The first of three spacewalks planned for January begins Wednesday to continue upgrading International Space Station power systems and a cosmic ray detector. While the spacewalkers ready their suits and tools, the rest of the Expedition 61 crew is on science and maintenance duty today.
NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir is partnering for a second time with fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch for a pair of spacewalks set for tomorrow and Jan. 20. The duo is finalizing preparations for the two six-and-a-half hour spacewalks to replace batteries that store and distribute solar power. They will set their U.S. spacesuits to internal power at 6:50 a.m. and translate out to the Port-6 truss structure. Once there they swap out old nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries. NASA TV begins its live coverage Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. EST.
Meanwhile, Morgan and Parmitano were on science duty today. The astronauts took turns safely burning fabric and acrylic samples to help scientists understand how flames spread in space. Results may inform the design of fire safety products and procedures on Earth and in space. The two crewmates also drew their blood samples, spinning them in a centrifuge for later analysis.
Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov spent the day servicing Russian life support equipment. On the science schedule, cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka continued setting up and testing hardware that will observe the Earth’s mesosphere at different wavelengths.
The first spacewalk of 2020 is set for Wednesday and the Expedition 61 crew is finalizing spacesuit checks and procedure reviews. The residents aboard the International Space Station also had time set aside for more microgravity research today.
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are preparing to step outside into the vacuum of space together in their U.S. spacesuits. The duo will replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries upgrading station power systems on the Port-6 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. EST with the six-and-a-half hour spacewalk set to begin at 6:50 a.m.
Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan joined the spacewalkers today to review spacewalk procedures. The two astronauts will stay inside the station on Wednesday to provide Canadarm2 robotics support for Meir and Koch.
Parmitano and Morgan also juggled a variety of science and life support duties today. Morgan worked on orbital plumbing tasks before studying how flames spread in weightlessness. Parmitano cleaned cell science hardware and updated supplies in the Human Research Facility-1.
Eye checks were on the schedule Friday afternoon as astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch took turns as Crew Medical Officer. The duo scanned the eyes of NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan and Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) using an ultrasound device and optical coherence tomography gear.
Morgan started the morning setting up a specialized mouse habitat that can create artificial gravity conditions aboard the orbiting lab. Mice physiology resembles that of humans, providing scientists fundamental insights into cellular and genetic alterations that occur in weightlessness.
Meir is getting the spacesuits ready she and Koch will wear on Jan. 15 and 20 for a pair of power maintenance spacewalks. She scrubbed cooling loops and filled water tanks before checking out suit hardware and checking for leaks. The spacewalking duo will replace older batteries with newer, more powerful batteries on the orbiting lab’s Port-6 truss structure.
NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir and Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) started Thursday collecting their blood samples. The duo spun the samples in a centrifuge and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. The astronauts also joined cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov for a series of eye checks throughout the day.
Meir and fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch are getting ready for two of three spacewalks planned for this month. The spacewalkers will work outside the station on Jan. 15 and 20 to replace older batteries with newer, more powerful batteries on the orbiting lab’s Port-6 truss structure. Morgan and Parmitano are targeting a third spacewalk on Jan. 25 to finish repairing the station’s cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will conduct the first two spacewalks scheduled for Jan. 15 and Jan. 20. The duo will finish replacing older nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the station’s Port-6 truss structure. They spent Wednesday reviewing spacewalk procedures and inspecting spacesuit tethers.
Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 12:33 p.m. EST. During the six hour and two minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully installed a new cooling system for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).
The crew completed the primary task to install the upgraded cooling system, called the upgraded tracker thermal pump system (UTTPS), completed the power and data cable connection for the system, and connected all eight cooling lines from the AMS to the new system. The intricate connection work required making a clean cut for each existing stainless steel tube connected to the AMS then connecting it to the new system through a process of metalworking known as swaging.
The astronauts also completed an additional task to install an insulating blanket on the nadir side of the AMS to replace the heat shield and blanket they removed during the first spacewalk to begin the repair work. The flight control team on Earth initiated power-up of the system and confirmed it is receiving power and data.
