Station Crew Gearing Up for Three October Spacewalks

Astronauts Richard Arnold and Joseph Acaba
Astronauts Richard Arnold (bottom) and Joseph Acaba are pictured during a spacewalk in March of 2009. The duo were visiting the space station as STS-119 mission specialists aboard space shuttle Discovery.

Two astronauts are getting ready for a spacewalk set to begin Thursday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. This will be the first of three spacewalks taking place this month for maintenance at the International Space Station.

NASA TV is broadcasting a live briefing at 2 p.m. today describing what will take place during the three spacewalks planned for Oct. 5, 10 and 18. NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei will go outside for the first two spacewalks. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba will join Bresnik for the third and final spacewalk.

The first spacewalk will focus on the removal and replacement of one of the Canadarm2’s latching end effectors (LEE). The second and third spacewalks will concentrate on the lubrication of the LEE and the installation of a pair of external cameras. You can watch all three spacewalks live on NASA TV beginning at 6:30 a.m. here… https://www.nasa.gov/live

Ground controllers are remotely maneuvering the Canadarm2 to the correct worksite today to allow the spacewalkers access to its LEE. The three astronauts are also installing rechargeable batteries on their spacesuits and reviewing their tasks with specialists in Mission Control.


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NASA Discusses Spacewalks on Monday

Astronaut Randy Bresnik
Astronaut Randy Bresnik works outside the space station’s Columbus laboratory module during a spacewalk in November 2009. Bresnik last visited the station aboard space shuttle Atlantis during the STS-129 mission.

International Space Station managers and spacewalk experts will talk next week about a series of three spacewalks taking place in October. NASA TV will broadcast a briefing Monday at 2 p.m. EDT to describe the spacewalk activities planned for Oct.5, 10 and 18.

Commander Randy Bresnik will lead all three spacewalks partnering with NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei on the first two and Joe Acaba on the third. The three NASA astronauts are heading into the weekend checking their resizable U.S. spacesuits to ensure a good fit next week.

Bresnik last conducted a pair of spacewalks in November 2009 when he visited the station as a mission specialist for STS-129. Acaba also conducted two previous spacewalks that took place in March 2009 during STS-119. Vande Hei will be participating in his first two spacewalks.

The spacewalkers will first replace a latching end effector (LEE) on the tip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Next, the replacement LEE will be lubricated and a pair of external station cameras will be replaced.


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Crew Looks for Neutron Radiation While Prepping for Spacewalks

Expedition 53 crew portrait
The six Expedition 53 crew members gather together in the Destiny laboratory module for a group portrait. From left are astronauts Joe Acaba, Paolo Nespoli and Mark Vande Hei, Commander Randy Bresnik and cosmonauts Sergey Ryazanskiy and Alexander Misurkin.

Sensors are being installed today in the International Space Station to detect neutron radiation. The crew is also setting up a botany study, conducting human research and getting ready for next week’s spacewalk.

Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy handed over a set of radiation sensors to NASA astronaut Joe Acaba today. Acaba then installed the sensors in the station’s U.S. segment to measure only the neutron radiation levels the orbital lab is exposed to. The data from the Radi-N2 study will help scientists understand the exposure risk to crew members and develop advanced protective measures.

Acaba also continued installing hardware for the Veggie-3 experiment to get the station ready for a new crop of lettuce and cabbage. Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei strapped himself into the station’s exercise bike for the VO2max experiment that observes physical exertion during a space mission.

A pair of spacewalkers took a look at the procedures they will use Oct. 5 to replace a latching end effector at the tip of the Canadarm2. Vande Hei will join Commander Randy Bresnik for that spacewalk and a second planned for Oct. 10. Acaba will join Bresnik for a third spacewalk set for Oct. 18.


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Spacewalk Comes to a Close

Spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy
At the bottom center, spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy are partially obscured by gear on the outside of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The two spacewalkers exited the Pirs Docking Compartment Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT. Among their accomplishments was manual deployment of five nanosatellites from a ladder outside the airlock.

One of the satellites, with casings made using 3-D printing technology, will test the effect of the low-Earth-orbit environment on the composition of 3-D printed materials. Another satellite contains recorded greetings to the people of Earth in 11 languages. A third satellite commemorates the 60th anniversary of the launch and the 160th anniversary of the birth of Russian scientist.

They also collected residue samples from various locations outside the Russian segment of the station.


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Cosmonauts Begin Spacewalk

Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy
Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Sergey Ryazanskiy are pictured in the Orlan spacesuits they are wearing during today’s spacewalk. Credit: @SergeyISS

Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos began a planned six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

Both spacewalkers are wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits with blue stripes. Yurchikhin is designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1) for this spacewalk, the ninth of his career. Ryazanskiy, embarking on his fourth spacewalk, is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2).

Coverage of the spacewalk continues on NASA Television and the agency’s website.


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Expedition 52 Awaits Wednesday Dragon Arrival, Thursday Spacewalk

Expedition 52 Crew Portrait
The Expedition 52 crew poses for a unique portrait. Pictured clockwise from top right are, Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Jack Fischer, Peggy Whitson, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Randy Bresnik and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.

