The space station crew prepares for a space launch as SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon launch nears

On November 17, 2022, Roskosmos cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitriy Pyatelin made a six-hour, 25-minute spacewalk in Orlan spacesuits to transfer a radiator from the Dawn module to the multipurpose science laboratory module for future installation. The duo is pictured tethered to the Dawn module, with the Soyuz MS-22 crew craft docked above. Credit: NASA

At the International Space Station on Monday, Nov. 21, the Expedition 68 crew continued to prepare for more spacewalks before the end of the year. Meanwhile, a US cargo ship is counting down to this week’s launch to replenish the seven-person crew currently living aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Two astronauts and two astronauts are preparing for five spacewalks outside the space station in less than two months. One set of spacewalks consists of tasks required to augment the station’s power generation system. In another set of spacewalks, crew members will deploy a heatsink and install an airlock on the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module.

During a spacewalk November 15 of this year[{” 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. The space station crew prepares for a space launch as SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon launch nears

Back to top button