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Things are about to get messy aboard the International Space Station, the first in a series of year-end spacewalks that began Tuesday morning.
First-timers and NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio began a tour of the space station’s exterior live at 9:14 a.m. ET. NASA website. The event is expected to last about seven hours.
Cashier is wearing a red-striped space suit as crew member 1, while Rubio is in an unmarked suit as crew member 2.
Astronauts will assemble the mounting bracket on the starboard side of the space station’s truss. Equipment to be installed during the spacewalk was delivered to the space station on November 9 aboard Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, which safely delivered its cargo. despite the fact that only one of the two solar arrays was activated after commissioning.
The equipment will allow the installation of more diffuse solar arrays, called iROSA, to power the space station. The first two launch solar arrays were installed outside the station in June 2021. A total of six iROSAs are planned and will likely increase the space station’s power output more than once. 30% are all in working order.
during Two more spacewalks on Nov. 28 and Dec. 1 will open and install another pair of solar arrays once a crew of two astronauts is in place. The solar arrays will be delivered on the next SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply mission, currently scheduled for launch on November 21.
Spacewalks are part of the space station crew’s routine as they maintain and upgrade the aging orbital laboratory, but Tuesday’s spacewalk was NASA’s first since March. The agency’s spacewalks stopped after the European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer completed his first space journey with water in his helmet.
After returning to the airlock after a nearly seven-hour spacewalk, Maurer’s helmet was found to have a thin layer of moisture that exceeded the normal, expected amount. Maurer quickly jettisoned the helmet in what was deemed a “close call” by NASA, and water samples, suit equipment and the spacesuit itself were returned to Earth for examination. NASA officials determined that the suit did not experience any technical malfunctions.
“The cause of the water in the helmet was likely an integrated system performance that caused relatively larger than normal amounts of condensation within the system due to several variables such as crew voltage and crew cooling parameters,” NASA said. updating the blog post.
“Based on the findings, the team updated operating procedures and developed new dampening hardware to minimize scenarios where integrated performance results in water pooling while absorbing any visible water. These measures will help maintain fluid in the helmet to continue crew safety.”
NASA officials gave the go-ahead for spacewalks to resume after concluding the review in October.
Dina Contella, manager of operations integration for the International Space Station Program, said the research team developed methods to control the temperature in the suit and added new absorption strips to the helmet.
The thin orange pieces were placed on various parts of the helmet, which had already been tested in orbit by astronauts inside the space station.
“We took a few different models of it, and the crew on the ship poured water around, actually trying to pump water into the helmet at the same rate, which would have been the worst, worst case scenario. And we found that these cushions were very, very effective,” Contella said.
Tuesday’s spacewalk will allow the crew to test the new pads while working outside the space station before spacewalks to install a more sophisticated solar array over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Russia is scheduled to go into space on Thursday. Cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin will begin their walk at 9 a.m. to work outside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. The pair will prepare a radiator to transfer from the Rassvet module to Nauka during the seven-hour spacewalk, which will be streamed live on NASA’s website.
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