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ISS SCIENCE Status Report: SS06-005


>Feb. 4, 2006
>J.D. Harrington
>Headquarters, Washington 
>(202) 358-5241
>James Hartsfield
>Johnson Space Center, Houston
>(281) 483-5111 
>Space station crewmembers released a spacesuit-turned-satellite during 
>the second spacewalk of their mission last night. Called SuitSat, it 
>faintly transmitted recorded voices of school children to amateur 
>radio operators worldwide for a brief period before it ceased sending 
>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 station's 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 space 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 
>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: 
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