Prepping for a Starlit Stroll: Astronauts Gear Up for Dual Spacewalks

Spacewalker Woody Hoburg Takes an Out-of-This-World “Space-Selfie”

NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg points the camera toward himself and takes an out-of-this-world “space-selfie” during a six-hour and three-minute spacewalk to install a roll-out solar array on the International Space Station’s truss structure on June 9, 2023. Credit: NASA

Astronauts and cosmonauts aboard Expedition 69 are preparing for two spacewalks at the ISS. NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen will first install a solar array, and a week later, cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin will perform maintenance and photographic inspections on the Roscosmos segment.

Wednesday, June 14 was a busy day for the Expedition 69 crew’s astronauts and cosmonauts as they continued preparing for two different spacewalks at the International Space Station (ISS). The first spacewalk will see two astronauts install another roll-out solar array on Thursday, June 15. The second spacewalk will take place a week later when two cosmonauts replace hardware and conduct photographic inspections.

Mission managers gave the “go” for Thursday’s spacewalk with NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen. The duo will set their spacesuits to battery power at 8:55 a.m. signifying the official start of their second spacewalk together. The duo will spend about six hours installing a roll-out solar array on the opposite side of the starboard truss segment where they installed the previous roll-out solar array on Friday, June 9. NASA TV begins its live broadcast of the spacewalk at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday on the agency’s app and website.

Spacewalker Stephen Bowen Works To Release a Roll-Out Solar Array

NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen is pictured working to release a stowed roll-out solar array attached to the International Space Station’s starboard truss structure during a six-hour and three-minute spacewalk on June 9, 2023. Credit: NASA

Hoburg and Bowen started Wednesday readying their spacesuits inside the Quest airlock where they will exit the station into the vacuum of space on Thursday. After lunchtime, the duo organized their spacewalking tools and tethers inside Quest with assistance from NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio. Finally, the three NASA astronauts joined Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) for a final review of the spacewalk procedures and robotics activities necessary to support the solar array installation job.

Two cosmonauts are also getting ready for their own spacewalk scheduled for June 22 for maintenance on the outside of the orbital outpost’s Roscosmos segment. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent Wednesday gathering spacewalking hardware, testing support equipment, and configuring their spacesuit components. The duo will exit the Poisk airlock next Thursday and spend about seven hours replacing communications and science hardware and photographing the condition of the Zvezda service module.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev started his morning working on life support maintenance tasks. Next, he activated and handed over radiation sensors to Hoburg and Bowen who will wear them on their spacesuits during Thursday’s spacewalk. Fedyaev later exercised on a treadmill as ground specialists monitored real-time video of his workout and hardware operations.

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