NASA Astronauts Conclude Today’s Spacewalk

NASA astronaut pictured tethered on the space station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to swap batteries and route cables.
NASA astronaut pictured tethered on the space station’s truss structure during a spacewalk to swap batteries and route cables.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken concluded their spacewalk at 1:10 p.m. EDT, after six hours. The two NASA astronauts completed all the work to replace batteries that provide power for the station’s solar arrays on the starboard truss of the complex. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

The spacewalkers removed six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for the second of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed the three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries. Mission control reports that all three new batteries are working.

The work nearly completes a 3.5-year effort to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system. At completion, 24 new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates will replace 48 aging nickel-hydrogen batteries. In April 2019, one of the newly installed lithium-ion batteries on the near port truss blew a fuse, so two nickel-hydrogen batteries were re-installed to take its place. A new replacement lithium-ion battery arrived to the space station in January 2020 aboard the SpaceX Dragon on its 19th commercial resupply services mission and is stowed on the station’s truss until it can be installed during a future spacewalk later this year.

Behnken and Cassidy are scheduled to conduct one more spacewalk Tuesday, July 21, during which they will remove two lifting fixtures used for ground processing of the station’s solar arrays prior to their launch. They’ll also begin preparing the Tranquility module for the installation of a commercial airlock provided by NanoRacks and scheduled to arrive on a SpaceX cargo flight later this year. The airlock will be used to deploy commercial and government-sponsored experiments into space.

This was the ninth spacewalk for each astronaut. Behnken has now spent a total of 55 hours and 41 minutes spacewalking. Cassidy now has spent a total of 49 hours and 22 minutes spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 230 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 60 days, 6 hours, and 34 minutes working outside the station.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Astronauts Have Begun Spacewalk Live on NASA TV

NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Flight Engineer Bob Behnken works during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the International Space Station's Starboard-6 truss structure.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Flight Engineer Bob Behnken works during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the International Space Station’s Starboard-6 truss structure.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Chris Cassidy have begun the first of two final spacewalks to finish a 3.5-year effort to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system. They will replace batteries on one of two power channels on the station’s far starboard truss (S6 Truss).

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:10 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last between six and seven hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

The spacewalkers will be removing five existing nickel-hydrogen batteries and replacing them with three new lithium-ion batteries that arrived on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The batteries store electricity for one pair of the station’s solar arrays, and the swap will upgrade the station’s power supply capability. The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the microgravity laboratory when the station is not in sunlight as it circles Earth during orbital night.

This is the 230th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Behnken is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #20. Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #18. It is the ninth spacewalk for both astronauts.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Completes Spacewalk Preps and Studies Human Biology

Flight Engineer Bob Behnken (center) is pictured on July 1 during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the station's starboard truss structure.
Flight Engineer Bob Behnken (center) is pictured on July 1 during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the station’s starboard truss structure.

Two NASA astronauts finalized their preparations today, ahead of Thursday’s spacewalk, to complete battery swaps on the outside of the International Space Station. NASA Flight Engineer Bob Behnken and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy organized their tools and readied the Quest airlock for the spacewalk set to begin tomorrow at 7:35 a.m.

NASA astronaut Doug Hurley joined the duo Wednesday afternoon for a spacewalk review and conference with specialists on the ground. Hurley will assist the astronauts in and out of their U.S. spacesuits and monitor their spacewalk activities.

The trio will stay in readiness mode for a second spacewalk scheduled to begin at the same time on Tuesday, July 21. They will finish swapping the aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the station’s truss structure that began 3.5 years ago. The veteran spacewalkers will then set up the Tranquility module for the upcoming installation of a NanoRacks airlock. The new commercial airlock will support public and private experiments exposed to the space environment.

All three astronauts started the day with standard health checks ahead of their spacewalk. Hurley took on the crew medical officer role and briefly examined his crewmates similar to a doctor conducting a checkup on Earth.

Meanwhile, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner were back on human research duty this morning. The Russian duo collected and stowed blood and saliva samples for a pair of studies looking into bone loss and the immune system. The pair then split up as Ivanishin checked out communications gear and Vagner worked on Progress 75 resupply ship cargo transfers.

Busy Day of Spacewalk Preps and Human Research

This starry nighttime shot of Rio de Janeiro and surrounding cities on the Brazilian coast was taken as the International Space Station orbited above São Paolo heading northeast above the South American continent before going over the Atlantic Ocean.
This starry nighttime shot of Rio de Janeiro and surrounding cities on the Brazilian coast was taken as the space station orbited above São Paolo before going over the Atlantic Ocean.

