Historic record broken by cosmonaut as preparations for spacewalk and Starliner take place


An aurora swirls over the Indian Ocean in this photograph taken from the International Space Station as it orbits 266 miles above and due south of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 71 crew is busy preparing for impending spacewalks, setting space duration records, and unloading cargo, all while preparing for the upcoming launch of the Starliner spacecraft.

Space suits and eye checks filled the schedule for Tuesday, June 4, as the Expedition 71 crew prepares for a trio of spacewalks planned this month. THE International Space Station (ISS) also continued their laboratory research and maintenance tasks while unpacking a new cargo ship.

NASA Flight engineers Matthew Dominick and Mike Barratt began their morning inside the Quest airlock, preparing suits and equipment for upcoming spacewalks. The duo then joined fellow NASA astronauts Tracy C. Dyson and Jeanette Epps after lunchtime for a spacewalk conference with specialists on the ground. Subsequently, Dyson and Dominick teamed up to organize and configure a variety of spacewalk tools in Quest. NASA will announce details of the spacewalk and spacewalkers at an upcoming media advisory and press briefing.

Expedition 71 Flight Engineers (left to right) Jeanette Epps and Mike Barratt assist Expedition 71 Flight Engineer Tracy C. Dyson, the three NASA astronauts, during a flight check Spacesuit fit inside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Earlier, Epps fired up a pair of free Astrobee flying robots for an operational test. It also installed two Kubik research incubators inside the Columbus laboratory module. At the end of the day, Epps gathered in the Harmony module with Barratt and Dominick for eye checks using a medical imaging machine viewing the cornea, retina and optic nerve.

Station Commander and Roscosmos Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, on his fifth mission aboard the orbital outpost, has accumulated 1,000 days in microgravity as of June 4. The previous record holder was cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who held the record since September 11, 2017, when he landed on Earth to complete the expedition. 44 missions and earning 879 cumulative days in space.

Animation of Astrobees on the space station. Credit: NASA

Kononenko joined flight engineer Nikolai Chub on Tuesday and continued to unload some of the three tons of cargo packed inside the recently arrived Progress 88 freighter. Fellow cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin finished an experiment session and put away equipment that images Earth’s upper atmosphere in ultraviolet wavelengths. Subsequently, he studied how international crews and mission controllers can improve communications to inform crew training and ensure mission success.

NASA and Boeing teams confirmed Monday that the company’s Starliner spacecraft, United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket and ground support equipment are healthy and ready for the next launch attempt. launch. The first Starliner flight with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, known as NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test, is scheduled to take off at 10:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday June 5, head to the International Space Station for a stay of around a week aboard the microgravity laboratory.

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