Astronauts Eye Wednesday Spacewalk as Space Science Continues

NASA astronauts (from left) Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
NASA astronauts (from left) Christina Koch and Jessica Meir collect biological samples for stowage inside the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.

The first spacewalk of 2020 is set for Wednesday and the Expedition 61 crew is finalizing spacesuit checks and procedure reviews. The residents aboard the International Space Station also had time set aside for more microgravity research today.

NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are preparing to step outside into the vacuum of space together in their U.S. spacesuits. The duo will replace old nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries upgrading station power systems on the Port-6 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. EST with the six-and-a-half hour spacewalk set to begin at 6:50 a.m.

Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan joined the spacewalkers today to review spacewalk procedures. The two astronauts will stay inside the station on Wednesday to provide Canadarm2 robotics support for Meir and Koch.

Parmitano and Morgan also juggled a variety of science and life support duties today. Morgan worked on orbital plumbing tasks before studying how flames spread in weightlessness. Parmitano cleaned cell science hardware and updated supplies in the Human Research Facility-1.

Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov investigated how microgravity affects blood circulation in order to maintain crew health during long-term space missions. Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka set up hardware to observe a layer of the Earth’s upper atmosphere called the mesosphere at different wavelengths.

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