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.
    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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora