Cosmonauts Prep for ISS Spacewalk, SpaceX Dragon Targets Monday Launch

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NASA Spacewalker Frank Rubio During an Orbital Sunset

NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is pictured during a spacewalk tethered to the International Space Station’s starboard truss structure. Behind Rubio, the last rays of an orbital sunset penetrate Earth’s thin atmosphere as the space station flew 258 miles above the African nation of Algeria. Credit: NASA

Two Roscosmos cosmonauts are finalizing their preparations for a spacewalk on Thursday, November 17. They will be conducting hardware transfers and making electronics connections on the International Space Station (ISS). Meanwhile, two NASA astronauts are cleaning up after a spacewalk on Tuesday, November 15. They performed tasks needed to prepare the orbiting lab for a pair of rollout solar arrays. These will begin to be installed at the end of the month.

Station Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin are in final preparations for Thursday’s spacewalk. This is set to begin at 9:20 a.m. EST (6:20 a.m. PST) with the objective to prepare a radiator and an airlock for installation on the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anna Kikina will operate the European robotic arm from inside Nauka and assist the duo working in the microgravity environment in their Orlan spacesuits. NASA TV will begin live coverage of the spacewalk at 9 a.m. on the agency’s app and website.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin conducted a spacewalk outside the Poisk module of the International Space Station to prepare a radiator for its relocation from the Rassvet module to the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module. The radiator and an associated airlock launched in 2010 on Rassvet on a space shuttle mission will continue the outfitting of the Nauka module for future use as both a research facility and a second airlock for Russian-segment-based spacewalks. Credit: NASA

NASA Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio spent seven hours and 11 minutes working outside the orbiting lab on Tuesday in their Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), or spacesuits. The duo assembled a mounting bracket on the station’s starboard truss structure where new rollout solar arrays will be installed on upcoming spacewalks before the end of the year.

Today, November 16, the duo along with fellow Expedition 68 Flight Engineers Nicole Mann of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) called down to mission controllers and discussed Tuesday’s space activities. Cassada and Mann also partnered together to refill spacesuit water tanks and power down suit components. Mann then joined Rubio in collecting spacewalk hardware and suit cameras for sharing with the cosmonauts who will conduct the next spacewalk.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is targeting the launch of its Dragon cargo craft atop the Falcon 9 rocket to the space station at 4:19 p.m. EST  (1:19 p.m. PST) on Monday, November 20. Dragon will take a day-and-a-half-long trip to the station carrying the next pair of rollout solar arrays, new science experiments, station gear, and crew supplies. It will dock automatically to the Harmony module’s forward port at 9:43 a.m. on Wednesday, November 23,

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