The Expedition 68 Crew: New Experiments and Upcoming Spacewalks


New science experiments delivered aboard a U.S. cargo ship are being activated this week aboard International Space Station. The Expedition 68 crew prepares for upcoming spacewalks in Dec.

On Tuesday, NASA Flight Engineers Nicole Mann & Frank Rubio collaborated to load research samples from the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship. They carefully stored the specimens in the U.S. The Destiny laboratory module was prepared for an experiment to see how microgravity affects the regenerative of skeletal stem cells. Doctors on the ground will later evaluate the samples to help improve bone treatments on Earth and in space.

On Tuesday, Flight Engineers Josh Cassada from NASA and Koichi Waka from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency worked together to unpack various cargo inside Dragon. They took turns taking frozen science samples out of Dragon and placing them in science freezers on the station. New science experiments shipped aboard Dragon will provide new insights into botany, biology, and physics.

Wakata also spent time setting up extravehicular mobility units (EMUs), which are spacesuits Cassada, and Rubio will wear during a planned spacewalk scheduled to start at 7:25 a.m. EST Saturday. NASA astronauts will spend approximately seven hours in their EMUs installing the new roll-out solar array to the station's starboard structure.

Roll-out solar arrays are also International Space Station roll-out solar arrays or iROSAs. They are currently stored in the Dragon's trunk. The mission controllers will remotely command the Canadarm2 robotic arms to retrieve the iROSAs from Dragon and attach them to truss structure attachments. The spacewalkers will then retrieve the roll-out solar panels for Saturday's spacewalk and a second spacewalk scheduled for December 19. They will install them on the station's port and starboard truss segments.

Roscosmos Commander Sergey Prokopyev began his day by attaching sensors to his heart to measure his activity. After that, he changed the water in his Orlan spacesuit's loops. He also checked its water pumps. Dmitri Petelin, Flight Engineer, will perform a future spacewalk to move a radiator from the Rassvet multipurpose laboratory module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory unit. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina will operate the European robotic arm to assist the pair during their spacewalk.

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