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Axiom Ax-1 Departure and Spacewalk Preps Wrap Up Work Week on Space Station

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8, 2021. The orbital complex was flying 263 miles above the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean when this photograph was taken. Credit: NASA

The Expedition 67 crew is preparing for the first private astronaut mission’s departure and another spacewalk at the International Space Station. On Friday, there was still time onboard the orbiting lab for biomedical science to learn more about how the human body adapts to microgravity.

NASA’s station Commander Tom Marshburn spent some time on Friday assisting the four outgoing Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) crew members. The first private space quartet is getting ready to end a two-week stay at the station this weekend. Ax-1 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria will board the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour with Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe and close the hatch at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday. The four Ax-1 astronauts will then undock at 6:35 p.m. from the Harmony module’s space-facing port for splashdown on Sunday off the coast of Florida.

Full Quarter Moon Above the Gulf of Mexico

The Full Quarter Moon is pictured from the International Space Station as it orbited 261 miles above the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida on April 9, 2022. Credit: NASA

The next mission event planned at the station is the fifth spacewalk of the year for more maintenance and upgrades at the station. Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev will partner up once again on April 28 to continue activating the European robotic arm (ERA) attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module.

The duo joined their fellow cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov on Friday morning and reviewed the tasks planned for the upcoming spacewalk. That excursion will see the ERA’s first motion setting up the manipulator for future robotic activities on the station’s Russian segment. The trio then spent the rest of Friday on a variety of inspection and maintenance tasks.

Flight Engineers Kayla Barron of NASA and Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency) processed blood and urine samples during the morning for later analysis. NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari worked on life support gear then joined Marshburn for pre-departure activities inside the Dragon Endurance crew ship.

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