After a Saturday Spacewalk, an Emergency Drill and Hardware Maintenance Fills the Crew’s Schedule

On March 13, 2021, NASA spacewalker and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works to route cables and complete tasks that were deferred from previous spacewalks during this year’s fifth spacewalk in support of space station maintenance. Credits: NASA
On March 13, 2021, NASA spacewalker and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works to route cables and complete tasks that were deferred from previous spacewalks during this year’s fifth spacewalk in support of space station maintenance. Credits: NASA TV

After a weekend that included the 237th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance for the International Space Station, featuring spacewalkers and NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins, the Expedition 64 crew members got back to the business of science, switching out hardware and working around a comprehensive emergency drill on Monday.

Running through the emergency drill, the crewmates practiced their roles during various emergency scenarios, such as who would manage the procedures, gather equipment, and close hatches, all while maintaining constant communication with teams on the ground in Mission Control.

NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker performed post-spacewalk recharge maintenance to the Extravehicular Mobility Unit suits used in Saturday’s excursion, stowing them for later use.

Astronaut Kate Rubins worked to set up experiment hardware for Transparent Alloys, an ESA (European Space Agency) investigation focusing on microstructure evolution by comparing the effects of Earth’s gravity to microgravity, pinpointing the correlation in particle size, growth dynamics, and fluid flow.

Meanwhile, Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent time removing and replacing hardware — the Artificial Vision Unit — in the station’s cupola, where the crew often spends time observing natural Earth phenomena from their unique vantage approximately 250 miles above.

The crew wrapped up their workday with the Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM), installing instrument hardware and taking photo documentation. Air quality in crewed spacecraft is important for astronaut health and comfort, and the APM measures the concentration of both small and large particles in the air. Captured data will eventually be used to create a detailed mapping of the air quality aboard the space station, shedding light on the sources of different air particles and how they behave in this one-of-a-kind laboratory off the planet.

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 Astronauts Complete Year’s Fifth Spacewalk at Station

NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.
NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins conducted their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins concluded their spacewalk at 3:01 p.m. EST, after 6 hours and 47 minutes. In the fifth spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts successfully completed tasks to service the station’s cooling system and communications gear.

The duo began their work on the station’s port truss, or “backbone,” completing tasks that were deferred from previous spacewalks. The spacewalkers successfully vented the early ammonia system, relocated one of its jumper lines, and serviced the Columbus Bartolomeo payload platform, including routing three of four cables on the Payload Position (PAPOS) interface and configuring a cable for an amateur radio system. The astronauts deferred the task of installing clamps on Bartolomeo in order to route cables for high-definition cameras. The pair also replaced a wireless antenna assembly on the Unity module and installed hardware to provide additional structural integrity on the airlock.

This was the fourth career spacewalk for Glover and the fifth in Hopkins’s career. Glover has now spent a total of 26 hours and 7 minutes spacewalking. Hopkins now has spent a total of 32 hours and 1 minute spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 237 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 62 days, 3 hours and 54 minutes working outside the station.

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 Power Up Suits, Spacewalk Begins

NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.
NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins have begun their spacewalk outside the International Space Station to service the station’s cooling system and communications gear.

The pair switched their spacesuits to battery power at 8:14 a.m. EST 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.

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

Glover and Hopkins will traverse out the station’s backbone truss structure to vent the early ammonia system before relocating one of its jumper lines. Hopkins will then connect cables for the Columbus Bartolomeo payload platform, continuing work from a Jan. 27 spacewalk, and Glover will replace a wireless antenna assembly on the Unity module. The pair will then work together to install hardware on the airlock’s thermal cover and route cables to two high-definition cameras on the port truss.

This is the 237th 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 (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.
NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.

NASA Television coverage of today’s spacewalk NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins is now underway and is also available on the NASA app and the agency’s website.

The crew members of Expedition 64 are preparing to venture outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk expected to begin around 7:30 a.m. EST and last about six and a half hours.

