Astronauts Relax as Station Science Command Celebrates 20 Years
Five astronauts from the Expedition 64 crew are relaxing today after supporting a pair of spacewalks last week. The two cosmonauts from Roscosmos were on duty running science and maintaining systems in the International Space Station’s Russian segment.
NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins led both spacewalks to install modification kits to ready the orbital lab for newer, more powerful solar arrays being delivered on upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo missions. NASA Flight Engineer Victor Glover joined Rubins for the Feb. 28 spacewalk. Rubins completed the second spacewalk on March 5 with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The spacewalkers were supported last week by NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker. The duo also had time off today having helped with the spacesuit maintenance and spacewalk preparations.
Commander Sergey Ryzhikov stayed on duty Monday with Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Ryzhikov explored ways to maintain safe, sterile conditions when performing biology research on the station. Kud-Sverchkov checked on air and water systems in the station’s Zvezda and Zarya modules.
Over the weekend, ISS Program officials and flight controllers informed the crew that another spacewalk will be conducted on Saturday, March 13, to complete a variety of tasks that could not be completed on a series of previous excursions.
Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will venture outside the Quest airlock to vent and relocate ammonia jumper cables, install a structural “stiffener” on the airlock thermal cover, and complete the connection of payload cables on the new Bartolomeo platform on the Columbus module. Other tasks will include the replacement of a wireless communications antenna on the Unity module. The spacewalk is scheduled to last approximately six and a half hours.
Since March 8, 2001, Marshall Space Flight Center has provided 24/7 support to science operations on the Space Station.
The Payload Operations Integration Center, POIC, is the science command post for the International Space Station. Located at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., it is the focal point for American and international science activities aboard the Space Station.
The team at the POIC manages the operations of science and research experiments aboard the Station. This group of dedicated professionals coordinates the use of valuable on-orbit resources, orchestrates delivery and retrieval of payloads, ensures safety for Space Station crews while working with payloads, and configures complex systems aboard the Space Station to support payloads.
Other members of the Payload Operations Center team train astronauts, cosmonauts, and ground personnel on payloads, and coordinate the plans for payload activities with scientists and control centers around the world.
The Payload Operations Center’s unique capabilities allow science experts and researchers around the world to perform cutting-edge science in the unique microgravity environment of space.
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