Space Stations

NASA Space Station Status Report 19 January, 2023 – First Spacewalk of the Year

By SpaceRef Editor
Status Report
January 20, 2023
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NASA Space Station Status Report 19 January, 2023 – First Spacewalk of the Year
Astronaut Koichi Wakata wears virtual reality goggles for spacewalk training.

The first spacewalk of 2023 will begin on Friday to continue upgrading the International Space Station’s power generation system. The Expedition 68 crew members finalized preparations today for the excursion while continuing advanced space research and orbital lab maintenance.

Astronauts Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nicole Mann of NASA are due to spend about six-and-a-half hours working outside the station during a spacewalk on Friday. The two flight engineers will turn the batteries on inside their Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), or spacesuits, at 8:15 a.m. EST signifying the start of a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk. The duo will work on the far end of the station’s starboard truss structure in their EMUs and install a modification kit enabling the future installation of a roll-out solar array. NASA TV, on the agency’s app and website, will begin its live spacewalk coverage at 7 a.m.

Wakata and Mann were joined on Thursday by NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio for final spacewalk preparations. The two spacewalkers along with Rubio staged tools and hardware inside the Quest airlock during the morning. The trio then spent the afternoon reviewing spacewalk steps and procedures before readying the two spacesuits for operations.

NASA Flight Engineer Josh Cassada focused on science activities throughout Thursday conducting biology and physics research. Cassada began his day in the Kibo laboratory module setting up the Life Science Glovebox to observe biological samples and explore new ways to heal bone conditions on and off the Earth. In the afternoon, he moved over to the Destiny laboratory module exchanging samples inside the Materials Science Research Rack for a study exploring semiconductor crystal growth in space.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts kept up their schedule of ongoing microgravity research and lab upkeep on Thursday. Commander Sergey Prokopyev packed the ISS Progress 81 resupply ship with trash and discarded gear before more conducting more tests on a 3-D printer monitoring the device for excessive noise. Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin spent all day Thursday servicing life support hardware and electronics gear. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina began her day with a hearing assessment then checked radiation detectors before finally studying future spacecraft and robotic piloting techniques on a computer.

On-Orbit Status Report


Food Physiology: A diet briefing was conducted between the crew and the Principal Investigator team in support of the Food Physiology investigation. The Integrated Impact of Diet on Human Immune Response, the Gut Microbiota, and Nutritional Status During Adaptation to Spaceflight (Food Physiology) experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators. These factors are interlinked, but diet is the only one that can be easily and meaningfully altered on Earth or during flight. This investigation aims to document the effect of dietary improvements on human physiology and the ability of those improvements to enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

ISS Ham: The crew participated in an ISS Ham pass with Escola Secundária de Lagoa, Lagoa, Azores. Some of the questions asked by the students included the effect of microgravity on muscles, bones, and organs; what would happen if Earth had the same gravity as Mars; and if astronauts require a special diet. Since the earliest space station expeditions, ISS Ham Radio has allowed groups of students in schools, camps, museums, and planetariums to hold a conversation with the people living in space. As the ISS passes overhead, students have about nine minutes to ask crew members 10 to 20 questions.

Materials Science Research Rack/Materials Science Laboratory (MSRR/MSL): The crew gained access to the MSL furnace area, removed the processed Fabrication of Amorphous Metals in Space (FAMIS)-C2 Sample Cartridge Assembly (SCA) and installed the Growth of Ternary Compound Semiconductor-C3 (GTCS-C3) SCA. This will be the third attempt to process the GTCS-C3 SCA. The previous two attempts both experienced temperature control issues. GTCS grows semiconductor crystals based on zinc selenide (ZnSe) compounds in microgravity. ZnSe-based crystals have been potential applications for high-power lasers operating in infrared wavelengths. The investigation compares structural quality of crystals grown on Earth and in microgravity to establish how gravity-driven fluid flows contribute to formation of various types of crystalline defects.


USOS Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparation Activities: In preparation for the upcoming 1A ISS Roll-Out Solar Array (IROSA) Prep EVA scheduled for January 20th, the crew completed Pistol Grip Tool Battery Installation, Procedure Review/Conference, Tool Gather/Audit, and Equipment Lock (E-LK) Preparation. The main goal of this EVA is to route cables on two mod kits and install the 1A Mod Kit on the 1A Solar Array Wing (SAW) Mast Canister to prepare these SAWs for future IROSA installations.

On-orbit Hearing Assessment (OOHA) with KUDUwave Software Setup and Test: The crew performed a hearing test using an OOHA Headset and KUDUwave software. The assessment measures hearing function while crewmembers are exposed to noise and microgravity during long-duration spaceflight.

Completed Task List Activities:

  • N/A

Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

  • PRO FIR Deactivation Commanding
  • AL MDM Slot 9 Channel 2 Data Dump
  • PRO MSRR Activation Commanding
  • MT Translation

Look Ahead Plan

Friday, January 20 (GMT 020)

  • Plasma Kristall-4
  • Veg-05 Plant Check


  • 1A IROSA Prep EVA

Saturday, January 21 (GMT 021)

  • Veg-05 Plant Check


  • EVA Debrief for US EVA
  • EMU Water Recharge
  • EMU Helmet Light Inspection
  • EVA Air Lock Deconfiguration

Sunday, January 22 (GMT 022)

  • LSG Operations, Plasma Kristall-4, Veg-05 Plant Check


  • Crew Off Duty Day

Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

  • OOHA with Kuduwave Software Setup and Test
  • EVA Pistol Grip Tool Battery Installation, Procedure Review/Conference, Tool Configuring/Audit
  • HMS PHS Pre EVA Examination
  • Acoustic Monitor Data Transfer
  • SABL Hard Drive Swap
  • Food Physiology Crew Diet Briefing
  • VEG-05 Plant Check/Water
  • MSL SCA Exchange, Big Picture Words Review, and Procedure Review
  • E-LK Preparation
  • SSC 20 and 12 Swap
  • ISS HAM Columbus Pass Kenwood
  • ISS HAM Kenwood Radio Power Down in Columbus
  • ISS HAM Radio Power Down in Service Module

SpaceRef staff editor.