Staging NASA’s third spacewalk in 15 days, two astronauts floated outside the International Space Station Friday and installed a new high definition camera, replaced a degraded camera on a recently attached robot arm grapple fixture, finished lubricating the mechanism and carried out a variety of other “get-ahead” tasks.
Five days after work to replace the grapple fitting on one end of the space station’s robot arm, commander Randy Bresnik and flight engineer Mark Vande Hei ventured back outside the lab complex Tuesday to lubricate the new arm mechanism, to replace a degraded camera and to carry out a variety of lower-priority chores.
Returning home from more than a month in orbit, a SpaceX Dragon supply ship departed the International Space Station and parachuted into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday with nearly two tons of research specimens and hardware, including mice sent up to investigate how spaceflight affects eyesight and locomotion.
The International Space Station’s crew will enjoy views of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse during three successive orbits, giving the astronauts a unique opportunity to take in the celestial show from 250 miles up as the moon’s shadow races across from the Pacific Ocean and the continental United States before moving out over the Atlantic.
Three fresh crew members lifted off at 1541 GMT (11:41 a.m. EDT) Friday on a six-hour trip to the International Space Station, riding a Soyuz spaceship from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio hails from Russia, the United States and Italy and boosted the station’s crew back to a full complement of six. Docking occurred at 2154 GMT (5:54 p.m. EDT).
Launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Friday carrying three fresh crew members to the International Space Station will boost the lab’s crew back to six and, most important from NASA’s perspective, dramatically boost research with four crew members — three NASA astronauts and a veteran European flier — available to operate experiments in the American segment of the laboratory.