Station Crew Preps for Sunday Spacewalk, Works Space Science

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet is pictured attached to the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm during a spacewalk to install new roll out solar arrays.
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet is pictured attached to the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm during a spacewalk to install new roll out solar arrays.

The Expedition 65 crew is checking spacesuits and tools following Wednesday’s spacewalk while also getting ready for a second spacewalk on Sunday. There was also time aboard the International Space Station for ongoing research and maintenance.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet completed Wednesday’s spacewalk after seven hours and 15 minutes beginning the installation of a pair of new roll out solar arrays. The duo now turns its attention to a Sunday spacewalk to continue more solar array installation work on the orbiting lab’s P-6 truss segment. NASA TV will begin its live coverage at 6:30 a.m. EDT for all the spacewalk activities.

The spacewalkers and their assistants NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei began Thursday morning relaxing. The quartet then spent the day checking spacesuit components, organizing spacewalk tools and calling down to the ground for a conference with specialists.

Space science continued today, as Commander Akihiko Hoshide spent some time servicing samples for a study to improve quality and extend the shelf-life of medicines on Earth and in space. Vande Hei also worked a couple of hours on the Oral Biofilms experiment investigating how bacteria is affected by microgravity and ways to counteract harmful changes.

Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov began Thursday morning exploring how microgravity impacts the immune system before moving on and studying ways to maximize the effectiveness of space exercise. Fellow Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy worked on a variety of Russian station hardware and swapped samples inside the Electromagnetic Levitator for a study observing chill-cooled industrial alloys.

Spacewalk to Install First New Solar Array Concluded

Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet working at the Port-6 truss during EVA 74. Credit: NASA TV
Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet working at the Port-6 truss during EVA 74. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet concluded their spacewalk at 3:26 p.m. EDT, after 7 hours and 15 minutes. In the seventh spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts installed a new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) into its mounting bracket on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6).

Kimbrough and Pesquet successfully removed the array from its position in the flight support equipment and maneuvered it into position on the mast canister at the 2B power channel.

Before the new array can be deployed and begin providing power to the orbiting laboratory, spacewalkers will need to install the electrical cables and drive the final two bolts to enable the solar array to unfurl its fully deployed position. Pesquet and Kimbrough are scheduled for another spacewalk coming up on Sunday, June 20 to continue the installation of new solar arrays.

NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays to ensure a sufficient power supply is maintained for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond as well as utilization and commercialization.

This was the seventh spacewalk for Kimbrough, the third for Pesquet, and the third they conducted together. Kimbrough has now spent a total of 46 hours and 15 minutes spacewalking, and Pesquet’s total spacewalking time is 19 hours and 47 minutes.

Space station crew members have conducted 239 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 62 days, 18 hours, and 28 minutes working outside the station.

In November 2020, the International Space Station surpassed its 20-year milestone of continuous human presence, providing opportunities for unique research and technological demonstrations that help prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and also improve life on Earth. In that time, 244 people from 19 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

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.

Spacewalk activities continue after Shane Kimbrough troubleshoots spacesuit

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

About three hours into today’s spacewalk, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough made his way back to the Quest airlock at the International Space Station to reconnect his spacesuit to an umbilical connection and restarted it. The reset corrected the issues with his spacesuit’s display and controls module that provides him information about the status of his spacesuit.

In addition, after seeing a spike in the reading for pressure in his sublimator, which provides cooling for his spacesuit, flight controllers had Kimbrough cycle the sublimator. The data stabilized.

Kimbrough is safe and has now made his way back to the worksite where the new solar arrays remain in the flight support equipment.

Meanwhile, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet remained in the foot restraint attached to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm2 in preparation to continue the work to release the new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) from the flight support equipment.

The spacewalking duo is preparing to install the iROSA in front of the current solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6, to upgrade the 2B power channel and will resume working through the next steps on today’s timeline.

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

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 Begin Spacewalk to Install Roll-Out Solar Arrays

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough (left) and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (right) are today’s spacewalkers.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough (left) and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (right) are today’s spacewalkers.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough have begun their spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install and deploy the first new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA).

The spacewalkers switched their spacesuits to battery power at 8:11 a.m. EDT 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.

Pesquet is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing a spacesuit bearing red stripes and using helmet camera #20. Kimbrough is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the unmarked spacesuit and helmet camera #22.

It is the third spacewalk Kimbrough and Pesquet have conducted together, following two Expedition 50 spacewalks in January and March 2017 that included another station power upgrade, replacing nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries.

From inside the space station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur will command Canadarm2 with Pesquet attached to maneuver the array closer to the installation location on the far end of the left (port) side of the station’s backbone truss structure (P6) to upgrade the 2B power channel.

This is the 239th 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 is Live as Astronauts Get Ready for Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough (left) and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (right) are conducting their third spacewalk together.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough (left) and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (right) are conducting their third spacewalk together.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 65 are preparing to go outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin at approximately 8 a.m. EDT and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in their spacesuits in the airlock in preparation to exit the space station and begin today’s activities to install and deploy the first new ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) to upgrade the station’s power supply.

