Astronauts Prepare for Dual Spacewalks at the International Space Station

by Santiago Fernandez
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spacewalks

The astronauts and cosmonauts of Expedition 69 at the International Space Station (ISS) are gearing up for two upcoming spacewalks. NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen will be the first to embark on a mission to install a solar array, followed by cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, who will conduct maintenance and photographic inspections on the Roscosmos segment.

On Wednesday, June 14, the crew members of Expedition 69 were occupied with preparations for the two distinct spacewalks scheduled at the ISS. The initial spacewalk, slated for Thursday, June 15, will witness the collaborative efforts of NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen as they install an additional roll-out solar array. A week later, two cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin from Roscosmos, will replace hardware and perform photographic inspections.

Mission managers have given the green light for Thursday’s spacewalk, assigning NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen to the task. The duo will commence their second spacewalk together at 8:55 a.m., activating their spacesuits’ battery power. The objective of this spacewalk is to install a roll-out solar array on the starboard truss segment, opposite to the location where they installed the previous array on June 9. The live broadcast of the spacewalk will be available on NASA TV starting at 7:30 a.m. via the agency’s app and website.

In preparation for their spacewalk, Hoburg and Bowen spent Wednesday inside the Quest airlock, readying their spacesuits. After lunchtime, with the assistance of NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio, they organized their spacewalking tools and tethers within Quest. Subsequently, the three NASA astronauts joined Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi from the United Arab Emirates for a final review of the spacewalk procedures and the necessary robotics activities to support the solar array installation.

Meanwhile, two cosmonauts, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin, are also making preparations for their spacewalk on June 22. Their task will involve performing maintenance on the exterior of the Roscosmos segment of the orbital outpost. Throughout Wednesday, they gathered spacewalking hardware, tested support equipment, and configured their spacesuit components. Next Thursday, they will exit the Poisk airlock and spend approximately seven hours replacing communications and science hardware, as well as capturing photographs of the Zvezda service module’s condition.

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev began his day by working on life support maintenance tasks. He then activated and provided radiation sensors to Hoburg and Bowen, who will wear them on their spacesuits during Thursday’s spacewalk. Later, Fedyaev engaged in a treadmill exercise while ground specialists monitored his workout and hardware operations through real-time video.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about spacewalks

Q: What are the upcoming tasks for the astronauts and cosmonauts of Expedition 69 at the International Space Station?

A: The upcoming tasks for Expedition 69 include two spacewalks. The first spacewalk will be conducted by NASA astronauts Woody Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, who will install a roll-out solar array. The second spacewalk will be performed by cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, who will carry out maintenance and photographic inspections on the Roscosmos segment.

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