Two astronauts are concentrating on the final set of power upgrade spacewalks on the International Space Station beginning this week. Meanwhile, their Expedition 63 crewmates continued focusing on biology research to ensure humans stay healthy in space during long-term missions.

Flight Engineer Bob Behnken and Commander Chris Cassidy for preparing for a pair of spacewalks to wrap up battery swaps and ready the orbiting lab for a new airlock. The duo collected and organized spacewalk tools then studied their tasks step-by-step on a computer during the afternoon. Fellow NASA astronaut Doug Hurley assisted the pair and installed their spacesuit batteries and metal oxide canisters to remove carbon dioxide from the suit.

Behnken and Cassidy will exit the station for the first spacewalk on Thursday. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:35 a.m. EDT. The spacewalkers will spend about seven hours removing aging nickel-hydrogen batteries and replacing them with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-3 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 6 a.m.

The second spacewalk is scheduled to start at the same time on Tuesday, July 21, for the final battery swaps to complete 3.5 years of external power upgrades on the space station. Behnken and Cassidy will then begin outfitting the Tranquility module for a new commercial airlock from NanoRacks. The airlock, designed to deploy public and private experiments, will be installed to Tranquility after its delivery later this year aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle.

Meanwhile, a host of space science continues aboard the orbiting lab including human research to maintain healthy crews. NASA and its international partners are studying how the human body adapts to microgravity as they plan longer missions farther out into space.

The two cosmonauts from Roscosmos, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, were once again exploring ways to stave off the negative effects of living in space. Vagner continued logging his meals and drinks and collected a blood sample for a study that seeks to reverse the loss of bone mass caused by microgravity. He later collected his saliva sample and attached a sensor to himself for an immune system investigation. Ivanishin exercised on a treadmill for a physical fitness evaluation and spent the rest of the day on communications and ventilation maintenance.

Spacewalk Preps, Satellite Deployment During Bone and Heart Research

The southern tip of Brazil (upper left) bordering Uruguay was pictured as the International Space Station orbited off the Atlantic coast of South America.
The southern tip of Brazil (upper left) bordering Uruguay was pictured as the International Space Station orbited off the Atlantic coast of South America.

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.

Space Physics and Biology Top Research Schedule Today

The Earth's horizon looking back towards Uruguay
The International Space Station was orbiting off the Atlantic coast of the South American nation of Uruguay with the Progress 75 cargo craft in the left foreground.

The Expedition 63 crew spent Friday setting up advanced science hardware to explore a wide variety of space phenomena. The International Space Station residents also worked spacesuit maintenance and conducted more eye checks.

NASA Flight Engineer Bob Behnken spent the morning swapping furnaces inside the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) research rack. Fellow NASA  astronaut Doug Hurley joined Behnken and installed the specialized device, known as the Solidification and Quench Furnace (SQF), in the MSL. The SQF will enable scientists to discover new applications for metals, alloys, polymers and more, or design advanced materials for industrial usage.

Hurley started his day configuring a laptop computer for the Hyperspectral Imaging Suite (HISUI) from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). HISUI is located outside the Kibo laboratory module and images Earth in visible and infrared wavelengths providing valuable geological and environmental data.

Behnken then joined Commander Chris Cassidy for another eye exam at the end of the work day. Cassidy was in charge this time using optical coherence tomography to image his crewmate’s retinas. Doctors on the ground monitor the exam in real-time to understand how microgravity affects eye health.

Just before lunchtime, Cassidy dumped water and purged gas from a pair of U.S. spacesuits ahead of two more battery swap spacewalks he and Behnken will embark on July 16 and 21. During the afternoon, the commander researched microfluidics to improve medical diagnostic devices and explored how astronauts visually interpret their microgravity environment.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner juggled their set of lab upkeep and Russian science today. Vagner investigated how space impacts bone mass and the immune system to prepare for return to Earth’s gravity. Ivanishin charged up laptop computer and camera batteries then spent the afternoon servicing the Zvezda service module’s ventilation system.

Emergency Training, Eye Checks Ahead of Spacewalks

Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy is pictured in his U.S. spacesuit halfway inside the crew lock portion of the Quest airlock during a spacewalk on July 1, 2020.
Astronaut Chris Cassidy is pictured in his U.S. spacesuit halfway inside the crew lock portion of the Quest airlock during a spacewalk on July 1, 2020.

The International Space Station was a hive of activity today with the Expedition 63 crew practicing emergency skills, examining eyes and studying water conservation. Two astronauts also will continue more battery swaps in a pair of spacewalks set to begin next week.

