Cygnus on its Way to Station as Crew Maintains Research

The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is pictured in the grip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm outside the cupola before its release on June 29, 2021.
The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm outside the cupola before its release on June 29, 2021.

The Expedition 65 crew is getting ready for the arrival of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo craft when it arrives Thursday morning. The International Space Station residents also continued microgravity research while preparing for an upcoming spacewalk today.

NASA TV will begin its broadcast of the Cygnus space freighter’s approach and rendezvous on Thursday at 4:45 a.m. EDT. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur will be on duty in the cupola, the orbiting lab’s “window to the world,” and command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Cygnus at about 6:10 a.m. ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough will be on hand monitoring spacecraft activities and assisting her in the cupola.

After McArthur and Pesquet complete the capture activities, robotics controllers in Mission Control will remotely guide Cygnus in the grips of the Canadarm2 and install it to the Unity module’s Earth-facing port. Additionally, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are gathering excess Russian hardware today for disposal in Cygnus after its arrival.

McArthur and Pesquet had time for research work during the morning before spending the afternoon training for Cygnus’ arrival. McArthur injected algae into sample cassettes to nourish tardigrades, or “water bears,” being observed for their ability to survive extreme conditions. Pesquet focused on an experiment challenging European students to write computer code targeting conditions aboard spacecraft.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei continued servicing U.S. spacesuits ahead of a spacewalk to prepare the Port-4 truss structure for more roll out solar array installation work. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough cleaned and inspected vent fans in the Unity module and U.S. Quest airlock.

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