It is the first long day of a very busy several weeks for the space station crew, with two cargo resupply spacecraft launching to the station loaded with science investigations; a SpaceX Dragon is scheduled to lift off at 12:51 p.m. Wednesday, and a Russian Progress is set to launch Friday at 4:34 a.m. Crew members then will be focused on the spacecrafts’ arrivals and associated work. Meanwhile, teams on Earth will evaluate the date for the planned fourth spacewalk to conduct leak checks for the spectrometer’s refurbished cooling lines and complete the work to resume operations of the cosmic ray detector.
For more information about the AMS science and spacewalks, listen to the recent podcasts:
Parmitano has now conducted five spacewalks in his career for a total of 26 hours and 53 minutes, and Morgan has logged 39 hours and 32 minutes during six spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July. It was the 11th spacewalk at the station this year. Space station crew members have conducted a total of 224 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 15 hours and 43 minutes working outside the station.
Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 6:31 a.m. EST aboard the International Space Station to begin a spacewalk planned to last about seven-and-a-half hours during which they will install a new cooling system for the cosmic ray detector attached to the station called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).
Parmitano is extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1), wearing the suit with red stripes, and with the helmet camera labeled #11. Morgan is extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2), wearing the suit with no stripes and with helmet camera #18.
In addition to revitalizing an important piece of scientific equipment, the process of creating the tools and procedures for these spacewalks is preparing teams for the types of spacewalks that may be required on Moon and Mars missions. The tools include plumbing instruments to cut into the cooling lines, new screwdriver bits and devices to capture the fasteners the astronauts remove from AMS. Learn more about the unique tools developed for the spacewalks to repair AMS.
Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will begin a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station at about 7 a.m. EST. NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 5:30 a.m.
The two astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station for the third in a series of complex spacewalks to replace a cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a cosmic ray detector. The primary tasks for Monday’s spacewalk will be the installation of a new cooling pump for the AMS and the cutting and splicing of cooling lines for the new unit.
During the first spacewalk in the series to repair the AMS on Nov. 15, the astronauts positioned materials and conducted work in preparation for the repairs. In the second spacewalk Nov. 22, the crew successfully cut and labeled the stainless steel tubes that attach the current cooling system to the AMS.
The Expedition 61 crew is heading into Thanksgiving with more blood and cell research to improve human health. There will also be a harvest on the U.S. holiday as spacewalk preparations continue.
Rodents living aboard the International Space Station are being observed this week with their blood and cell samples being collected and stowed in science freezers. Doctors are exploring how microgravity affects the cellular level systems of mice to gain insights into afflictions such as cancer and diabetes. Results may inform the development of advanced therapies for Earth-bound and space-caused ailments.
Morgan and Parmitano will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:50 a.m. EST on Monday signifying the start of their spacewalk. They will use new tools and techniques never performed in space for the intricate task of replacing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s thermal control system. NASA TV begins its live broadcast at 5:30 a.m.
The crew will be busy on Thanksgiving with more disease therapy studies and a space crop harvest as well. Koch and Meir will be harvesting Mizuna mustard greens and sharing the leaves with the crew for a taste test on Thursday. The rest of the crop will be packed in a lab freezer for later analysis.
Two Expedition 61 astronauts are getting up to speed with the fine repair techniques they will use next week during the 11th spacewalk of 2019. The International Space Station is also hosting intense biology work this week to improve the health of humans in space and on Earth.
The orbiting lab’s cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), is getting a new thermal control system that requires innovative spacewalking repair techniques. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are studying the careful, deliberate procedures with new tools specifically designed for the job. The AMS, which has exceeded its three-year operational lifespan by five-and-a-half years, was never designed to be repaired in space.
Morgan and Parmitano will continue the AMS repair job during their third spacewalk together beginning Monday at 6:50 a.m. EST. This will be the third of four planned spacewalks to ensure the astrophysics device continues searching for evidence of dark matter and antimatter for years to come. NASA TV will start its live broadcast at 5:30 a.m.
The Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) in the Japanese Kibo lab module is seeing a lot of biology research work this week. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are looking at blood and cell samples in the LSG to understand the stresses microgravity imposes on organisms. Doctors are looking for advanced therapeutic insights into Earth-bound diseases such as cancer and diabetes as well as space-caused ailments. Morgan and Parmitano are also on life science duty this week assisting the duo in between spacewalk preparations.
In the Russian segment of the station, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka attached sensors to his legs to observe how his veins are adapting to long-term spaceflight. Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov worked on computer hardware and life support gear.