Station Crew Gets Ready for Pair of Spacewalks This Week

NASA astronauts (from left) Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio will exit the space station on Tuesday for a spacewalk to continue upgrading the station's power generation system.
NASA astronauts (from left) Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio will exit the space station on Tuesday for a spacewalk to continue upgrading the station’s power generation system.

Two astronauts and two cosmonauts are gearing up for a pair of spacewalks this week at the International Space Station. Their Expedition 68 crewmates assisted the spacewalkers with preparations on Monday while also continuing science and maintenance on the orbiting lab.

NASA Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio are set to exit the space station after setting their spacesuits to battery power at 8 a.m. EST on Tuesday signifying the start of their spacewalk. The duo will work on the starboard side of the station’s truss structure and spend about seven hours assembling a mounting bracket to enable the future installation of rollout solar arrays. The new rollout solar arrays will augment the space station’s power generation system.

The spacewalking pair was joined by astronauts Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reviewing Tuesday’s assembly tasks and organizing tools in the Quest airlock. Mann and Wakata will help the spacewalkers in and out of their spacesuits and monitor the duo while they work outside the station. Mann also had a few moments set aside on Monday to service NanoRacks science hardware while Wakata configured a research incubator with an artificial gravity generator.

A second spacewalk is planned for Thursday when cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin exit the space station to work on the outside the of Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. The pair from Roscosmos tried on their Orlan spacesuits, simulated spacewalk procedures, and installed suit components throughout Monday. Prokopyev and Petelin will spend about seven hours on Thursday preparing a radiator for transfer from the Rassvet module to Nauka.

Cosmonaut Anna Kikina assisted the Roscosmos spacewalkers in and out of their Orlan spacesuits on Monday. The first time space-flyer also checked radiation detectors and inspected laptop computers in the Zvezda service module.

Both spacewalks will be broadcast live on NASA TV on the agency’s app and website. Tuesday’s spacewalk coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. while Thursday’s spacewalk coverage will begin at 9 a.m.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

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