Crew Packs Up on Science and Cleans Up After Spacewalk

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel is pictured tethered to the International Space Station
NASA astronaut Drew Feustel is pictured tethered to the International Space Station just outside of the Quest airlock during a spacewalk he conducted with fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (out of frame) on June 14, 2018.

The Expedition 56 crew‘s schedule is full of space science today as cleanup continues after last week’s spacewalk. The International Space Station’s three newest crew members also brushed up on their safety skills.

Biology and physics were just part of the microgravity research taking place aboard the orbital laboratory today. NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor started her day collecting blood and urine samples for a trio of ongoing human research studies. She then joined European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst for the Myotone study observing how long-term space missions impact the biochemical properties of muscles. Gerst also researched ways to simplify and speed up procedures for astronauts for the Everywear experiment.

Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev also gathered midday to review the location of safety gear throughout the space station. The trio also practiced emergency communication in the station’s Russian segment.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold spent the day cleaning soot created in a burner during a run of the Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment. That study is exploring ways to improve fuel efficiency, reduce pollution and prevent fires in space. Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Prokopyev explored how living in microgravity affects their daily exercise regimen.

Commander Drew Feustel worked in the Quest airlock today continuing cleanup activities after Thursday’s six-hour, 49-minute spacewalk. Feustel scrubbed the U.S. spacesuit water loops then tested water samples for conductivity before wrapping up his day.

Spacewalkers Complete HD Camera Installation Work

Astronaut Ricky Arnold
Astronaut Ricky Arnold exits the Quest airlock beginning the sixth spacewalk of 2018. Credit: @OlegMKS

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA completed the sixth spacewalk at the International Space Station this year at 2:55 p.m. EDT, lasting 6 hours, 49 minutes. The two astronauts installed new high-definition cameras that will provide enhanced views during the final phase of approach and docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner commercial crew spacecraft that will soon begin launching from American soil.

They also swapped a camera assembly on the starboard truss of the station, closed an aperture door on an external environmental imaging experiment outside the Japanese Kibo module, and completed two additional tasks to relocate a grapple bar to aid future spacewalkers and secured some gear associated with a spare cooling unit housed on the station’s truss.

This was the 211th spacewalk in support of assembly and maintenance of the unique orbiting laboratory where humans have been living and working continuously for nearly 18 years. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 54 days, 23 hours and 29 minutes working outside the station.

During the ninth spacewalk of Feustel’s career, he moved into third place for total cumulative time spent spacewalking with a total of 61 hours and 48 minutes. It was Arnold’s fifth spacewalk with a total time of 32 hours and 4 minutes.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Astronauts Begin Sixth Spacewalk at Station This Year

Spacewalkers Suited Up
Spacewalkers Ricky Arnold (left) and Drew Feustel (right) are suited up inside the Quest airlock prior to beginning today’s spacewalk. Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor (top) and Alexander Gerst (bottom) assisted the duo this morning. Credit: NASA TV

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA switched their spacesuits to battery power at 8:06 a.m. EDT, signifying the official start of today’s planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

Watch the spacewalk live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Arnold, embarking on his fifth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1). His spacesuit has red stripes, and views from a camera on Arnold’s helmet are designated with the number 17.

Feustel is designated extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Feustel’s spacesuit has no stripes, and views from his helmet camera are labeled with the number 18.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Watch Veteran Spacewalkers Live on NASA TV Now

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel
NASA astronaut Drew Feustel seemingly hangs off the International Space Station while conducting a spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (out of frame) on March 29, 2018. Feustel, as are all spacewalkers, was safely tethered at all times to the space station during the six-hour, ten-minute spacewalk.

NASA Television and the agency’s website have begun the broadcast of today’s spacewalk.

Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA are preparing to exit the International Space Station to make improvements and repairs to the orbiting laboratory. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin about 8:10 a.m. EDT and last about six-and-a-half hours.

Newly arrived Expedition 56 crew members Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) are supporting the spacewalkers.

Feustel and Arnold will install new high-definition cameras near an international docking adapter mated to the front end of the station’s Harmony module. The additions will provide enhanced views during the final phase of approach and docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner commercial crew spacecraft that will soon begin launching from American soil.

