Watch Spacewalkers Install New Solar Arrays on Wednesday

Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei support astronauts Thomas Pesquet (left) and Shane Kimbrough (right) as they test their U.S. spacesuits for a fit verification.
Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei support astronauts Thomas Pesquet (left) and Shane Kimbrough (right) as they test their U.S. spacesuits for a fit verification.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Wednesday for a spacewalk to install and deploy the first of six new solar arrays to help power the orbiting laboratory.

Live coverage of the spacewalk will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning June 16 at 6:30 a.m. EDT, with the crew members scheduled to set their spacesuits to battery power about 8 a.m., signifying the start of their spacewalk.

During the planned six-and-a-half hour spacewalk, Kimbrough and Pesquet will work on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6) to upgrade the 2B power channel with the installation and deployment of an ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSAs).

Two of the new solar arrays arrived at the station in the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft as part of the company’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission to the station. On June 10, operators in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center used the station’s robotic Canadarm2 to extract the solar arrays from Dragon’s trunk in preparation for the installation. On Sunday, June 20, Kimbrough and Pesquet will install the second array to upgrade the 4B power channel on the P6 truss.

The new solar arrays will augment the existing arrays, which are functioning well but have begun to show signs of expected degradation as they have operated beyond their designed 15-year service life. The first pair of solar arrays were deployed in December 2000 and have been powering the station for more than 20 years.

This will be the 239th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Pesquet will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), with red stripes on his spacesuit, while Kimbrough will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), with an unmarked suit. Canadarm2 will be used to maneuver the arrays into place, commanded from inside the station by NASA astronaut Megan McArthur with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei serving as backup.

The spacewalks will be the seventh and eighth for Kimbrough, and the third and fourth for Pesquet. The pair arrived for a six-month science mission at the space station April 24 with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour.

Watch a video providing an overview of the spacewalk and 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.

Monday Kicks Off with Japanese, U.S. Science and Spacewalk Preps

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough replaces life support components inside a U.S. spacesuit.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough replaces life support components inside a U.S. spacesuit.

The seven-member Expedition 65 crew kicked off the workweek working on Japanese science gear, a U.S. immune system study, and spacewalk preparations.

Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet joined station Commander Akihiko Hoshide for science maintenance in the Kibo laboratory module on Monday morning. The trio teamed up and installed an experiment platform in Kibo’s airlock, where it will soon be placed outside in the harsh environment of space.

Vande Hei then moved on and serviced donor cell samples for the Celestial Immunity study taking place inside the Kibo lab’s Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG). The experiment looks at cells launched to space and compares them to cell samples harvested on Earth to document the differences in weightlessness. Results could impact the development of new vaccines and drugs to treat diseases on Earth and advance the commercialization of space.

Pesquet later took photographs of U.S. spacesuit gloves for inspection ahead of two spacewalks planned for June. During those spacewalks, new solar arrays will be installed on the station’s Port 6 truss structure to augment the station’s power system. The first two of six new solar arrays will be delivered on the next SpaceX cargo mission planned for launch on June 3 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Hoshide checked power cables on the Confocal Space Microscope that provides fluorescence imagery of biological samples. Then he took turns with NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough, participating in a computerized cognitive assessment. Next, Kimbrough worked the rest of Monday in the Tranquility module’s Water Processing Assembly to repair a possible leak.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur opened up BEAM, or the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and organized cargo during the morning. She then powered down and stowed the LSG after Vande Hei concluded Monday’s immunity research.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov spent the morning organizing Russian spacewalk tools. Afterward, the duo spent the rest of the day working on communications gear and ventilation systems.

Crew-1 Splashdown Waved Off as Station Teems With Science

The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews. The four Space Crew-2 astronauts are in the back row. The three-person crew of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship are in the middle row. In the front row is the SpaceX Crew-1 foursome.
The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews. The four Space Crew-2 astronauts are in the back row. The three-person crew of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is in the middle row. In the front row, is the SpaceX Crew-1 foursome.

NASA and SpaceX have decided to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, respectively, following a review of the forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which continue to predict wind speeds above the return criteria. Mission teams from NASA and SpaceX will meet again on Friday to further review opportunities for the safe return of Crew-1. Crew Dragon is in great health on the space station, and teams will continue to look for the optimal conditions for both splashdown and recovery.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide is leading the Expedition 65 crew and will stay in space until October with his Crew-2 crewmates Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and Thomas Pesquet. Also staying behind on the orbital lab are Soyuz MS-18 crewmates Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

All 11 of the orbital residents stayed busy today with human research studies, lab maintenance, and emergency gear training as the Crew Dragon departure activities were under way.

The station was teeming with science on Thursday with the crew collecting and stowing urine samples, conducting behavioral research, and exploring how affects grip and movement. Fuel bottles supporting combustion experiments were swapped out while new hardware was installed to activate a high-performance space computer study.

Crew Dragon Docks to Station Day After Launch

The SpaceX Crew Dragon approaches its space station docking port with the Kibo laboratory module in the foreground. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Crew Dragon approaches its space station docking port with the Kibo laboratory module in the foreground. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet arrived at the International Space Station Saturday, as the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the complex at 5:08 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying 264 miles above the Indian Ocean.

Following Crew Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, the astronauts aboard the Endeavour and the space station will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for 7:15 a.m.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will join the Expedition 65 crew of Shannon Walker, Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. For a short time, the number of crew on the space station will increase to 11 people until Crew-1 astronauts Walker, Hopkins, Glover, and Noguchi return a few days later.

NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

Follow along and get more information about the mission at: http://www.nasa.gov/crew-2.  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.

NASA TV is Live Covering the Return of Expedition 64

The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft is seen as it lands in Kazakhstan with Expedition 63 crew.
The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft is seen as it lands in Kazakhstan with Expedition 63 crew. Photo Credit: (NASA/GCTC/Denis Derevtsov)

NASA Television and the agency’s website are now broadcasting live coverage of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying the trio will make its deorbit burn to set the spaceship on its re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere for a landing in Kazakhstan at 12:56 a.m. (10:56 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Saturday, April 17.

During the 185-day mission, Rubins spent hundreds of hours working on new space station experiments, building on investigations she conducted during her first mission, including heart research and multiple microbiology studies. She advanced her work in DNA sequencing, which could allow astronauts to diagnose an illness in space or identify microbes growing at the space station. Rubins collected hundreds of microbial samples at different locations within the space station for the 3DMM study to construct a 3D map of bacteria and bacterial products throughout the station. By advancing understanding of the orbiting laboratory’s microbiome, this work helps identify potential risks and supports developing countermeasures to mitigate those risks.

Rubins also worked on the Cardinal Heart experiment, which studies how changes in gravity affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue levels. Results could provide new understanding of heart problems on Earth, help identify new treatments, and support development of screening measures to predict cardiovascular risk prior to spaceflight.

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.