As illustrated in a NASA animation, Kimbrough and Pesquet will be working near the farthest set of current solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6, to upgrade the 2B power channel. First they will prepare and release the new solar array from the carrier in which it arrived aboard the SpaceX cargo Dragon and operators in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center maneuvered into place for today’s spacewalk using the station’s robotic Canadarm2

From his position attached to the end of the Canadarm2, Pesquet will maneuver the array out of the carrier, and operators will move the robotic arm as far out on the station as it can reach, where he will pass the array to Kimbrough. Pesquet will reposition himself to receive the array from Kimbrough and move it to its final installation location. The crew members will work together to install it, rotate it to its deploy location, and position the mounting bolts, install the electrical cables, and drive the final two bolts to extend the solar array to its fully deployed position.

Leading the mission control team today is Flight Director Ron Spencer with support from Kieth Johnson 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.

Astronauts in Final Preparations for Wednesday’s Spacewalk

Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei assists astronauts Shane Kimbrough (bottom) and Thomas Pesquet (top) into their U.S. spacesuits to test them for a fit verification.
Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei assists astronauts Shane Kimbrough (bottom) and Thomas Pesquet (top) into their U.S. spacesuits to test them for a fit verification.

Two spacewalkers and their assistants are in final preparations one day before the first of two excursions begins to install new solar arrays. The rest of the Expedition 65 crew focused on science and maintenance activities at the International Space Station.

Two astronauts, Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), will set their spacesuits to battery power at 8 a.m. EDT on Wednesday signifying the start of their spacewalk. The duo will exit the U.S. Quest airlock and maneuver to the Port-6 truss structure to install the first of two roll-out solar arrays. They will go out again on Sunday at the same time to install the second set of solar arrays. NASA TV will broadcast both spacewalks from start to finish starting at 6:30 a.m. EDT each day.

They will be assisted by NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei who will help the astronauts in and out of their suits and provide robotics support. All four astronauts spent Wednesday readying the Quest airlock and calling down to specialists for a final spacewalk procedure review.

Over in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module, Commander Akihiko Hoshide worked on a variety of research hardware. The three-time space station visitor cleaned up the Life Science Glovebox and checked on combustion research electronics gear inside the Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack.

In the station’s Russian segment, cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy continued unloading the Pirs docking compartment and preparing it for its undocking and departure later this year. Roscosmos Pyotr Dubrov photographed the interior of the Russian modules for analysis on Earth.

Astronauts Work Science, Spacewalk Preps as Cosmonauts Relax

At center, astronauts Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei will assist spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough (far left) and Thomas Pesquet (far right) during two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20.
At center, astronauts Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei will assist spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough (far left) and Thomas Pesquet (far right) during two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20.

The Expedition 65 astronauts researched space biology while preparing for a pair of spacewalks aboard the International Space Station today. The station’s two cosmonauts cleared their schedules and relaxed aboard the orbital lab today.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet spent part of Monday getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin Wednesday at 8 a.m. EDT. The duo configured tools, printed checklists and inspected their spacesuit jetpacks, also known as Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER).

The duo will spend about six-and-half hours installing the first two of six new solar arrays on the space station’s integrated truss structure. The solar arrays will roll out instead of unfurling, like the older arrays, and augment the station’s power system. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 6:30 a.m.

The pair also had time for pharmaceutical and botany research. Kimbrough serviced samples for a study that seeks to improve the chemical and physical stability of medicine on Earth and in space. Pesquet started the Advanced Plant Experiment-07 investigation which is exploring how microgravity affects gene expression in plants.

NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur was looking at new ways to produce high-quality protein crystals which could lead to new disease therapies on Earth. Her fellow NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. The duo wrapped up the day training for the Canadarm2 robotic techniques they will use to support the spacewalkers on Wednesday.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide worked on the Confocal Space Microscope then cleaned up biology hardware inside the Kibo laboratory module.

In the station’s Russian segment, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov took the day off in space today commemorating Russia Day which observes that country’s economic and social achievements.

Space Botany and Biology Studies Under Way Benefitting Earth

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur seemingly juggles fresh peppers and avocados that were just delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship.
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur seemingly juggles fresh peppers and avocados that were just delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship.

Cotton plants and kidney cells were the dominant research topics aboard the International Space Station today. NASA TV will also broadcast a preview on Monday of two upcoming Expedition 65 spacewalks.

The orbiting lab is hosting a variety of life forms to help researchers understand how weightlessness affects biology. Observations provide insights often advancing health and improving conditions for humans on and off the Earth.

During Friday morning, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough harvested cotton plants growing for the TICTOC botany study. The investigation looks at gene expression and root growth in microgravity which may improve both space agriculture and cotton cultivation on Earth.

