Cosmonauts Get Ready for Friday Spacewalk, New Science Kicks Off

Cosmonauts (from left) Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy prepare Russian Orlan spacesuits.
Cosmonauts (from left) Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy prepare Russian Orlan spacesuits.

Two cosmonauts will exit the International Space Station on Friday to begin powering up the new Russian science module. While they prepare today for the excursion, the rest of the Expedition 65 crew focused on new science experiments and reviewed an upcoming U.S. spacewalk.

Russia’s Nauka multipurpose laboratory module, attached to the station since July 29, will be connected to the station’s ethernet and power systems during a spacewalk set to start Friday at 10:35 a.m. EDT. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov will exit the Poisk airlock to begin about seven hours of routing and mating cables on the outside of Nauka.

The spacewalking cosmonauts were joined on Thursday by NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei and Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for a review of Friday’s spacewalk procedures. Vande Hei will also assist the spacewalkers in and out of their Russian Orlan spacesuits inside the Poisk module.

Novitskiy and Dubrov have another spacewalk scheduled on Sept. 9 to continue outfitting Nauka with handrails and cables. Both spacewalks will be broadcast live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

New space investigations recently delivered aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon are just getting under way aboard the orbiting lab. NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur kicked off the Genes In Space-8 study today to explore how medicines may act differently in microgravity. A student-designed experiment, started today by NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough, looks at the mating habits of tardigrades living inside mixture tubes and stowed in a NanoRacks research device.

Kimbrough also swapped out science components inside the Fluids Integrated Rack. Hoshide worked in the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace cleaning and removing sample cartridges. Vande Hei installed a new incubator, a temperature controlled device that supports a variety of biology and physics research, in JAXA’s Kibo laboratory module.

The next spacewalk following the Russian excursions is planned for Sept. 12 with Hoshide and Pesquet. The duo reviewed procedures today tasked for the scheduled six-and-a-half hour excursion. They will exit the U.S. Quest airlock to modify the Port-4 (P4) truss structure preparing it for a new Roll-Out Solar Array due to arrive next year aboard the Space Cargo Dragon space freighter.

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