Spacewalk, Dragon Ops Near as Health Research Continues

The SpaceX Dragon space freighter approaches the space station during an orbital sunrise on July 16, 2022.
The SpaceX Dragon space freighter approaches the space station during an orbital sunrise on July 16, 2022.

Mission managers have given the “go” for the seventh spacewalk of the year scheduled to take place in the middle of the week. A U.S. cargo craft is also nearing the end of its mission with its undocking and return to Earth planned for the end of the week.

Two cosmonauts are gearing up for a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to continue setting up the European robotic arm (ERA) for operations on the outside of the International Space Station’s Russian segment. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev will exit the Poisk module’s airlock at 9:20 a.m. EDT on Wednesday in their Russian Orlan spacesuits. The pair will install cameras on the ERA, move its external control panel, remove the robotic arm’s launch restraints, and test the arm’s grasping mechanism. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, will begin its live spacewalk coverage at 9 a.m.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov is assisting his fellow cosmonauts with the spacewalk preparations while also maintaining orbital lab systems and conducting space research. Today, he worked on ventilation systems inside the Nauka module then explored effective exercise techniques to maintain physical fitness in microgravity.

Meanwhile, the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is nearing the end of its monthlong stay on the Harmony module’s forward port. Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Jessica Watkins of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) spent Monday afternoon packing Dragon with some of the more than 4,000 pounds of station gear and completed science experiments it will return to Earth. Dragon will undock at 11:05 a.m. on Thursday and parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida the following day for retrieval. Live undocking coverage on NASA TV begins at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday.

NASA Flight Engineers Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines spent Monday focusing on life science to improve human health on and off the Earth. Lindgren set up tissue stem cell samples inside the Life Science Glovebox (LSG) to explore how weightlessness affects immunological aging possibly promoting therapies to protect astronauts and Earthlings. Afterward, Hines cleaned up the LSG in the Kibo laboratory module to prepare for experiment operations that will use the microgravity environment to develop new wound treatment techniques.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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