Astronauts Begin Spacewalk for Solar Array Modifications

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi is pictured during a spacewalk that took place over 15 years ago during the STS-114 space shuttle mission to the space station on August 1, 2005.
Astronaut Soichi Noguchi is pictured during a spacewalk that took place over 15 years ago during the STS-114 space shuttle mission to the space station on August 1, 2005.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi have begun their spacewalk outside the International Space Station to complete the installation of modification kits in preparation for upcoming solar array upgrades.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:37 a.m. EST to begin the spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA TV, the NASA app, and on the agency’s website.

Rubins is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing a spacesuit bearing red stripes and using helmet camera #22. Noguchi is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit without stripes and helmet camera #20.

Rubins and Noguchi will traverse out the station’s backbone truss structure to the far left (port) side set of solar arrays, the first pair of solar arrays deployed in December 2000. The spacewalkers will work together to complete the installation and configuration of modification kits on solar arrays 4B and 2B, which will enable new solar arrays to be installed to augment the space station’s power supply. Rubins and fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover began installing the modification kits during the Feb. 28 spacewalk.

Following solar array modification kit configuration, the Rubins will conduct cable routing for the Bartolomeo platform Parking Position Interface (PAPOS) on the Columbus module, Noguchi will replace a Wireless Video System External Transceivers Assembly (WETA), and the pair will perform other get-ahead work as time permits.

This is the 236th spacewalk in support of space station assembly.

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 Begins Live Coverage of Spacewalk for Solar Array Mods

Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi are conducting the fourth spacewalk of their careers today.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi are conducting the fourth spacewalk of their careers today.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 64 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin around 7 a.m. EST and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in the airlock and have donned their suits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities to complete the installation of modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades.

Rubins and Noguchi will begin by working on solar array 4B, followed by 2B, the farthest set of solar arrays on the Port-6 truss structure, or P6, which is on the far-left side of the station. Additionally, the pair will remove and replace a Wireless Video System External Transceivers Assembly (WETA), conduct cable routing for the Bartolomeo platform Parking Position Interface (PAPOS) on the Columbus module, and perform other get-ahead work as time permits.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Chris Edelen with support from Art Thomason as the lead spacewalk officer.

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 Broadcasts Spacewalk for Solar Array Mods on Friday

The International Space Station
The International Space Station is pictured orbiting Earth in October of 2018.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Friday for a spacewalk to complete the installation of solar array modification kits, which were started during the Feb. 28 spacewalk in preparation for solar array upgrades.

The pair will set their spacesuits to battery power about 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, signifying the start of their spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours. NASA will begin its live coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website at 5:30 a.m.

Rubins and fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover began work to install modification kits on the farthest set of solar rays on the station’s Port-6 truss structure during the recent spacewalk. Noguchi will join Rubins in tomorrow’s spacewalk to complete the installation and configuration of the kits in preparation for new solar arrays. The new solar arrays, which will be delivered to the space station on upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo missions, are a larger version of the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology and will ultimately increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.

This will be the 236th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Rubins will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) and wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Noguchi will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing a suit with no stripes.

Rubins arrived at the space station Oct. 14, 2020, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and Noguchi arrived at the space station in November as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission. This will be the fourth career spacewalk for each astronaut.

Roscosmos Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov continued work this week to seal a crack  in the service module of the Zvezda compartment aboard the International Space Station. This was part of ongoing work to isolate and fix the source of a slight increase above the standard cabin air leak rate aboard the station teams have been investigating over the last year. The crew is in no danger, and the space station has ample consumables aboard to manage and maintain the nominal environment.

To seal the crack, the crew will drill holes in the tips of the cracks to prevent any potential future growth. The cracks will then be sealed right away with two types of sealing paste. Several more layers of paste will be applied with a reinforcement patch, which will be covered with another layer of sealing paste.

After completing the crack repair work, a series of leak checks will be performed.

The metal pieces, instrument data and photos collected will all be sent back to Earth for further analysis.

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

High-Powered Computing, Orbital Plumbing and Spacewalk Preps Today

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins (lower left) is pictured during a spacewalk on Feb. 28, 2021, to install solar array modification kits on the space station.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins (lower left) is pictured during a spacewalk on Feb. 28, 2021, to install solar array modification kits on the space station.

Preparations are stepping up ahead of Friday’s spacewalk at the International Space Station to continue solar array modifications. The Expedition 64 crew is also studying high-powered space computing while maintaining orbital lab systems.

Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi are getting ready to begin a spacewalk on Friday to finish installing solar array modification kits. The installation work began during a spacewalk on Feb. 28 to ready the station for new, more powerful solar arrays being delivered soon on upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo missions.

