Station Looks to Spacewalk, Crew Departure and Arrival

The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship that carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts to the space station is pictured docked to the Harmony module.
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship that carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts to the space station is pictured docked to the Harmony module.

The Expedition 67 crew is heading into a busy period next week that begins with a Russian spacewalk, followed by the departure of four private astronauts and the launch of the SpaceX Crew-4 mission. Meanwhile, the residents aboard the International Space Station continued a broad array of research to understand what happens to the human body during a long-term space flight.

Two cosmonauts are getting ready for Monday’s spacewalk set to begin at 10:25 a.m. EDT to activate the European Robotic Arm (ERA) on the outside of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev will go into the weekend reviewing their procedures planned for the six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. On Monday, the duo will exit the Poisk module, translate to Nauka, and install the ERA control panel and other components on the outside of the orbiting lab’s Russian segment.

The next day, four Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) astronauts will end their space research and education mission aboard the orbiting lab. Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria will lead Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy inside Space Dragon Endeavour when they undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on Tuesday at 10:35 a.m. The private foursome will splashdown off the coast of Florida on Wednesday morning completing a 12-day mission in space.

The Ax-1 quartet had a packed schedule on Friday conducting a host of microgravity science. Lopez-Alegria and Connor took turns scanning each other’s heart using the Ultrasound 2 device for the Cardioprotection study. Stibbe explored genetic identification and tested the comfort of a specialized radiation protection vest. Pathy continued his Earth photography sessions while also testing a different vest that monitors vital signs in real-time while an astronaut comfortably works on the station.

The four Expedition 67 astronauts from NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) continued their complement of space research and lab maintenance while assisting the Ax-1 crew. Commander Tom Marshburn scanned the eyes of Pathy using medical imaging gear to understand how weightlessness affects an astronaut’s vision. Flight Engineer Raja Chari packed cargo inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance and inspected the vehicle’s hatch while NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron spent Friday cleaning crew quarters and performing orbital plumbing duties. Astronaut Matthias Maurer videotaped an educational event for German students demonstrating the CIMON mobile artificial intelligence companion.

Finally, four SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts are in quarantine counting down to a liftoff aboard the Dragon Freedom crew ship from Florida at 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23. Commander Kjell Lindgren will lead Pilot Robert Hines and Mission Specialists Jessica Watkins and Samantha Cristoforetti on a ride to the station’s Harmony module where they will dock just over 24 hours later.

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