Astronauts Make Quick Work of Short Spacewalk

Spacewalkers Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
Spacewalkers Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra work to move stalled robotic transporter before moving on to “get-ahead” tasks. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra ended their spacewalk at 11:01 a.m. EST with the repressurization of the U.S. Quest airlock after accomplishing all objectives. They released brake handles on crew equipment carts on either side of the space station’s mobile transporter rail car so it could be latched in place ahead of Wednesday’s docking of a Russian cargo resupply spacecraft. The ISS Progress 62 resupply mission launched at 3:44 a.m. EST this morning (2:44 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

After quickly completing their primary objective for the spacewalk, Kelly and Kopra tackled several get-ahead tasks. Kelly routed a second pair of cables in preparation for International Docking Adapter installment work to support U.S. commercial crew vehicles, continuing work he began during a November spacewalk. Kopra routed an Ethernet cable that ultimately will connect to a Russian laboratory module. They also retrieved tools that had been in a toolbox on the outside of the station, so they can be used for future work.

The three-hour and 16-minute spacewalk was the third for Kelly, who is nine months into a yearlong mission and the second for Kopra, who arrived to the station Dec. 15. It was the 191st in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Crew members have now spent a total of 1,195 hours and 20 minutes working outside the orbital laboratory.

Stay up-to-date on the latest ISS news at: www.nasa.gov/station.

Astronauts Embark on 191st Station Spacewalk

Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
Spacewalkers Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:45 a.m. EST, signifying the start of today’s spacewalk, planned for about three hours.

Kelly is wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and is designated EV1. His helmet camera displays the number 18. Kopra is wearing a spacesuit with no stripes and is designated EV2. His helmet camera displays the number 17.

The astronauts are embarking on the 191st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance to move the space station’s mobile transporter rail car a few inches from its stalled position so it can be latched in place ahead of Wednesday’s docking of a Russian cargo resupply spacecraft.

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.

NASA Television is broadcasting the spacewalk at www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Follow @Space_Station and #spacewalk on Twitter to join the conversation online.

Station Managers “GO” For Monday Morning Spacewalk

NASA Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra will conduct a spacewalk Monday morning. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station Mission Management Team met Sunday and gave its approval to proceed with a spacewalk Monday out of the Quest airlock by Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA to assist in moving the Mobile Transporter rail car a few inches to a worksite on the station’s truss where it can be latched in place and electrically mated to the complex. The green light for the unplanned spacewalk to take place Monday came three days after the Mobile Transporter stalled just four inches away from its embarkation point at worksite 4 near the center of the station’s truss as it began to move to another worksite to support robotic payload operations with its attached Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (Dextre).

Station managers ordered the spacewalk to latch down the transporter as a cautionary measure in advance of the scheduled docking of the new unpiloted ISS Progress 62 cargo ship on Wednesday that will link up to the Pirs Docking Compartment. The Progress is on track for launch from the Site 31 launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Monday at 2:44 a.m. Central time (2:44 p.m. Baikonur time).

The planned 3 to 3 ½ hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin Monday at 7:10 a.m. Central 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 5:30 a.m. Central time.

Kelly, who will be making his third spacewalk, will be extravehicular crew member 1 (EV 1) wearing the U.S. spacesuit bearing the red stripes. Kopra, who arrived on the station on Dec. 15, will be making the second spacewalk of his career as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV 2) wearing the suit with no stripes. It will be the 191st spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance and the seventh spacewalk of the year by station crew members.

Kelly and Kopra will float out of the Quest airlock to the area where the Mobile Transporter has stalled to check out the position of its brake handles and other mechanisms to make sure the rail car can be commanded to move back to worksite 4 by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston. It is suspected that a brake handle on an equipment cart attached to the starboard side of the transporter may have inadvertently engaged, which if correct, should easily be released to allow for the transporter to be moved into place for its latching.

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.

Unscheduled Spacewalk Likely on Monday

STS-119 Spacewalk March 2009
NASA Astronaut Joe Acaba, in the broken red striped spacesuit, and Astronaut Ricky Arnold, in the white striped suit, work to relocate Crew and Equipment Translation Aid (CETA) near the Mobile Transporter (MT) during an STS-119 spacewalk in March 2009.

The International Space Station’s mission managers are preparing for a likely unplanned spacewalk by Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra no earlier than Monday, Dec. 21.

Late Wednesday, the Mobile Transporter rail car on the station’s truss was being moved by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston, to a different worksite near the center of the truss for payload operations when it stopped moving. The cause of the stall is being evaluated, but experts believe it may be related to a stuck brake handle, said ISS Mission Integration and Operations Manager Kenny Todd. Flight controllers had planned to move the transporter away from the center of the truss to worksite 2. The cause of the stall that halted its movement just four inches (10 centimeters) away from where it began is still being evaluated. Progress 62 is scheduled to launch at 3:44 a.m. EST Monday, and dock on Wednesday to the Pirs docking compartment at 5:31 a.m. Wednesday.

The ISS Mission Management Team met Friday morning and is targeting Monday for the spacewalk, but will meet again in a readiness review Sunday morning. Managers could elect to press ahead for Monday, or take an extra day and conduct the spacewalk Tuesday.

ISS Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA will conduct the spacewalk. It 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.

A start time for the spacewalk either Monday or Tuesday has not yet been set, but NASA TV coverage will begin 90 minutes prior to the start of the spacewalk.

 

Crew Checks Eyes and Works on International Spacewalk Gear

Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly
One-Year crew members Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly talk to reporters on Earth Tuesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

The Expedition 45 crew kicked off Tuesday with a wide variety of science exploring how living in space affects humans. The orbital laboratory residents also worked on U.S. and Russian spacewalking gear.

Astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui participated throughout the day on Ocular Health studies. The trio subjected themselves to eye exams so scientists can understand microgravity’s effect on crew vision.

The three veteran International Space Station cosmonauts conducted their set of Russian space research and lab maintenance activities. One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko studied space digestion while Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko explored how international crews work together on long duration missions. Sergey Volkov, a three-time station resident, worked on repairs inside the Zvezda service module.

Kelly and Lindgren were back inside the U.S. Quest airlock putting away tools and cleaning up after a pair of spacewalks in October and November. Volkov and Kononenko were in the Russian segment checking Orlan spacesuits for leaks ahead of a planned spacewalk in 2016.

Astronauts Look Ahead to Next Cygnus Cargo Mission

Astronauts Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren
Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui (left) and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren celebrated 100 days in space on Oct. 30.

A trio of astronauts are still cleaning up after last week’s spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The cosmonauts are working on their suite of advanced space science and maintenance tasks. Also, the crew is preparing for the launch of the next Orbital ATK commercial cargo mission targeted for Dec. 3.

Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui joined NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren for the post-spacewalk cleanup work in the U.S. Quest airlock. The team stowed their spacewalk tools and hardware and scrubbed cooling loops in the U.S. spacesuits.

Kelly and Yui also partnered together to ready the station for the arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft. The duo reviewed installation procedures for the Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System scheduled to be delivered aboard the Cygnus.

In the Russian segment of the station, three veteran cosmonauts were busy researching a wide variety of subjects and working on Russian station systems. Oleg Kononenko looked at how microgravity affects a crew member’s spacecraft piloting skills. Sergey Volkov explored how vibrations on the station affect experiment results. One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko stowed gear inside an outgoing Progress craft for disposal.

Spacewalkers Relax Monday as Cosmonauts Explore Science

The Expedition 45 Crew
The Expedition 45 crew gathers inside the Destiny laboratory to celebrate the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren cleaned up the International Space Station’s Quest airlock over the weekend after completing two spacewalks over nine days. The rest of the Expedition 45 crew started the work week with a series of ongoing science experiments to improve life on Earth and for future crews.

One-Year crew member Mikhail Kornienko explored his fine motor skills and studied cardiac bioelectric activity at rest. Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov researched remotely controlling a rover on Earth from the station and worked with fellow cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko on maintenance inside the Zvezda service module. Kononenko also researched the electromagnetic state of the space station and the Earth’s ionosphere.

Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui who assisted Kelly and Lindgren during their two spacewalks took some time off and relaxed Monday with the duo. However, the trio had their daily workouts and collected blood samples for stowage in a science freezer. Kelly also joined Kornienko for interviews with ABC’s “The View” and ITV News.

Pair of NASA Astronauts Wrap Up Second Spacewalk

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren
Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren translate along the port truss structure back to the Quest airlock after completing cooling system servicing work. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren ended their spacewalk at 2:10 p.m. EST with the repressurization of the U.S. Quest airlock. The astronauts restored the port truss (P6) ammonia cooling system to its original configuration, the main task for today’s spacewalk. They also returned ammonia to the desired levels in both the prime and back-up systems.

In a minor departure from the planned tasks, the astronauts ran out of time to cinch and cover a spare radiator known as the Trailing Thermal Control Radiator. The radiator, which Lindgren retracted earlier in the spacewalk, was fully redeployed and locked into place in a dormant state.

The radiator had been deployed during a November 2012 spacewalk by astronauts Sunita Williams and Aki Hoshide as they tried to isolate a leak in the truss’ cooling supply by re-plumbing the system to the backup radiator. The leak persisted and was subsequently traced to a different component that was replaced during a spacewalk in May 2013.

The 7 hour and 48 minute spacewalk was the second for both astronauts, and the 190th in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Crew members have now spent a total of 1,192 hours and 4 minutes working outside the orbital laboratory.

Stay up-to-date on the latest ISS news at: www.nasa.gov/station

Spacewalkers Moving Ahead With Cooling System Work

Spacewalker Scott Kelly
Spacewalker Scott Kelly works on cables in the P6 truss structure to restore its cooling system back to its original configuration. Credit: NASA TV

Approximately 3.5 hours into today’s spacewalk, astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly have completed the first of several steps to restore the port truss (P6) ammonia cooling system to its original configuration.

Kelly and Lindgren have returned ammonia to the desired levels in both the prime and back-up systems.

Watch the spacewalk on NASA Television at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

Follow @Space_Station and #spacewalk on Twitter to join the conversation online.

Astronauts Begin Second Spacewalk to Finish Cooling System Repairs

Station, Earth and Milky Way
Astronaut Scott Kelly posted this photo to Twitter on August 9, 2015 with the caption, “Day 135. #MilkyWay. You’re old, dusty, gassy and warped. But beautiful. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace”.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren switched their spacesuits to battery power at 6:22 a.m. EST, signifying the start of today’s spacewalk, planned for 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Lindgren is wearing a spacesuit with red stripes and is designated EV1. His helmet camera displays the number 17. Kelly is wearing a spacesuit with no stripes and is designated EV2. His helmet camera displays the number 18.

The astronauts are embarking on the 190th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance to restore the port truss ammonia cooling system to its original configuration following a leak detection exercise three years ago that ultimately resulted in the replacement of an ammonia pump on the station’s truss.

NASA Television is broadcasting the spacewalk at www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Follow @Space_Station and #spacewalk on Twitter to join the conversation online.