After a Saturday Spacewalk, an Emergency Drill and Hardware Maintenance Fills the Crew’s Schedule

On March 13, 2021, NASA spacewalker and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works to route cables and complete tasks that were deferred from previous spacewalks during this year’s fifth spacewalk in support of space station maintenance. Credits: NASA
On March 13, 2021, NASA spacewalker and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works to route cables and complete tasks that were deferred from previous spacewalks during this year’s fifth spacewalk in support of space station maintenance. Credits: NASA TV

After a weekend that included the 237th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance for the International Space Station, featuring spacewalkers and NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins, the Expedition 64 crew members got back to the business of science, switching out hardware and working around a comprehensive emergency drill on Monday.

Running through the emergency drill, the crewmates practiced their roles during various emergency scenarios, such as who would manage the procedures, gather equipment, and close hatches, all while maintaining constant communication with teams on the ground in Mission Control.

NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker performed post-spacewalk recharge maintenance to the Extravehicular Mobility Unit suits used in Saturday’s excursion, stowing them for later use.

Astronaut Kate Rubins worked to set up experiment hardware for Transparent Alloys, an ESA (European Space Agency) investigation focusing on microstructure evolution by comparing the effects of Earth’s gravity to microgravity, pinpointing the correlation in particle size, growth dynamics, and fluid flow.

Meanwhile, Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent time removing and replacing hardware — the Artificial Vision Unit — in the station’s cupola, where the crew often spends time observing natural Earth phenomena from their unique vantage approximately 250 miles above.

The crew wrapped up their workday with the Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM), installing instrument hardware and taking photo documentation. Air quality in crewed spacecraft is important for astronaut health and comfort, and the APM measures the concentration of both small and large particles in the air. Captured data will eventually be used to create a detailed mapping of the air quality aboard the space station, shedding light on the sources of different air particles and how they behave in this one-of-a-kind laboratory off the planet.

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.

Astronauts Relax as Station Science Command Celebrates 20 Years

Payload controllers are pictured working inside the Payload Operations Integration Center, the science command post for the space station located at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Payload controllers are pictured in January 2020 working inside the Payload Operations Integration Center, the science command post for the space station located at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Five astronauts from the Expedition 64 crew are relaxing today after supporting a pair of spacewalks last week. The two cosmonauts from Roscosmos were on duty running science and maintaining systems in the International Space Station’s Russian segment.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins led both spacewalks to install modification kits to ready the orbital lab for newer, more powerful solar arrays being delivered on upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo missions. NASA Flight Engineer Victor Glover joined Rubins for the Feb. 28 spacewalk. Rubins completed the second spacewalk on March 5 with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

The spacewalkers were supported last week by NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker. The duo also had time off today having helped with the spacesuit maintenance and spacewalk preparations.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov stayed on duty Monday with Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Ryzhikov explored ways to maintain safe, sterile conditions when performing biology research on the station. Kud-Sverchkov checked on air and water systems in the station’s Zvezda and Zarya modules.

Over the weekend, ISS Program officials and flight controllers informed the crew that another spacewalk will be conducted on Saturday, March 13, to complete a variety of tasks that could not be completed on a series of previous excursions.

Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will venture outside the Quest airlock to vent and relocate ammonia jumper cables, install a structural “stiffener” on the airlock thermal cover, and complete the connection of payload cables on the new Bartolomeo platform on the Columbus module. Other tasks will include the replacement of a wireless communications antenna on the Unity module. The spacewalk is scheduled to last approximately six and a half hours.

Since March 8, 2001, Marshall Space Flight Center has provided 24/7 support to science operations on the Space Station.

The Payload Operations Integration Center, POIC, is the science command post for the International Space Station. Located at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., it is the focal point for American and international science activities aboard the Space Station.

The team at the POIC manages the operations of science and research experiments aboard the Station. This group of dedicated professionals coordinates the use of valuable on-orbit resources, orchestrates delivery and retrieval of payloads, ensures safety for Space Station crews while working with payloads, and configures complex systems aboard the Space Station to support payloads.

Other members of the Payload Operations Center team train astronauts, cosmonauts, and ground personnel on payloads, and coordinate the plans for payload activities with scientists and control centers around the world.

The Payload Operations Center’s unique capabilities allow science experts and researchers around the world to perform cutting-edge science in the unique microgravity environment of space.

 

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.

Astronauts Rubins and Glover Begin Spacewalk

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins during a six-hour and 48-minute spacewalk on Sept. 1, 2016.
NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins during a six-hour and 48-minute spacewalk on Sept. 1, 2016.

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover have begun their spacewalk outside the International Space Station to begin assembling and installing modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades.

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:12 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. Glover is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the spacesuit without stripes and helmet camera #20.

