Russian Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Alexander Misurkin will conduct a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Monday. Credit: NASA TV
The Expedition 36 crew of the orbiting International Space Station closed out the week Friday with medical experiments and a suited "dry run" that sets the stage for a six-hour spacewalk slated for Monday.
Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin climbed into their Russian Orlan spacesuits and conducted a "dry run" exercise in preparation for Monday's spacewalk outside the Russian segment of the space station. The "dry run" marked the final test of the Orlan systems, as the two cosmonauts tested the comfort levels inside the spacesuits and their mobility inside the Pirs docking compartment airlock.
Yurchikhin and Misurkin are scheduled to open the Pirs hatch at 9:35 a.m. EDT Monday to begin the planned six-hour excursion. During the spacewalk the two cosmonauts will replace a fluid flow control valve panel on the Zarya module, test Kurs automated docking cables for the arrival of a new Russian laboratory module later this year and install clamps to later hold cables bringing power from the U.S. segment of the station to that new Russian module. The two spacewalkers are also slated to install handholds for future spacewalk activities and retrieve experiments from the hull of the Zvezda service module.
› Watch interview with Lawrence Thomas, Expedition 36 EVA Manager
This will be the sixth spacewalk for Yurchikhin who will be wearing the Orlan suit with red stripes, while Misurkin will wear the blue-striped suit for the first spacewalk of his career. It will be the 169th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance and the third outside the station so far this year.
NASA Television coverage of Monday's spacewalk begins at 9 a.m.
› Watch NASA TV
Inside the Kibo laboratory of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the six Expedition 36 crew members position themselves for a videotaped tribute to cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who on June 16 marked the 50th anniversary of her 1963 launch aboard the Soviet Vostok-6 spacecraft. Credit: NASA
Commander Pavel Vinogradov assisted Misurkin and Yurchikhin with the "dry run" and then moved on to an inspection of the windows of Zvezda, photographing any defects he found.
Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency began their workday shortly after the crew's usual 2 a.m. reveille, drawing blood samples for the Human Research Facility to track their adaptation to the weightless environment of the station. Parmitano processed the blood samples and stored them in the Minus Eighty-degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS, or MELFI, to preserve them for later analysis on Earth.
Nyberg spent part of her morning working with an experiment facility known as the DEvice for the study of Critical LIquids and Crystallization, or DELIC, designed to study the phase transitions of transparent substances in microgravity. Nyberg installed the High Temperature Insert portion of DELIC, which will study water near its critical point. Results from this experiment could have benefits for fluid management and organic waste treatment for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit. DELIC also will enable the development of supercritical water reactors to treat waste here on Earth and will lead to spin-off technology in the field of clean technologies for producing energy and treating waste.
› Read more about DELIC-HTI
Nyberg also performed an engineering checkout of the Optical Coherence Tomography hardware, which will be used for future eye exams. This technology will provide the ability to collect high-resolution images of structures within the eye.
Parmitano completed his session with Biological Rhythms 48hrs, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency study of the circadian variation of astronauts' cardiac function during spaceflight using a small digital electrocardiograph. Parmitano downloaded data from the medical monitors he wore for the past 48 hours as well as data recorded last week from Nyberg's session with the experiment.
› Read more about Biological Rhythms 48hrs
Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy mixed three slow growth sample modules for an upcoming run of the Binary Colloid Alloy Test-C1 experiment, which takes a look at colloids - microscopic particles suspended in a liquid. Results from this experiment may lead to improvements in the shelf-life of household products, food and medicine.
› Read more about Binary Colloid Alloy Test-C1
Cassidy later set up and tested a camera in the Quest airlock in advance of a spacewalk that he and Parmitano will conduct in July.
Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano plays a keyboard instrument in the Unity node during some of his off-duty time aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
Over the weekend, the station's onboard crew will have an opportunity to relax and speak with family members back on Earth. The station's residents will also take care of weekly housekeeping chores and continue their daily 2 ½-hour exercise regimen to prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone density that occurs during long-duration spaceflight.
On Sunday, the crew will complete some final spacewalk preparations. Misurkin and Yurchikhin will conduct a final procedure review for their excursion and complete the preparation of spacewalking tools and equipment. Vinogradov meanwhile will close the hatch to the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle-4, which arrived at the orbiting complex Saturday. The hatch will be reopened on Tuesday to allow the crew to continuing unloading the space freighter's 7.3 tons of cargo.