Spacewalk Preps Under Way As ISS Gears Up for Starliner and Cargo Craft Arrivals

Progress 88 Cargo Craft Launches

The Progress 88 cargo craft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:43 a.m. ET. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 71 crew continues gearing up for a trio of spacewalks while a cargo craft packed with food, fuel, and supplies orbits Earth headed toward the International Space Station (ISS). Back on Earth, two astronauts are counting down to their launch to the orbital lab aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.

The unpiloted Progress 88 spacecraft is safely in orbit headed for the ISS following a launch at 5:43 a.m. EDT (2:43 p.m. Baikonur time) on May 30, on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After a two-day in-orbit journey to the station, the spacecraft will automatically dock to the space-facing port of orbiting laboratory’s Poisk module at 7:47 a.m. Saturday, June 1.

Three NASA astronauts spent Thursday checking out a spacesuit ahead of a series of spacewalks planned to take place in June. Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson began her day in the Quest airlock powering up one spacesuit and checking out its life support and communications components. Afterward, she installed batteries on the suit’s jetpack, a safety device that a spacewalker would use to maneuver back to the space station in the unlikely event they became untethered from the orbital outpost.

Aurora and Atmospheric Glow Crown Earth’s Horizon

An aurora and an atmospheric glow crown Earth’s horizon in this photograph from the International Space Station as it orbited 266 miles above a cloudy Indian Ocean southwest of Australia. In the foreground, from left, are a portion of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Rassvet module, and the Soyuz MS-25 crew ship docked to the Prichal docking module which is itself mated to the Nauka science module. Credit: NASA

Dyson was assisted by fellow crew members Mike Barratt and Jeanette Epps during the spacesuit checks. The duo also reviewed standard spacewalk procedures such as suiting up, exiting and entering Quest, safety steps, and communication protocols. NASA will announce the upcoming spacewalks for maintenance and science soon in a media advisory and a televised news conference.

NASA Flight Engineer Matthew Dominick started his day printing the spacewalk procedures his crewmates would later review. Next, he gathered emergency hardware and prepared the gear in advance of the arrival of two new crewmates planned to arrive on Sunday. Afterward, Dominick inspected and cleaned module hatches then set up wearable biomedical gear to monitor an astronaut’s heart activity.

Progress 86 Cargo Craft Poised to Undock From International Space Station

The uncrewed Roscosmos Progress 86 cargo craft, packed with trash and obsolete gear, is poised to undock from the International Space Station’s Poisk module ending a six-month cargo mission. Credit: NASA

Meanwhile, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are at Kennedy Space Center in Florida preparing for their launch to the space station set for 12:25 p.m. EDT on Saturday. The duo will lift off for Boeing’s Crew Flight Test inside Starliner atop the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance. The experienced crew will take a daylong ride to the space station and dock to the Harmony module’s forward port at 1:50 p.m. on Sunday.

NASA TV will broadcast the mission live on the NASA+ streaming service via the web or the NASA app. Launch and docking coverage also will air live on NASA Television, YouTube, and on the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

In the Roscosmos segment of the station, cosmonaut Nikolai Chub continued researching the ability to 3D print tools in microgravity. Expedition 71 Commander Oleg Kononenko completed his 24-hour heart and blood pressure monitoring session then conducted a photographic inspection of windows inside the Zvezda service module. Flight Engineer Alexander Grebenkin also spent his shift inside Zvezda performing routine maintenance on the module’s air conditioning system.

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