A pair of spacewalkers are cleaning up and reporting back to ground controllers after a short spacewalk Monday morning. A Christmas delivery is also due at the International Space Station Wednesday at 5:31 a.m. EST/10:31 a.m. UTC.
Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra quickly prepared over the weekend for the spacewalk to release a stalled robotic transporter. As the pair suited up in the Quest airlock Monday, a Progress 62 (62P) cargo spaceship launched on a two-day trip to deliver 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 46 crew.
The stalled robotic transporter needed to be moved then latched to its worksite ahead of the Progress arrival triggering Monday’s spacewalk. The Progress is a modified design and Russian mission controllers are testing its upgraded software and telemetry systems during its flight to the Pirs docking compartment.
Cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov are preparing for the Progress arrival by testing the TORU tele-robotic rendezvous system. The TORU system would be used in the unlikely event it would be necessary to manually guide the vehicle to a docking.
The crew also had time set aside for advanced space science today. The orbiting lab residents explored plant growth and life science as humans learn to live longer and farther in space.