Monday, December 21, 2015

Astronauts Repair Space Station During Surprise Spacewalk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - U.S. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra will undertake an unplanned spacewalk Monday morning to make repairs on the International Space Station before the arrival of a Russian Progress 62 spacecraft which successfully launched from Kazakhstan earlier today.

Last week, a Mobile Transporter rail car on the station’s truss was being moved by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control to a different worksite near the center of the truss for payload operations when it stopped moving.  

Kelly and Kopra will float out of the Quest airlock to assist in moving the Mobile Transporter a few inches to the proper worksite where it can be latched in place and electrically mated to the complex. 

The  3 to 3 ½ hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin Monday at 8:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The start time for the spacewalk is variable since Kopra will be conducting a fit check of his U.S. spacesuit in parallel with other spacewalk preparations. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. 

If the primary task of moving the transporter to its worksite is completed quickly, Kelly and Kopra may press on to a few get-ahead tasks that include the routing of cables in advance of International Docking Adapter installment work to support U.S. commercial crew vehicles, and opening a door housing power distribution system relay boxes just above the worksite to facilitate the future robotic replacement of modular components.

This will be the 191st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the third in Kelly’s career and the second for Kopra. Kelly will be designated Extravehicular Activity crew member 1 (EV1) wearing the suit bearing the red stripes, and Kopra will be Extravehicular Activity crew member 2 (EV2) wearing the suit with no stripes.

  Image Credit: NASA