Crew in Final Spacewalk Preps, Studies Plants and Worms

Crew in Final Spacewalk Preps, Studies Plants and Worms

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured during a spacewalk in September of 2016 working on solar array maintenance.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured during a spacewalk in September of 2016 working on solar array maintenance.

The Expedition 64 crew is in final preparations for Sunday’s spacewalk to ready the International Space Station for new solar arrays. The orbital residents are also tending to plants and observing worms to continue learning how space affects biology.

NASA Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will set their U.S. spacesuits to battery power on Sunday at around 6 a.m. EST signifying the start of the year’s third spacewalk. The duo will exit the station and spend about six-and-a-half hours upgrading power channels that will support new solar arrays to be delivered on upcoming SpaceX Dragon cargo missions. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage at 4:30 a.m.

Rubins and Glover organized their spacewalk tools, checked their spacesuit tethers, and readied the U.S. Quest airlock today. On Saturday, they will finalize their preparations with assistance from Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi and hold a conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control.

Friday’s research activities included watering plants and more worm observations. Noguchi refilled a water chamber then photographed the fast-growing, aroma-rich plants used for traditional medicine and food flavoring. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker set up a microscope that Hopkins would use during the afternoon to observe worms for a gene expression and muscle strength study.

The crew’s two cosmonauts focused their activities in the Russian segment of the orbital lab today. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov worked on batteries and cameras. Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov had a fitness test on the Zvezda service module’s treadmill then serviced a variety of Russian science gear.

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Mark Garcia

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