The crew is in the airlock and have donned their suits in preparation to exit the airlock and begin today’s activities to service the station’s cooling system and communications gear.

Glover and Hopkins will begin work on the station’s port truss, where they will vent the early ammonia system jumper lines and relocate one of them to the outside of the airlock, followed by translating to the Columbus module to connect cables for the Bartolomeo payload platform and replace a cable for an amateur radio system. Then, the astronauts will replace a wireless antenna assembly on the Unity module, install a “stiffener” on the airlock’s thermal cover, and route cables to provide ethernet capabilities for two high-definition cameras on the station’s port truss.

Leading the Mission Control team today is Flight Director Chris Edelen with support from Art Thomason 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.

NASA TV Broadcasts Saturday Morning Spacewalk

NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.
NASA astronauts (from left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will conduct their third spacewalk together on Saturday morning.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins are scheduled to exit the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Saturday to complete tasks that were deferred from earlier spacewalks to allow for the successful installation of modification kits in preparation for future solar array upgrades.

The pair will set their spacesuits to battery power about 7:30 a.m. EST tomorrow, signifying the start of their spacewalk, which is expected to last about six and a half hours. NASA will begin its live coverage on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website at 6 a.m.

During the spacewalk, Glover and Hopkins will vent early ammonia system jumper cables and relocate one outside the Quest airlock. The duo also will connect cables for the Columbus Bartolomeo payload platform, continuing work from a Jan. 27 spacewalk, and replace a cable for an amateur radio system. Additionally, the astronauts will replace a wireless antenna assembly on the Unity module, install a “stiffener” on the airlock’s thermal cover to provide additional structural integrity, and route cables to enable ethernet capabilities for two high-definition cameras on the station’s port truss, or “backbone.”

This will be the 237th spacewalk in support of space station assembly. Glover will be designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) and wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Hopkins will be extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing an unmarked suit.

Glover and Hopkins both arrived at the space station in November as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission. This will be the fourth career spacewalk for Glover, and the fifth for Hopkins.

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.

Sound Checks, Eye Scans as Crew Preps for Saturday Spacewalk

NASA spacewalkers (front left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins are pictured with (rear left) astronauts Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi before the start of spacewalk on  Jan. 27, 2021.
NASA spacewalkers (front left) Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins are pictured with (rear left) astronauts Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi before the start of a spacewalk on Jan. 27, 2021.

The Expedition 64 crew is wrapping up final preparations before two astronauts exit the International Space Station for a maintenance spacewalk on Saturday morning. The orbital residents also measured lab sound levels and checked their crewmates’ eyes to end the workweek.

NASA spacewalkers Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will take part in their third spacewalk together on Saturday when they set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 7:30 a.m. EST. The duo is scheduled to spend about six-and-a-half hours servicing the station’s cooling system and communications gear. NASA TV begins its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 6 a.m.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi will assist the spacewalkers in and out of their suits on Saturday while monitoring the spacewalk. Glover and Hopkins readied their spacesuits and tools in the U.S. Quest airlock on Friday. The quartet also met for a final procedures review and a conference with spacewalk specialists in Mission Control.

Toward the end of the day, Rubins set up acoustic monitors and recorded sound levels emanating from the Life Science Glovebox operating inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. NASA astronaut Shannon Walker was the crew medical officer on Friday and scanned the eyes of cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov using an ultrasound device and optical coherence tomography.

The orbital lab will boost its orbit today at 2:09 p.m. placing it at the correct altitude for a crew swap taking place next month. The next crew to visit the station will launch aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship on April 9 carrying NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. The trio will join the Expedition 64/65 crew for a six-month research mission in Earth orbit.

Finally, the Expedition 64 trio with Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov, will finish their mission on April 17 when their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft undocks. They will parachute in their crew ship to a landing in Kazakhstan completing a six-month stay on the station.

