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Space science rises before the trio leaves the ISS for Earth

Astronaut Ivan Wagner carries biological samples

Roscosmos Cosmonaut and Expedition 63 Ivan Wagner transferred biological samples to a scientific freezer for storage and later analysis on board the International Space Station. Credit: NASA Johnson

Science is doubling on the International Space Station with the addition of three new space inhabitants. However, they will split on October 21, before four more astronauts launch to join the crew of Expedition 64 in November.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, during her second mission to the station, enters her role as a space scientist today as she accelerates with life in orbit. She wore virtual reality goggles to explore how her sense of perception adapted to microgravity. Later, Rubins serviced a biological research device that could produce up to 2 grams of artificial gravity.

Rubins collaborators Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov will stay with her in space until April. During his second stay at the orbital laboratory, Rizhikov unpacked the cargo from the Soyuz MS-17 crew’s new ship today. The first Kud-Sverchkov space flight checked Russian scientific hardware.

Station Commander Chris Cassidy is nearing the end of his stay on board the station with crew members Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Wagner. The trio packed cargo and personal belongings in the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft, which will parachute the crew back to Earth on October 21. Cassidy will hand over command of the station to Rizhikov on October 20th.

All six station residents gathered in the middle of the day to review their emergency roles and responsibilities.

Meanwhile, four astronauts plan to launch to the station aboard SpaceX Dragon vehicle crew. The first operational mission of the company’s crew is aimed at launching no earlier than the beginning to mid-November. NASA Commander Mike Hopkins will lead pilot Victor Glover and mission specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi and will remain in space until spring.

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