NASA Astronauts Wrap Up Historic All-Woman Spacewalk

NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

At 2:55 p.m. EDT, Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA concluded their spacewalk, the first with only women. During the 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts completed the replacement a failed power charging component, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. Mission control activated the newly installed BCDU and reported it is operating properly.

The astronauts were also able to accomplish some get-ahead tasks including installation of a stanchion on the Columbus module for support of a new external ESA (European Space Agency) payload platform called Bartolomeo scheduled for launch to the station in 2020.

Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan assisted the spacewalkers. Parmitano operated the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan provided airlock and spacesuit support.

It was the eighth spacewalk outside the station this year. Space station crew members have now conducted 221 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have spent a total of 57 days, 20 hours, and 29 minutes working outside the station.

It was the first spacewalk for Meir and the fourth for Koch, who now has spent a total of 27 hours and 48 minutes spacewalking. It is the first spaceflight for both women, who were selected in the 2013 astronaut class that had equal numbers of women and men. Koch arrived to the orbiting laboratory in March 2019 and will remain in space for an extended duration mission of 11 months to provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman to prepare for human missions to the Moon and Mars.

Meir became the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman. It was the 43rd spacewalk to include a woman. Women have been performing spacewalks since 1984, when Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya spacewalked in July and NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan spacewalked in October.

The faulty BCDU is due to return to Earth on the next SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for inspection. Station managers will reschedule the three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @Space_Station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Female Duo Ventures Outside Station for Historic Spacewalk

Astronauts Chrstina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir
Astronauts Chrstina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir prepare for their first spacewalk together inside the U.S. Quest airlock.

Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:38 a.m. EDT. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are venturing out into the vacuum of space to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems.

It is the first time all spacewalkers are women and the 43rd spacewalk to include women. Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and her helmet camera is labeled #18. Meir is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #11.

The spacewalk is the 221st in support of station assembly, maintenance and upgrades and the eighth outside the station this year.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @Space_Station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV is Live Now Broadcasting First All-Woman Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir prepare for a spacewalk
NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check.

NASA TV coverage has begun of the first all-woman spacewalk in history. Watch on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA are making final preparations to go outside the International Space Station for today’s tasks to replace a faulty power controller. They are expected to begin their spacewalk at about 7:50 a.m. EDT.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and former astronaut and acting Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Ken Bowersox will host a media teleconference at 7:15 a.m. to discuss the historical significance of the event as the agency looks forward to putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. Listen at http://www.nasa.gov/live

Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Meir is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. Koch’s helmet camera will carry the number 18, and Meir’s helmet camera will carry the number 11.

The faulty power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU), regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. The unit they are replacing failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s exterior structure.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support.

Although it will be the 221st spacewalk performed in support of space station assembly and maintenance, it is the first to be conducted entirely by women. This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV Broadcasts All-Female Spacewalk on Friday

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch are inside the Quest airlock preparing the U.S. spacesuits and tools they will use on their first spacewalk together.

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station about 7:50 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 18. NASA Television coverage of the first ever all-female spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture out into the vacuum of space on Friday to replace a faulty power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. The unit they are replacing failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s exterior structure.

Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Meir is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. Koch’s helmet camera will carry the number 18, and Meir’s helmet camera will carry the number 11.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support.

Although it will be the 221st spacewalk performed in support of space station assembly and maintenance, it is the first to be conducted entirely by women. This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first.

Station managers are investigating the loss of the BCDU and will reschedule the remaining three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Spacewalk Preps Today amid Cancer, Robotics and Agriculture Research

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir prepare for a spacewalk
NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check.

Science experiments continue aboard the International Space Station as two NASA astronauts prepare for their first spacewalk together, which is set to take place Friday. The Expedition 61 crew researched a variety of space phenomena today and reviewed procedures for tomorrow’s excursion.

Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture out into the vacuum of space on Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. They will set their spacesuits to battery power around 7:50 a.m. EDT and exit the Quest airlock for the 5.5-hour repair job on the Port 6 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 6:30 a.m.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support. All four astronauts gathered together today for a final procedures review.

In the midst of the spacewalk preparations, the crew continued ongoing microgravity science. The astronauts had time set aside today for researching cancer therapies, DNA sequencing, planetary robotics and space agriculture.

Morgan set up protein crystals critical to tumor growth and survival in a microscope for observation and photography. Koch continued exploring the viability of sequencing microbial DNA in microgravity.

Parmitano is readying hardware that will enable an astronaut on the station to control a robot on the Earth’s surface. Future astronauts could use the robotic technology to explore a planetary surface such as the Moon or Mars while orbiting in a spacecraft.

