Spacewalkers Complete Battery Swaps for Station Power Upgrades

Spacewalkers Nick Hague and Anne McClain
NASA astronauts Nick Hague (top) and Anne McClain work to swap batteries in the Port-4 truss structure during today’s spacewalk.

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 1:40 p.m. EDT. During the six-hour, 39-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays.

Astronauts were also able to accomplish several get-ahead tasks including removing debris from outside of the station.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. Next week, McClain and flight engineer Christina Koch are scheduled to venture outside on the March 29 spacewalk to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the station. This would be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers.

Hague and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency are scheduled to conduct a third spacewalk April 8 to lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the station’s backbone. This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2. They also will install cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability.

Space station crew members have conducted 214 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of XXXX hours and XX 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.

Spacewalkers Working Outside to Upgrade Station Power

NASA astronaut Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Nick Hague verifies his U.S. spacesuit is sized correctly and fits properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks.

Two astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 8:01 a.m. EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about six-and-a-half hours.

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA will install adapter plates and hook up electrical connections for three of six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station’s starboard truss. McClain is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #20. Hague is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #17.

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. Next week, McClain and flight engineer Christina Koch are scheduled to venture outside on the March 29 spacewalk to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the station. Additional batteries will be replaced as part of this power upgrade over the next couple of years as new batteries are delivered to station.

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.

NASA TV Broadcasts Station Spacewalk Live Today

NASA astronaut Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Nick Hague verifies his U.S. spacesuit is sized correctly and fits properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks.

Expedition 59 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Anne McClain of NASA will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at about 8 a.m. EDT Friday, March 22. NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m.

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

This will be the 214th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. McClain will be designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Hague will be designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes.

This is the first of two battery replacement spacewalks this month. McClain and Hague will replace nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. The batteries were transported to the station in September aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle. The spacewalking work continues the overall upgrade of the station’s power system that began with similar battery replacement during spacewalks in January 2017.

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates online. For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.

Final Suit Checks and Reviews before Friday’s Spacewalk

Astronaut Anne McClain assists fellow astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Nick Hague
NASA astronaut Anne McClain assists fellow NASA astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Nick Hague as they verify their U.S. spacesuits are sized correctly and fit properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks.

Two Expedition 59 astronauts are checking their spacesuits today and reviewing procedures one final time before tomorrow’s spacewalk. The other four residents aboard the International Space Station assisted the spacewalkers, maintained the orbital lab and conducted space science.

NASA Flight Engineers Anne McClain and Nick Hague readied the Quest airlock today where they will begin the first spacewalk of 2019 Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. The spacewalkers will work outside for about 6.5 hours of battery upgrade work on the Port-4 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage at 6:30 a.m.

VIDEO: NASA experts discuss the upcoming power upgrade spacewalks

The duo also confirmed their U.S. spacesuits are ready for the excursion with all the necessary components, such as helmet lights and communications gear, installed. Afterward, Hague and McClain conducted one more spacewalk timeline review.

They then joined astronauts Christina Koch and David Saint-Jacques for a final conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control. Both astronauts also charged and set up GoPro cameras before attaching them to the spacewalkers’ suit helmets.

Koch started her day cleaning ventilation screens in the Unity module and installing lights in the Permanent Multi-purpose Module. Saint-Jacques set up the AstroPi science education hardware in the Harmony module’s window then swapped fan cables in the Life Sciences Glovebox.

Commander Oleg Kononenko and fellow cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin spent the majority of their day in the station’s Russian segment. Kononenko and Ovchinin first collected and stowed their blood samples in a science freezer for a Russian metabolism experiment. Ovchinin then unpacked supplies from the recently arrived Soyuz MS-12 crew ship. Kononenko also worked on heart and radiation detection research before assisting the U.S. spacewalkers.

Astronauts Gear Up for Spacewalk and Get Up to Date on Station Safety

NASA astronaut and Expedition 59 Flight Engineer Christina Koch
NASA astronaut and Expedition 59 Flight Engineer Christina Koch familiarizes herself with International Space Station hardware inside the Unity module.

