[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]



*International Space Station Status Report #06-5*
*11:30 p.m. CST, Friday, Feb. 3, 2006*
*Expedition 12 Crew*

Space station crew members released a spacesuit-turned-satellite during 
the second spacewalk of their mission last night. Called SuitSat, it 
faintly transmitted recorded voices of schoolchildren to amateur radio 
operators worldwide for a brief period before it ceased sending signals.

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev 
ventured outside for a five-hour, 43-minute spacewalk to release 
SuitSat, conduct preventative maintenance to a cable-cutting device, 
retrieve experiments and photograph the station's exterior. Clad in 
Russian Orlan spacesuits, McArthur and Tokarev opened the hatch to begin 
the spacewalk at 5:44 p.m. EST. It was the fourth career spacewalk for 
McArthur and the second for Tokarev.

After setting up tools and equipment, they positioned the unneeded Orlan 
spacesuit on a ladder by the station's Pirs airlock hatch. The suit 
reached the end of its operational life for spacewalks in August 2004. 
It was outfitted by the crew with three batteries, internal sensors and 
a radio transmitter for this experiment.

The SuitSat provided recorded greetings in six languages to ham radio 
operators for about two orbits of the Earth before it stopped 
transmitting, perhaps due to its batteries failing in the cold 
environment of space, according to amateur radio coordinators affiliated 
with the station program. The suit will enter the atmosphere and burn up 
in a few weeks. Tokarev pushed the suit away toward the aft end of the 
station as the complex flew 225 miles above the south central Pacific 
Ocean. The suit initially drifted away at a rate of about a half meter 
per second, slowly floating out of view below the Zvezda Service Module 
and its attached Progress cargo craft. The suit is now separating from 
the station at a rate of about six kilometers every 90 minutes.

McArthur and Tokarev then moved from Pirs to the Zarya module where they 
removed a hubcap-shaped grapple fixture adapter for the Strela crane. 
They moved the adapter to Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 on the Unity 
module. The Strela fixture was moved to prepare Zarya for the future 
temporary stowage of debris shields.

McArthur and Tokarev made their way to the center truss segment of the 
station, where they tried and failed to securely install a safety bolt 
in a contingency cutting device for one of two cables that provide 
power, data and video to the Mobile Transporter rail car. The 
transporter moves along the truss to correctly position the Canadarm2 
robotic arm for assembly work. The Trailing Umbilical System cable on 
the nadir, or Earth-facing side of the transporter was inadvertently 
severed by its cutter on Dec. 16.

After several attempts to drive the bolt with a high-tech screwdriver, 
McArthur wire-tied the cable to a handrail instead. That left the cable 
out of its cutting mechanism, disabling the Transporter from further 
movement on the stationís rail system for the time being. The 
Transporter is not needed for assembly work until the STS-115 mission to 
install additional truss segments.

The severed cable reel mechanism will be replaced during one of the 
three spacewalks by Discovery crewmembers Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum 
during the STS-121 shuttle mission later this year.

McArthur and Tokarev moved back to Pirs. Once at the Russian airlock, 
they retrieved an experiment to study the effect of the space 
environment on microorganisms.

As their final spacewalk task, the crew photographed the exterior of 
Zvezda, including Russian sensors that measure micrometeoroid impacts, 
handrails, propulsion systems and a ham radio antenna. McArthur and 
Tokarev then returned to the Pirs airlock and closed the hatch at 11:27 
p.m. EST. It was the 64th spacewalk in support of station assembly and 
maintenance, the 36th staged from the station, and the 17th conducted 
from Pirs. In all, station spacewalkers have accumulated 384 hours and 
23 minutes outside the facility since December 1998.

Meanwhile in Russia, final preparations were made this week to ship the 
next Soyuz spacecraft from Moscow to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site 
in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft is scheduled to depart Monday and will 
launch the 13th station crew in late March.

During the week, the station was maneuvered through a new procedure 
using guidance and navigation computers in the Destiny laboratory to 
request firings of the thrusters on the Zvezda module while maintaining 
overall attitude control through the Control Moment Gyroscopes.That 
saves time in handing orientation control of the station between the 
U.S. and Russian systems.

For information about crew activities, future launch dates and station 
sighting opportunities on the Web, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:


Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org