Four Expedition 64 astronauts are going into the weekend preparing for a spacewalk on Monday for battery and high definition camera work. The other International Space Station residents will spend their time on research, maintenance and exercise.
Spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover will partner with astronauts Kate Rubins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA over the weekend for spacewalk reviews, spacesuit checks and tool configurations. The quartet will also call down to mission controllers to discuss their readiness for Monday’s spacewalk.
The spacewalking duo will set their spacesuits to battery power about 7 a.m. EST signifying the official start time of their excursion. NASA TV will begin its live coverage at 5:30 a.m.
Hopkins’ and Glover’s first task Monday is to exit the Quest airlock and translate to the Port-4 truss structure for battery work. There they will install the final adapter plate and connect it to the final lithium-ion battery which is being robotically installed in advance of the spacewalk. This work will complete battery upgrades on the orbiting lab that had begun on previous station missions.
Next, the duo will maneuver to the opposite side of the station toward their starboard truss worksite and remove and replace high definition cameras then route ethernet cables. Finally, they will install a wrist vision camera on the Kibo laboratory module’s robotic arm.
During the spacewalk preparations on Friday, NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker tested the comfort of the experimental AstroRad radiation protection vest during an exercise session. She then installed tracking gear on an Astrobee robotic free flyer being tested for its ability to assist astronauts.
Walker later joined Rubins as crew medical officer and scanned the eyes of Hopkins and Noguchi with an ultrasound device. The ultrasound scans look at the crew member’s cornea, lens and optic nerve to gain insights into eye and vision health in space.
Four Expedition 64 astronauts are winding down today following Wednesday’s near seven-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The other three crew members stayed focused on space research and lab maintenance throughout Thursday.
Spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover spent Thursday relaxing for a few hours before turning their attention to the next spacewalk set for Monday. Their assistants, Kate Rubins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA, joined the duo Thursday afternoon to review next week’s spacewalk.
The quartet first called down to mission controllers Thursday and discussed the previous day’s spacewalk when Hopkins and Glover installed a science antenna and readied the station for solar array upgrades. Rubins, with Noguchi as her back up, operated the Canadarm2 robotic arm, and assisted the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits.
Hopkins and Glover will exit the station again on Monday after they turn on their spacesuit batteries about 7 a.m. EST. They will spend six-and-a-half hours finishing battery maintenance and installing high definition cameras as Rubins and Noguchi monitor the duo. NASA TV will go on air at 5:30 a.m.
In the midst of the spacewalk preparations, NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker has been conducting microgravity science. Today she worked on a technology demonstration that seeks to simplify life support systems using capillary action and fluid dynamics to separate liquids and gases.
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked on Zarya module power systems while continuing to pack the Progress 76 resupply ship ahead of its Feb. 9 departure. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov started the day on Russian plumbing tasks then checked radiation hardware and measurements.
The crew installed a Ka-band antenna, known as COL-Ka, on the outside of the ESA (European Space Agency) Columbus module, which will enable an independent, high-bandwidth communication link to European ground stations. Bartolomeo is partially operational and in a safe configuration following the connection of four of six cables to the science platform, and the final two cables that could not be connected will be attended to on a future spacewalk.
During the spacewalk, Hopkins and Glover also removed a pair of grapple fixture brackets on the far port (left) truss in preparation for future power system upgrades. Glover also worked to replace a suspected broken pin inside the station’s airlock as a “get ahead” task, but teams determined that a replacement pin was not needed after an inspection confirmed the current pin to be functioning properly.
Space station crew members have conducted 233 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 61 days, 1 hours, and 47 minutes working outside the station.
Hopkins has now completed his third spacewalk for total of 19 hours and 54 minutes outside the space station. This was the first spacewalk for Glover with a total of 6 hours and 56 minutes.
On Feb. 1, Hopkins and Glover will conduct another spacewalk to address a variety of tasks, including installation of a final lithium-ion battery adapter plate on the port 4 (P4) truss that will wrap up battery replacement work begun in January 2017. Hopkins and Glover will remove another grapple fixture bracket on the same truss segment, replace an external camera on the starboard truss, install a new high-definition camera on the Destiny laboratory, and replace components for the Japanese robotic arm’s camera system outside the Kibo module.
NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover have begun the first in a series of spacewalks to upgrade station hardware and systems.
The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:28 a.m. EST to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last about six-and-a-half hours.
Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.
Hopkins is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the spacesuit with red stripes, and using helmet camera #18. Glover is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit with no stripes and helmet camera #20.
This spacewalk will be the third in Hopkins’ career and the first for Glover, and the 233rd spacewalk overall in support of space station assembly and maintenance.
