Monday, February 26

Spacewalk Preparations and Science Work on Space Station Before SpaceX Dragon Launch 2023

NASA astronauts on the International Space Station are preparing for a June 9 spacewalk to install new solar arrays while performing health and scientific experiments.

The solar array-carrying SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle may be delayed by weather at Kennedy Space Center.

A cargo-laden U.S. resupply ship is counting down before takeoff to restock orbiting outpost occupants.

NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg will install one of two roll-out solar panels on the space station’s starboard-side truss structure on June 9.

In the Quest airlock, the pair configured spacesuits and spacewalk gear on Friday morning. Hoburg checked his EMU with NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio in the afternoon.

The International Space Station’s Expedition 69 ended the week with spacesuits and science.

The crew continued microgravity studies to enhance Earth and space health. To study how spaceflight impacts cellular immunological activities, Bowen centrifuged and froze blood samples.

The Cardiobreath astronaut health research monitored Sultan Alneyadi’s respiration and blood pressure while he pedaled. Rubio replaced protein crystal samples in the Kibo laboratory module for a space biochemistry investigation.

On Friday, Roscosmos Flight Engineers Dmitri Petelin and Andrey Fedyaev conducted a human digestive study in microgravity. Commander Sergey Prokopyev explored how electrical charges combine with electrons, ions, and neutral gases to form plasma crystals.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo ship will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:35 p.m. EDT on Saturday with two new roll-out solar panels in its unpressurized trunk. Mission management polled the station and Dragon crews on Thursday and reported all systems go for launch to the orbiting lab.

Weather experts predicted periodic thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday, making launch conditions 70% no-go.

Dragon’s automatic rendezvous and docking to Harmony’s space-facing port is set for 5:36 a.m. Monday. Two days later, Canadarm2 will remove Dragon’s roll-out solar panels from its trunk and place them on a pallet attached to the starboard truss. The two spacewalkers can then retrieve and install the solar panels.

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