Crew Preps for Russian, U.S. Spacewalks While Juggling Space Research

Russian Orlan spacesuit
A Russian Orlan spacesuit is pictured inside the Pirs airlock where Russian spacewalks are staged.

The Expedition 56 crew is getting ready for a spacewalk Wednesday outside the International Space Station’s Russian segment. Meanwhile, the orbital residents continued apace with space science and preparation for a pair of September spacewalks.

Two cosmonauts will suit up inside their Orlan spacesuits and exit the Pirs airlock Wednesday at 11:58 a.m. EDT for about six hours of science and maintenance work. Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev will toss four tiny satellites into space, install antennas and cables for the Icarus animal-tracking experiment and collect exposed science experiments.

NASA astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor assisted the cosmonauts throughout Tuesday and reviewed their roles for tomorrow’s spacewalk. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage Wednesday at 11:15 a.m.

Arnold started his morning replacing gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then ended his day with plumbing duty on the Water Processing Assembly. Auñón-Chancellor checked on mice being observed for the Rodent Research-7 study that observes how internal microbes impact organisms living in space.

Finally, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst spent the afternoon working on U.S. spacesuits. He, Feustel and Arnold are gearing up for two spacewalks at the end of September to replace batteries on the Port 4 truss structure’s power channels.


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Station Gears Up for Spacewalk During Advanced Science Work

Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold
Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold inspects U.S. spacesuits and tethers in the Quest airlock ahead of a pair of U.S. spacewalks currently planned for September.

Two Expedition 56 cosmonauts packed a Russian resupply ship today before preparing for Wednesday’s spacewalk. The other four International Space Station crew members worked on a variety of space science experiments and lab maintenance duties.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev are loading a Progress 69 (69P) cargo craft with trash ahead of its departure next week. The 69P delivered over three tons of food, fuel and supplies in February. The spacecraft will undock on Aug. 22 for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean one week later after a series of engineering tests.

The cosmonauts then turned their attention to Wednesday’s spacewalk when they will hand-deploy four tiny satellites, install antennas and cables and collect exposed science experiments. They continued setting up their spacewalking gear inside the Pirs airlock today. They will exit Pirs Wednesday at 11:58 a.m. EDT for about six hours of work outside the station’s Russian segment inside their Orlan spacesuits. NASA TV’s live coverage of the spacewalk begins at 11:15 a.m.

Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor performed the majority of the science work today onboard the orbital complex. Feustel explored how proteins crystallize and grow in microgravity to help scientists develop safer, more advanced drug therapies on Earth. Auñón-Chancellor started her day with a blood draw before researching radio spectrum usage in space which may benefit satellite communications. Finally, she studied the sedimentation of quartz and clay particles possibly assisting future planetary exploration missions and the petroleum industry on Earth.

Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold spent some time inspecting U.S. spacesuit lights and replacing fan filters before assisting Feustel with the protein crystal growth experiment. Alexander Gerst of ESA checked out U.S. spacesuit batteries then moved on to verifying the functionality of fire extinguishers and breathing masks.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/ 

Cosmonauts Get Suits Ready for Next Spacewalk as Rest of Crew Relaxes

Empty Russian Orlan spacesuits
Empty Russian Orlan spacesuits are pictured in the Pirs Docking Compartment.

Two Expedition 56 cosmonauts are getting ready for a spacewalk set for next week as the rest of the International Space Station crew took the day off. A Russian cargo craft is also poised to take out the trash and depart the orbital lab at the end of the month.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev will put on their Orlan spacesuits and work outside the station’s Russian segment for about seven hours on Aug. 15. The duo will toss tiny satellites into Earth orbit, install antennas and cables on the Zvezda service module and retrieve experiments that analyzed external station surfaces and observed plasma waves.

They spent Monday installing batteries that will power their spacesuits next week for the duration of their spacewalk. Artemyev and Prokopyev also ensured their suits were sized properly and conducted leak checks. Finally, they reviewed the procedures they will use next week when they exit and enter the airlock inside the Pirs docking compartment.

The rest of the crew is relaxing today after an intense week of completing crucial space science and loading the time-sensitive research samples inside the Dragon cargo craft for its return to Earth. Dragon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean Friday and was quickly retrieved so scientists and engineers could begin analyzing the science and refurbishing the station hardware.

The next spacecraft due to leave the station is Russia’s Progress 69 (69P) resupply ship on Aug. 22 packed with trash and discarded gear. It launched Feb. 13 and arrived two days later loaded with over three tons of food, fuel and supplies. The 69P will deorbit on Aug. 29 after a week of engineering tests for a fiery but safe disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

Dragon Packing, Eye Science and Spacewalk Preps Today

Alexander Gerst and Sergey Prokopyev
Astronaut Alexander Gerst practices cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as cosmonaut Sergey Prokopev looks on during an emergency training session aboard the International Space Station.

The Expedition 56 crew has nearly completed loading the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship with cargo for retrieval back on Earth this Friday. The orbital residents are also busy with an intense day of space research and Russian spacewalk preparations.

Dragon is due to be released Friday at 12:37 p.m. EDT from the International Space Station carrying several tons of experiment results and orbital lab hardware. The crew has been packing the crucial research samples this week inside specialized, portable freezers onboard the commercial space freighter.

SpaceX technicians will pick up Dragon with its precious cargo after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean and return to shore in southern California. Scientists and engineers will then begin the process of analyzing the critical space science and refurbishing station hardware.

Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst spent Wednesday morning helping doctors understand how living in space impacts the human eye. They are exploring the hypothesis that upward fluid shifts in the body caused by microgravity increases pressure on the brain possibly pushing against the eyes. This may affect the shape of the eye and permanently affect vision.

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev are getting ready for a spacewalk on Aug. 15. The duo reviewed the translation paths to their work sites on the outside of the station’s Russian segment. During the near seven-hour excursion, the spacewalkers will hand-deploy four tiny satellites, install antennas and cables on the Zvezda service module and collect exposed science experiments.


Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/ 

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.