A U.S. resupply ship will wait at least one extra day to undock from the International Space Station while being packed with critical research samples for return to Earth. Meanwhile, two Expedition 66 cosmonauts are cleaning up following a spacewalk to activate a Russian docking module.
A forecast of inclement weather has caused a postponement of the departure of the SpaceX Cargo Dragon from the Harmony module‘s space-facing port from Friday to Saturday. Undocking is now targeted for Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10:40 a.m. EST. NASA TV coverage, on the NASA app and the agency’s website, will begin Saturday at 10:15 a.m.
The next weather briefing by SpaceX is planned for 12 p.m. Friday. If undocking occurs on Saturday, splashdown would be scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 23 around 4 p.m. The final splashdown site will be selected closer to deorbit and splashdown time.
Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineers Kayla Barron and Thomas Marshburn spent Thursday morning loading biology samples inside the Cargo Dragon for return and analysis on Earth. Barron also joined ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer transferring science freezers filled with more research samples into the U.S. resupply ship.
Life science moved right along throughout Thursday as Maurer and NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei continued studying how a long-term space mission affects an astronaut’s visual function. NASA astronaut Raja Chari collected his blood and urine samples for stowage in a science freezer and later analysis. Chari later worked on the Food Physiology human research study that is exploring how diet and nutrition affect a crew member’s health in space.
Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov called down to Russian mission controllers in the morning for a post-spacewalk conference. The duo activated the new Prichal docking module successfully integrating it with the orbiting lab’s Russian segment during Thursday’s seven-hour and 11-minute spacewalk. Vande Hei, who assisted the spacewalkers on Thursday, also joined the pair on Friday helping remove U.S. lights and cameras installed on the Orlan spacesuits.