The Kidney Cells-02 investigation is under way this week following its delivery aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship on Saturday. NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur collaborated on the biotechnology study today that is seeking treatments for conditions such as kidney disease and osteoporosis affecting both astronauts and Earthlings.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet worked on a variety of science hardware on Friday ensuring orbital research continues at full pace. Hoshide, currently on his third spaceflight, serviced medical imaging gear the crew uses regularly for eye checks. Pesquet, who is working his second station mission, stowed a small incubator after the completion of a study exploring how drugs work in space. The European Space Agency astronaut then swapped samples inside the Fluid Science Laboratory for a foam study potentially impacting consumer products, fire safety and the petroleum industry.

Kimbrough and Pesquet will go on two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20. The duo will spend six-and-half hours on both excursions installing a new pair of solar arrays robotically-extracted overnight from the Cargo Dragon’s trunk. NASA TV will go live on Monday at 2 p.m. EDT with station managers discussing the upcoming spacewalk activities to augment the station’s power system.

Over in the Russian segment of the space station, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov worked on a variety of communications gear during the morning. After lunchtime, the duo split up to inventory cargo transferred to and from the ISS Progress 77 cargo craft and inspect the Zvezda service module.

Robotics Prepping Station for Upcoming Solar Array Spacewalks

At center, Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei pose with astronauts Shane Kimbrough (far left) and Thomas Pesquet (far right) who are in U.S. spacesuits.
At center, Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei pose with astronauts Shane Kimbrough (far left) and Thomas Pesquet (far right) who are in spacesuits.

Mission controllers will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to remove a new pair of solar arrays from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship tonight. Four Expedition 65 astronauts are also training for robotics activities to support two spacewalks scheduled to begin next week.

Packed inside the unpressurized segment of the Cargo Dragon, also known as its trunk, is a pair of unique solar arrays that will soon be attached to the International Space Station’s Port-6 truss structure. Also called iROSA, or ISS Roll Out Solar Arrays, they will be extracted tonight from Dragon’s trunk by robotics controllers remotely commanding the Canadarm2. It will be staged on the truss structure where two spacewalkers will install it on the station starting next week.

In the meantime, Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet are preparing for those two installation spacewalks planned for June 16 and 20. The duo joined fellow flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur on Thursday afternoon for computerized training to prepare for the robotics activities necessary to support the solar array installation work.

Kimbrough and Pesquet this week have been inspecting their spacesuits, organizing their tools and readying the U.S. Quest airlock where they will stage both spacewalks. They will set their spacesuit batteries to battery power at 8 a.m. EDT on both days signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of both spacewalks at 6:30 a.m.

Science is still ongoing aboard the orbital lab as the astronauts and mission controllers get ready for the two spacewalks.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Pesquet took turns wearing a virtual reality headset and clicking a trackball for the Time Perception experiment. Kimbrough inventoried medical supplies and photographed cotton plants growing for the TICTOC space botany study. McArthur worked on a pharmaceutical freeze-drying study while Vande Hei loaded a CubeSat deployer for upcoming satellite deployments.

In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy checked on Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship gear today. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov assisted with the Soyuz work and worked throughout the day on Russian life support and computer maintenance.

New Dragon Science Under Way during Spacewalk Preps

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei poses for a playful portrait with astronauts Shane Kimbrough (left) and Thomas Pesquet (right) who are trying on their U.S. spacesuits.
Astronaut Mark Vande Hei poses for a playful portrait with astronauts Shane Kimbrough (left) and Thomas Pesquet (right) who are trying on their U.S. spacesuits.

Kidney cells, oral health and pharmaceuticals were the science highlights aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. The Expedition 65 crew is also continuing to ramp up for a pair of spacewalks set to begin next week.

New experiments delivered Saturday aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship are already under way on the orbiting lab. This includes the Kidney Cells-02 study that NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei took turns working on today.

The duo removed the kidney study’s hardware from the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory for placement and operations inside the Life Science Glovebox. The biotechnology experiment may provide a new understanding of how kidney diseases develop leading to new treatments impacting humans on and off the Earth.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet collaborated on the new Oral Biofilms study during Wednesday morning. Hoshide started the experiment retrieving sample packs from a science freezer and reconfiguring fluid flows to the samples. Pesquet followed that up by turning off the fluid flows and stowing the samples back in a science freezer. The experiment observes how bacteria is affected by microgravity and investigates ways to counteract any potential harmful changes. Results could also have a positive influence for maintaining oral health in space and on Earth.

Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough spent the morning setting up gear in the Microgravity Science Glovebox to explore freeze-drying as a way to preserve medicines for long periods of time. The experiment, known as Lyophilization-2, could benefit pharmaceutical and other industries on Earth.

Kimbrough and Pesquet later joined each other during the afternoon for a conference with spacewalk specialists on the ground. The duo is scheduled for two spacewalks taking place on June 16 and 20 to install a new pair of solar arrays on the station’s Port-6 truss segment.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov stayed focused on their contingent of Russian maintenance and research today. Novitskiy worked on orbital plumbing tasks before setting up hardware to observe Earth’s nighttime airglow in the near ultra-violet wavelength. Dubrov checked on smoke detectors and ventilation systems then moved on to more space exercise research.