Worm Observations, Eye Checks as Weekend Spacewalk Approaches

The Last Quarter Moon is pictured above the Earth's horizon as the station orbited over the Indian Ocean.
The Last Quarter Moon is pictured above the Earth’s horizon as the station orbited over the Indian Ocean.

The Expedition 64 crew had a busy science day observing worms, readying small satellites for deployment, and conducting vision tests. Two astronauts are also pressing ahead with preparations for the third spacewalk in two weeks at the International Space Station.

Tiny worms were launched to the orbiting lab in February to study how weightlessness affects genetic expression in muscles. Today, NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker loaded cassette samples containing the live worms into a microscope for viewing. Next, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins recorded microscopic video of the worm activities to understand the effects of spaceflight on muscles. Observations may lead to ways to maintain and improve muscle health for humans on and off the Earth.

Soon, a set of small satellites will be deployed outside of the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi loaded the tiny satellites, also called CubeSats, in a deployer that will be placed inside Kibo’s airlock. The airlock will be closed and depressurized before the Japanese robotic arm grabs the deployer and stages it in position where the CubeSats will be ejected into orbit a few days later.

It has been a busy period for spacewalks at the station as two astronauts gear up for another excursion to maintain cooling system and communications gear. Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins of NASA readied their spacewalk tools and safety tethers in the U.S. Quest airlock where their spacesuits are already located. Afterward, they were joined by Rubins and Noguchi, who will assist the spacewalkers this weekend, for procedure reviews. NASA TV will go on the air Saturday at 6 a.m. EST to broadcast the spacewalk set to begin at 7:30 a.m.

Vision is critical to mission success and researchers are continuously studying how microgravity affects the human eye. Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov partnered together Thursday afternoon reading an eye chart as part of regularly scheduled eye checks. Some crew members have documented eye pressure and vision issues after living in space for months at a time.

Mission controllers in Houston commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release an external pallet loaded with old nickel-hydrogen batteries into Earth orbit on Thursday morning. It is safely moving away from the station and will orbit Earth between two to four years before burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov have completed the work to repair small cracks in the transfer compartment of the Russian Zvezda service module. The repairs were part of ongoing work to isolate and fix the source of a slight cabin air leak which is an increase above the standard rate that station teams have been investigating over the past year. At the current rate, the crew is in no danger, and the space station has ample consumables aboard to manage and maintain the nominal environment.

In the coming days, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will close the hatches to the transfer compartment to enable Russian flight controllers to conduct pressure level checks to analyze the results of the sealing procedures.

Spacesuit Checks During Space Research and Russian Maintenance

NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover work on the new NanoRacks Bishop airlock.
NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover work on the new NanoRacks Bishop airlock.

Two astronauts are focusing on preparations for this weekend’s spacewalk as the rest of the Expedition 64 crew keeps up research and maintenance on the International Space Station.

NASA Flight Engineers Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins checked on the U.S. spacesuits today they will wear during a spacewalk scheduled for 7:30 a.m. EST on Saturday. The duo also reviewed the procedures they will use when working on the station’s cooling system and communications gear. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the spacewalk activities at 6 a.m.

Advanced space science is always ongoing aboard the orbital lab even though the crew may be getting ready for mission events such as spaceship arrivals and departures or spacewalks. Scientists and engineers on Earth use the knowledge gained from the microgravity research observations to improve life for humans on and off the planet.

Veteran station resident Kate Rubins of NASA replaced fuel canisters for a suite of combustion studies exploring fuel efficiency, pollution control and spacecraft fire prevention. NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, on her second station mission, viewed high-quality protein crystals grown for a space commercialization study that could benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Soichi Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) serviced components inside the Kibo laboratory module’s airlock where experiments are staged before exposure to the harsh environment of space.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov continued work to repair small cracks in the transfer compartment of the Russian Zvezda service module this week. This was part of ongoing work to isolate and fix the source of a slight cabin air leak which is an increase above the standard rate that station teams have been investigating over the past year. At the current rate, the crew is in no danger, and the space station has ample consumables aboard to manage and maintain the nominal environment.