The Expedition 59 crew is busy preparing for the first spacewalk of 2019 set to begin in just two days. Meanwhile, the orbital residents are still exploring the effects of space on their bodies while familiarizing themselves with emergency hardware.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Anne McClain continued organizing their tools this morning ahead of Friday morning’s spacewalk. The duo will enter the Quest module’s crew airlock and their spacesuits will go on battery power Friday around 8:05 a.m. EDT signaling the beginning of the spacewalk.

VIDEO: NASA experts discuss the upcoming power upgrade spacewalks

Hague and McClain will spend about six-and-a-half hours upgrading the International Space Station’s storage capacity. They will swap out old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries and install battery adapter plates on the Port-4 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live space coverage Friday at 6:30 a.m.

Hague started Wednesday, however, in the Columbus lab module helping scientists understand how microgravity impacts the perception of time. McClain collected light measurements in the afternoon from two laboratory modules and the Quest airlock to document how new station LED lights affect crew wellness.

The station’s latest crew arrivals spent a couple of hours Wednesday morning checking out safety and communications gear. Hague along with Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Alexey Ovchinin split their time between the station’s U.S. and Russian segments looking at emergency hardware and procedures.

Human Research and Spacewalk Computer Training on Orbital Lab

NASA astronauts Nick Hague, Anne McClain and Christina Koch (right) work on U.S. spacesuit maintenance in the Quest airlock of the International Space Station.

The Expedition 59 crew continued gearing up for Friday’s spacewalk amid a variety of human research activities today. Meanwhile, the three newest International Space Station crewmembers found time to get up to speed on lab systems and life in space.

Friday’s spacewalkers will be NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Nick Hague. The duo started the day getting tools ready and using 3-D computer software to review spacewalk procedures and robotics maneuvers. Flight Engineers David Saint-Jacques and Christina Koch joined McClain and Hague at the end of the day for an hour-long conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control.

The spacewalkers will work for about six hours on the Port-4 truss structure swapping batteries and installing adapter plates. Friday’s spacewalk to upgrade the station’s power storage capacity begins at 8:05 a.m. EDT. NASA TV’s live spacewalk coverage begins at 6:30 a.m.

Life science continued full-speed ahead today despite the spacewalk preparations and a new crew getting used to microgravity. Hague, Koch and Saint-Jacques drew their blood samples throughout Tuesday and stowed them in science freezers for later analysis.

Koch also spent a couple of hours in the Columbus lab module on the Vection study exploring how microgravity affects her perception. Saint-Jacques prepared Marrow experiment gear for return on an upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo mission.

Flight Engineers Alexey Ovchinin, Hague and Koch spent each about an hour familiarizing themselves with station facilities today. The new trio will orbit Earth for at least six-and-a-half months.

New Trio Gets Used to Station Life before First of Three Spacewalks

The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft that launched three new Expedition 59-60 crew members to the International Space Station is pictured docked to the Rassvet module. Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin from Roscosmos commanded the Soyuz crew ship flanked by NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch during the five-hour, 47-minute trip that began at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Expedition 59 crew is getting ready for the first of three spacewalks just days after the arrival of three new crew members to the International Space Station last week. All six crewmates also reviewed emergency procedures today while the new trio becomes accustomed to life on the orbital lab.

NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Nick Hague will exit the space station Friday for a six-hour spacewalk beginning at 8:05 a.m. EDT live on NASA TV. The duo will continue the ongoing work to upgrade the station’s power storage capacity. McClain and Hague will replace older nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries and install new adapter plates on the space lab’s Port-4 truss structure.

The crew will be readying spacesuits and tools and reviewing spacewalk procedures all week long. This morning, Hague joined Flight Engineers David Saint-Jacques and Christina Koch and sized U.S. spacesuits in the Quest airlock. McClain verified the functionality of the spacesuit SAFER jet packs, also known as Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue.

