NASA Astronauts Continue the Series of Spacewalks for Power Upgrades

 

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are today’s spacewalkers.

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch of NASA will continue the series of spacewalks outside of the International Space Station at about 7:50 a.m. EDT to upgrade the station’s solar array batteries. Watch the spacewalk coverage now on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

This is the second of five battery replacement spacewalks in October. Koch and Morgan performed the first spacewalk on Oct. 6. This series of spacewalks is dedicated to replacing batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss. The existing nickel-hydrogen batteries will be upgraded with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries transported to the station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, which arrived Saturday, Sept. 28. These spacewalks continue the overall upgrade of the station’s power system that began with similar battery replacement during spacewalks in January 2017.

This will be the 220th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Morgan will be designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Koch will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. Morgan’s helmet camera will carry the number 18 and Koch’s helmet camera will carry the number 11.

NASA is preparing to conduct as many as 10 spacewalks in the next three months, a pace that has not been experienced since International Space Station assembly was completed in 2011. Both the crew and the equipment they need has been prepared to meet this demand.

The next spacewalks dedicated to the battery upgrades are scheduled on Oct. 16, 21 and 25.

After completion of the battery spacewalks, the second half of this sequence of spacewalks will focus on repairs to the space station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Dates for those spacewalks still are being discussed, but they are expected to begin in November.

All of the U.S. segment crewmembers that will be in space during this time – Christina Koch, Jessica Meir, Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano – are expected to take part in conducting the spacewalks.

Space Biology, Human Research Day Before Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan (left) and Christina Koch (right) are suited up in U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock for the first of five planned spacewalks that took place on Oct. 6, 2019. Image Credit: NASA
NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan (left) and Christina Koch (right) are suited up in U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock for the first of five planned spacewalks that took place on Oct. 6, 2019. Image Credit: NASA

Two astronauts will suit up Friday morning for the second spacewalk in a series of five this month to upgrade International Space Station power systems. In the meantime, the duo and the rest of the Expedition 61 crew are staying on top of ongoing microgravity research today aboard the orbiting lab. 

NASA Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch split their time today between researching space biology and preparing for tomorrow’s spacewalk. Morgan observed and photographed protein crystals in a microscope to support cancer research. Koch explored sequencing the DNA of microbes living on the station. 

The duo also worked inside the Quest airlock to ready their spacesuits, tools and tethers before they exit into the vacuum of space Friday at 7:50 a.m. EDT. They will continue swapping out the station’s large nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 6:30 a.m. 

Commander Luca Parmitano and Flight Engineer Jessica Meir set up an exercise cycle for an aerobic fitness test today. Meir strapped herself on the bike while attached to a variety of sensors for an hour-and-a-half exercise session. Flight surgeons use these evaluations to determine an astronaut’s physiological health before, during and after a flight. She also studied how blood flow to the brain adjusts in microgravity. 

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka continued testing a unique negative pressure suit for its ability to reverse the space-caused upward flow of fluids such as blood in astronaut’s bodies. The veteran station pair also worked on a variety of Russian life support and communications systems.

Crew Relaxes Day Before Spacewalk Preps and Cancer, DNA Research

Astronauts assist spacewalkers in the Quest airlock
NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan (left) and Christina Koch (right) are suited up in U.S. spacesuits on Oct. 6, 2019. In the center, NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir and Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) assist the spacewalking duo.

Four of the six Expedition 61 crewmembers are relaxing today before ramping up final preparations for Friday’s spacewalk. The two cosmonauts maintained their normal schedule of Russian science and maintenance activities.

NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch have cleared their schedule for a well-deserved rest day and are taking it easy aboard the International Space Station. Commander Luca Parmitano and fellow NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir also had the day off. All four astronauts will get back to work Thursday with final preparations for their second spacewalk this month.

Morgan and Koch will not only ready their U.S. spacesuits for Friday’s spacewalk, they will also research cancer therapies and microbial DNA sequencing. Parmitano will assist the duo with the spacesuit preparations and help Meir with an aerobic fitness evaluation.

