Space Station Sunday: Eyes And The Dragon

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here’s what was up, up in orbit this week...

Just space things.
(Image courtesy Terry Virts.)

Thanks to the safe landing of a Soyuz crew ship in Kazahstan the week before last, the ISS is currently operating with only three crewmembers.  Commander Gennady Padalka took the helm shortly before NASA astronaut Terry Virts rode home with crewmates Samantha Cristoforetti and Anton Shkaplerov.  Working alongside Padalka are NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, the two men of the One Year Crew.
           
Virts did manage to capture this perfect pyramid image before he split.
(Image courtesy Terry Virts.)

Now several months into their historic mission, Kelly and Kornienko have been diligent in their scientific regimens, gathering data and maintaining their floating laboratory with scrupulous attention to detail. Over the last week, they conducted a series of eye checks for the Ocular Health study, which assesses the troubles that microgravity can exact on the ocular nerves.  Due to the extremely low gravity on the ISS, the pressure of the body’s fluids coagulating in the upper body and head can alter vision by affecting the eyes and their surrounding elements.  The Ocular Health study aims to help prevent any damage due to these factors.

Kelly also replaced a microscope lamp in the Fluids Integrated Rack, where fluid physics are studied.  These studies could eventually aid in the design of better fuel tanks and the various water systems that serve many functions aboard spacecraft.  Kelly and Padalka also prepared for an upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo delivery by training with the Canadarm2, the robotic arm mounted on the ISS exterior.

SpaceX plans to launch a resupply craft to the ISS on June 28th, with a slated arrival on June 30th.  Kelly will operate the Canadarm2 to grapple the Dragon into its berth in the ISS’s Harmony Node.  The resupply craft will include food and scientific supplies for the astronauts.

Kelly also captured some amazing imagery from Tropical Storm Bill, sending his best wishes to any Earthlings who might have been affected.
                             

Stay safe, Texas!
(Image courtesy livescience.com.)
That’s all for this week, space fans!  Tune in next week to hear more news from 200 miles up!  Watch this space!

Happy Fathers' Day, American dads!
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)

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