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Station Crew Wrapping Up Preps for Monday’s Spacewalk

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:09 pm via: NASA
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The Expedition 38 astronauts wrapped up the workweek Friday aboard the International Space Station with biomedical research and robotics, while their Russian colleagues entered the homestretch of preparations for a spacewalk they will conduct Monday.

Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy donned their Russian Orlan spacesuits for a “dry run” dress rehearsal to test the suits in advance of Monday’s spacewalk to reinstall a pair of cameras as part of a commercial endeavor between a Canadian firm and the Russian Federal Space Agency. The cameras will be used to downlink Earth imagery to Internet-based subscribers.  The two cosmonauts also plan to retrieve an experiment package housed on the Zvezda service module’s hull.

Monday’s excursion will be the 178th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance, the sixth for Kotov and the third for Ryazanskiy.

The cosmonauts will wrap up their preparations on Sunday as they take care of some final details and study the timeline. Live NASA Television coverage of the spacewalk begins at 8:30 a.m. EST Monday, with hatch opening scheduled for 9:10 a.m.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy previously attempted to install the cameras during a marathon 8-hour, 7-minute spacewalk on Dec. 27 – the longest Russian spacewalk ever conducted – but had to return them to the airlock when Russian flight controllers could not receive data from the cameras. The crew members performed troubleshooting on several cable connectors and now believe the problem has been solved.

Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, who assisted Kotov and Ryazanskiy with Friday’s spacesuit test, also performed the Seiner ocean-observation study, documenting color bloom patterns in the oceans’ waters for the fishing industry.

Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins began his day logging his breakfast as he continues following a prescribed diet for the Energy experiment. In an effort to contribute to crew health and performance as well as to ensure that crew members are getting the proper amount of food and exercise, researchers are measuring how much energy astronauts use during their space missions and tracking changes in their energy balance.

Afterward, Hopkins participated in another round of medical examinations for the Ocular Health study. Vision changes have been observed in up to 50 percent of astronauts returning from long-duration spaceflight. As NASA prepares to send astronauts on longer missions farther into space than ever before, it’s vital to understand the root causes of these eyesight changes and develop countermeasures to minimize the risk. With assistance from fellow crewmates Koichi Wakata and Rick Mastracchio, as well as the Ocular Health team on the ground, Hopkins conducted an ultrasound scan of his eyes, performed a cardiac scan and measured his blood pressure.

Mastracchio and Wakata spent much of their day inside the Japanese Kibo module working once again with a pair of basketball-sized, free-flying satellites known Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. For this experiment session, the astronauts equipped one of the two SPHERES with a pair of stereoscopic goggles dubbed the Visual Estimation and Relative Tracking for Inspection of Generic Objects, or VERTIGO. As the second SPHERES tumbled and spun, the VERTIGO-equipped robot attempted to map it and perform relative navigation around it.

Hopkins rounded out his day by replacing a damaged power cable and checking a power outlet in the Destiny laboratory to put a food warmer back into service.

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