The astronauts also will swap out a camera assembly on the starboard truss of the station and close an aperture door on an external environmental imaging experiment outside the Japanese Kibo module.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV Set to Broadcast Spacewalk Live on Thursday

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel
An Expedition 55 crew member inside the cupola photographed NASA astronaut Drew Feustel outside the International Space Station conducting a spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold (out of frame) on March 29, 2018.

Veteran NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel will head outside the International Space Station just after 8 a.m. EDT Thursday to begin a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. Live coverage will be available on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 6:30 a.m.

During Thursday’s spacewalk, Feustel and Arnold will install new cameras to provide high-definition views of spacecraft docking with the station.

The two spacewalkers will install brackets and high-definition cameras near an international docking adapter mated to the front end of the station’s Harmony module. The additions will provide enhanced views during the final phase of approach and docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner commercial crew spacecraft that will soon begin launching from American soil.

During their spacewalk, the astronauts also will swap out a camera assembly on the starboard truss of the station and close an aperture door on an external environmental imaging experiment outside the Japanese Kibo module. The imaging experiment hardware will be discarded on a future SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

The spacewalk will be the 211th in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the sixth station spacewalk this year. It also will be the fifth spacewalk for Arnold and the ninth spacewalk in Feustel’s career. During the spacewalk, Arnold will wear a suit bearing red stripes while Feustel’s suit will not have stripes.

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Crew Huddles Up Before Spacewalk as Science Continues

The newly-expanded six-member Expedition 56 crew
The newly-expanded six-member Expedition 56 crew gathers in the Zvezda service module shortly after three new crew members arrived June 8, 2018. In the front row (from left) are the newest Expedition 56 Flight Engineers Sergey Prokopyev, Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor. In the back (from left) are Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev, Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold.

The Expedition 56 astronauts huddled together today finalizing preparations for Thursday’s spacewalk to ready the International Space Station for commercial crew vehicles. The crew members also managed to squeeze in some human research and physics experiments today.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold went over their spacewalk procedures again today with fellow crew members Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst. The quartet worked throughout the day to configure the robotics workstation, ready spacesuits and set up the Quest airlock before tomorrow’s spacewalk set to begin at 8:10 a.m. EDT.

Feustel and Arnold will install new high definition cameras during tomorrow’s 6.5-hour spacewalk to support upcoming commercial crew missions from SpaceX and Boeing to the orbital laboratory. The duo will be supported in and out of their spacesuits by Gerst while Auñón-Chancellor will maneuver the Canadarm2 to support tomorrow’s activities. NASA TV begins its live broadcast of the sixth spacewalk this year at 6:30 a.m.

Gerst, who has been on the station for less than a week, worked a pair of experiments today helping scientists understand the effects of living and working in space. He laid down in a face-up position in the morning for the Grip study that is researching the nervous system. Observations may improve the design of safer space habitats and help patients on Earth with neurological diseases. Gerst later installed sample gear in the Electromagnetic Levitator, a furnace that enables observations of the properties of materials exposed to extremely high temperatures.

Two NASA Astronauts Set to Go on Their Third Spacewalk This Year

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel
NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are suited up inside U.S. spacesuits for a fit check verification ahead of a spacewalk that took place May 16, 2016.

Correction, June 14, 2018:  This post has been updated to clarify the timing of the first uncrewed test missions, which are planned for later this year.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are set to go on their third spacewalk together this year on Thursday at the International Space Station. Their new Expedition 56 crewmates Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst are training today to support the two spacewalkers.

Arnold and Feustel will begin Thursday’s spacewalk at 8:10 a.m. to install new high definition cameras to support upcoming commercial crew missions from SpaceX and Boeing to the orbital laboratory. The first uncrewed test missions are planned to begin later this year. The cameras will provide improved views of the commercial crew vehicles as they approach and dock to the station. NASA TV will provide complete live coverage of the 211th space station spacewalk starting at 6:30 a.m.

Auñón-Chancellor and Gerst, who just arrived at the station on Friday, will assist the spacewalkers on Thursday. Gerst will help the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits. Auñón-Chancellor will operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The duo practiced today on a computer the robotics procedures necessary to maneuver a spacewalker to and from the worksite on the starboard side of the station’s truss structure.

Arnold and Feustel had some extra time today to work on science and maintenance activities. Arnold worked with the Microgravity Science Glovebox to troubleshoot a semiconductor crystal growth experiment. Feustel performed some plumbing work in the Tranquility module before relocating a pair of incubator units to support new experiments being delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. Finally, the duo readied the Quest airlock and their spacesuits for Thursday morning’s spacewalk.

