The Expedition 36 crew is preparing for a Russian spacewalk scheduled for Friday at 10:40 a.m. EDT. The station residents also worked with middle school students competing in a satellite challenge.
Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin will exit the Pirs docking compartment for a 6.5 hour spacewalk to set up cables and install a materials experiment on the Russian side of the International Space Station.
The two cosmonauts outfitted their Russian Orlan spacesuits with spacewalk tools, lights and cameras and reviewed their upcoming procedures. They also tested their spacesuits’ telemetry systems sending signals to flight controllers at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev outside Moscow.
Meanwhile, Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Chris Cassidy paired up for the long-running SPHERES experiment/competition. From inside the Kibo laboratory, the astronauts set up the micro-satellites which utilized algorithms written by nine teams of middle school students. The student teams gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to compete against each other to control the micro-satellites simulating various tasks.
SPHERES is short for Synchronized, Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites. The bowling ball-sized satellites allow students to test their algorithms demonstrating maneuvers such as rendezvous, docking and formation flight for possible future space missions.
Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano worked throughout the day on station plumbing. The European astronaut was in the Tranquility node’s Waste and Hygiene Compartment replacing a pre-treat tank during the morning. In the afternoon, Parmitano reconfigured a Water Recovery System recycle tank.
Yurchikhin and Misurkin along with Commander Pavel Vinogradov also worked throughout the day on science and maintenance.
Vinogradov charged batteries for a photo spectral system and conducted more work with the Relaxation experiment. He later updated the space station’s inventory management system.
Before starting work with his spacesuit, Misurkin set up a bioreactor for manual mixing for the Cascade life sciences experiment. After the spacesuit work, he worked on various Russian maintenance systems.
Yurchkhin set up a portable repress tank before checking his spacesuit. He later changed out a pre-treat container that is part of the Russian environmental control and life support system.