The duo will set their spacesuits to battery power about 7 a.m. EST on Friday officially beginning the fourth spacewalk of the year. They will exit the U.S. Quest airlock and maneuver to the far-left side of the station to their worksite on the Port-6 truss structure. Rubins of NASA and Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will spend about six-and-a-half hours wrapping up the modifications and performing get-ahead work if time permits. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage at 5:30 a.m.

As the spacewalk preparations are underway, the rest of the crew is staying focused on a multitude of research work. Ensuring the stable operation of space station systems is also a daily priority.

Space technology is a big topic and scientists want to extend the power of Earth-based data processing to microgravity. Today, NASA Flight Engineer Victor Glover installed the Spaceborne Computer-2 delivered last month aboard the Cygnus space freighter. The new computing device, located in Europe’s Columbus laboratory module, seeks to demonstrate artificial intelligence and high-powered computations on the station rather than downloading scientific data for analysis on Earth.

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Michael Hopkins worked on space plumbing tasks on Wednesday. Walker readied cables that will power the station’s new water recycling device, the Brine Processor Assembly. Hopkins worked on fluid transfers and swapped pipes inside the Waste and Hygiene Compartment, the station’s bathroom in the U.S. segment.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov completed a 24-hour session that recorded his electrical heart signal with a portable electrocardiogram. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov repressurized the station’s environment with nitrogen stored inside the docked ISS Progress 77 cargo ship.

Spacewalk, Science and BEAM Work Keeping Crew Busy

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured during a spacewalk to install solar array modification kits on the space station.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured during a spacewalk to install solar array modification kits on the space station.

Two astronauts are gearing up for another spacewalk scheduled this Friday to continue maintenance on the outside of the International Space Station. The rest of the Expedition 64 crew set up advanced research hardware and also entered BEAM for cargo activities.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is readying tools and reviewing procedures for Friday’s spacewalk to continue installing solar array modification kits begun during Sunday’s spacewalk. She was joined by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi on Tuesday as he assisted with spacesuit preparations. Flight Engineer Victor Glover partnered with Noguchi for the spacesuit work and collected water samples from the suits for microbial analysis.

Rubins and Noguchi will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power inside the U.S. Quest airlock around 7 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk at 5:30 a.m.

NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker checked out radiation and biological gear today. She first deployed an experimental radiation detector to validate its use on future Orion spacecraft carrying crews to the Moon. Next, Walker powered up the Bio-Analyzer for upcoming cellular and molecular analysis work aboard the orbiting lab.

Walker also joined Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins opening up the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, for cargo work. The duo stowed hardware and replaced a wireless sensors inside the commercial module.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov focused on Russian science experiments in the station’s Russian segment. Ryzhikov wore a portable electrocardiogram that will record his electrical heart signals for 24 hours. Kud-Sverchkov serviced biology gear that enables investigations of cell cultures exposed to microgravity.

Spacewalkers Conclude Today’s Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Victor Glover and Kate Rubins are pictured at the mast canister, installing bracket support struts to the base of the solar array on Feb, 28th 2021.
Spacewalkers Victor Glover and Kate Rubins are pictured at the mast canister, installing bracket support struts to the base of the solar array on Feb, 28th 2021.

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover concluded their spacewalk at 1:16 p.m. EST, after 7 hours and 4 minutes. In the third spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two NASA astronauts began work to install modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades.

The duo worked near the farthest set of existing solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6. Glover built a bracket structure and worked with Rubins to attach the bracket and support struts to the mast canister, the base, of one of the P6 solar arrays, known as 2B. One of the bolts did not fully engage on the first attempt, so Rubins used a power drill to back it out and reseat it, then used a ratchet wrench to tighten the bolt, reaching a safe configuration. The bolt likely will need to be secured further before installing one of the new solar arrays that will be delivered to the space station later this year aboard SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission.

Rubins and Glover then moved to begin identical assembly work for the bracket for the second of the P6 solar array pair, known as 4B. They completed the construction of upper support hardware and secured it to the space station’s exterior structure until work can be completed on the next spacewalk on Friday, March 5.

To ensure a sufficient power supply is maintained for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond as well as utilization and commercialization, NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays. The new solar arrays, a larger version of the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology, will be positioned in front of six of the current arrays, ultimately increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts. The current solar arrays are functioning well but have begun to show signs of degradation, as expected, as they were designed for a 15-year service life.

This was the third career spacewalk for both Rubins and Glover. Rubins has now spent a total of 19 hours and 50 minutes spacewalking. Glover now has spent a total of 19 hours and 20 minutes spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 235 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 61 days, 14 hours, and 11 minutes working outside the station.

During the spacewalk March 5, Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi will venture outside the orbiting outpost to complete the installation of the 4B array modification kit and are expected to tackle additional work, including the venting of ammonia from the Early Ammonia System.

