Two NASA astronauts are getting their spacesuits ready for a pair of spacewalks set to begin next week. The rest of the Expedition 63 crew juggled a variety of space science and life support work aboard the International Space Station today.
NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken spent Thursday filtering cooling loops and refilling water tanks inside the U.S. spacesuits they will wear during two maintenance spacewalks. The duo will exit the station’s U.S. Quest airlock on June 26 and July 1 starting at 7:35 a.m. EDT to finalize the long-running power upgrade work.
The experienced spacewalkers, who each have six spacewalks from previous missions, reviewed their complex tasks step-by-step on a computer during the afternoon. Cassidy and Behnken will swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-6 truss structure. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of both spacewalks, planned for about seven hours each, starting at 6 a.m.
Flight Engineers Doug Hurley of NASA and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos reviewed their support roles for the upcoming spacewalks. They will help the astronauts in and out of their spacesuits and monitor the spacewalks from inside the orbiting lab.
Hurley later serviced samples for a space bubbles study, possibly improving oxygen and medicine delivery systems, while also working on light plumbing tasks after lunchtime. Vagner checked out communications gear, had an Earth photography session and worked on a Russian oxygen generator.
Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin also spent some time photographing the Earth to help scientists forecast natural and man-made catastrophes. He then continued more plasma crystal research to gain fundamental knowledge and improve spacecraft designs.