Expedition 69 Astronauts Embark on a Solar Exploration in Space

by Klaus Müller
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As part of their ongoing mission, NASA astronauts from Expedition 69 are gearing up for an exciting spacewalk to install a new solar array on the International Space Station (ISS). Preparations included computer-simulated robotic training sessions and regular maintenance tasks to ensure the station’s optimal performance and the astronauts’ well-being.

The upcoming spacewalk on Thursday, June 15, will involve NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg. This will be their second spacewalk together, starting at 8:55 a.m. EDT. Their objective is to install the sixth roll-out solar array on the starboard truss segment, opposite the location where they installed the fifth roll-out solar array on June 9. NASA TV will broadcast the spacewalk live, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the agency’s app and website.

In preparation for the spacewalk, Bowen and Hoburg engaged in computer-based robotics training alongside fellow astronauts Frank Rubio of NASA and Sultan Alneyadi of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The training focused on the simulated maneuvers of the Canadarm2 robotic arm, essential for supporting Bowen and Hoburg in their solar array installation. Additionally, the spacewalkers organized their tools, printed checklists for easy reference, and reviewed spacewalk procedures on their computers.

Later in the day, the four astronauts underwent eye checks, with Bowen and Hoburg examining Rubio and Alneyadi’s eyes using standard medical imaging equipment. This routine examination was followed by Rubio and Alneyadi’s tasks involving exercise equipment and orbital plumbing hardware maintenance.

Meanwhile, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin spent the entire day preparing for their upcoming spacewalk on Thursday, June 22. Their preparations included studying procedures and locating the necessary tools for their mission outside the ISS’s Poisk airlock. During their spacewalk, Prokopyev and Petelin will replace communications and science hardware, as well as capture photographs of the Zvezda service module to assess its condition.

Another crew member, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev, dedicated his time to maintaining Zvezda’s Elektron oxygen generator and replacing smoke detectors in the Nauka science module. Towards the end of the day, Fedyaev engaged in a workout session using the advanced resistive exercise device, with ground specialists closely monitoring his form and the equipment’s operations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about spacewalks

What is the purpose of the spacewalks conducted by Expedition 69 astronauts?

The purpose of the spacewalks conducted by Expedition 69 astronauts is to install new solar arrays on the International Space Station (ISS) and perform hardware replacement and module inspection tasks.

When are the spacewalks scheduled to take place?

The spacewalks are scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 15, and Thursday, June 22.

Who are the astronauts involved in the spacewalks?

For the spacewalk on June 15, NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg will be conducting the installation of the solar arrays. For the spacewalk on June 22, Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, both cosmonauts from Roscosmos, will be performing hardware replacement and module inspection tasks.

How can I watch the live broadcast of the spacewalks?

The live broadcast of the spacewalks can be watched on NASA TV, starting at 7:30 a.m. EDT on the agency’s app and website.

What other activities are the astronauts engaged in besides the spacewalks?

In addition to the spacewalks, the astronauts are also involved in regular maintenance tasks, health check-ups, simulated robotic training sessions, eye checks, and equipment servicing.

What is the objective of installing the solar arrays?

The installation of the new solar arrays aims to enhance the power generation capabilities of the International Space Station and support its ongoing operations and scientific research endeavors.

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