Rubins and Glover 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 that have been powering the station for more than 20 years. The spacewalkers will work together to construct and begin installing bracket support structures at the base of the current solar arrays that will enable new solar arrays to be installed to augment the space station’s power supply.

This is the 235th 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 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.

Spacewalk Preps Rev Up as Space Science Continues

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker sets up science hardware components inside the Destiny laboratory module's Microgravity Science Glovebox.
NASA astronaut Shannon Walker sets up science hardware components inside the Destiny laboratory module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox.

The Expedition 64 crew members are revving up their spacewalk preparations as they juggle an array of advanced space science aboard the International Space Station today.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins spent Wednesday morning readying a pair of U.S. spacesuits that she and fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover will wear on Sunday. Rubins was joined by astronauts Michael Hopkins of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) helping with the spacesuit fit checks today which consists of attaching the correctly sized leg, arm, glove and helmet components. All four astronauts called down to Mission Control in the afternoon to review Sunday’s spacewalk procedures.

Glover and Rubins will exit the station on Sunday about 6 a.m. EST to begin readying the station for upcoming solar array upgrades. Rubins will go out again on Friday, March 5, with Noguchi to work on coolant gear and communication systems. NASA TV will broadcast both spacewalks live.

Glover also had time for research work today as he serviced parts inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to support flame and fuel studies safely. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker replaced communications gear inside the Human Research Facility that enables biological and psychological observations of astronauts.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked on batteries and cameras before incubating and photographing microbe samples. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov checked out Russian life support systems and ventilation gear Wednesday afternoon.

Astronauts Get Ready for Spacewalks After U.S. Cargo Ship Arrives

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi works on U.S. spacesuit gear inside the Quest airlock.
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi works on U.S. spacesuit gear inside the Quest airlock.

Spacewalks are the focus now aboard the International Space Station as the Expedition 64 crew begins unloading four tons of cargo delivered Monday aboard a U.S. space freighter.

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover are gearing up for a spacewalk on Sunday, Feb. 28, to ready the station for upcoming solar array upgrades. They will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at approximately 6 a.m. EST signifying the start of their spacewalk planned to last six-and-a-half hours. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 4:30 a.m.

NASA managers will discuss that spacewalk, including a March 5 spacewalk with Rubins and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, on Wednesday during a live briefing on NASA TV set for 2 p.m. The second spacewalk will see Rubins and Noguchi work on upgrading coolant gear and communication systems.

The duo spent Tuesday servicing their spacesuits and practicing safety procedures inside the Quest airlock. Glover cleaned the spacesuit cooling water loops and tested the quality of the water samples collected from the loops. Rubins reviewed the spacesuit caution and warning system then checked glove heaters, helmet cameras and batteries.

In the midst of the spacewalk preparations, the orbital residents have begun unpacking the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship. NASA Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker have been offloading the new science hardware, crew supplies and station hardware stowed inside Cygnus. Noguchi transferred Cygnus’ science freezers containing biological samples into the station and installed them into specialized science racks. Rubins and Glover also assisted with the cargo transfers.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos started the day sampling the station’s air and surfaces for microbial analysis. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov worked on Russian life support systems and station cameras.

Russian Cargo Craft In Orbit to Station

Russia’s Progress 77 cargo rocket launched from its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Feb 14., 2021.

An uncrewed Russian Progress 77 carrying just over one ton of nitrogen, water and propellant to the International Space Station launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:45 p.m. EST (9:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time).

The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned for a two-day rendezvous on its way to meet up with the orbiting laboratory and its Expedition 64 crew members.

After making 33 orbits of Earth on its journey, the spacecraft will automatically dock to the station’s Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. Live coverage on NASA TV of rendezvous and docking will begin at 12:30 a.m.

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.

Watch NASA TV for Progress Spacecraft Launch

Russia’s Progress 74 cargo rocket launched from its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 6, 2019. Credit: Roscosmos

Beginning at 11:15 p.m. EST, NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The uncrewed Russian Progress 77 is scheduled to lift off on a Soyuz rocket at 11:45 p.m. (9:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a two-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

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

Spacewalk Coverage Live on NASA TV

NASA spacewalker Victor Glover works on Jan. 27, 2021, to ready the International Space for future solar array upgrades.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover is now underway and available on the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 64 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to 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 working to upgrade a battery on the port 4 (P4) truss of the station.

The first task for today, as illustrated in a NASA animation, will be to install a final lithium-ion battery adapter plate on the port 4 (P4) truss. Hopkins and Glover also will replace an external camera on the starboard truss, install a new high-definition camera on the Destiny laboratory, and replace components for the Japanese robotic arm’s camera system outside the Kibo module.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Vincent Lacourt with support from Sandy Fletcher 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.