Dragon Departing Friday; Cosmonauts Clean Up After Spacewalk

The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station during an orbital sunrise above the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Dragon resupply ship approaches the space station on July 16, 2022, during an orbital sunrise above the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 67 crew will wait an extra day before seeing a U.S. space freighter depart the International Space Station. In the meantime, the cosmonauts are cleaning up following a shorter-than-planned spacewalk after a power issue on a Russian Orlan spacesuit.

Mission managers representing NASA and SpaceX waved off Thursday’s undocking of the Dragon cargo craft due to adverse weather conditions at the splashdown site off the coast of Florida. Dragon is now due to leave the Harmony module’s forward port at 11:05 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Four of the station’s astronauts including Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, all from NASA, with Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), will finish packing Dragon with critical research samples early Friday morning before closing the commercial resupply ship’s hatch. Dragon is scheduled to parachute back to Earth on Saturday loaded with over 4,000 pounds of cargo including completed scientific experiments for analysis. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its live undocking coverage at 10:45 a.m. on Friday.

During a four-hour and one-minute spacewalk on Wednesday, Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev installed a pair of cameras on the European robotic arm (ERA) and removed parts attached to the arm’s end effector. Today, the cosmonauts powered down their Orlan spacesuits and removed suit components. Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov reconfigured the Poisk module back to normal operations.

Just over two hours after Thursday’s spacewalk began, Artemyev informed Russian mission controllers his spacesuit was experiencing abnormal battery readings. Mission controllers directed Artemyev to return to the Poisk’s airlock and connect his spacesuit to the station’s power supply. Matveev continued his tasks before cleaning up and heading back to Poisk after managers called off the robotic maintenance excursion. Korsakov maneuvered the ERA to a safe post-spacewalk configuration while the cosmonaut spacewalkers were never in any danger.

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