Astronauts and Robotics Setting Up For Next Week’s Spacewalk

Stormy clouds are seen in the north Pacific Ocean
A portion of the Canadarm2 robotic arm (left) and stormy clouds are seen in the north Pacific Ocean as the International Space Station orbited off the eastern coast of Russia.

Activities on the International Space Station are moving ahead towards next week’s spacewalk to swap out thermal control equipment. Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel will work outside the orbital lab for the maintenance job on May 16.

Robotics engineers are setting up the worksite on the Port 6 truss today ahead of next week’s spacewalk. Ground teams are remotely maneuvering the Canadarm2 with the Dextre robotic hand attached to relocate a leaky pump flow control subassembly (PFCS). The Canadarm2 will then be positioned afterward to support Arnold’s and Feustel’s work next week.

The duo will work outside the station for about 6.5 hours to swap locations of 2 PFCS boxes. The PFCS controls the circulation of ammonia to keep station systems cool. Other spacewalk tasks planned in the timeline include swapping out a variety of communications gear.

The two spacewalkers gathered their tools and were joined on Tuesday by Flight Engineers Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai for a spacewalk procedures review. The foursome also checked in with mission controllers to discuss the upcoming spacewalk. Tingle and Kanai will assist the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits next week and help choreograph the excursion.

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