Innovations in orbit: cutting-edge research in biology and fluid physics on the Space Station

Space biology and life support system maintenance were the focus of the Expedition 70 crew on Tuesday, January 9. Orbital residents aboard the International Space Station also studied future piloting techniques and fluid physics, complementing the research program.

NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli joined ESA (European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen for biological research within the Kibo laboratory module. The trio worked all morning in Kibo's life sciences glove box to learn how microgravity affects reproductive health and bone loss.

In the afternoon, O'Hara removed the Bio-Monitor vest and headband she was wearing, demonstrating its ability to comfortably monitor and record an astronaut's health data. Moghbeli inspected the orbital plumbing equipment in the Roscosmos orbital outpost segment. Mogensen finished his shift reviewing procedures for photographing the moon illuminated by light reflected from Earth.

Flight engineer Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent his day primarily maintaining survival equipment and scientific equipment. Furukawa's main task took place inside the Columbus Lab module as he connected and disconnected the internal thermal control components. Subsequently, he removed a carbon dioxide incubator controller from inside the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory, a life sciences and physics research center.


Cosmonaut Nikolai Chub worked throughout the day Tuesday on two different experiments for Roscosmos. He first wore a cap filled with sensors that monitored his reactions as he practiced techniques for piloting futuristic spacecraft and robots on a computer. He then studied the behavior of liquids in microgravity conditions, including temperature changes and electric and magnetic fields.

Oleg Kononenko, a veteran cosmonaut and five-time resident of the station, spent Tuesday inspecting and photographing sections inside the Zvezda service module. Flight engineer Konstantin Borisov continued to work on the drilling batteries, then inspected and photographed the structural elements inside the Nauka and Zarya modules.

The Cygnus space freighter ended its stay in space by re-entering the Earth's atmosphere at 1:22 p.m. EDT today for fiery but sure destruction over the Pacific Ocean. Cygnus left the orbiting laboratory on December 22, after four and a half months docked at the station's Unity module. The Northrop Grumman private supply ship launched more than 8,200 pounds of science and cargo to the Expedition 70 crew on Aug. 1 from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

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