Astronauts Prepare for Sequential Extravehicular Activities: Collecting Microbial Samples and Conducting Hardware Repairs

by Tatsuya Nakamura
extravehicular activities

Astronauts Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Loral O’Hara of NASA are seen donning their extravehicular mobility units and inspecting the suit elements within the International Space Station’s Quest airlock, as they get ready for a forthcoming extravehicular activity. Credit: NASA

The primary focus of the Expedition 70 team aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, October 6, was on preparations for upcoming extravehicular activities. NASA administrators provided an overview at the week’s end of the planned activities, which include the astronauts departing from the orbital facility to gather microbial samples and to carry out maintenance on various pieces of equipment.

Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara from NASA and Station Commander Andreas Mogensen from ESA are slated to leave the ISS on October 12 for an extravehicular activity expected to last six hours. They will employ specialized instruments to swab the external surfaces of the space station to collect microbial specimens for scientific analysis. The samples will undergo examination to ascertain the species of microorganisms that can withstand the conditions of outer space.

The animated briefing concerning the extravehicular activity scheduled for October 12 elaborates that astronauts Loral O’Hara of NASA and Andy Mogensen of ESA will depart from the Quest airlock of the space station. They are tasked with collecting microbial samples from the station’s exterior for subsequent analysis. In addition, they will replace a high-definition camera situated on the port truss and perform other upkeep tasks in anticipation of future extravehicular activities. Credit: NASA

Joining O’Hara and Mogensen on Friday were astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA and Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Together, the four astronauts liaised with ground-based experts and went over the procedures for the imminent extravehicular activity. The team also reviewed the robotic operations that will be integral to the microbe-collecting mission. During the extravehicular activity, Moghbeli and Furukawa are assigned to operate the Canadarm2 robotic arm, oversee the spacewalking astronauts, and assist them in donning and doffing their spacesuits.

An animated briefing for the extravehicular activity planned for October 20 outlines that NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli will engage in a roughly six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. They are responsible for disassembling a malfunctioning electronics compartment, known as a Radio Frequency Group, from a communications antenna located on the starboard truss. They will also replace one among twelve Trundle Bearing Assemblies on the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint situated on the port truss. Credit: NASA

NASA administrators featured the forthcoming extravehicular activities during a NASA TV broadcast on Friday, and also spotlighted a second extravehicular activity slated for October 20. During this, O’Hara and Moghbeli will commit to another excursion into the vacuum of space to remove defective radio communication equipment and to set up new components for the solar arrays.

On the Russian side of the ISS, the trio of cosmonauts representing Roscosmos focused on scientific research and orbital facility maintenance. Veteran Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko engaged in the setup of Earth-monitoring equipment during the morning hours and devoted the remainder of his day to electronics and communications setup. Nikolai Chub performed cleaning tasks on the ventilation systems in the Zvezda service module and also conducted studies on piloting techniques for future spacecraft. Konstantin Borisov took photographs of terrestrial forests to document both natural and human-induced alterations and concluded his workday by inspecting the docking port elements on Zvezda.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about extravehicular activities

What is the main focus of the Expedition 70 team aboard the ISS on October 6?

The primary focus for the Expedition 70 team aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on October 6 was the preparation for upcoming extravehicular activities. These activities are planned to include microbial sample collection and hardware maintenance.

Who are the astronauts participating in the October 12 spacewalk?

Flight Engineer Loral O’Hara from NASA and Station Commander Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency (ESA) are scheduled to participate in the spacewalk on October 12. They will exit the ISS for an extravehicular activity expected to last approximately six hours.

What specific tasks will the astronauts perform during the October 12 spacewalk?

During the October 12 spacewalk, the astronauts will use specialized instruments to swab the external surfaces of the space station. They will collect microbial samples for scientific analysis to determine the types of microorganisms that can survive in outer space.

What is the role of astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Satoshi Furukawa?

Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA and Satoshi Furukawa of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are responsible for operating the Canadarm2 robotic arm during the spacewalk. They will also monitor the spacewalking astronauts and assist them in putting on and taking off their spacesuits.

Is there a second spacewalk planned?

Yes, a second extravehicular activity is planned for October 20. NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara and Jasmin Moghbeli will participate in this spacewalk, which will last approximately six-and-a-half hours. They will remove a malfunctioning electronics box, called a Radio Frequency Group, and replace one of the Trundle Bearing Assemblies on the port truss Solar Alpha Rotary Joint.

What activities are the Roscosmos cosmonauts engaged in?

The Russian cosmonauts representing Roscosmos are focused on scientific research and the maintenance of the orbital facility. This includes Earth observation hardware setup, electronics and communications configuration, and studies related to future piloting techniques for spacecraft.

Who are the astronauts and cosmonauts mentioned in the article?

The article mentions astronauts Loral O’Hara, Andreas Mogensen, Jasmin Moghbeli, and Satoshi Furukawa. It also mentions Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and Konstantin Borisov.

More about extravehicular activities

  • NASA’s Official Spacewalk Overview
  • European Space Agency’s Mission Updates
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s ISS Activities
  • Roscosmos’ Research and Mission Information
  • Canadarm2 Robotic Arm Operations
  • Microbial Research in Outer Space
  • International Space Station Hardware Maintenance
  • Extravehicular Activities: A Historical Perspective

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JohnDoe October 7, 2023 - 8:21 pm

Wow, this is really packed with info. Didn’t know spacewalks were so multi-faceted. Kudos to the astronauts and all the teams involved.

FutureAstronaut October 7, 2023 - 9:51 pm

Andreas and Loral are gonna have a busy day up there. Can’t wait for the live feed of the spacewalk!

CosmoNut October 7, 2023 - 11:16 pm

What about the Russians? would like to know more bout what they’re up to, apart from maintenance and Earth observations.

ScienceGeek101 October 8, 2023 - 4:29 am

its impressive how much planning goes into these activities. the astronauts are like construction workers, scientists, and explorers all rolled into one!

CuriousReader October 8, 2023 - 4:34 am

Are they actually gonna find any microbes in space? Would be groundbreaking if they do, I reckon.

TechEnthusiast October 8, 2023 - 4:49 am

So the Canadarm2 is still kicking, huh? I remember when that tech was first introduced, seems like its still very relevant.


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