The crew is also in the second week of growing a crop of Mizuna mustard greens. Meir watered the Mizuna plants today for the ongoing space agriculture study to learn how to provide fresh food to space crews.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka had their own slate of human research to conduct today. The duo studied cardiac output changes and blood flow regulation including the effects of space on enzymes.

Koch, Meir Spacewalk Moves to Friday as Crew Adjusts Schedule

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch are inside the Quest airlock preparing the U.S. spacesuits and tools they will use on their first spacewalk together.

NASA is targeting a spacewalk for no earlier than Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as the battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The Expedition 61 crew is adjusting its schedule this week to accommodate the new spacewalk plans at the International Space Station.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are continuing their preparations for the upcoming excursion. The duo will set their suits to battery power on Friday at 7:50 a.m. when the spacewalk officially starts and exit the Quest airlock. NASA TV begins its live coverage beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The pair in their U.S. spacesuits will venture to the far side of the station on the Port 6 truss structure. Once there, the spacewalkers will take about five-and-a-half hours to replace the failed power regulator with a spare BCDU. The BCDU had been in operation since December 2000 and is due to return to Earth on the next SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for inspection. The device regulates the charge to batteries that collect and distribute power to the station.

Station managers will investigate the loss of the BCDU and reschedule the three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

All-Female Spacewalk Preps, Science and New Commercial Cargo Vehicle Today

Spacewalkers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
Spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with no stripes) and Andrew Morgan (suit with red stripes) of NASA work to replace older hydrogen-nickel batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries during the six-hour and 45-minute spacewalk on Oct. 11, 2019.

NASA has set the first all-female spacewalk for later this week while the Expedition 61 crew works life science today aboard the International Space Station. A new commercial cargo vehicle is also being readied for future delivery missions.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are readying their spacesuits and reviewing procedures for a spacewalk planned later this week. The duo will venture outside the station to replace a power controller that failed over the weekend. The crew is safe as science and maintenance operations continue normally on the orbiting lab.

Commander Luca Parmitano joined Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and studied how the lack of gravity affects perception during Monday afternoon. The duo took turns wearing virtual reality goggles while clicking a mouse to assess their distance perception using visual cues.

Over in the Russian segment of the station, cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka focused mainly on life support maintenance tasks. The duo swapped out hardware in the air conditioning system and checked out smoke detectors.

Back on Earth, the primary vehicle structure of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft was delivered to the company’s Colorado production facility today. Dream Chaser is scheduled to begin ferrying cargo to and from the International Space Station in 2021.

Christina Koch, Jessica Meir Will Venture Outside Station Late This Week

Astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir
Astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir pose for their official NASA portraits.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the International Space Station late this week to replace a power controller that failed during the weekend. The spacewalk, the first ever that will be conducted by two women, is planned for Thursday or Friday.

Station managers decided to postpone previously planned spacewalks that had been set to install new batteries this week and next in order to replace the faulty power unit, called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU). The station’s overall power supply, which is fed by four sets of batteries and solar arrays, remains sufficient for all operations, and the failed unit has no impact on the crew’s safety or ongoing laboratory experiments. However, the failed power unit does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.

The battery charge/discharge units regulate the amount of charge put into the batteries that collect energy from the station’s solar arrays to power station systems during periods when the complex orbits during nighttime passes around the Earth. Two other charge/discharge units on the affected 2B power channel did activate as planned and are providing power to station systems.

Second of Five Power Upgrade Spacewalks Wraps Up

Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch
Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch are pictured in their U.S. spacesuits during a spacewalk earlier this year

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA concluded their spacewalk at the International Space Station at 2:23 p.m. EDT. During six-hour and 45-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts continued the replacement of nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss.

Astronauts also were able to accomplish several get-ahead tasks setting up for the next spacewalk.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. On Oct. 16, Morgan and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir are scheduled to venture outside for another spacewalk to continue the battery replacements on the first of the two power channels for the station’s far port truss. The following spacewalks dedicated to the battery upgrades are scheduled on Oct. 21 and 25.

After completion of the battery spacewalks, the second half of this sequence of spacewalks will focus on repairs to the space station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Dates for those spacewalks still are being discussed, but they are expected to begin in November.

Space station crew members have conducted 220 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 57 days 13 hours and 12 minutes working outside the station.

The Second Power Upgrade Spacewalk Has Begun

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are today’s spacewalkers.

Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:38 a.m. EDT. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA continue with the second in a series of five planned spacewalks dedicated to replacing batteries on the far end of the International Space Station’s port truss. The existing nickel-hydrogen batteries will be upgraded with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries transported to the station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, which arrived Saturday, Sept. 28. Morgan is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red strips, and with the helmet camera labeled #18. Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #11.

The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.