Russian Spacewalkers Wish Happy Birthday to First Spacewalker Alexei Leonov

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin
At the start of today’s spacewalk, cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko (left) and Alexey Ovchinin commemorated Russia’s first spacewalker Alexei Leonov, who turns 85 on Thursday, with signs attached to their Orlan spacesuits (see translations below).

Shortly after beginning their spacewalk, Expedition 59 Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineer Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos recorded birthday greetings for the first person to spacewalk, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. Leonov’s 85th birthday is tomorrow, Thursday, May 30.

See the video on Twitter

On 18 March, 1965, Leonov became the first person to leave a spacecraft in a spacesuit to conduct a spacewalk, exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk.

Kononenko and Ovchinin also added signs to the backs of their Orlon spacesuits to honor the first spacewalker. Kononenko’s suit with the red stripes bears a sign that says “1st spacewalker”, and the sign on Ovchinin’s suit with the blue stripes says, “Happy birthday, Alexei Arkhipovich,” Leonov’s family name.

Alexey Leonov: First Human to Walk in Space
Alexey Leonov: First Human to Walk in Space

Watch the Space Station Fly Over Your Home Town

The Gulf and eastern coasts of the United States
The Gulf and eastern coasts of the United States feature prominently in this well-lit nighttime view of North America.

The International Space Station will cross over the United States this weekend from the Gulf Coast to the North Atlantic. Skywatchers along the station’s orbital track from New Orleans, La., to Portland, Maine, can see the orbital lab Friday and Saturday night. More sighting times for these and other American cities are below…

Friday May 17, 2019

9:14 p.m. CDT
Baton Rouge, La.
New Orleans, La.

10:15 p.m. EDT
Huntsville, Ala.
Tampa, Fla.
Atlanta, Ga.
Memphis, Tenn.

10:16 p.m. EDT
Louisville, Ky.
Cincinnati, Ohio

10:17 p.m. EDT
Washington, D.C.
Columbus, Ohio
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Burlington, Vt.
Charleston, W. Va.

10:18 p.m. EDT
Baltimore, Md.
Philadelphia, Pa.
New York City

10:19 p.m. EDT
Boston, Mass.
Portland, Maine

Saturday May 18, 2019

9:25 p.m. EDT
Tampa, Fla.
Atlanta, Ga.
Savannah, Ga.
Charleston, S.C.

9:26 p.m. EDT
Washington, D.C.
Raleigh, N.C.
Richmond, Va.

9:27 p.m. EDT
Baltimore, Md.
Philadelphia, Pa.
New York City

9:28 p.m. EDT
Boston, Mass.

9:29 p.m. EDT
Portland, Maine

Visit and find sighting opportunities for your hometown.

Astronaut Commands Robotic Arm to Capture Dragon Cargo Craft

SpaceX Dragon Cargo Craft Captured
The SpaceX Dragon CRS-17 Cargo Craft captured and attached to the CanadaArm2.

While the International Space Station was traveling over the north Atlantic Ocean, astronauts David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Nick Hague of NASA grappled Dragon at 7:01 a.m. EDT using the space station’s robotic arm Canadarm2.

Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation of the spacecraft on bottom of the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Watch online at

The Dragon lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Saturday, May 4 with more than 5,500 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Here’s some of the research arriving at station:

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) examines the complex dynamics of Earth’s atmospheric carbon cycle by collecting measurements to track variations in a specific type of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Understanding carbon sources can aid in forecasting increased atmospheric heat retention and reduce its long-term risks.

The Photobioreactor investigation aims to demonstrate how microalgae can be used together with existing life support systems on the space station to improve recycling of resources. The cultivation of microalgae for food, and as part of a life support system to generate oxygen and consume carbon dioxide, could be helpful in future long-duration exploration missions, as it could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.