NASA Space Station On-Orbit Update 27 December, 2021 - Final Busy Workweek of the Year

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Astronaut Kayla Barron works inside the Advanced Plant Habitat. (Dec. 10, 2021)

The seven-member Expedition 66 crew is going into the final week of 2021 with a host of science experiments exploring numerous space phenomena benefitting astronauts in space and humans on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Kayla Barron worked on a pair of space farming studies during Monday afternoon exploring a variety of plant characteristics. Vande Hei set up components for the MVP (Multi Variable Platform) Plant-01 experiment inside the Harmony module. That study is investigating how a plant's molecular mechanisms and regulatory networks adapt to weightlessness. Barron worked inside the Kibo laboratory module and configured the Plant Habitat-05 investigation which will observe the regenerative capacity of a variety of cotton genotypes.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn started Monday morning transferring research samples to science freezers in the Kibo lab. Chari then moved on and updated emergency checklists while also collecting and stowing his blood and urine samples for later analysis. Marshburn serviced the station's oxygen generation system then unpacked medical gear from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle.

Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) spent his day working throughout the orbiting lab on a variety of research gear. Maurer first swapped science freezers inside the Unity module. Next, he installed the BioSentinel radiation exposure study in the Kibo lab. Finally, the astronaut from Germany worked in the Columbus laboratory module thawing research samples for the Cytoskeleton experiment before uninstalling the Kubik incubator.

The station's commander, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, recharged computer tablets inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship while also working on Russian life support maintenance throughout the day. Russian Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov checked out electronics gear in the morning before joining Shkaplerov in the afternoon and replacing components on the Zvezda service module's treadmill.

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