Astronauts Look to Friday Spacewalk after Roll Out Solar Array Installation

Spacewalker Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) works to complete the installation of a roll out solar array on the International Space Station's Port-6 truss structure.
Spacewalker Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) works to complete the installation of a roll out solar array on the International Space Station’s Port-6 truss structure.

The International Space Station has a new solar array that was installed during Sunday’s spacewalk by Expedition 65 astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet. The duo will conduct a third spacewalk on Friday to install a second solar array.

The first ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (iROSA) was successfully installed and deployed during a spacewalk on Sunday and is performing well. Ground teams will continue to collect data on its performance and compare it to last year’s information, calculating the total power gained.

Kimbrough and Pesquet completed the solar array installation work and began configuring a second iROSA during Sunday’s six-hour and 28-minute spacewalk. The duo now turns its attention to Friday’s excursion to install the second iROSA on the opposite side of the Port-6 truss structure where the first solar array is installed. NASA TV, on the agency’s website, and the NASA app, will start its live coverage at 6:30 a.m. with the spacewalk set to begin at 8 a.m. when the veteran spacewalkers set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power.

The spacewalking duo joined NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei for a conference with ground specialists. Then Kimbrough and Pesquet serviced some spacesuit components and organized tools for Friday’s upcoming spacewalk. McArthur and Vande Hei will once again assist the pair in and out of their spacesuits and provide robotics support on Friday.

Research still continued aboard the orbital lab today as the crew explored pharmaceuticals, protein crystals and the human eye.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide serviced samples inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox for a study that explores freeze-drying as a way to preserve medicines for long periods of time. Kimbrough peered through a microscope looking at samples for the Real-Time Protein Crystal Growth experiment which could lead to new disease therapies on Earth.

Vande Hei took on the crew medical officer role today and scanned the eyes of McArthur using medical imaging hardware. The eye exams take place regularly on the station since astronauts have reported vision issues after living in space for months.

The two Roscosmos flight engineers, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, split their day between science and maintenance activities. Novitskiy explored plasma crystals first then photographed the condition of the Pirs docking compartment ahead of its departure later this summer. Dubrov checked communications gear and worked Russian life support hardware.

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 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.

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.

Human Research, Spacewalk Preps as Dragon Cargo Ops Continue

Expedition 65 astronauts (clockwise from left) Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Mark Vande Hei and Akihiko Hoshide are pictured inside the Harmony module.
Expedition 65 astronauts (clockwise from left) Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Mark Vande Hei and Akihiko Hoshide are pictured inside the Harmony module.

The Expedition 65 crew members are helping researchers today understand how living in space affects the human body. Two astronauts are also getting ready for a pair of spacewalks while the SpaceX Cargo Dragon continues being unpacked at the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei joined Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for vein scans using electrodes and the Ultrasound-2 device on Tuesday. The duo took turns scanning each other’s heart, neck, shoulder and leg veins for the Vascular Echo study that investigates cardiovascular health in space.

Vande Hei later assisted NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur unloading a variety of cargo delivered aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon. The duo started the day with the rest of their crewmates, including astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, reviewing safety procedures necessary while Dragon is docked at the station.

Kimbrough and Pesquet continue gearing up for two spacewalks planned for June 16 and 20 to install a new pair of solar arrays recently delivered in the Cargo Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. The duo first checked out spacesuit helmet cameras and lights then reviewed their spacewalk procedures using specialized 3-D software today.

Over in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov explored ways to improve exercise in space to maintain crew health. The duo later completed reconfiguring the Poisk module where last week’s seven-hour and 19-minute spacewalk was staged.

Astronauts Unload Dragon, Prep for Two U.S. Spacewalks

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough (from left) and Thomas Pesquet pose for a portrait while working on U.S. spacesuits.
Astronauts Shane Kimbrough (from left) and Thomas Pesquet pose for a portrait while working on U.S. spacesuits.

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship is open for business at the International Space Station following its automated docking early Saturday. Now, the Expedition 65 crew turns its attention to a pair of U.S. spacewalks to upgrade the orbiting lab’s power system.

Flight Engineer Megan McArthur and Commander Akihiko Hoshide worked throughout Monday unpacking and activating science experiments delivered Saturday aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon. The U.S. space freighter launched from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday carrying over 7,300 pounds of new science, supplies and solar arrays to replenish the orbiting lab.

McArthur started the day transferring research hardware from Dragon to begin work for the Kidney Cells-02 study that seeks to improve treatments for kidney stones and osteoporosis. She followed that up configuring MERLIN and POLAR science freezers containing biological samples inside Dragon.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei assisted the duo with the cargo transfers throughout Monday.

Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet partnered together Monday afternoon readying the U.S. Quest airlock and their U.S. spacesuits for two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20. The experienced spacewalkers, who had two spacewalks together in 2017 during Expedition 50, will work both days to install the first two of six new solar arrays on the space station’s integrated truss structure. Robotics controllers will soon command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to extract the new pair of solar arrays from Dragon’s trunk and stage it in time for the installation spacewalks.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov spent the morning testing satellite navigation gear, studying space exercise and replacing orbital plumbing gear. The duo then wrapped up stowing and inventorying the tools they used during a seven-hour and 19 minute spacewalk on June 2.

Editor’s note: This post was updated June 8 with changes to crew activities.