Two NASA astronauts are setting their sights on the final pair of spacewalks to continue upgrading power systems on the International Space Station. The orbiting lab also deployed a pair of microsatellites today while the rest of the Expedition 63 crew explored how weightlessness affects the human body.
Flight Engineer Bob Behnken will lead the next two spacewalks to install new lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries on the station’s starboard truss structure starting at 7:35 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 16, and Tuesday, July 21. He will be joined by Commander Chris Cassidy for the two six-and-a-half-hour spacewalks that will finalize the swap of aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with the Li-Ion batteries.
The veteran spacewalkers spent a couple of hours today reviewing their spacewalk procedures step-by-step on a computer. They were joined afterward by Flight Engineer Doug Hurley for a conference with spacewalk specialists in Mission Control. Hurley also began charging the batteries that will power the U.S. spacesuits for the duration of Behnken’s and Cassidy’s spacewalk.
A pair of microsatellites were deployed into Earth orbit today outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. The Deformable Mirror CubeSat will demonstrate the performance of a tiny but powerful exo-planet telescope. The TechEdSat-10 CubeSat will test returning small payloads safely into Earth’s atmosphere.
On the Russian side of the station, the two cosmonauts focused on human biology as they conducted a hearing test and studied how diet and exercise can fight the negative effects of microgravity.
Cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, on his first space mission, documented his meals and drinks today to help doctors learn how to counteract the loss of bone mass that occurs during long-term spaceflight. He also joined three-time station resident Anatoly Ivanishin attaching sensors to themselves to monitor their cardiovascular system while working out on an exercise bike. The duo wrapped up the day wearing headphones plugged into a computer that exposed the cosmonauts to a variety of frequencies for a hearing test.