Astronaut Peggy Whitson Set to Break Spacewalk Record Thursday

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Astronaut Peggy Whitson was pictured during her seventh spacewalk which took place Jan. 6, 2017.

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson is set to go on her eighth spacewalk Thursday morning and surpass astronaut Suni Williams’ record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut. Whitson’s last spacewalk was on Jan. 6 with Commander Shane Kimbrough when she hooked up new lithium-ion batteries and inspected the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Read more about spacewalks at the International Space Station.

Thursday’s spacewalk will see Whitson and Kimbrough finish cable connections at the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 just recently attached to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. The PMA-3 relocation gets the station ready for the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who conducted last week’s spacewalk with Kimbrough, will assist the duo in and out of their spacesuits and monitor the activities from inside the station. The spacewalkers are scheduled to exit the Quest airlock Thursday at 8 a.m. EST for 6.5 hours of station maintenance work. NASA TV will cover all the spacewalk activities beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Fluid Physics and Human Research Before Second Spacewalk

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PMA-3 Relocation

The Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 is in the grip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm during its relocation and attachment to the Harmony module on March 26,2017.

The crew researched the effects of living in space and set up a specialized microscope for a physics experiment today. Two astronauts are also getting ready for a Thursday spacewalk to continue setting up the International Space Station for commercial crew vehicles.

Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet used a tape measure this morning and measured their arms, legs, hips, waist and chest. Researchers are studying how microgravity impacts body size and shape and are comparing crew measurements before, during and after a space mission.

Whitson later began setting up gear for the ACE-T-1 (Advanced Colloids Experiment Temperature Control-1) physics study. She opened up the Fluids Integrated Rack and reconfigured the Light Microscopy Module to research tiny suspended particles designed by scientists and observe how they form organized structures within water.

Commander Shane Kimbrough is getting ready for another spacewalk on Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT. This time he’ll go outside with Whitson to finish cable connections at the Harmony module where the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) was robotically attached on Sunday. The PMA-3 relocation gets the adapter ready for the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future cargo mission.

Weekend Robotics Work Sets Up Thursday Spacewalk

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Spacewalker Shane Kimbrough

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough takes an out-of-this-world selfie during a spacewalk on March 24, 2017.

The Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) was robotically removed Sunday from the Tranquility module and attached to the Harmony module after being prepared during a successful spacewalk Friday. A second spacewalk is scheduled for Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT to finalize the PMA-3 cable connections on Harmony.

Download hi-res video of briefing animations depicting the activities of all three spacewalks.

Commander Shane Kimbrough disconnected cables from PMA-3 while still attached to Tranquility during a spacewalk on Friday. That work allowed ground controllers to use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to remotely grapple and remove PMA-3 from Tranquility and attach it to Harmony.

The relocation readies the PMA-3 for the future installation of the new International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) set to be delivered on a future cargo mission. The IDA-3 will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings and provide the pressurized interface between the station and the adapter.

Thursday’s spacewalk will see Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson complete the PMA-3 attachment work on the Harmony’s space-facing port. The duo will also install computer relay boxes containing software upgrades to enable future commercial crew vehicle dockings at the International Space Station.

 

Spacewalkers Successfully Complete Primary Tasks

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Spacewalkers Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough

Spacewalkers Thomas Pesquet (left) and Shane Kimbrough meet at the Quest airlock to begin wrapping up their successful spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency concluded their spacewalk at 1:58 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted just over six-and-a-half hours, the two astronauts successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26.

The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings.

The astronauts also lubricated the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator “extension” for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspected a radiator valve and replaced cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost.

A second spacewalk has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 30, and a third spacewalk now is targeted for Thursday, April 6.

The second spacewalk will feature Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA reconnecting cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 at its new home on top Harmony. They also will install the second of the two upgraded computer relay boxes on the station’s truss and install shields and covers on PMA-3 and the now-vacant common berthing mechanism port on Tranquility.

The plan for the final spacewalk is for Whitson and Pesquet to replace an avionics box on the starboard truss called an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier, a storage platform. The box houses electrical and command and data routing equipment for the science experiments and replacement hardware stored outside of the station. The new avionics box is scheduled to launch on the upcoming Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft mission.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,236 hours and 38 minutes working outside the station during 198 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Astronauts Begin First of Three Spacewalks in Two Weeks

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Spacewalker Thomas Pesquet

Spacewalker Thomas Pesquet took a selfie during a spacewalk on Jan. 13, 2017.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:24 a.m., EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will further prepare the space station for commercial spacecraft dockings, as well as perform maintenance and inspection.

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

Kimbrough is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit bearing red stripes. Pesquet is designated extravehicular crewmember 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.

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

Two Astronauts Set to Begin Spacewalk on NASA TV

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Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough are seen during a pre-breathe exercise before starting a spacewalk on Jan. 13, 2017.

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will venture outside the International Space Station for a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk Friday, March 24. The spacewalk will begin at 8 a.m. EDT, with complete coverage on NASA TV and the agency’s website starting at 6:30 a.m.

The two astronauts will prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) for installation of the second International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings.

