Two Astronauts, Two Cosmonauts Kicks Off with Spacewalk Preps and Cygnus Cargo Transfers

Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship (foreground) and Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module are pictured docked to the station as it orbited above Africa’s Indian Ocean coast. (NASA Image)

(NASA) – Two astronauts and two cosmonauts are gearing up for three spacewalks set to begin next week at the International Space Station.

The Expedition 65 crew is also continuing to unpack a U.S. cargo craft in the middle of ongoing science and maintenance activities.

The first spacewalk is planned to take place on Aug. 24. Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei will exit the Quest airlock in their U.S. spacesuits around 8 a.m. EDT and translate over to the Port-4 truss structure.

Once there, the duo will prepare the worksite for the next set of Roll-Out Solar Arrays due to arrive on an upcoming SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission.

The pair went over their spacewalk maneuvers on a computer Monday afternoon.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov will perform the other two spacewalks in early September to prepare cables and other external equipment for the recently arrived Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module.

Today, the flight engineers from Roscosmos reviewed the steps and procedures planned for the second spacewalk.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet and took turns offloading cargo packed inside the Cygnus space freighter today. Cygnus delivered over four tons of cargo including over 2,300 pounds of new science experiments last week. The resupply ship from Northrop Grumman will stay attached to the Unity module for about three months.

Science is still ongoing at the orbital lab as Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack and set up a sample for the Ring Sheared Drop fluid physics study.

Hoshide serviced samples in a microscope for a biology study observing how cells sense gravity then installed the Kaber small satellite deployer inside the Kibo laboratory module.

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