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Space Station Crew Preparing for Spacewalks As SpaceX Cargo Dragon Launch Nears

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Roscosmos astronauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin performed a 6 hour and 25 minute spacewalk in Orlan spacesuits on November 17, 2022, to move from the Rassvet module to the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory for future installations. Transfer the radiator to the module. The duo is a photo of the Soyuz MS-22 Crew Vessel tethered to the top docked Rasbet module. Credit: NASA

On Monday, November 21, at the International Space Station, the Expedition 68 crew continued preparations for more spacewalks before the end of the year. Meanwhile, a U.S. cargo ship counts down to this week’s launch, resupplying the seven-man crew currently living in the orbiting laboratory.

Two astronauts and two astronauts are preparing to perform five spacewalks outside the space station within two months. A series of spacewalks consists of the tasks necessary to strengthen the station’s power generation system. During a series of other spacewalks, the crew will deploy radiators and install an airlock on the Nauka Multipurpose Experimental Module.

during a spacewalk November 15th,[{” attribute=””>NASA Flight Engineers Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio prepared the station for new roll-out solar arrays by assembling a mounting bracket on the station’s starboard truss structure. On November 29, a pair of spacewalkers (soon to be named by mission managers) will install the roll-out solar arrays on the new mounting bracket. On Monday, Flight Engineers Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata reviewed the robotics procedures necessary to support the successful installation of the solar arrays

SpaceX Cargo Dragon Spacecraft Docked ISS

A SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Among the items packed inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are the roll-out solar arrays. Dragon is scheduled to lift off atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 3:54 p.m. EST (12:54 p.m. PST) on Tuesday and arrive at the station for an automated docking at 5:57 a.m. on Wednesday. Dragon is also delivering new space agriculture and biotechnology studies, as well as food, fuel, and crew supplies. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, begins its launch coverage at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and docking coverage at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

After Dragon is docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing, or zenith port, robotics controllers on the ground will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach and remove the roll-out solar arrays from Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. Then the controllers will remotely guide the Canadarm2 to stage the roll-out solar arrays on truss structure attachment points. From there the spacewalkers will access the solar arrays to begin the upcoming installation work.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, both from Roscosmos, spent Monday setting up the Poisk airlock, organizing tools, and studying procedures for their second spacewalk together. It is planned to begin at 6:15 a.m. on Friday, November 25. The duo, with assistance from European robotic arm operator Anna Kikina, will relocate a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka science module. The Roscosmos spacewalkers prepared the radiator for its relocation during a spacewalk on November 17.

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