Astronauts in Action: Prepping for Spacewalks as Starliner Sets to Launch

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Crew Ship Approaches the International Space Station

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew ship approaches the International Space Station on May 20, 2022, on the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission before automatically docking to the Harmony module’s forward port. The orbiting lab was flying 268 miles above the south Pacific at the time of this photograph. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 71 crew began their week with tasks focused on spacesuit maintenance and cargo management aboard the International Space Station. Concurrently, mission managers on Earth are preparing for the scheduled June 5 launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, which is part of NASA’s Crew Flight Test.

Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Expedition 71 crew kicked off Monday with spacesuit work and cargo operations. Back on Earth, mission managers are targeting June 5 for the launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft on NASA’s Crew Flight Test.

Four NASA astronauts spent much of Monday in the Quest airlock checking out spacesuits and reviewing procedures for a trio of spacewalks targeted to take place in June. Flight Engineer Mike Barratt started the work as he powered up the spacesuits, cleaned cooling loops, and serviced suit components throughout the day. Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson assisted Barratt with the suit job then trained on the suit safety systems and jet packs that would be used to maneuver back to the station in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Duo of Tibetan Lakes From Space

A duo of Tibetan lakes, Qingche and Luotuo, are covered with ice as snow drifts through the mountainous terrain. The International Space Station was orbiting 260 miles above when NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli captured this image. Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Matthew Dominick also participated in the spacesuit and jet pack safety training. He also joined Flight Engineer Jeanette Epps and reviewed standard spacewalk procedures such as suiting up, exiting and entering Quest, safety steps, and communication protocols. NASA will announce the spacewalk details and spacewalkers in an upcoming media advisory and news briefing.

On Saturday, June 1, a Roscosmos Progress 88 cargo craft docked to the space station’s Poisk module packed with about three tons food, fuel, and supplies. Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub monitored Progress’ arrival then spent a portion of the weekend and all-day Monday unloading the new cargo. Kononenko also replaced communications gear in the Zvezda service module while Chub set up and photographed a new space physics investigation.

Progress 88 Cargo Craft Approaches Space Station

The Progress 88 cargo craft approaches the space station carrying about three tons of cargo. Credit: NASA TV

Cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin pointed a camera outside a station window toward Earth today and photographed landmarks for a pair of Earth observation studies. At the end of the day, Grebenkin installed hardware to image Earth’s atmosphere in ultraviolet wavelengths. Researchers use the imagery to understand natural events and man-made impacts on Earth’s surface and atmosphere.

Teams at NASA and Boeing confirmed Monday the company’s Starliner spacecraft, ULA (United Launch Alliance) Atlas V rocket, and ground support equipment are healthy and ready for the next launch attempt. The first Starliner flight with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, known as NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test, is targeted to liftoff at 10:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 5, to the International Space Station for about a one week stay aboard the microgravity laboratory.

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