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Space science picks up before the trio departs from the ISS to Earth

Cosmonaut Ivan Vagner transfers biological samples

Roscosmos cosmonaut and expedition 63 Aircraft engineer Ivan Vagner transfers biological samples to a science freezer for storage and later analysis aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA Johnson

Science doubles the International Space Station with the addition of three new space dwellers. However, they split on October 21, before four more astronauts start to join the Expedition 64 crew in November.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on her second station mission, steps into her role as a space scientist today as she picks up speed with life on orbit. She wore virtual reality goggles to examine how her sense of perception adapts to microgravity. Rubins later serviced a biological research equipment capable of producing up to 2 g of artificial gravity.

Rubins’ colleagues, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, will stay with her in the room until April. Ryzhikov, on his second stay aboard the orbital laboratory, unloaded cargo from the new Soyuz MS-17 crew ship today. First time spacecraft Kud-Sverchkov checked Russian science hardware.

Station Commander Chris Cassidy is nearing the end of his stay aboard the station with crew members Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The trio has packed goods and personal items inside the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that will parachute the crew back to Earth on October 21. Cassidy hands over command of the station to Ryzhikov on October 20.

All six station residents met in the middle of the day and reviewed their emergency roles and responsibilities.

Meanwhile, four astronauts plan to take off for the station on board SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle. The company’s first operational crew mission is targeted to start as soon as possible by mid-November. NASA Commander Mike Hopkins will lead pilot Victor Glover and mission specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi and remain in space until the spring.

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