The cosmonauts are applying a second layer of specialized paste to further seal the cracks. On March 12, hatches to the transfer chamber will be closed to enable Russian flight controllers to conduct pressure level checks to analyze the results of the sealing procedures.

Saturday Spacewalk Set as Crew Works Space Gardening

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works during a spacewalk on Jan. 27, 2021 to set up the space station for future solar array upgrades.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover works during a spacewalk on Jan. 27, 2021, to set up the space station for future solar array upgrades.

The Expedition 64 astronauts are gearing up for the third spacewalk in two weeks at the International Space Station. The orbital residents also fit in a variety of space agriculture studies and orbital maintenance tasks on their busy schedule today.

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will partner up for their third spacewalk together on Saturday to work on the station’s cooling system and communications gear. The duo will begin their excursion when they set their spacesuits to battery power around 7:30 a.m. EST. NASA TV starts its broadcast of all the spacewalk activities at 6 a.m.

They will spend the first part of their six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk venting and relocating ammonia lines on the far-left side of the station at the Port-6 truss structure. Next, Glover will replace a wireless communications antenna on the Unity module. Hopkins will complete cable connections on the Bartolomeo external payload facility located on Europe’s Columbus laboratory module.

Following that, the spacewalkers will meet back up to install a “stiffener” on the Quest’s airlock cover. Finally, they will route high-definition video camera cables before wrapping up the fifth spacewalk of 2021.

Hopkins and Glover were joined by Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi on Tuesday afternoon for a review of this weekend’s spacewalk procedures. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker began cleaning and servicing their spacesuits and components today.

Hopkins and Noguchi also spent some time Tuesday on space gardening tasks. Hopkins began harvesting Amara Mustard and Extra Dwarf Pak Choi plants today for the Veg-03 botany study. Noguchi watered fast-growing plants used for traditional medicine and food flavoring for the Asian Herb investigation.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov sampled the Zvezda service module’s air quality today. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov worked on payload cable connections in the station’s Russian segment.

U.S., Japanese Astronauts Conclude Solar Array Mods Spacewalk

(From left) Astronauts Kate Rubins and Soichi Noguchi work to install a solar array modification kit during the fourth spacewalk of both of their careers. Credit: NASA
(From left) Astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Kate Rubins work to install a solar array modification kit during the fourth spacewalk of 2021. Credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi concluded their spacewalk at 1:33 p.m. EST, after 6 hours and 56 minutes. In the fourth spacewalk of the year outside the International Space Station, the two astronauts successfully completed the installation of modification kits required for upcoming solar array upgrades.

The duo worked near the farthest set of existing solar arrays on the station’s left (port) side, known as P6, to install a modification kit on solar array 4B and reconfigure the modification kit on 2B, completing tasks that were started during the Feb. 28 spacewalk.

Due to time constraints, the secondary tasks of troubleshooting the Columbus Parking Position (PAPOS) Interface and removing and replacing a Wireless Video System External Transceivers Assembly (WETA) were deferred to a later spacewalk. The astronauts did, however, complete an additional task of relocating an Articulating Portable Foot Restraint (APFR).

NASA is augmenting six of the eight existing power channels of the space station with new solar arrays, which will be delivered on SpaceX’s 22nd commercial resupply services mission. The new solar arrays, a larger version of the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology, will be positioned in front of six of the current arrays, ultimately increasing the station’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to up to 215 kilowatts and ensuring sufficient power supply for NASA’s exploration technology demonstrations for Artemis and beyond. The current solar arrays are functioning well but have begun to show signs of degradation, as expected, as they were designed for a 15-year service life.

This was the fourth career spacewalk for both Rubins and Noguchi. Rubins has now spent a total of 26 hours and 46 minutes spacewalking. Noguchi now has spent a total of 27 hours and 1 minute spacewalking.

Space station crew members have conducted 236 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 61 days, 21 hours and 7 minutes working outside the station.

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.