Four SpaceX Crew-8 Members Explore Space Health as Dragon Nears March 1 Launch

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The four SpaceX Crew-8 members are pictured shortly after arriving at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 25, 2024.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Human research, space physics, and airlock operations started the week for the Expedition 70 crew aboard the International Space Station. Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew members are counting down to their launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the orbital outpost.

Exercising daily in space is critical to maintain crew health due to the effects of living long-term in weightlessness. Astronauts work out on specialized exercise gear designed specifically for the microgravity environment including a treadmill, an exercise cycle, and the advanced resistive exercise device. Doctors frequently monitor these exercise sessions while crew members are attached to sensors, electrodes, and breathing gear.

Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA and Satoshi Furukawa of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) took turns pedaling on the exercise cycle Monday morning for a workout study. The duo exercised inside the Destiny laboratory module for the regularly scheduled aerobics and fitness test that measures heart and breathing rate.

Moghbeli then moved on and joined NASA Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara to work on the NanoRacks Bishop airlock inside the Tranquility module. Both astronauts spent Monday afternoon reconfiguring Bishop after it was reattached to Tranquility following a week of experimental GITAI-S2 robotics tests. The autonomous robotic arm demonstration explores using automated robots to build habitats and spacecraft on future lunar and planetary missions. Furukawa also assisted with the airlock work after he inspected hatches in the U.S. segment of the space station.

Physics was also on the research schedule as O’Hara and Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA (European Space Agency) serviced samples and hardware for a pair of different experiments. O’Hara swapped optic fiber samples inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for an investigation exploring how to manufacture fiber optic cables superior to those produced on Earth. Mogensen replaced components inside the Combustion Integrated Rack for a space fire safety experiment.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub had a fitness evaluation on Monday as he jogged on a treadmill with electrodes attached to his chest measuring his heart rate. Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Konstantin Borisov tried on a suit being tested for its ability to help crew members adjust to Earth’s gravity after living for months or years in space.

Meanwhile, the space station is orbiting higher after the docked Progress 87 resupply ship fired its engines for over 17 minutes on Friday. The orbital reboost positions the station for next month’s launch of the Soyuz MS-25 crew ship and the departure of the Soyuz MS-24 crew ship.

Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew members representing the SpaceX Crew-8 mission are at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida preparing for their launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. Commander Matt Dominick, Pilot Mike Barratt, and Mission Specialists Jeanette Epps and Alexander Grebenkin will lift off aboard Dragon at 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday. They will dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 6 a.m. on Saturday beginning a six-month space research mission on the orbital lab.

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