International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough, KE5HOD, will take one more spacewalk on March 30 before he heads back to Earth in a Soyuz MS-02 vehicle on April 10, joined by crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko. The spacewalks are aimed at preparing the station for the future arrival of US commercial crew spacecraft and upgrading station hardware.
On March 26, Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet, KG5FYG, of the European Space Agency, wrapped up a 6.5-hour spacewalk, during which, among other things, they successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 in preparation for moving it robotically from the Tranquility module. The PMA-3 provides the pressurized interface between the station modules and the International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings.
Kimbrough will join Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson, ex-KC5ZTD, for the final spacewalk of his mission on March 30. Among other tasks, they will reconnect cables and electrical connections on the PMA-3 at its new home atop the Harmony module.
On April 6, Whitson and Pesquet will head outside the station to replace some hardware. Kimbrough’s two spacewalks mark the fifth and sixth of his career, while Whitson will be making the eighth and ninth spacewalks of hers — more than any other female astronaut. Pesquet will undertake the second and third spacewalks in his career.
The March and early April spacewalks will be the 198th, 199th and 200th in support of space station assembly and maintenance.
Expedition 50/51 crew members Jack Fischer, K2FSH, and Fyodor Yurchikhin, RN3FI, will launch to the ISS on April 30 from Kazakhstan. They’ll join Pesquet, Whitson, and Oleg Novitskiy. Pesquet will head home later this spring.
Visit the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) website for more information on ham radio in space.