Peake and Kopra to Conduct First Spacewalk of the New Year

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra
NASA astronaut Tim Kopra is seen floating during a spacewalk on Dec. 21, 2015.

Astronauts Tim Peake and Tim Kopra are getting ready for a spacewalk next week to replace a failed voltage regulator. The duo are scheduled to work outside for 6.5 hours on Jan. 15 for the replacement work and other tasks.

In preparation, Kopra worked on the U.S. spacesuits today that he and Peake will wear next week. Peake, a British astronaut with the European Space Agency, began collecting and configuring their spacewalk tools.

The Expedition 46 crew also continued more advanced space science research onboard the International Space Station. Commander Scott Kelly joined his fellow One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko for the Fluid Shifts study. That experiment explores how microgravity increases brain pressure which pushes back on a crew member’s eyes, resulting in changes to their vision.

Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov studied radiation exposure, how international crews relate during missions and worked on maintenance tasks. His fellow cosmonaut and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko looked at magnetic fields and coulomb crystals and transferred cargo from the newest Progress 62 cargo craft.

New Year Begins With Eye to Next Spacewalk

Tropical Cyclone Ula
Tropical Cyclone Ula, a category 3 storm at the time this image was captured, is seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 46 crew begins its first full week of the New Year planning for a spacewalk scheduled for Jan. 15. The orbiting residents are also busy with numerous science experiments benefitting life on Earth and future astronauts.

A pair of spacewalkers will replace a failed voltage regulator to return power to one of eight power channels next Friday. Two crew members will exit the Quest airlock and work outside for 6.5 hours for the replacement work. They will also rig cables for the future installation of docking adapters that will enable commercial crew vehicles to dock at the International Space Station. Final spacewalking roles will be confirmed following spacesuit hardware checkouts taking place today.

NASA astronauts Tim Kopra and Commander Scott Kelly collected and stowed blood and urine samples this morning for the Fluid Shifts study. That experiment observes the headward fluid shift caused by microgravity that increases brain pressure and pushes back on the eye. British astronaut Tim Peake also explored particles suspended in fluids, or colloids, which could benefit the design of advanced materials on Earth.