At the International Space Station, science is doubling, adding three new inhabitants of space. However, they will split on October 21 before four more astronauts launch to join the Expedition 64 crew in November.
NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins, fulfilling her second mission at the station, is now taking on the role of space scientist, while accelerating life in orbit. She wore virtual reality glasses to explore how her sense of perception adapts to microgravity. Rubins later serviced a biological research device that could produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity.
Colleagues working with Rubin Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov will stay with her in space until April. Today, during his second stay at the orbital laboratory, Ryzhikov unpacked the cargo from the new Soyuz MS-17 crew ship. Kud-Sverchkov, who made the first space flight, tested Russian scientific equipment.
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 inside the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft, which will parachute the crew with the Earth on October 21. Cassidy will hand over command of the station to Ryzhikov on October 20.
All six residents of the station gathered in the middle of the day and reviewed their extraordinary roles and responsibilities.
Meanwhile, four astronauts plan to board the station SpaceX Dragon car crew. The company’s first operational mission is scheduled to begin no earlier than 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.