Heart Studies, AC and Plumbing Work Fill Orbital Schedule

An Expedition 63 crew member aboard the space station photographed the well-lit, highly populated areas of Pakistan and northern India during an orbital night period.
An space station crew member photographed the well-lit, highly populated areas of Pakistan and northern India during an orbital night period.

The three-person Expedition 63 crew focused its attention today on Japanese science hardware and Russian cardiac studies. The International Space Station trio also serviced air conditioning and plumbing systems.

The Kibo laboratory module from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) enables a multitude of space science taking place both inside and outside the orbital lab. Kibo has an airlock that the crew can place external experiments and even satellites for deployment into the vacuum of space.

Commander Chris Cassidy spent the first part of Thursday removing a commercial science payload from Kibo’s airlock. The NanoRacks External Platform supports a variety of research requiring exposure to the space environment. The automated science experiments look at different technologies and phenomena including robotics, physics, and microbiology that can benefit Earth and space industries.

Cassidy switched roles in the afternoon from space scientist to orbital maintenance man. The veteran NASA astronaut checked out spacecraft atmosphere monitor components and updated software supporting the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, the station’s restroom.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued a second day of heart research to understand how the human body adapts to long-term weightlessness. The duo explored the benefits of a negative pressure lower body suit that prevents blood and body fluids from pooling toward an astronaut’s head, a unique space condition commonly known as “puffy face.”

Ivanishin also replaced battery components before setting up advanced Earth photography gear. Vagner worked on fluid transfers throughout the station’s Russian segment then moved on and updated lab inventory files.

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