Space Shuffle: Cosmonauts Gear Up for Airlock Relocation As Astronauts Unwind

Spacewalkers Stephen Bowen and Sultan Alneyadi

NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen and UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi are pictured in their Extravehicular Mobility Units, or spacesuits, on the International Space Station’s starboard truss structure during a spacewalk on April 28, 2023. The duo would spend seven hours and one minute in the vacuum of space routing cables and installing insulation readying the orbital outpost for its next set of roll-out solar arrays due to be installed after their delivery on the next SpaceX Dragon cargo mission. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 69 crew at the International Space Station is preparing for their second spacewalk within a week, led by Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin of Roscosmos. Concurrently, other crew members are resting after last week’s extensive spacewalk and cleanup activities.

At the International Space Station (ISS), the Expedition 69 crew is getting ready for its second spacewalk in less than a week. In the meantime, several astronauts spent Monday, May 1, relaxing following last week’s power upgrades spacewalk.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos, spent Monday configuring the Orlan spacesuits they will wear during their spacewalk planned to start at 4:05 p.m. EDT on Wednesday and last about six hours. The pair checked the Orlans’ life support systems, tested communications gear, then installed video cameras and lights on their suits. They will finalize their tool configurations and procedure reviews on Tuesday.

Spacewalkers Prokopyev and Petelin, who are going on their third excursion together, will exit the Poisk airlock on Wednesday, translate toward the Rassvet module, and uninstall an experiment airlock. Next, Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev will be inside the station commanding the European robotic arm (ERA) to grapple the airlock, move it, then attach it to the Nauka science module. The two spacewalkers will then connect power cables to the airlock completing its installation on Nauka. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, will begin its live spacewalk coverage at 3:30 p.m.

Fedyaev spent Monday focusing mainly on life support maintenance and orbital plumbing duties. He also had time to participate in an ongoing study exploring ways international crews and mission controllers from the around world can communicate more effectively. Fedyaev will spend Tuesday activating the ERA in preparation for Wednesday’s spacewalk.

The rest of the station’s crew had Monday off following last week’s spacewalk and post-spacewalk cleanup activities. Flight Engineers Stephen Bowen of NASA and Sultan Alneyadi of UAE (United Arab Emirates) relaxed at the beginning of the workweek following Friday’s seven-hour and 1-minute spacewalk that saw them route cables and install insulation on the orbital outpost’s starboard-side truss structure. NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Frank Rubio, who assisted the spacewalkers from inside the station and helped them clean up after the spacewalk last week, also had the day off.

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