Hopkins and Glover will work on completing cable and antenna rigging for the “Bartolomeo” science payloads platform outside the ESA (European Space Agency) Columbus module. The duo also will configure a Ka-band terminal that will enable an independent, high-bandwidth communication link to European ground stations. After completing the upgrades on the Columbus module, Hopkins and Glover will remove a grapple fixture bracket on the far port (left) truss in preparation for future power system upgrades.
Two NASA astronauts are ready for the first spacewalk of the year on Wednesday with support from two of their fellow Expedition 64 Flight Engineers. The rest of the crew aboard the International Space Station kept up research and life support operations today.
The spacewalkers will be supported by Kate Rubins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA throughout the duration of the excursion. Rubins will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm as Noguchi backs her up. They will also help Hopkins and Glover in and out of their spacesuits.
The quartet got together in the middle of the day for a final procedures review with specialists in Mission Control. Afterward, Hopkins and Glover staged their tools and safety tethers inside Quest where they take them into the vacuum of space.
The three other station residents rolled on with space science, cargo operations and life support maintenance.
NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker set up fluid physics hardware for an experiment seeking ways to improve spacecraft systems such as fuel tanks and propulsion. Roscosmos Commander Sergey Ryzhikov refueled the Progress 76 resupply ship ahead of its Feb. 9 departure. Cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov worked on a navigation computer and checked on Earth observation and radiation studies.
Hopkins and Glover will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power around 7 a.m. EST Wednesday signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA TV will begin its live coverage at 5:30 a.m. as both astronauts prepare to exit the station’s Quest airlock into the vacuum of space.
Their fellow astronauts Kate Rubins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA will assist Hopkins and Glover during the first spacewalk. The duo practiced robotics maneuvers today on a computer and reviewed spacewalk procedures. Rubins will be the prime operator of the Canadarm2 robotic arm, with Noguchi backing her up, to assist both spacewalkers.
The second spacewalk will take place on Feb. 1 with the same two spacewalkers. This time they will wrap up battery maintenance on the port side of the orbiting lab’s truss structure. The duo will then move over to the Kibo laboratory module to remove and replace high-definition video cameras. NASA TV will again start at 5:30 a.m. with the spacewalk set to begin about 7 a.m.
The three other crew members aboard the orbiting lab focused on space research and lab maintenance throughout Monday.
NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker explored ways to produce vitamins and other nutrients to enhance a crew member’s diet while living in space for the BioNutrients study. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined his fellow cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov for Russian research in the morning. Ryzhikov then moved on to packing a Russian cargo craft ahead of its Feb. 9 departure. Kud-Sverchkov worked on Earth observations then serviced computer gear.
Spacewalk preparations and science maintenance tasks kept the seven-member Expedition 64 crew busy today aboard the International Space Station.
Two NASA astronauts are getting ready for a pair of spacewalks scheduled for Jan. 27 and Feb. 1. Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover will spend about six and a half hours during both excursions upgrading science hardware and high definition cameras. The duo trained on a computer throughout the day on a variety of spacewalking techniques and procedures.
The orbiting lab is humming everyday with numerous science experiments investigating how microgravity impacts a diverse range of phenomena including biology and physics. The facilities that host and power those space studies are constantly attended to, both remotely from ground specialists and directly from the astronauts.
NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, on her second station mission, worked on life science gear today maintaining ongoing research operations. She first swapped centrifuge components inside the Human Research Facility that evaluates physiological, behavioral, and chemical changes that take place in space. Rubins then spent the afternoon servicing the BioLab automated research device that enables observations of small organisms from microbes to plants.
JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi installed new combustion hardware in the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack that will help scientists and engineers improve fire safety aboard spacecraft. Shannon Walker of NASA updated a computer that supports external payloads on the station. She then cleaned a device that monitors and measures the small forces the station experiences as it orbits Earth.
The two cosmonauts, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, started the day processing their blood samples for a Russian space immunity study. Ryzhikov then replaced smoke detectors and cleaned ventilation filters. Kud-Sverchkov expanded on the immunity research before setting up Earth observation hardware at the end of the day.
Emergency training took precedence aboard the International Space Station today with the Expedition 64 crew reviewing safety procedures and equipment. The orbital residents also had eye checks while gearing up for a busy period of spacewalks.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins joined her two crewmates from Roscosmos, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, at midday and practiced emergency escape procedures. The trio trained on a computer for the unlikely event they would have to evacuate the station and quickly undock inside their Soyuz MS-17 crew ship.
