Station Deploys Tiny Satellites During Ongoing Spacewalk Preps

A set of CubeSats is pictured after being deployed from a small satellite deployer outside Japan's Kibo laboratory module in February of 2014.
A set of CubeSats is pictured after being deployed from a small satellite deployer outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module in February of 2014.

The Expedition 64 crew is staying focused on spacewalk preparations while also working on International Space Station life support systems today. Several tiny satellites were also deployed into Earth orbit today from outside the orbiting lab.

Two cosmonauts continue gearing up for a spacewalk in their Russian Orlan spacesuits scheduled for Nov. 18. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov studied the paths they will take outside the station’s Russian segment for the six-hour job of maintenance and science tasks. The duo reviewed their worksites on a computer and peered out station windows to get ready for their first career spacewalks.

This will be the first spacewalk to be staged from the space station’s Poisk module. Previous Russian spacewalks began inside the Pirs docking compartment which will be disconnected from the orbiting lab early next year for disposal to accommodate a new Russian laboratory module. U.S. spacewalks are staged from the Quest airlock.

In the afternoon, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins handed over a selection of U.S. spacewalking tools to Kud-Sverchkov that he and Ryzhikov will use during their excursion. U.S. and Russian crew members often share tools such as tethers, cameras and helmet lights to support their respective spacewalks.

Rubins started her day swapping components inside a device that removes carbon dioxide from the station’s atmosphere. Afterward, she worked in the cupola and photographed a set of CubeSats that were deployed outside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The CubeSats will orbit Earth providing insights into oceanography, weather, ship and aircraft tracking, as well as GPS and satellite communication technologies.

Ryzhikov spent the rest of the afternoon checking ventilation systems and air flow sensors. Kud-Sverchkov had a hearing test after the spacewalk reviews then contributed to the ventilation work.

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