NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy are set to venture once again into the vacuum of space on Tuesday at approximately 7:35 a.m. EDT. The veteran spacewalking duo will service the orbiting lab’s starboard truss structure following last week’s lithium-ion battery installations. The spacewalkers also will outfit the Tranquility module to get ready for a new commercial airlock from NanoRacks. A SpaceX Dragon space freighter will deliver the specialized airlock later this year that will enable public and private research on the outside of the space station.
Flight Engineer Doug Hurley joined his NASA crewmates today for a review of Tuesday’s spacewalk procedures. He also helped Cassidy and Behnken organize tools and tethers before calling down to mission controllers to discuss their spacewalk readiness.
Behnken and Hurley will soon turn their attention toward returning to Earth at the beginning of August. They will wrap up their two-month station mission on Aug. 1 and undock their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle from the Harmony module’s international docking adapter. They are due to splash down off the Gulf coast of Florida on Aug. 2 less than 19 hours after leaving the station.
Russia is getting ready to launch its Progress 76 (76P) resupply ship on Thursday at 10:26 a.m. to replenish the five orbital residents. The 76P will blast off from Kazakhstan with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies and dock less than three-and-a-half hours later to the station’s Pirs docking compartment.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner trained Monday morning in the Zvezda service module for the spacecraft’s arrival. The pair practiced computer commands to remotely maneuver the 76P in the unlikely event the resupply ship lost its automated rendezvous capabilities.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine today announced August 2 as the target splashdown date for DM-2 crew members Behnken and Hurley, with additional details on the return of this historic mission to come.
They will disconnect aging nickel-hydrogen batteries from the Starboard-6 truss structure and stow them on an external pallet. The duo will then install new lithium-ion batteries in their place upgrading the orbital lab’s power systems. The batteries store power collected from the main solar arrays and for use throughout the station.
Cassidy and Behnken organized their spacewalk tools and readied their U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock during the morning. They were joined in the afternoon by Flight Engineers Doug Hurley of NASA and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos for a quick review of tomorrow’s spacewalk procedures.
Hurley and Vagner have been reviewing their roles all week to assist tomorrow’s spacewalk. The pair will help the spacewalkers in and out of the Quest airlock as well as their spacesuits. Both crewmembers will also monitor and help choreograph the spacewalk, in conjunction with specialists on the ground, from inside the station.
NASA TV begins its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 6 a.m. This will be the seventh spacewalk for both Cassidy and Behnken who each have conducted six spacewalks on previous missions at the space station.
Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin spent his morning on lab maintenance on the station’s Russian segment. Afterward, Ivanishin set up sensors to monitor the radiation environment in the orbital lab.
Two NASA astronauts are getting their spacesuits ready for a pair of spacewalks set to begin next week. The rest of the Expedition 63 crew juggled a variety of space science and life support work aboard the International Space Station today.
NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken spent Thursday filtering cooling loops and refilling water tanks inside the U.S. spacesuits they will wear during two maintenance spacewalks. The duo will exit the station’s U.S. Quest airlock on June 26 and July 1 starting at 7:35 a.m. EDT to finalize the long-running power upgrade work.
The experienced spacewalkers, who each have six spacewalks from previous missions, reviewed their complex tasks step-by-step on a computer during the afternoon. Cassidy and Behnken will swap old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the Starboard-6 truss structure. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of both spacewalks, planned for about seven hours each, starting at 6 a.m.
Flight Engineers Doug Hurley of NASA and Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos reviewed their support roles for the upcoming spacewalks. They will help the astronauts in and out of their spacesuits and monitor the spacewalks from inside the orbiting lab.
Hurley later serviced samples for a space bubbles study, possibly improving oxygen and medicine delivery systems, while also working on light plumbing tasks after lunchtime. Vagner checked out communications gear, had an Earth photography session and worked on a Russian oxygen generator.
Veteran cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin also spent some time photographing the Earth to help scientists forecast natural and man-made catastrophes. He then continued more plasma crystal research to gain fundamental knowledge and improve spacecraft designs.
The five-member Expedition 63 crew aboard the International Space Station started the workweek servicing a variety of communications gear. The quintet also worked on spacewalk gear, orbital plumbing and microgravity research.
NASA Commander Chris Cassidy started Monday working in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The veteran astronaut disconnected and removed an HDTV camera from Kibo’s airlock that filmed activities outside of the orbiting lab.
During the afternoon, he and fellow NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken worked in the station’s bathroom checking drain valves and recycle tanks. Located in the Tranquility module, the Waste and Hygiene Compartment also recycles urine into drinking water.