The two cosmonauts stayed busy today in the Russian segment of the orbiting lab. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka split their time between microgravity research and station maintenance. Skvortsov explored how leg veins adapt to weightlessness before checking on station air conditioning and smoke detectors. Skripochka explored pain sensitivity in space and shared a moment with ham radio operators on the ground for an educational opportunity.

Crew Fills Tuesday With Spacewalk Preps, Science and Cargo Ops

Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano assists astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch in their U.S. spacesuits
Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) assists NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan (left) and Christina Koch (right) in their U.S. spacesuits.

Tuesday was packed with more spacewalk preparations along with ongoing microgravity research aboard the International Space Station. The six-member Expedition 61 crew also conducted emergency response training and cargo transfers from a Japanese cargo craft.

NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch are going out on their second spacewalk together Friday at 7:50 a.m. EDT. The duo today reviewed spacewalk procedures and set up the tools they will use to continue upgrading the station’s large nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries.

Commander Luca Parmitano serviced U.S. spacesuit components and practiced Canadarm2 robotics maneuvers to support Friday’s excursion. NASA TV coverage begins its live coverage of October’s second spacewalk at 6:30 a.m.

Morgan had a few moments set aside Tuesday to swap batteries inside Astrobee, the free-flying robotic assistant being tested aboard the orbiting lab. Afterward, he joined NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir inside Japan’s HTV-8 resupply ship to continue unpacking crew supplies and station hardware.

Koch switched to space gardening after spacewalk reviews and watered plants in the Columbus laboratory module. She and Meir finally wrapped up the workday with some light maintenance work in the station’s environmental health system.

All six crewmembers, including cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka, reviewed emergency roles and responsibilities after lunch today. The crew familiarized itself with safety gear, communication protocols, escape paths and evacuation procedures.

Health Checks, Science as Spacewalk Season Kicks Off on Station

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan conducts a spacewalk
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan conducts a spacewalk on Oct. 6, 2019, to begin the latest round of upgrading the station’s large nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries.

Two NASA spacewalkers are conducting routine post-spacewalk activities today after a 7 hour, 1 minute spacewalk Sunday prior to another excursion outside the International Space Station this Friday.

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan underwent a routine series of post-spacewalk health checks today with Commander Luca Parmitano assisting the astronauts.

Koch and Morgan will venture outside in their U.S. spacesuits again Friday for more battery replacement work on the P-6 truss structure. This time Morgan will lead the duo during the 6.5-hour spacewalk that will start at 7:50 a.m. EDT. NASA TV coverage begins at 6:30 a.m.

Parmitano and NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir joined the spacewalking duo during the afternoon to review the results and lessons learned from Sunday’s excursion. They will be back in the Quest airlock on Friday to help Morgan and Koch in and out of their spacesuits.

Three more spacewalks are planned before the month is out to complete the power upgrade work. The dates and astronauts for the upcoming spacewalks are…

  • Oct. 16: Andrew Morgan and Jessica Meir
  • Oct. 21: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
  • Oct. 25: Jessica Meir and Luca Parmitano

On the Russian side of the station, cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka, who are scheduled to conduct their own spacewalk Oct. 31, continued the upkeep of life support systems while conducting microgravity research.

Skvortsov, who has been on the station since July, explored how enzymes in the human body are impacted by weightlessness. Skripochka researched how ultraviolet waves affect Earth’s atmosphere.

First of Five Power Upgrade Spacewalks This Month Wraps Up

Astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
Astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are pictured in their U.S. spacesuits during another spacewalk earlier this year.

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 2:40 p.m. EDT. During the seven-hour and one minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts began the replacement of nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss.

Astronauts also were able to accomplish get-ahead tasks, including the removal of an additional nickel-hydrogen battery, originally scheduled for the second spacewalk.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. On Oct. 11, Morgan and Koch are scheduled to venture outside again for another spacewalk to continue the battery replacements on the first of the two power channels for the station’s far port truss. The next spacewalks dedicated to the battery upgrades are scheduled on Oct. 16, 21 and 25.

After completion of the battery spacewalks, the second half of this sequence of spacewalks will focus on repairs to the space station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Dates for those spacewalks still are being discussed, but they are expected to begin in November.

