Emergency Training, Eye Checks Ahead of Spacewalks
The International Space Station was a hive of activity today with the Expedition 63 crew practicing emergency skills, examining eyes and studying water conservation. Two astronauts also will continue more battery swaps in a pair of spacewalks set to begin next week.
Living 260 miles above the Earth and orbiting the planet 16 times a day presents a unique set of risks that space residents must be prepared for. Today, NASA Commander Chris Cassidy joined Roscosmos Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner for a simulated emergency evacuation of the station. The trio spent the afternoon practicing quickly entering their Soyuz MS-16 crew ship for a rapid undocking and Earth re-entry.
Afterward, Cassidy partnered up with his fellow NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken for eye exams at the end of the day. Hurley led the effort as the Crew Medical Officer and used optical coherence tomography gear to scan the retinas of his two crewmates.
Behnken and Cassidy are set to go out on two more spacewalks scheduled for July 16 and 21. The duo will continue replacing aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries on the starboard portion of the station’s truss structure. The batteries store and release power collected from the orbiting lab’s main solar arrays.
Robotics controllers overnight commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to replace a failed remote power control module (RPCM) on the port truss segment. The replacement restores redundancy to the solar alpha rotary joint after the old RPCM failed last week.
In the Russian side of the station, Vagner primarily worked on housekeeping chores as he checked water tanks and cleaned air filters. Ivanishin spent some time photographing the effects of Earth catastrophes and exploring how international crews and ground controllers communicate with each other.
Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) cargo craft departed the International Space Station today leaving four spaceships from the U.S., Russia and Japan parked at the orbital lab. It will be replaced in two weeks when the Progress 76 arrives to replenish the crew.
The 74P undocked today at 2:23 p.m. EDT after seven months attached to the Pirs docking compartment. The trash-packed resupply ship will descend into Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise. The 76P will take its place when it launches on July 23 at 10:26 a.m. and docks just three-and-a-half hours later to Pirs.
Four out of the five Expedition 63 crew members assessed comfort factors inside the docked SpaceX Crew Dragon today. This is a demonstration of the Crew Dragon’s habitability ahead of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission planned for later this year.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who piloted the Crew Dragon, will be joined by station Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin for the one-hour habitability test. The crew will arrange the cabin to suit the four space residents and report their comfort levels to engineers on the ground.
While they were setting up Crew Dragon for the test, the three NASA astronauts also had time for ultrasound eye scans, microfluid studies and orbital plumbing work. The two cosmonauts, including Flight Engineer Ivan Vagner, juggled a variety of Russian space research and tested Soyuz crew ship communications gear.
New Satellites Set for Deployment, Cargo Craft Ready for Departure
The Expedition 63 crew readied a pair of tiny satellites for deployment and finished packing a Russian cargo craft for departure. The International Space Station residents also checked on BEAM today then worked on life support and computer maintenance.
Russia’s Progress 74 (74P) resupply ship has been packed with trash and obsolete gear and is ready to end its seven-month stay at the orbiting lab. Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner finalized the cargo transfers today before closing the 74P’s hatch and performing the standard spacecraft leak checks. The 74P will undock Wednesday at 2:23 p.m. EDT from the Pirs docking compartment and descend into Earth’s atmosphere over the South Pacific for a fiery disposal.
BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, has been attached to the station since 2016 and is currently being used as a storage space. NASA Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken opened up and entered BEAM today to check sensor batteries and retrieve charcoal filters. The sensors monitor BEAM’s pressure and environment while the filters remove impurities from the station’s atmosphere.
The duo also worked on a variety of lab maintenance tasks keeping the station in tip-top shape. Hurley worked on orbital plumbing and checked computer connections. Behnken set up the charcoal filters from BEAM and upgraded software on a laptop computer dedicated to operations in the Microgravity Science Glovebox.
A Russian cargo craft is due to depart the International Space Station in the middle of the week after seven months on orbit. The five-member Expedition 63 crew stayed busy all-day Monday continuing the upkeep of space research gear and life support hardware.
The Progress 74 (74P) resupply ship is being packed with trash and obsolete gear today ahead of its undocking on Wednesday at 2:23 p.m. EDT. The 74P has been attached to the Pirs docking compartment since Dec. 9 where it docked carrying nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the orbital residents. After separating from the station, the 74P will fire its deorbit engines over the South Pacific and burn up safely in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The Progress 76 (76P), the next cargo ship to replenish the crew, is scheduled to launch on July 23 and dock to Pirs just two orbits later. The station will slightly lower its orbit on Saturday to accommodate the approach and rendezvous of 76P. This follows last week’s orbital maneuver to boost the station out of the way of a piece of rocket debris near its flight path.
Amidst the cargo craft operations, the space lab residents serviced a variety of advanced science equipment today. The operations are continuing the numerous space experiments benefiting humans on Earth and in space.
Commander Chris Cassidy stowed satellite deployment gear before cleaning a specialized furnace that enables observation of materials heated to extreme temperatures. Flight Engineers Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken juggled an array of orbital plumbing, computer maintenance, light installation and sensor battery swap tasks.
Spacesuit checks were on the schedule today for the Expedition 63 crew following a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the International Space Station. The orbital residents also juggled a variety of science activities.
All three astronauts called down to Mission Control today and briefed specialists with the results of the mission’s second spacewalk. Station managers will assess the orbital lab’s upgraded power status before scheduling more battery swap spacewalks later this month.
Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner partnered up Thursday morning for cardiac research. The duo is studying how the heart reacts to a unique suit that reverses the flow of blood towards the head caused by weightlessness. The pair then split up for life support maintenance and radiation checks.