NASA TV Broadcasts All-Female Spacewalk on Friday

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch are inside the Quest airlock preparing the U.S. spacesuits and tools they will use on their first spacewalk together.

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station about 7:50 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 18. NASA Television coverage of the first ever all-female spacewalk will begin at 6:30 a.m.

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

Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture out into the vacuum of space on Friday to replace a faulty power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. The unit they are replacing failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s exterior structure.

Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes. Meir is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes. Koch’s helmet camera will carry the number 18, and Meir’s helmet camera will carry the number 11.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support.

Although it will be the 221st spacewalk performed in support of space station assembly and maintenance, it is the first to be conducted entirely by women. This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first.

Station managers are investigating the loss of the BCDU and will reschedule the remaining three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

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 Preps Today amid Cancer, Robotics and Agriculture Research

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir prepare for a spacewalk
NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check.

Science experiments continue aboard the International Space Station as two NASA astronauts prepare for their first spacewalk together, which is set to take place Friday. The Expedition 61 crew researched a variety of space phenomena today and reviewed procedures for tomorrow’s excursion.

Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture out into the vacuum of space on Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. They will set their spacesuits to battery power around 7:50 a.m. EDT and exit the Quest airlock for the 5.5-hour repair job on the Port 6 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 6:30 a.m.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support. All four astronauts gathered together today for a final procedures review.

In the midst of the spacewalk preparations, the crew continued ongoing microgravity science. The astronauts had time set aside today for researching cancer therapies, DNA sequencing, planetary robotics and space agriculture.

Morgan set up protein crystals critical to tumor growth and survival in a microscope for observation and photography. Koch continued exploring the viability of sequencing microbial DNA in microgravity.

Parmitano is readying hardware that will enable an astronaut on the station to control a robot on the Earth’s surface. Future astronauts could use the robotic technology to explore a planetary surface such as the Moon or Mars while orbiting in a spacecraft.

The crew is also in the second week of growing a crop of Mizuna mustard greens. Meir watered the Mizuna plants today for the ongoing space agriculture study to learn how to provide fresh food to space crews.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka had their own slate of human research to conduct today. The duo studied cardiac output changes and blood flow regulation including the effects of space on enzymes.

Koch, Meir Spacewalk Moves to Friday as Crew Adjusts Schedule

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left) and Christina Koch are inside the Quest airlock preparing the U.S. spacesuits and tools they will use on their first spacewalk together.

NASA is targeting a spacewalk for no earlier than Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as the battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The Expedition 61 crew is adjusting its schedule this week to accommodate the new spacewalk plans at the International Space Station.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are continuing their preparations for the upcoming excursion. The duo will set their suits to battery power on Friday at 7:50 a.m. when the spacewalk officially starts and exit the Quest airlock. NASA TV begins its live coverage beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The pair in their U.S. spacesuits will venture to the far side of the station on the Port 6 truss structure. Once there, the spacewalkers will take about five-and-a-half hours to replace the failed power regulator with a spare BCDU. The BCDU had been in operation since December 2000 and is due to return to Earth on the next SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for inspection. The device regulates the charge to batteries that collect and distribute power to the station.

Station managers will investigate the loss of the BCDU and reschedule the three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

All-Female Spacewalk Preps, Science and New Commercial Cargo Vehicle Today

Spacewalkers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan
Spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with no stripes) and Andrew Morgan (suit with red stripes) of NASA work to replace older hydrogen-nickel batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries during the six-hour and 45-minute spacewalk on Oct. 11, 2019.

NASA has set the first all-female spacewalk for later this week while the Expedition 61 crew works life science today aboard the International Space Station. A new commercial cargo vehicle is also being readied for future delivery missions.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are readying their spacesuits and reviewing procedures for a spacewalk planned later this week. The duo will venture outside the station to replace a power controller that failed over the weekend. The crew is safe as science and maintenance operations continue normally on the orbiting lab.

Commander Luca Parmitano joined Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and studied how the lack of gravity affects perception during Monday afternoon. The duo took turns wearing virtual reality goggles while clicking a mouse to assess their distance perception using visual cues.

Over in the Russian segment of the station, cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka focused mainly on life support maintenance tasks. The duo swapped out hardware in the air conditioning system and checked out smoke detectors.

Back on Earth, the primary vehicle structure of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spacecraft was delivered to the company’s Colorado production facility today. Dream Chaser is scheduled to begin ferrying cargo to and from the International Space Station in 2021.

Christina Koch, Jessica Meir Will Venture Outside Station Late This Week

Astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir
Astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Jessica Meir pose for their official NASA portraits.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the International Space Station late this week to replace a power controller that failed during the weekend. The spacewalk, the first ever that will be conducted by two women, is planned for Thursday or Friday.

Station managers decided to postpone previously planned spacewalks that had been set to install new batteries this week and next in order to replace the faulty power unit, called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU). The station’s overall power supply, which is fed by four sets of batteries and solar arrays, remains sufficient for all operations, and the failed unit has no impact on the crew’s safety or ongoing laboratory experiments. However, the failed power unit does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.

The battery charge/discharge units regulate the amount of charge put into the batteries that collect energy from the station’s solar arrays to power station systems during periods when the complex orbits during nighttime passes around the Earth. Two other charge/discharge units on the affected 2B power channel did activate as planned and are providing power to station systems.

Second of Five Power Upgrade Spacewalks Wraps Up

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

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA concluded their spacewalk at the International Space Station at 2:23 p.m. EDT. During six-hour and 45-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts continued 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 several get-ahead tasks setting up for the next 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. 16, Morgan and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir are scheduled to venture outside for another spacewalk to continue the battery replacements on the first of the two power channels for the station’s far port truss. The following spacewalks dedicated to the battery upgrades are scheduled on Oct. 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 220 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 57 days 13 hours and 12 minutes working outside the station.

The Second Power Upgrade Spacewalk Has Begun

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 7:38 a.m. EDT. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA continue with the second in a series of five planned spacewalks dedicated to replacing batteries on the far end of the International Space 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. Morgan is designated extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red strips, and with the helmet camera labeled #18. Koch is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes, and with helmet camera #11.

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.

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.