The SpaceX Dragon is hauling advanced space research for delivery Wednesday morning to the International Space Station. Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the seventh station spacewalk this year set to begin Thursday morning.

Dragon is less than 24 hours from its approach and rendezvous with the space station for SpaceX’s third resupply mission this year. Astronauts Jack Fischer and Paolo Nespoli will be in the Cupola commanding the Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple Dragon at 7 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA TV will begin live coverage of Dragon’s arrival at 5:30 a.m.

Dragon will stay open at the station’s Harmony module for a month of cargo swaps. The astronauts will offload new life science studies to improve therapies against Parkinson’s disease and explore ways to grow lung tissue as well as other research. A new pair of external experiments will also be deployed including a cosmic ray study to be installed outside of the Kibo lab module and a nanosatellite technology demonstration.

Two cosmonauts are trying on their Orlan spacesuits today to ensure they are ready for Thursday morning’s spacewalk. Veteran spacewalkers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy will exit the Pirs airlock at 10:45 a.m. for about six hours of science and maintenance work. Thursday’s spacewalk highlight will be when Ryazanskiy manually deploys five nanosatellites, including the first 3D printed CubeSat, into Earth orbit.


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Short Spacewalk Complete After Successful Installation Work

Astronaut Jack Fischer
Astronaut Jack Fischer waves while attached to the Destiny laboratory during a spacewalk to replace a failed data relay box and install a pair wireless antennas.

Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA concluded their spacewalk at 10:06 a.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, which lasted two hours and 46 minutes, the two astronauts successfully replaced a computer relay box, and installed a pair of antennas on station to enhance wireless communication for future spacewalks.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,250 hours and 41 minutes working outside the station during 201 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. This was the 10th spacewalk for Whitson, who moves into third place all-time for cumulative spacewalking time, and the second for Fischer.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit www.nasa.gov/station.


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Two NASA Astronauts Begin Station Spacewalk

Astronaut Peggy Whitson
Astronaut Peggy Whitson is pictured May 12, 2017, during the 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station.

Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:20 a.m., EDT aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about 2.5 hours. Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will replace a critical computer relay box.

The relay box, known as a multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM), is equipped with upgraded software installed in the truss March 30 during a spacewalk by Whitson and Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough. Whitson prepared a spare data relay box on Sunday and tested components installed in the replacement. She reported the spare MDM was ready to be brought outside to replace the failed unit.

While Whitson is replacing the MDM, Fischer will install a pair of antennas on the U.S. Destiny Laboratory module to enhance wireless communication capability for future spacewalks. That task was deferred from Whitson and Fischer’s May 12 spacewalk.

Whitson is wearing the suit with red stripes as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1). Fischer, extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), is wearing the suit with no stripes.

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

Follow @space_station on Twitter for updates. Learn more about the International Space Station online, including additional information about the current crew members.


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NASA TV Live Broadcasts Tuesday Spacewalk

Astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson
NASA astronauts Jack Fischer (left) and Peggy Whitson are outfitted in their U.S. spacesuits inside the U.S. Quest airlock before beginning the 200th spacewalk in support of International Space Station maintenance and assembly on May 12, 2017.

Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA will venture outside the International Space Station for a 2.5-hour contingency spacewalk Tuesday, May 23. The spacewalk will begin about 8 a.m. EDT, with complete coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Whitson and Fischer will replace a critical computer relay box that failed on Saturday, May 20. The relay box, known as a multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM), is one of two units that regulate the operation of radiators, solar arrays and cooling loops. They also will route commands to other vital station systems and install a pair of antennas to enhance wireless communication.

Because each MDM is capable of performing the critical station functions, the crew on the station was never in danger and station operations have not been affected.

The spacewalk will be the 201st in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the sixth spacewalk conducted from the Quest airlock this year, the 10th for Whitson and the second for Fischer.

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


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Astronauts Review Plans, Ready Gear for Tuesday Spacewalk

The International Space Station
The International Space Station with its prominent solar arrays and radiators attached to the truss structure was pictured May 2010 from space shuttle Atlantis.

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer are getting ready for a contingency spacewalk Tuesday morning. Whitson and Fischer are set to begin the spacewalk at 8 a.m. Tuesday for about two hours of maintenance work. NASA Television coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m.

The spacewalkers are gathering their tools and checking their spacesuits today with assistance from Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet. The trio are also reviewing the contingency spacewalk procedures.

The spacewalk’s primary task is the removal and replacement of a data relay box, known as a Multiplexer-Demultiplexer (MDM), which failed Saturday morning. The MDM controls the functionality of station components such as the solar arrays, radiators, cooling loops and other systems.

Whitson will replace the failed MDM with a spare unit on the Starboard Zero truss. The truss is attached to the space-facing side of the U.S. Destiny lab module and is the centerpiece of the station’s truss structure which houses the solar arrays, radiators and cooling loops. Fischer will install a pair of wireless communications antennas on the Destiny Lab, a task that was postponed during the May 12 spacewalk.

Tuesday’s spacewalk will be the 201st in support of station assembly and maintenance. This will be Commander Whitson’s 10th spacewalk likely moving her to third place all-time in cumulative spacewalking time. Flight Engineer Fischer will be embarking on his 2nd spacewalk.


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