Two cosmonauts will exit the International Space Station early Wednesday to begin the first spacewalk of the Expedition 65 mission. Meanwhile, the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission to resupply the orbital lab is counting down to its launch on Thursday.
Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are sleeping in Tuesday ahead of six-and-a-half hour spacewalk set to begin Wednesday at 1:20 a.m. EDT. The duo will exit the Poisk module in Orlan spacesuits and ready the Pirs docking compartment for its undocking and disposal later this year. Pirs will be replaced a couple of days after its departure by the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.
The first-time spacewalkers will also replace hardware and install science experiments on the station’s Russian segment. NASA TV begins its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 1 a.m.
On Thursday, SpaceX will launch its upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle to the space station at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center. It will automatically dock Saturday at 5 a.m. to the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter (IDA). NASA TV is broadcasting both mission events live.
The Cargo Dragon will deliver about 7,300 pounds of science, supplies and hardware to replenish the seven-member crew. This includes the first of three pairs of new solar arrays that will be installed on an upcoming spacewalk to augment the orbital lab’s power system.
NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough prepared for the Cargo Dragon’s arrival with 3D computer training today. They will be monitoring Dragon early Saturday ensuring it safely approaches the station during its automated rendezvous and docking.