Living 260 miles above the Earth and orbiting the planet 16 times a day presents a unique set of risks that space residents must be prepared for. Today, NASA Commander Chris Cassidy joined Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner for a simulated emergency evacuation of the station. The trio spent the afternoon practicing quickly entering their Soyuz MS-16 crew ship for a rapid undocking and Earth re-entry.

Afterward, Cassidy partnered up with his fellow NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken for eye exams at the end of the day. Hurley led the effort as the Crew Medical Officer and used optical coherence tomography gear to scan the retinas of his two crewmates.

Behnken and Cassidy are set to go out on two more spacewalks scheduled for July 16 and 21. The duo will continue replacing aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the starboard portion of the station’s truss structure. The batteries store and release power collected from the orbiting lab’s main solar arrays.

Robotics controllers overnight commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to replace a failed remote power control module (RPCM) on the port truss segment. The replacement restores redundancy to the solar alpha rotary joint after the old RPCM failed last week.

In the Russian side of the station, Vagner primarily worked on housekeeping chores as he checked water tanks and cleaned air filters. Ivanishin spent some time photographing the effects of Earth catastrophes and exploring how international crews and ground controllers communicate with each other.

Russian Cargo Ship Leaves, Crew Tests Dragon’s Comfort Factors

July 8, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the HTV-9 resupply ship from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Russia's Progress 75 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.
July 8, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the HTV-9 resupply ship from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Russia’s Progress 75 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-16 crew ship.

Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft departed the International Space Station today leaving four spaceships from the U.S., Russia and Japan parked at the orbital lab. It will be replaced in two weeks when the Progress 76 arrives to replenish the crew.

The 74P undocked today at 2:23 p.m. EDT after seven months attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-packed resupply ship will descend into Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise. The 76P will take its place when it launches on July 23 at 10:26 a.m. and docks just three-and-a-half hours later to Pirs.

Four out of the five Expedition 63 crew members assessed comfort factors inside the docked SpaceX Crew Dragon today. This is a demonstration of the Crew Dragon’s habitability ahead of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission planned for later this year.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who piloted the Crew Dragon, will be joined by station Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin for the one-hour habitability test. The crew will arrange the cabin to suit the four space residents and report their comfort levels to engineers on the ground.

While they were setting up Crew Dragon for the test, the three NASA astronauts also had time for ultrasound eye scans, microfluid studies and orbital plumbing work. The two cosmonauts, including Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner, juggled a variety of Russian space research and tested Soyuz crew ship communications gear.

Astronauts Check Suits Following Spacewalk

Astronaut Bob Behnken works during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery.
Astronaut Bob Behnken works during a spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery.

Spacesuit checks were on the schedule today for the Expedition 63 crew following a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station. The orbital residents also juggled a variety of science activities.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken are back to work today after Wednesday’s spacewalk to swap batteries and route cables on the station’s Starboard-6 truss structure. The duo recharged batteries and refilled water tanks inside their U.S. spacesuits. Flight Engineer Doug Hurley also joined the pair in the afternoon for eye scans with an ultrasound device.

All three astronauts called down to Mission Control today and briefed specialists with the results of the mission’s second spacewalk. Station managers will assess the orbital lab’s upgraded power status before scheduling more battery swap spacewalks later this month.

Cassidy also configured cables on a specialized furnace before uploading new software to the high-temperature research device. Hurley worked with experiment hardware that seeks to better control the separation of blood cells and plasma to improve medical diagnostic devices.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner partnered up Thursday morning for cardiac research. The duo is studying how the heart reacts to a unique suit that reverses the flow of blood towards the head caused by weightlessness. The pair then split up for life support maintenance and radiation checks.

Astronauts Spacewalking Live Now on NASA TV

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.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken have begun the second of two scheduled spacewalks to replace batteries on one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the International Space Station.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:13 a.m. EDT to begin the spacewalk, which may last as long as seven hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

Cassidy is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #18. Behnken is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #20. It is the eighth spacewalk for both astronauts and the 229th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

The spacewalkers will be removing the sixth nickel-hydrogen battery for this channel and replace it with a new lithium-ion battery and an adapter plate that arrived on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The swap will upgrade the station’s power supply by replacing the batteries that store power generated by the station’s solar arrays and provide it to the microgravity laboratory when the station is not in sunlight as it circles Earth during orbital night.

Cassidy and Behnken also will route power and ethernet cables and do work to prepare for future power system upgrades.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.