Kimbrough and Pesquet will disconnect cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26. The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the docking adapter. PMA-3 will be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will become home for the docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. The spacewalkers also will install on the starboard zero truss a new computer relay box equipped with advanced software for the adapter.

The two astronauts will lubricate the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator “extension” for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, inspect a radiator valve suspected of a small ammonia leak and replace cameras on the Japanese segment of the outpost. Radiators are used to shed excess heat that builds up through normal space station operation.

This will be the 198th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Kimbrough, who will embark on the fifth spacewalk of his career, will be wearing helmet camera #18. This will be the second spacewalk of Pesquet’s career, and he will be wearing helmet camera #20.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Friday’s Spacewalk Continues Commercial Crew Readiness

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Astronaut Thomas Pesquet

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet works on spacewalk gear inside the U.S. Quest airlock.

Two astronauts are getting the Quest airlock and their equipment ready for a Friday morning spacewalk. The cosmonauts continued their human research program today exploring the various affects of living in space.

Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will exit the Quest airlock Friday at 8 a.m. EDT to begin setting up the International Space Station for future commercial crew missions. The duo will work outside for about 6.5 hours on the first of three spacewalks scheduled to take place over the next two weeks.

Friday’s major tasks include disconnecting cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 ahead of its relocation from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module on Sunday.  The latching end of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator will also be lubricated and computer relay boxes with commercial crew software upgrades will be replaced. NASA TV will cover the spacewalk activities live beginning Friday at 6:30 a.m.

Cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy collected their blood, saliva and urine samples today for a metabolism study and an immunity experiment. Researchers will analyze these samples to learn how microgravity affects humans and provide countermeasures to keep crew members healthy.

BEAM Checks and Human Research Fill Crew Day

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Soyuz and Progress

This long-exposure photograph shows the docked Soyuz and Progress vehicles as the International Space Station orbits above the Earth.

The astronauts took a break from spacewalk preparations today and checked out an expandable module and worked on science freezers. The crew also continued its human research program exploring space nutrition and the effects of microgravity on metabolism and the immune system.

Thomas Pesquet opened the hatches to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) today for a status check. The European Space Agency astronaut sampled BEAM’s air and surfaces for microbes and installed impact sensors. He also used a digital camera with a fish-eye lens to capture 360-degree imagery of the inside of BEAM.

Veteran NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson serviced three science freezers ensuring biological samples can be preserved for return on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon mission. She also brushed up on robotics skills necessary for Friday’s spacewalk.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy logged his meals again today before collecting saliva samples for an immunity study. Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko researched how living in space long term affects metabolism and a crew member’s psychophysiological state.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Astronauts Preparing for First of Three Spacewalks

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Spacewalker Thomas Pesquet

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet is photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

Three astronauts are preparing for a Friday morning spacewalk to upgrade and maintain the International Space Station’s external systems. The three cosmonauts stayed focused today on their set of Russian space experiments and life support work.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency are reviewing procedures for the spacewalk set to begin Friday at 8 a.m. EDT with live NASA TV coverage at 6:30 a.m. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson joined the pair for the review and will assist the spacewalkers from inside the station.

Friday’s spacewalk will see Kimbrough and Pesquet begin setting up the station for future commercial crew missions. They will prepare the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 for removal from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module. The astronauts will also replace computer relay boxes with software upgrades for future dockings of commercial crew vehicles.

In the midst of the spacewalk work today, Pesquet received a call from the French President Francois Hollande who toured an observatory with school children outside Lyon, France. Kimbrough and Whitson answered questions submitted by social media fans on Facebook Live Tuesday morning

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Andrey Borisenko documented what they ate for breakfast and lunch today for a pair of nutrition studies. The experiments are researching how diet affects a crew member’s metabolism and bone structure while living in space. Flight Engineer Sergey Ryzhikov spent the day checking Russian life support gear and sampling drinking water.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Crew Gears Up for Three Spacewalks as Dragon Heads to Port

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Spacewalker Shane Kimbrough

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough is photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

The Expedition 50 crew is gearing up for three spacewalks over two weeks to continue the external maintenance at the International Space Station. Also, the SpaceX Dragon is returning to port today after completing a month-long stay at the station.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet will begin the first spacewalk Friday at 8 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will begin live coverage of the 198th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance Friday at 6:30 a.m.

The two spacewalkers will spend 6.5 hours disconnecting cables from the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3), lubricating the tip of the Canadarm2, inspecting a radiator and replacing cameras. Computer relay boxes will also be replaced. The new hardware contains software upgrades for future dockings of commercial crew vehicles.

Friday’s cable work on the PMA-3 will prepare it for its relocation from the Tranquility module to the Harmony module on March 30. The relocation readies the PMA-3 for the future installation of the new International Docking Adapter-3 set to be delivered on a future cargo mission.

The SpaceX Dragon is heading to its port today in southern California after a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Sunday morning. NASA support personnel will retrieve the numerous research samples stowed in Dragon’s cargo hold and deliver them to scientists for analysis. The results of the advanced space science may improve disease therapies and injury treatments on Earth.

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