Ten in Orbit: Experiencing Life and Science Aboard the Vibrant Space Station

Following the recent arrival of three crew members via the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, the International Space Station (ISS) is currently home to a total of ten individuals. Nevertheless, as the month concludes, another trio of spacefarers, who have spent a year in space, will return to Earth.

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, together with Roscosmos cosmonauts Nikolai Chub and Oleg Kononenko, is in her inaugural week aboard the space station. O’Hara and Chub are adjusting to life in space for the first time, familiarizing themselves with station operations and systems. O’Hara also spent her day focused on life support tasks, while Chub installed Earth imaging hardware in the Harmony module.

On the other hand, Kononenko is embarking on his fifth mission as a space station crew member. The seasoned cosmonaut’s activities on Monday ranged from charging video camera batteries to unpacking cargo from the new Soyuz crew ship. Kononenko will be joined in space for a year by Chub, while O’Hara’s mission aboard the station will last six months, concluding in the spring.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio, along with his crewmates Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin from Roscosmos, is approaching the one-year mark in space. The trio is now preparing to return to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship on September 27. On Monday, they came together to inspect the Sokol launch and entry suits they will wear during their journey home. Prokopyev and Petelin also tested lower body negative pressure suits, which may aid their bodies in adapting to Earth’s gravity more rapidly.

As for the other four Expedition 69 flight engineers on the space station, they have been on board for four weeks, having arrived on August 27 via the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft. Their orientation is complete, and they are now fully engaged in space research and lab maintenance.

NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli and ESA’s Andreas Mogensen commenced Monday with life science experiments in the Columbus laboratory module. Moghbeli set up a pair of Kubik incubators, which Mogensen used to store blood samples. Later, they conducted a vision test in the Destiny laboratory module using tools similar to those found in a doctor’s office.

JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa dedicated his day to housekeeping tasks, including cleaning up the Harmony module, reorganizing food packs, and transferring cargo to and from the Cygnus space freighter. Cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov focused primarily on electronics maintenance and sanitizing surfaces for microbes in the Roscosmos segment of the orbiting laboratory.

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