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Two Spacewalks Down, One to Go for Expedition 41 Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:30 pm via: NASA
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In the wake of Wednesday’s second Expedition 41 spacewalk by two NASA astronauts, the International Space Station’s crew spent Thursday returning the Quest airlock to its normal configuration, conducting research and preparing for a third excursion into the vacuum of space next week.

Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore started the day with a few hours of off-duty time to rest and recharge following their 6-hour, 34-minute spacewalk Wednesday. During that spacewalk, the two astronauts replaced a voltage regulator that failed in May and relocated equipment on the station’s exterior to begin setting the stage for a reconfiguration of the orbiting complex to accommodate future commercial crew vehicles.

Afterward, Wiseman and Wilmore participated in some post-spacewalk health exams, performed maintenance on the spacesuits and stowed some of the equipment used during Wednesday’s spacewalk. Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst, who assisted Wiseman and Wilmore in the Quest airlock before and after the spacewalk, later joined his crewmates for a debriefing with the ground team.

Wilmore also spent some time activating and mixing samples for a NanoRacks experiment. NanoRacks provides lower-cost microgravity research facilities for small payloads utilizing a standardized “plug-and-play” interface.

Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut, focused most of his attention Thursday on maintenance of the Oxygen Generator System, which provides breathing air for the station’s crew.

On the Russian side of the complex, Commander Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev checked out the communication system of their Orlan spacesuits as they get set for their spacewalk on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 9:24 a.m. EDT. The two cosmonauts are slated to exit from the airlock of the Pirs docking compartment for a 6-hour spacewalk to remove and jettison obsolete equipment, collect test samples from one of the windows of Pirs and photograph the exterior of the station.

Later, Suraev and Samokutyaev fired up the Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics application to review the worksites for their spacewalk and the paths they’ll need to take to on the exterior of the station reach those locations.

Suraev also closed the hatch to the ISS Progress 56 cargo craft docked to Pirs and conducted a leak check of the seal around the hatch. Progress 56, which delivered nearly three tons of supplies when it docked to the station on July 23, is being prepared for an Oct. 27 departure to make way for the launch and docking of the ISS Progress 57 cargo ship on Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Elena Serova performed routine daily maintenance on the life-support system in the Zvezda service module. Throughout the day she also manually mixed test samples in the Cascade cell-cultivation experiment’s bioreactor.

All six station crew members also continued their daily 2 ½-hour exercise regimen to stave off the loss of bone density and muscle mass that occurs during long-duration spaceflight.

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