Station Waits for Friday Crew Arrival Ahead of June 14 Spacewalk

Soyuz Rocket Blasts Off
The Soyuz Ms-09 rocket blasts off June 6, 2018 with three new Expedition 56-57 crew members to the space station.

Two astronauts and a cosmonaut are racing toward the International Space Station today inside the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. The new Expedition 56-57 trio comprising Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineers Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst are due to arrive Friday at 9:07 a.m. EDT when they dock to the Rassvet module.

NASA TV will begin its live coverage of the rendezvous and docking of the new crew at 8:15 a.m. NASA TV will then be back on the air at 10:30 a.m. when the new crew opens the hatches at 11:05 a.m. and enters their new home in space where they will live for the next six months.

Waiting to greet their new crewmates are station Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Oleg Artemyev who have been onboard the orbital laboratory since March. All six Expedition 56 crew members will gather in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family and mission officials back on Moscow. Next the crewmates will begin familiarizing themselves with station systems and safety procedures.

In the meantime, Feustel and Arnold are moving ahead with preparations for next week’s spacewalk to outfit the station’s Harmony module with new enhanced high definition television cameras and wireless communications gear. The duo organized spacewalking tools and gear, recharged spacesuit and camera batteries and reviewed procedures for the 6.5-hour excursion planned for June 14. The new cameras will improve the view of approaching commercial crew vehicles for dockings in the future. The new wireless equipment will enable data transmission from payloads mounted on the outside of the Columbus and Kibo modules.

Station Crew Juggles Science, Cargo Mission and Spacewalk Preps

Astronaut Drew Feustel
Astronaut Drew Feustel is pictured outside of the Tranquility module during a spacewalk on May 16 to swap thermal control gear.

The Expedition 55 crew members had a full complement of work today as they conducted microgravity research, trained to capture a resupply ship and prepared for a June spacewalk.

Astronaut Norishige Kanai explored how living and working in space affects everything from fluid physics to the human body today. He first set up hardware to visualize how water atomizes in microgravity possibly improving the production of spray combustion engines. Next, he researched how spaceflight is impacting his brain structure and function, motor control, and multi-tasking abilities.

Later he joined fellow Flight Engineers Scott Tingle and Ricky Arnold to practice the robotics techniques necessary to capture the Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship. The trio trained on a computer to simulate the operation of the Canadarm2 when it reaches out and grapples Cygnus on Thursday.

The commercial space freighter is due to deliver over 7,400 pounds of crew supplies, station hardware and science experiments when it arrives Thursday at 5:20 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will broadcast live the approach, rendezvous and capture of Cygnus beginning at 3:45 a.m.

NASA Flight Engineer Drew Feustel worked on U.S. spacesuits today ahead of the next spacewalk planned for June 14. He scrubbed the spacesuit cooling loops, collected water samples and organized tools in the Quest airlock.

The veteran spacewalker has a total of eight spacewalks having worked in the vacuum of space for nearly 55 hours. He will partner with Arnold, who has four spacewalks for over 25 hours, June 14 to install high definition cameras on the Harmony module.

Captain’s Log – Spacewalking

NASA astronaut Scott Tingle prepares for his first spacewalk
NASA astronaut Scott Tingle prepares for his first spacewalk.

  • Crew: Captain Scott ”Maker” Tingle, USN
  • ISS Location: Low Earth Orbit
  • Earth Date: 23 January 2018
  • Earth Time (GMT): 22:00

We just finished a 20-hour work day. I spent nearly 11 hours in the spacesuit, and 7 hours and 24 minutes doing a spacewalk. The view was amazing. The changes from day to night, and back to day were phenomenal. My fellow astronaut Mark Vande Hei and I completed the primary task of replacing the Latching End Effector, or hand, for the robotic arm, but a software glitch kept us waiting and we were unable to complete any get-ahead tasks. I thought we had plenty of time and estimated that we had only been outside for a few hours. I was very surprised to find that we had worked for over 7 hours. Wow, I guess time really does fly by when you are having fun!

NASA astronaut Scott Tingle is pictured during a spacewalk
NASA astronaut Scott Tingle is pictured during a spacewalk to swap out a degraded robotic hand, or Latching End Effector, on the Canadarm2.