitat-06 facility, the early stages of seedling growth of wild-type tomatoes is visible. This specific investigation takes a look at the physiological and genetic responses to defense activation in wild-type and immune-deficient tomatoes during spaceflight. Credit: NASA
Mission Specialist Alper Gezeravcı worked on a space botany experiment looking at ways to sustain spacecraft life support systems and improve crop yields on Earth. Mission Specialist Marcus Wandt explored plasma physics observing low temperature gaseous mixtures composed of ionized gas, neutral gas, and micron-sized particles. The foursome then called down to Earth at the end of the day talking to space professionals in Vienna, Austria, about their mission.
The Expedition 70 crew spent Monday on a variety of science and maintenance tasks while assisting the Ax-3 crew. The orbital residents are also preparing for an upcoming cargo mission.
Expedition 70 Flight Engineers (from left) Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, both NASA astronauts, are pictured inside the International Space Station’s cupola holding NASA’s first graphc novel, “The First Woman.” Credit: NASA
NASA Flight Engineers Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli partnered together Monday afternoon getting ready for a Cygnus cargo mission planned to launch next week. The duo reviewed Cygnus’ mission profile, rendezvous procedures, and command and control interfaces. Both astronauts will be on duty commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus when it arrives at the orbital outpost.
Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) took turns with Moghbeli, astronaut Andreas Mogensen, and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov for a vision test using the standard eye chart seen in doctors’ offices on Earth. Furukawa then organized food inside the Permanent Multipurpose Module and Unity module before servicing a variety of science and life support gear the rest of the day.
The southern coast of Peru on the Pacific Ocean is pctured from the International Space Station as it orbited 260 miles above. Credit: NASA
Mogensen worked in the Tranquility module cleaning the ventilation system before conducting a session for the VR Mental Care study exploring how virtual reality movies may improve crew morale. At the end of the day, the Expedition 70 Commander then assisted the Ax-3 crew members helping them get used to life in microgravity.
In the station’s Roscosmos segment, the three cosmonauts focused on their set of science and maintenance tasks. Borisov installed hardware for a pair of Earth observation experiments, one uses a student-controlled camera targeting landmarks on the ground, the other views the nighttime atmosphere in ultraviolet wavelengths. Veteran Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko started his day updating computer software and then studied piloting techniques future crew members may use on planetary missions. Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub attached sensors to his chest for a heart study, inventoried medical gear, and then cleaned station cameras.