Space station crew members have conducted 219 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 57 days 6 hours and 27 minutes working outside the station.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

NASA Astronauts Kick Off First of Five Spacewalks for Power Upgrades

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan are today’s spacewalkers.

Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:39 a.m. EDT. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan  of NASA are kicking off the first in a series of five spacewalks dedicated to replacing batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss.

The existing nickel-hydrogen batteries will be upgraded with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries transported to the station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, which arrived Saturday, Sept. 28. Koch is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #11. Morgan is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #18.

The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night.

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

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.

Station Focuses on Busy Spacewalk Period After Trio Returns Home

The official Expedition 61 crew portrait
The official Expedition 61 crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, astronaut Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency), Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch.

The six-member Expedition 61 crew officially began Thursday morning after the departure of two Expedition 60 crewmates and a visiting astronaut. The current residents aboard the International Space Station now turn their attention to a series of spacewalks that begins Sunday.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague is returning to Houston after completing a 203-day mission aboard the orbiting lab with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The duo parachuted to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-12 crew ship and landed in Kazakhstan early Thursday with visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates. Ovchinin and Almansoori both returned to Star City, Russia.

Two NASA astronauts will exit the station’s Quest airlock in their U.S. spacesuits on Sunday at 7:50 a.m. EDT for a six-and-half hour spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan will begin the work to install new lithium-ion batteries on the Port-6 truss structure. This will be the first of five spacewalks in October to upgrade station power systems. Televised spacewalk coverage begins Sunday at 6:30 a.m.

Watch the spacewalk preview briefing that was broadcast Friday on NASA TV.

Upcoming spacewalk assignments:

Five more spacewalks are planned in November and December aimed at repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Touchdown! Three Multinational Crewmates Return to Earth

NASA astronaut Nick Hague returned to Earth from the International Space Station Thursday, alongside station commander Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The crew landed safely in Kazakhstan at 6:59 a.m. EDT (4:59 p.m. local time).

 Hague and Ovchinin launched on March 14, along with fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch, and arrived at the space station just six hours later to begin their 203-day mission, during which they orbited Earth 3,248 times, traveling 86.1 million miles. Koch remains aboard the orbiting laboratory for an extended mission that will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman in preparation for human missions to the Moon and Mars.

For Almansoori this landing completed an eight-day stay on board the station that covered 128 orbits of Earth and 3.1 million miles since launching Sept. 25 with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos. Almansoori made history as he became the first person from the UAE to fly in space his mission as the first astronaut from the UAE.

After post-landing medical checks, Hague will return to Houston, and Ovchinin and Almansoori will return to Star City, Russia.

 The Expedition 60 crew contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science, including investigations into devices that mimic the structure and function of human organs, free-flying robots, and an instrument to measure Earth’s distribution of carbon dioxide.

Hague conducted three spacewalks during his mission, totaling 19 hours and 56 minutes. Ovchinin conducted one spacewalk lasting 6 hours and 1 minute during his mission.

Hague’s first two spacewalks in March continued the overall upgrade of the station’s power system with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. During his third spacewalk, he and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan successfully installed the second of two international docking adapters that Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft will use to connect to the space station.

Hague completes his second flight in space totaling 203 days, while Ovchinin has now spent 375 days in space during three flights. Hague and Ovchinin flew together on an abbreviated mission in October 2018, cut short by a technical problem that triggered an ascent abort minutes after launch and a safe landing back on Earth.

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.

Multinational Trio Undocks from Station, Heads Home to Earth

The Soyuz MS-12 crew ship with three crewmembers inside
The Soyuz MS-12 crew ship with three multinational crewmembers inside is pictured before undocking from the station’s Rassvet module. Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three people back to Earth from space undocked as scheduled from the International Space Station at 3:37 a.m. EDT.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Nick Hague, Expedition 60 and Soyuz commander Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and visiting astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates are expected to land in their Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan on the Kazakhstan steppe about 7 a.m.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 61 began aboard the space station under the command of ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano. The crew consisting of NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan as well as cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos will continue work aboard the orbiting laboratory on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

NASA will resume coverage of Hague, Ovchinin and Almansoori’s landing back on Earth on TV and online at 5:30 a.m., with the deorbit burn scheduled at 6:06 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.