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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid