Station Gears Up for Russian Resupply Ship Relocation

The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station over Earth's horizon.
The waxing gibbous Moon is pictured from the space station over Earth’s horizon.

Tuesday aboard the International Space Station was devoted mainly to orbital maintenance tasks with some light science duties on the schedule. The Expedition 66 crew is also gearing up for a Russian cargo craft backing away from the station and moving to a new docking port this week.

Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide began two days of work on the Tranquility module’s oxygen generation system (OGS) today. NASA’s McArthur and Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) partnered up and cleaned out contaminants in the OGS throughout the day. They will continue replacing components and reactivating the life support device on Wednesday.

NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough worked aboard the U.S. Destiny laboratory module swapping fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to support ongoing fuel and flame research in microgravity. Mark Vande Hei, also a NASA Flight Engineer, worked in the U.S. Quest airlock checking a variety of spacewalking tools and tethers ahead of an upcoming spacewalk planned for later this year. Station commander Thomas Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency) calibrated carbon dioxide monitors then configured temporary crew quarters in the Columbus laboratory module.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, are getting ready for Wednesday night’s ISS Progress 78 (78P) resupply ship relocation maneuver that begins with it undocking from the Poisk module. The duo practiced on the Zvezda service module’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit for the unlikely event they would have to manually redock the 78P. The Russian cargo craft is due to automatically redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module just after midnight Eastern time on Friday. NASA TV begins its live coverage of the redocking at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Crew Focuses on Exercise, EVA Preparation, and Maintenance

Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module before beginning an exercise session.
Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is pictured inside the Kibo laboratory module before beginning an exercise session.

The Expedition 66 crew focused on exercise, EVA preparation, and routine maintenance checks as part of its activities aboard the International Space Station today.

 

International astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent a portion of the day setting up hardware and completing a session for the Immersive Exercise project. Pesquet was tasked with deploying a wireless virtual reality (VR) headset, which he donned while biking. Pesquet and other crew members took turns performing resistive exercises throughout the day. Roscosmos cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov also exercised for a study alongside other maintenance activities.

 

Beyond exercising, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, and Mark Vande Hei, and JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide were busy performing a variety of extravehicular (EVA)-related tasks. Among these tasks, Kimbrough took photos of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Scrubber Assembly to help determine the nature of a previously observed leak. McArthur performed preventive maintenance on the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), a device that astronauts wear in case they become untethered during spacewalks. Meanwhile, Vande Hei and Hoshide used a camcorder to inspect and provide feedback about how to improve the stowage of EVA hardware.

 

As for other maintenance activities, Kimbrough collected water samples from the Portable Water Dispenser (PWF) for in-flight analysis. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur changed batteries in devices that monitor the levels of specific compounds aboard the space station as well.

 

Looking forward, McArthur prepared for an in-flight interview with Space.com at 1:05 p.m. EDT Thursday, October 21. She will be joined with Vande Hei during the event.

 

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.