ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen was at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany in March, training for his Huginn mission to the International Space Station, planned to launch later this summer.

Along with every astronaut mission comes its own selection of scientific experiments that are carried out during the stay on the International Space Station. Astronauts are trained on the science behind the experiment and how to run the experiments before launch.

Some of the Huginn experiments are already on board the Space Station, while others will be sent up on cargo spacecraft during Andreas Mogensen’s mission.

One of the European facilities running on the International Space Station is the Life Support Rack (LSR), which contains ESA’s Advanced Closed Loop System. It filters the air on the Space Station for CO2, and through further processing, creates clean oxygen for the astronauts to breathe and water to be re-used in the life support system. By recycling the CO2 expelled by the astronauts every day, the system saves around 400 litres of water over a year that would otherwise need be launched to the Space Station.

“The Advanced Closed Loop System is an important system that removes the CO2 we breathe out and recycles it into oxygen. It is a critical piece of hardware on the International Space Station, that ensures our continuous presence in space” says Andreas .

As taught by ESA’s payload instructor Serena Bertone, Andreas learned how to exchange parts of and maintain the life support system to keep it running. The regenerative life support system was installed in 2018 by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during his Horizons mission.

Andreas Mogensen’s upcoming Huginn mission has over 30 different ESA experiments planned, all requiring training to be performed while Andreas is on the International Space Station. ESA instructors went over some of the ESA experiments with Andreas and his astronaut colleagues, to prepare them for taking care of the maintenance in the Columbus Module, installing and running experiments, from fluid science and robotics to 3D-printing.  

ESA – H.Hansen