Hurley and Behnken started the morning unpacking more cargo from inside Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9). After the space plumbing work, the pair set up the U.S. Quest airlock and began organizing hardware to get ready for upcoming spacewalks.
In the Russian segment of the space station, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner inspected headsets and cables and updated communications inventory. The duo split up in the afternoon taking pictures of the Earth and studying the station’s magnetic environment.
Less than a week into their stay on the orbiting lab, Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are still orienting themselves with station systems and operations. Meanwhile, the duo is beginning to step up their advanced science activities to benefit people on and off Earth.
Hurley is getting up to speed with a pair of space physics experiments today. He started research today on space bubbles and microfluids to improve oxygen and medicine delivery systems. He then photographed hardware being set up to research how tiny particles behave in fluids. Results could improve the development of advanced materials and 3D printing techniques.
Behnken is studying how to remove and re-install a plant habitat so he can access and replace life support gear on Thursday. He also tested the SpaceX Crew Dragon’s wi-fi system that connects the spacecraft’s portable computer tablets.
Both astronauts also joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy on Wednesday afternoon reviewing station safety procedures and equipment. Cassidy spent the morning setting up science gear that Hurley would later use to begin his space bubbles research.
In the Russian segment of the station, cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner split their time between Earth observations, radiation checks and module inspections. The duo also videotaped messages and station activities for audiences on the ground.
Commander Chris Cassidy kicked off the U.S. financial markets Tuesday morning ringing the NASDAQ opening bell alongside Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The NASA trio will broaden space science activities, both private and public, on the orbiting lab to benefit humans on and off the Earth.
Meanwhile, Cassidy is helping Hurley and Behnken get up to speed with station operations and systems. Hurley and Behnken today familiarized themselves with the station’s workout facilities including the advanced resistive exercise device (ARED). The ARED simulates free-weight exercises and works all the major muscle groups. The duo also reviewed personal protective equipment and helped unpack Japan’s HTV-9 cargo craft.
The two visitors each previously visited the station twice during the space shuttle era. Hurley rode shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis in 2009 and 2011. Behnken flew on Endeavour twice in 2008 and 2010.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner continued their Russian research and maintenance tasks today. Ivanishin photographed how man-made and natural causes are affecting the Earth. Vagner explored how space travelers may pilot future spacecraft on planetary missions.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are getting up to speed with space station systems and operations on their first full day as Expedition 63 crewmates. The duo is also unpacking the Crew Dragon vehicle today and integrating its systems with the space station.
The duo joined NASA Commander Chris Cassidy, who has been on orbit since April 9, for a news conference today and talked about the historical nature of the first crewed Dragon mission. Hurley and Behnken, who each flew on two space shuttle missions, also described the differences between the Dragon crew ship and the now-retired shuttles.
Cassidy primarily spent Monday on ongoing lab maintenance activities. The veteran astronaut, who also flew on two previous shuttle missions, serviced research hardware and plumbing gear throughout Monday.
The two Roscosmos cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, focused on science and routine operations in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab. They joined their NASA crewmates in the morning to review Crew Dragon emergency procedures. Afterward, the duo explored advanced Earth photography techniques and ways to improve space exercise.
The Crew Dragon arrived at the station’s Harmony port, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying about 262 miles above the northern border of China and Mongolia. Following soft capture, 12 hooks were closed to complete a hard capture at 10:27 a.m. Teams now will begin conducting standard leak checks and pressurization between the spacecraft in preparation for hatch opening scheduled for approximately 12:45 p.m.
NASA Television and the agency’s website are continuing to provide live continuous coverage of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission.
Behnken and Hurley made history Saturday as they became the first Americans to launch on an American rocket from American soil to the space station in nearly a decade. Their successful docking completed many of the test objectives of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, and the rest will be completed as the spacecraft operates as part of the space station, then at the conclusion of its mission undocks and descends for a parachute landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hurley and Behnkhen received their wake-up call at 4:45 a.m. EDT with the song “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath. This morning they shared a tour inside the spacecraft, which they named Dragon Endeavour. Next they will conduct a near field manual piloting test to demonstrate their ability to control the spacecraft should an issue with the spacecraft’s automated flight arise.
The spacecraft will begin its close approach to the station at about 8:27 a.m. and is scheduled to dock at 10:29 a.m. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, but the crews onboard the spacecraft and the space station will diligently monitor the performance of the spacecraft as it approaches and docks to the forward port of the station’s Harmony module.
As SpaceX’s final flight test, the Demo-2 mission will validate all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon spacecraft, spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch vehicle, launch pad LC-39A, and operations capabilities before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.
Behnken and Hurley will work with SpaceX mission control to verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system, and by maneuvering the thrusters, among other things.