News / USA

Astronauts Ready for Second Spacewalk to Repair Station

Expedition 38 crew member Rick Mastracchio (L) checks out the spacesuit that he will wear during a spacewalk with crew member Mike Hopkins, in the Quest airlock in the International Space Station in this undated image taken from video from NASA TV, Dec. 20, 2013.
Expedition 38 crew member Rick Mastracchio (L) checks out the spacesuit that he will wear during a spacewalk with crew member Mike Hopkins, in the Quest airlock in the International Space Station in this undated image taken from video from NASA TV, Dec. 20, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are planning a second and final spacewalk early Tuesday to fix the outpost's cooling system, a NASA official said.

NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins are expected to leave the station's Quest airlock to install a new ammonia pump, space station flight director Judd Frieling said during an interview on NASA Television on Monday.

During an initial spacewalk on Saturday, Mastracchio and Hopkins removed a failed pump, accomplishing about half the work planned for the second spacewalk. That prompted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to drop plans for a third spacewalk, provided that no problems occur on Tuesday.

“It's apparent now that we'll be able to get most of our critical objectives done tomorrow [Tuesday]," said Frieling.

  • Astronaut Mike Hopkins and Astronaut Rick Mastracchio replace a faulty pump on the International Space Station during a spacewalk, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • Astronauts Rick Mastracchio, top, and Michael Hopkins work to repair an external cooling line on the International Space Station, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • Astronaut Mike Hopkins is seen at the end of the robotic arm on the International Space Station during a spacewalk, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • Astronaut Mike Hopkins works outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • Astronauts Rick Mastracchio, top, and Michael Hopkins work to repair an external cooling line on the International Space Station, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is seen during the spacewalk, received December 22, 2013.
  • In this image made from video provided by NASA, astronaut Rick Mastracchio performs a space walk outside the International Space Station, Dec. 21, 2013. 
  • Astronaut Rick Mastracchio (L) checks out the spacesuit that he will wear during a spacewalk with crew member Mike Hopkins at the International Space Station in this undated image taken from video from NASA TV. 
  • Astronaut Mike Hopkins checks out the spacesuit he will be wearing on a spacewalk at the International Space Station, in this undated handout photo from NASA.
  • Flight engineers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio perform a series of spacewalks outside the International Space Station in this Dec. 21, 2013 still image taken from a NASA handout video.
  • Astronauts Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio perform a series of spacewalks outside the International Space Station in this Dec. 21, 2013 still image taken from a NASA handout video. 

One of two cooling systems on the U.S. side of the space station, a $100-billion project of 15 nations, shut down on December 11 due to a faulty valve. Engineers tried software patches to control the flow of ammonia, which is used to dissipate heat from equipment onboard the station and radiate it into space.

With time running short before the position of the sun causes complications, NASA managers decided to have astronauts replace the pump with one of three spares stored outside the permanently staffed research complex which flies about 250 miles (about 400 km) above Earth.

The spacewalks were the first since July when a spacesuit problem caused the helmet worn by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano to fill with water, a condition that could have caused him to drown.

Suspect components in the spacesuit were replaced. As a precaution, Mastracchio and Hopkins also outfitted their helmets with absorbent pads and makeshift snorkels that would allow them to draw air from the belly of their spacesuits if the helmet leaks reoccurred.

“The suits worked as expected,” Frieling said.

An unrelated suit problem, however, prompted NASA to delay the second spacewalk from Monday to Tuesday.

Mastracchio, a veteran of seven spacewalks, apparently accidentally hit a switch once he and Hopkins were back in the airlock on Saturday that allowed water to get inside his suit's sublimator, a device that regulates the suit's cooling system.

As a precaution, that spacesuit will be dried out for about a week, said Frieling.

Mastracchio and Hopkins used the extra day to piece together a new spacesuit from spare components aboard the station.

Also on Monday, station commander Oleg Kotov and flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy prepared for a Russian spacewalk slated for Friday. The cosmonauts plan to install two high-fidelity cameras on the Zvezda service module and replace several experiments mounted to the outside of the station.

On Monday, Kotov and Ryazanskiy put on their Russian spacesuits and went into the Russian Pirs airlock as part of a practice run.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid