Space Physics and Biology Top Research Schedule Today

The Earth's horizon looking back towards Uruguay
The International Space Station was orbiting off the Atlantic coast of the South American nation of Uruguay with the Progress 75 cargo craft in the left foreground.

The Expedition 63 crew spent Friday setting up advanced science hardware to explore a wide variety of space phenomena. The International Space Station residents also worked spacesuit maintenance and conducted more eye checks.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Behnken spent the morning swapping furnaces inside the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) research rack. Fellow NASA  astronaut Doug Hurley joined Behnken and installed the specialized device, known as the Solidification and Quench Furnace (SQF), in the MSL. The SQF will enable scientists to discover new applications for metals, alloys, polymers and more, or design advanced materials for industrial usage.

Hurley started his day configuring a laptop computer for the Hyperspectral Imaging Suite (HISUI) from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). HISUI is located outside the Kibo laboratory module and images Earth in visible and infrared wavelengths providing valuable geological and environmental data.

Behnken then joined Commander Chris Cassidy for another eye exam at the end of the work day. Cassidy was in charge this time using optical coherence tomography to image his crewmate’s retinas. Doctors on the ground monitor the exam in real-time to understand how microgravity affects eye health.

Just before lunchtime, Cassidy dumped water and purged gas from a pair of U.S. spacesuits ahead of two more battery swap spacewalks he and Behnken will embark on July 16 and 21. During the afternoon, the commander researched microfluidics to improve medical diagnostic devices and explored how astronauts visually interpret their microgravity environment.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner juggled their set of lab upkeep and Russian science today. Vagner investigated how space impacts bone mass and the immune system to prepare for return to Earth’s gravity. Ivanishin charged up laptop computer and camera batteries then spent the afternoon servicing the Zvezda service module’s ventilation system.

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