Astronauts Check Spacewalk Tools and Suits, Study Space Physics

NASA astronauts (from top) Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken work on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock.
NASA astronauts (from top) Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken work on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station’s Quest airlock.

Two NASA astronauts are getting ready for Friday’s spacewalk to continue upgrading power systems on the International Space Station. The other three Expedition 63 crewmembers today explored a variety of microgravity phenomena to improve health and industry on Earth and in space.

Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Bob Behnken spent Monday afternoon reviewing the tools and procedures they will use during Friday’s spacewalk. They were joined by fellow NASA astronaut Doug Hurley who will assist the duo in and out of their spacesuits and monitor their spacewalk activities. The two spacewalkers then checked their U.S. spacesuits and organized the Quest airlock where they will stage Friday’s excursion.

Cassidy and Behnken will set their spacesuits to internal power on Friday around 7:35 a.m. EDT officially beginning their spacewalk. The duo will swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-6 truss structure. The batteries store power collected from the station’s main solar arrays and distribute it throughout the orbiting lab.

Hurley spent the first half of his Monday working on fluid and combustion physics. He first explored how microfluidics can cause biochemical reactions in blood revealing mechanisms hidden on Earth. Next, he researched fabricating composite materials to learn how to repair and build structures on future space missions.

Cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin serviced laptop computers and stowed hardware used during a plasma crystal study in the station’s Russian segment. Fellow cosmonaut Ivan Vagner configured cameras then worked on a study that provides high precision predictions of the station’s motion and orbit.

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