Crew Trains for Cygnus Arrival During Spacewalk Preps and Science

The Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter sits atop an Antares rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach
The Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter sits atop an Antares rocket at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach

The Expedition 65 crew is getting ready for a shipment of new science experiments and crew supplies due to launch toward the International Space Station today. The orbital residents are also gearing up for a spacewalk while conducting a variety of space research.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter sits atop an Antares rocket counting to down to a launch today at 5:56 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia today. Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Thomas Pesquet trained this morning for its approach and rendezvous including its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm planned for 6:10 a.m. on Thursday. NASA TV will broadcast both events live.

In the afternoon, the duo joined crewmates Shane Kimbrough, Mark Vande Hei and Akihiko Hoshide and reviewed cargo arriving inside Cygnus and its unpacking plans. The U.S. cargo craft is loaded with over 8,200 pounds of science investigations, station hardware and crew provisions.

Vande Hei and Hoshide spent their morning readying the U.S. Quest airlock for the next spacewalk. The pair will prepare the orbital lab’s Port-4 truss structure later this month for the future installation of new roll out solar arrays arriving on an upcoming SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission.

Research is ongoing as Kimbrough checked on Hatch chile plants growing inside the Columbus laboratory module for the Plant Habitat-4 space botany study. Vande Hei focused on servicing science gear as he swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack. Station Commander Hoshide turned on the Astrobee robotic helper and rehearsed maneuvers ahead of a student competition to program and control the devices.

Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy focused on maintenance tasks in the station’s Russian segment replacing dust filters and checking video equipment. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov, on his first spaceflight, worked on fans and filters inside the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module then photographed microbes growing for a Russian science experiment.

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