Station Readies for Spacewalk, Begins Packing Dragon With Science

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Alexey Ovchinin
Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Christina Koch of NASA and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos ready a pair of Russian Orlan spacesuits inside the Pirs docking compartment’s airlock.

Two Expedition 59 cosmonauts are finalizing reviews before Wednesday morning’s spacewalk for maintenance outside the International Space Station. Meanwhile, the orbital residents are also readying completed experiments for return to Earth inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft next week.

Commander Oleg Kononenko is set to begin his fifth career spacewalk Wednesday at 11:44 a.m. EDT. He will lead first-time spacewalker Alexey Ovchinin during the six-hour-15-minute excursion on the Russian segment of the orbital lab. They will retrieve experiment hardware, clean lab windows and jettison old cables among other tasks.

The duo reviewed their spacewalk tasks and worksites alongside NASA astronaut Christina Koch this morning. Koch will assist the pair with their Russian Orlan spacesuits in the Pirs airlock before and after Wednesday’s spacewalk.

The SpaceX Dragon launched a multitude of life science experiments studying immunology, crystallography, microphysiology and other space phenomena to the station May 4. The completed research samples and science hardware will now return to Earth inside Dragon after it departs the station’s Harmony module June 3. NASA Flight Engineer Anne McClain is readying the commercial space freighter for departure and beginning the work to pack the finalized experiments for analysis in labs across the globe.

Astronauts Nick Hague and David Saint-Jacques spent Tuesday maintaining station systems and hardware. Hague first measured airflow in the Japan’s Kibo laboratory module before routing power cables in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Saint-Jacques reconfigured a robotics computer and routed communication cables then checked components on the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device.

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