Astronauts Ready After Robotics Sets Up Worksite for Friday Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Nick Hague is tethered to the International Space Station during a six-hour, 39-minute spacewalk to upgrade the orbital complex’s power storage capacity.

Astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch have configured their spacesuits and reviewed procedures for tomorrow’s spacewalk at the International Space Station. Robotics controllers also readied the Port-4 (P4) truss structure so the spacewalkers can continue battery swaps and power upgrades outside the orbital lab.

Hague and Koch will set their spacesuits to battery power Friday around 8:20 a.m. inside the Quest airlock. They will exit Quest to swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the P4 truss. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the scheduled 6.5-hour spacewalk Friday at 6:30 a.m.

Ground specialists in Mission Control remotely commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm and its “robotic hand” Dextre to set up the P4 worksite throughout week. The fine-tuned robotics maneuvers transferred the batteries between an external pallet and the P4 worksite over several days.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is tentatively scheduled to join Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques on April 8 for another spacewalk. The spacewalkers will install truss jumpers to provide secondary power to the Canadarm2.

Meanwhile, McClain collected her blood and urine samples today for ongoing human research. She spun the samples in a centrifuge and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. Saint-Jacques worked on computer electronics maintenance throughout the day.

Expedition 59 commander Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin, both of Roscosmos, stayed focused on activities in the station’s Russian segment on Thursday. The duo spent the morning on life support maintenance before checking docked vehicle communications and photographing windows in the Zvezda service module.

4 thoughts on “Astronauts Ready After Robotics Sets Up Worksite for Friday Spacewalk”

  1. How much air is lost during each opening of the airlock? I’m sure they save as much as possible but there must be some loss.

    1. A very small amount. The station uses pumps to remove the air from inside the airlock and store it in tanks for later use. The pumps work down to 2psi, then the small amount of remaining air is vented overboard and the outer hatch is opened. The air that was stored inside the tanks during the depressurization gets added back into the airlock at the end of the spacewalk when the astronauts are back inside.

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