Four Expedition 67 astronauts, who have been aboard the International Space Station since November, kicked off the weekend with a light duty day today following a pair of spacewalks and a crew swap in March. The orbiting lab’s newest crewmates, three Flight Engineers from Roscosmos, stayed busy with their science and maintenance tasks.
March was a busy month in space that saw two spacewalks, the arrival of three new cosmonauts, and finally the departure of three crewmates officially ending Expedition 66. Three NASA astronauts and one ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut took a well-deserved break on Friday following the intense period aboard the orbiting lab.
NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Raja Chari conducted the first spacewalk on March 15. Chari then joined ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer on March 23 for another spacewalk. The spacewalks were dedicated to preparing the space station for its third roll-out solar array and installing electronics and communications gear.
In the station Russian segment today, Artemyev and Matveev set up the Poisk module’s airlock for future spacewalk work planned for the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Korsakov worked in Zvezda service module performing preventative maintenance on the ventilation system. The cosmonauts also continued getting familiar with space station systems two weeks into their six-and-a-half-month mission.
Expedition 67 is officially underway following Wednesday’s undocking of three International Space Station crew members. Meanwhile, the seven orbital residents had a full schedule of human research and lab maintenance tasks on Thursday.
The station’s new commander, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, assumed command of the station from Shkaplerov the day before and will lead Expedition 67 until his departure. He started his day turning on the Astrobee robotic free flyers to capture video imagery inside the station. He also joined his SpaceX Dragon crewmates, astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron of NASA, and Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency), for a conference with mission managers on the ground. The quartet also called down to the SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts slated to join them in late April.
Chari was in charge of eye checks today as he scanned the eyes of Marshburn and Maurer using medical imaging gear. Chari also partnered with Barron and studied how the central nervous system adapts to the lack of traditional up and down cues in microgravity. Maurer spent the afternoon configuring and monitoring the Astrobee robotic helpers to explore their ability to conduct autonomous maintenance tasks.
Three cosmonauts are continuing to get up to speed with life in space while working on their array of science and lab upkeep tasks. Veteran cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev unpacked cargo from inside the Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and serviced hardware in the station’s Russian segment. First time space-flyers Sergey Korsakov and Denis Matveev spent the day maintaining a variety of communications and ventilation gear while getting familiar with space station systems.
The Expedition 61 spacewalking team aboard the International Space Station is taking a light-duty day ahead of this weekend’s excursion. Meanwhile, the Russian space residents researched human biology and prepared for a crew departure early next month.
Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano took it easy on Tuesday, relaxing before they begin a six-hour spacewalk on Saturday at 6:50 a.m. EST to repair a cosmic ray detector. The duo began organizing their spacewalk tools, custom-designed for the unique job, just after lunch today. NASA TV will start its live broadcast of the spacewalk at 5:30 a.m.
NASA Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch spent an hour today reviewing Canadarm2 robotics procedures they will use to assist Saturday’s spacewalkers. Meir and Koch also spent the majority of the day relaxing, having completed two spacewalks in less than a week on Monday.
The Russian duo, cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka explored ways to maximize the effectiveness of space exercise. They also studied wearing and operating a specialized suit, the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit, which counteracts the upward flow of body fluids caused by microgravity.
Skvortsov is also packing the Soyuz MS-13 crew ship that will return him, Koch and Parmitano to Earth on Feb. 6. The trio will undock and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan. Koch will have accumulated 328 consecutive days in space upon landing second only to U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly with 340 days.