During the morning, NASA Flight Engineer Victor Glover inspected fire extinguishers and a variety of personal protective equipment including breathing gear components. The first-time space flyer then spent the rest of Tuesday afternoon servicing life support components inside U.S. spacesuits.
Glover is getting ready for a pair of spacewalks he and Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins of NASA will be conducting on Jan. 27 and Feb. 1. The duo will be setting up European science and communications hardware on the first spacewalk and configuring battery gear and high definition cameras on the second. NASA TV will preview the upcoming spacewalks on Friday beginning at 3 p.m. EST.
Two more spacewalks are planned for February with Rubins and Glover slated for the third spacewalk of 2021 to install new solar arrays. For the fourth spacewalk, Rubins will pair up with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi for more upgrade work on the orbital lab.
Finally at the end of the day, Rubins joined fellow NASA astronaut Shannon Walker for eye checks. The veteran station residents used optical coherence tomography with Walker leading the effort to image Rubins’ retinas to understand microgravity’s impact on eyes and vision.
Understanding how microgravity impacts perception, vision and combustion highlighted Thursday’s research aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 64 crew also explored ways to improve space exercise and space piloting techniques.
NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins kicked off her day inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module conducting a session for the Vection perception study. The investigation is exploring how an astronaut adapts to visually interpreting motion, orientation, and distance in weightlessness.
JAXA Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi worked on installing the Solid Combustion Experiment Module in a science rack located in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module. Combustion studies on the station help improve fire safety and fuel efficiency on Earth and in space.
NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker joined each other for ultrasound eye scans at the end of the work day. The duo had worked earlier on an array of science and life support maintenance tasks throughout the orbital lab.
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov joined Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov for a Russian exercise study that seeks to maintain a crewmember’s fitness during long-term space missions. Ryzhikov then explored how pilots might operate future spacecraft and robots on planetary missions.
SpaceX’s upgraded Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down at 8:26 p.m. EST west of Tampa off the Florida coast, marking the return of the company’s 21st contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. The spacecraft carried more than 4,400 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo back to Earth.
The upgraded cargo Dragon capsule used for this mission contains double the powered locker availability of previous capsules, allowing for a significant increase in the research that can be delivered back to scientists. Some scientists will get their research returned quickly, four to nine hours after splashdown.
Some of the scientific investigations Dragon returns to Earth are:
Microgravity causes changes in the workload and shape of the human heart, and it is still unknown whether these changes could become permanent if a person lived more than a year in space. Cardinal Heart studies how changes in gravity affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using 3D-engineered heart tissues, a type of tissue chip. Results could provide new understanding of heart problems on Earth, help identify new treatments, and support development of screening measures to predict cardiovascular risk prior to spaceflight.
This investigation from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) demonstrates the growth of 3D organ buds from human stem cells to analyze changes in gene expression. Cell cultures on Earth need supportive materials or forces to achieve 3D growth, but in microgravity, cell cultures can expand into three dimensions without those devices. Results from this investigation could demonstrate advantages of using microgravity for cutting-edge developments in regenerative medicine and may contribute to the establishment of technologies needed to create artificial organs.
The sextant used in the Sextant Navigation experiment will be returning to Earth. Sextants have a small telescope-like optical sight to take precise angle measurements between pairs of stars from land or sea, enabling navigation without computer assistance. Sailors have navigated via sextants for centuries, and NASA’s Gemini missions conducted the first sextant sightings from a spacecraft. This investigation tested specific techniques for using a sextant for emergency navigation on spacecraft such as NASA’s Orion, which will carry humans on deep-space missions.
This experiment studies the function of arteries, veins, and lymphatic structures in the eye and changes in the retina of mice before and after spaceflight. The aim is to clarify whether these changes impair visual function. At least 40 percent of astronauts experience vision impairment known as Spaceflight-Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) on long-duration spaceflights, which could adversely affect mission success.
This technology demonstration tested a method to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from air aboard the International Space Station, using actively heated and cooled amine beds. Controlling CO2 levels on the station reduces the likelihood of crew members experiencing symptoms of CO2 buildup, which include fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes, and itchy skin.
Bacteria and other microorganisms have been shown to grow as biofilm communities in microgravity. This experiment identifies the bacterial genes used during biofilm growth, examines whether these biofilms can corrode stainless steel, and evaluates the effectiveness of a silver-based disinfectant. This investigation could provide insight into better ways to control and remove resistant biofilms, contributing to the success of future long-duration spaceflights.
Fiber Optic Production, which includes the return of experimental optical fibers created in microgravity using a blend of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, sodium, and aluminum. The return of the fibers, called ZBLAN in reference to the chemical formula, will help verify experimental studies that suggest fibers created in space should exhibit far superior qualities to those produced on Earth.