The Expedition 65 astronauts researched space biology while preparing for a pair of spacewalks aboard the International Space Station today. The station’s two cosmonauts cleared their schedules and relaxed aboard the orbital lab today.
Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet spent part of Monday getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin Wednesday at 8 a.m. EDT. The duo configured tools, printed checklists and inspected their spacesuit jetpacks, also known as Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER).
The duo will spend about six-and-half hours installing the first two of six new solar arrays on the space station’s integrated truss structure. The solar arrays will roll out instead of unfurling, like the older arrays, and augment the station’s power system. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 6:30 a.m.
The pair also had time for pharmaceutical and botany research. Kimbrough serviced samples for a study that seeks to improve the chemical and physical stability of medicine on Earth and in space. Pesquet started the Advanced Plant Experiment-07 investigation which is exploring how microgravity affects gene expression in plants.
NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur was looking at new ways to produce high-quality protein crystals which could lead to new disease therapies on Earth. Her fellow NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. The duo wrapped up the day training for the Canadarm2 robotic techniques they will use to support the spacewalkers on Wednesday.