At the end of the day, all six crew members gathered together to coordinate their actions in the unlikely event of an emergency aboard the station. The crew reviewed escape paths to their Soyuz lifeboats and safe havens for access to safety gear and a breathable atmosphere.

In the midst of the spacewalk preparations and the safety training, the three new flight engineers are also familiarizing themselves with station systems. Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin is beginning his second mission aboard the orbital lab since March 2016. Hague and Koch, both members of NASA’s 2013 class of astronauts, are each on their first mission aboard the space station.

Expedition 59 Welcomes Three New Crew Members

Expedition 59 Welcome Ceremony
Expedition 59 crew members Anne McClain, Oleg Konoenko, and David Saint-Jacques welcome their new crew members, Nick Hague, Christina Koch, and Alexey Ovchinin, who arrived to the International Space Station on March 14, 2019. Image Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos joined NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Expedition 59 commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency aboard the International Space Station when the hatches between the Soyuz spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 11:07 p.m. EDT.

The trio’s arrival returns the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. McClain, Saint-Jacques and Kononenko are scheduled to remain aboard the station until June, while Hague, Koch and Ovchinin are set to return to Earth early this fall.

McClain, Saint-Jacques, Hague and Koch also are all scheduled for the first spacewalks of their careers to continue upgrades to the orbital laboratory. McClain and Hague are scheduled to begin work to upgrade the power system March 22, and McClain and Koch will complete the upgrades to two station power channels during a March 29 spacewalk. This will be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers. Hague and Saint-Jacques will install hardware for a future science platform during an April 8 spacewalk.

Three resupply spacecraft – a Russian Progress, Northrop Grumman Cygnus and SpaceX Dragon – are scheduled to arrive with additional supplies for the crew and various science investigations. The crew also is scheduled to be onboard during test flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which will return human spaceflight launches for space station missions to U.S. soil.

For more than 18 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space, including the Moon and Mars. A global endeavor, 236 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,500 investigations from researchers in 106 countries. Investigations conducted on the International Space Station impact the daily lives of people on Earth and prepare the way for humans to venture farther into space.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Soyuz Docked to Space Station

Soyuz MS-12 Contact and Captured
Soyuz MS-12 arrived at the International Space Station at 9:01 p.m. ET, 255 miles just west off the coast of Peru. Image Credit: NASA TV

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station at 9:01 p.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 250 miles over the Pacific Ocean just west of Peru. Expedition 59 officially began at the time of docking.

Aboard the space station, NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Expedition 59 Commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will welcome the new crew members when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks.

The crew members will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. Seventy-five of the investigations are new and have never been performed in space. Some of the investigations are sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory on the space station, which Congress designated in 2005 to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth.

Highlights of upcoming investigations the crew will support include devices that mimic the structure and function of human organs, free-flying robots, and an instrument to measure Earth’s distribution of carbon dioxide.

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony to follow live on NASA TV and the agency’s website beginning at 10:30 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Crew Safely in Orbit After Successful Launch

Expedition 59 Launch
The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft is launched with Expedition 59 crewmembers Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA, along with Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, Friday March 15, 2019, Kazakh time (March 14 Eastern time) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Hague, Koch, and Ovchinin will spend six-and-a-half months living and working aboard the International Space Station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz MS-12 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:14 p.m. EDT (12:14 a.m. March 15 Kazakhstan time) and has safely reached orbit.  At the time of launch, the station was flying about 250 miles over southern Russia, across the northeast border with Kazakhstan; more than 1,100 statute miles ahead of the Soyuz as it leaves the launch pad.

NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmoshave begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for more than six months. The new crew members will dock to the Rassvet module at 9:07 p.m. Expedition 59 will begin officially at the time of docking.

About two hours later, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open and the new residents will be greeted by NASA astronaut Anne McClain, station commander Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. The current three-person crew just welcomed the first American commercial crew vehicle as it docked to the station on March 3, amidst a busy schedule of scientific research and operations since arriving in December.

Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV’s media channel and the agency’s website beginning at 8:45 p.m. with the spacecraft docking expected at 9:07 p.m.

Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 10:30 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.