Space Station Cosmonauts Prep for Spacewalk as Astronauts Work Science and Maintenance

NASA Astronaut Thomas Marshburn Space Station Cupola

NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn peers out from a window inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.” Credit: NASA

The Expedition 66 crew is preparing for a significant spacewalk on January 19, focusing on important station modules, while other astronauts conduct scientific and maintenance tasks.

In one week the first spacewalk of 2022 is set to begin at the International Space Station (ISS). Two Expedition 66 crew members are getting their spacesuits ready as the rest of the crew works on research and maintenance.

Station Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov are due to exit the Poisk module in their Russian Orlan spacesuits on January 19 at 7 a.m. EDT. They will spend about seven hours configuring both the Prichal docking module and the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module in the vacuum of space.

Both cosmonauts continued setting up and attaching components to their spacesuits on Wednesday. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who will assist the spacewalkers next week, joined the pair during the afternoon and reviewed the Poisk airlock depressurization/repressurization timeline.

The station’s other crew members focused on space physics, life science, and lab maintenance. NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari started his day working on hardware maintenance for the Ring Sheared Drop experiment then took a robotics test for a behavioral study. Astronaut Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) continued collecting microbe samples swabbed from station surfaces for analysis.

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron collected microbe samples from the station’s atmosphere then took samples from a carbon dioxide removal system for analysis. At the end of the day, Vande Hei gathered equipment ahead of operations planned for station fluid systems.

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