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 Coverage of Spacewalk Underway

Astronauts (from left) Kate Rubins and Victor Glover are pictured during previous spacewalks on the space station.
Astronauts (from left) Kate Rubins and Victor Glover are pictured during previous spacewalks on the space station.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 64 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 6 a.m. EST and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in the airlock and have donned their suits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities to begin assembling and installing modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades.

As illustrated in a NASA animation, Rubins and Glover will be working near the farthest set of solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6. They will work together to build bracket structures and attach the bracket and support struts to the mast canister, the base, of one of the P6 solar arrays, then will begin the identical work for the mast canister of the second of the P6 solar array pair. The modification kit will enable the new solar arrays to be installed in front of the existing arrays after their delivery to the space station later this year aboard SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Marcos Flores with support from Art Thomason as the lead spacewalk officer.

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

NASA TV Broadcasts Spacewalk on Sunday

From left, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams are pictured during a spacewalk in September of 2016 performing solar array maintenance.
From left, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams are pictured during a spacewalk in September of 2016 performing solar array maintenance.

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Sunday for a spacewalk to begin assembling and installing modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades.

The pair will set their spacesuits to battery power about 6 a.m. EST tomorrow, signifying the start of their spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours. NASA will begin its live coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website at 4:30 a.m.

The current solar arrays are functioning well but have begun to show signs of degradation, as expected, as they were designed for a 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. Later this year, the new solar arrays will be positioned in front of six of the current arrays, ultimately increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts.

This will be the 235th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Rubins will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) and wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Glover will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing a suit with no stripes.

Rubins arrived at the space station Oct. 14, 2020, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and Glover arrived at the space station in November as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission. This will be the third career spacewalk for each.

Watch a video providing an overview of the spacewalk and learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew in Final Spacewalk Preps, Studies Plants and Worms

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured during a spacewalk in September of 2016 working on solar array maintenance.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured during a spacewalk in September of 2016 working on solar array maintenance.

The Expedition 64 crew is in final preparations for Sunday’s spacewalk to ready the International Space Station for new solar arrays. The orbital residents are also tending to plants and observing worms to continue learning how space affects biology.

NASA Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power on Sunday at around 6 a.m. EST signifying the start of the year’s third spacewalk. The duo will exit the station and spend about six-and-a-half hours upgrading power channels that will support new solar arrays to be delivered on upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo missions. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage at 4:30 a.m.

Rubins and Glover organized their spacewalk tools, checked their spacesuit tethers, and readied the U.S. Quest airlock today. On Saturday, they will finalize their preparations with assistance from Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi and hold a conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control.

Friday’s research activities included watering plants and more worm observations. Noguchi refilled a water chamber then photographed the fast-growing, aroma-rich plants used for traditional medicine and food flavoring. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker set up a microscope that Hopkins would use during the afternoon to observe worms for a gene expression and muscle strength study.

The crew’s two cosmonauts focused their activities in the Russian segment of the orbital lab today. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked on batteries and cameras. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov had a fitness test on the Zvezda service module’s treadmill then serviced a variety of Russian science gear.

Crew Examines Worms, Explores Space Manufacturing During Spacewalk Preps

Three spaceships are pictured attached to the space station as the orbital complex flew 261 miles above the Bay of Bengal.
Three spaceships are pictured attached to the space station as the orbital complex flew 261 miles above the Bay of Bengal.

Two NASA astronauts are getting their tools and spacesuits ready for Sunday’s spacewalk to ready the International Space Station for new solar arrays. Meanwhile, the rest of the Expedition 64 crew focused on a variety of space research on Thursday.

NASA Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover are finalizing their preparations for a planned six-and-a-half hour spacewalk set to begin Sunday at 6 a.m. EST. NASA TV will begin its live spacewalk beginning at 4:30 a.m.

Rubins and Glover configured spacewalk tools and checked U.S. spacesuits today before calling down to experts in Mission Control to report on their readiness. The duo today also continued reviewing the spacewalk procedures they will use to upgrade power channels that will soon support new solar arrays. Those solar arrays will be shipped on upcoming Space Dragon cargo missions for installation this year.

Science is always ongoing aboard the space station, not just with crew inputs but also remotely from scientists on the ground. Results and insights help improve industry, business and medicine on Earth and in space.

Worms are being observed on the station after their arrival on Monday inside the Cygnus resupply ship from Northrop Grumman. Astronauts Shannon Walker and Michael Hopkins examined the tiny worms with a microscope to explore how microgravity affects gene expression and muscle strength.

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi worked on advanced space science hardware to explore different space manufacturing techniques. He first installed the new Industrial Crystallization Facility that will demonstrate commercial crystal production available only in space. Next, he checked samples inside the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace that investigates the thermophysical properties of commercial materials exposed to extreme temperatures.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov split their day working on batteries, cameras and laptop computers.