Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spacewalk Ends With Successful Upgrades to the International Space Station's Russian Segment

Spacewalk Ends With Successful Upgrades to the International Space Station's Russian Segment: "

Spacewalkers Drew Feustel and Mike Fincke surged ahead of schedule early Wednesday as they outfitted the Russian segment of the International Space Station with an anchor for the orbiting science laboratory’s Canadian robot arm and a backup source of electrical power from the U. S. operating segment.

The two members of the shuttle Endeavour crew prepared to re-enter the station’s airlock shortly after 8 a.m. EDT, after tackling the last of their tasks, the photography of several recently installed external experiments and an insulation repair.

blog post photo

Spacewalker Mike Fincke, center left, makes his way back to the International Space Station airlock. Photo Credit/NASA TV

“It’s been a great EVA (extra-vehicular activity),” said Mission Control communicator Steve Swanson

Feustel and Fincke spent much of the 6 ½ hour excursion working at the junction of the station’s U. S. and Russian segments The outing, the third of four mission excursions, went smoothly with the exception of an uncomfortable couple of minutes for Feustel.

“My right eye is stinging like crazy,” he said as the spacewalk was drawing to a close. “Wow.” The discomfort passed within two minutes, and soon Feustel and Fincke were back to re-stowing tools at the airlock.

The new power and data grapple fixture they installed on the Zarya module will serve as a Russian segment anchor for the 58-foot-long robot arm. The mechanical limb is frequently used during spacewalks to hoist and re-position astronauts as well as tools and equipment.

Next, the two men divided their time between a task that was interrupted during last Friday’s spacewalk by Feustel and Greg Chamitoff and the stringing of power jumper cables between the U.S. and Russian segments.

The first of those tasks was the installation of a wireless communication antenna outside the U.S. Destiny lab module that will permit astronauts inside the station to receive data from and issue commands to external science experiments. The initial installation was interrupted when a carbon dioxide sensor in Chamitoff’s suit was overcome by moisture.

The second task adds assurance the Russian segment, with its living quarters for three crew, docking ports for Soyuz crew and Progress cargo capsules and research volume, has a backup source of solar power.

Endeavour docked with the space station on May 18, two days after the six-member crew lifted off on a 16-day mission with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and external spare parts. The mission’s final spacewalk is set for late Thursday and early Friday.

Fincke and Chamitoff plan to mount brackets on the station’s solar power truss to secure Endeavour’s Orbiter Boom Sensor System. The 50-foot long, camera- and laser-tipped boom is normally used to inspect the heat shielding of the shuttle’s wings and nose cap for damage after launchings and prior to re-entry.

As Endeavour’s final flight draws to a close, the shuttle crew will leave the OBSS on the station, where it will provide an extension for the robot arm. Spacewalking astronauts positioned on the tip of the OBSS extension will be able to reach areas of the outstretched solar arrays that would otherwise be inaccessible for repairs.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...