The Expedition 63 crew is preparing for another spacewalk at the International Space Station on Tuesday and will welcome a Russian space delivery on Thursday. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also announced the upcoming return to Earth of two SpaceX Crew Dragon crew members.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy are set to venture once again into the vacuum of space on Tuesday at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT. The veteran spacewalking duo will service the orbiting lab’s starboard truss structure following last week’s lithium-ion battery installations. The spacewalkers also will outfit the Tranquility module to get ready for a new commercial airlock from NanoRacks. A SpaceX Dragon space freighter will deliver the specialized airlock later this year that will enable public and private research on the outside of the space station.
Flight Engineer Doug Hurley joined his NASA crewmates today for a review of Tuesday’s spacewalk procedures. He also helped Cassidy and Behnken organize tools and tethers before calling down to mission controllers to discuss their spacewalk readiness.
Behnken and Hurley will soon turn their attention toward returning to Earth at the beginning of August. They will wrap up their two-month station mission on Aug. 1 and undock their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. They are due to splash down off the Gulf coast of Florida on Aug. 2 less than 19 hours after leaving the station.
Russia is getting ready to launch its Progress 76 (76P) resupply ship on Thursday at 10:26 a.m. to replenish the five orbital residents. The 76P will blast off from Kazakhstan with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies and dock less than three-and-a-half hours later to the station’s Pirs docking compartment.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner trained Monday morning in the Zvezda service module for the spacecraft’s arrival. The pair practiced computer commands to remotely maneuver the 76P in the unlikely event the resupply ship lost its automated rendezvous capabilities.