Astronaut duo conducts spacewalk to upgrade ISS
Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren donned their spacesuits and went outside the International Space Station on Oct. 28, 2015, to perform general maintenance and station upgrades on a spacewalk lasting just over seven hours.
The Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on Wednesday was the first spacewalk for both Kelly and Lindgren. Kelly is the American with the most cumulative time spent in space, while Lindgren is on his first mission. They were tasked with installing a thermal cover on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and removing a piece of thermal insulation from a power switching unit to allow for its robotic replacement in the future. Additionally, the duo lubricated the Latching End Effector (LEE) B.
Kelly and Lindgren switched their spacesuits to battery power at 7:03 a.m. CDT (12:03 GMT) officially beginning the EVA. Kelly wore the suit with red stripes and was designated as EV1 while Lindgren’s suit was white without any strips and designated as EV2. EV1 is the lead spacewalker.
Kelly left the Quest airlock first, and Kjell handed out the tool bags needed for the duration of the spacewalk. Kelly then translated all the way to the S3 truss where AMS is located. Meanwhile, Lindgren stowed equipment, which will be used to lubricate LEE B, on the External Stowage Platform (ESP) 2 before he, himself, translated to the location of AMS.
Once Kelly got to the AMS, he installed a small wedge over one of the radiators and took some pictures. That wedge is designed to help protect the radiators on AMS and increase its longevity.
About two and a half hours into the spacewalk, Lindgren and Kelly successfully placed a thermal cover over the port side of AMS. The AMS was launched on STS-134 with Space Shuttle Endeavour in May 2011. It was the last major piece to be added to the orbiting lab. The purpose of the AMS is collecting and analyzing billions of cosmic rays and identifying dark matter.
Afterward, Lindgren translated back to the airlock to pick up cables to reroute power for the relocation of the Pressurized Mating Adaptor (PMA) 3 while Kelly worked his way back to ESP 2 so that he could start lubricating LEE B.
PMA-3 will be moved from its current location on the port side of the Tranquility module to the zenith berthing port on the Harmony module sometime in 2016. This transfer will complete the reconfiguration of the space station to support the Commercial Crew Program.
To accomplish the rewiring, Lindgren moved to the port side of the Destiny Lab to begin laying out cables for the power and data rerouting. The orange data cable was attached to the nadir port of the Unity module while the other end was secured on the port side of Harmony. Then the same thing was done with the purple-white power cable.
While Lindgren laid power and data cables, Kelly lubricated the Centralizing Ballscrew and four equalization latches with the Ballscrew Lubricating Tool.
Lindgren and Kelly returned to the Quest airlock at 2:19 p.m. CDT (19:19 GMT), completing all the major tasked planned for this excursion. After this 7-hour and 16-minute spacewalk, crewmembers have now spent a total of 1,184 hours and 16 minutes working outside the orbiting lab conducting space station assembly and maintenance during 189 spacewalks.
The next spacewalk, EVA-33, is scheduled to occur on Nov. 6. Kelly and Lindgren will switch positions, and Lindgren will be EV1 wearing the red striped suit. The primary task for that EVA will be to retract the Trailing Thermal Control Radiator on the P6 truss, which was unfurled a couple years ago after an ammonia leak prompted ground controllers and astronauts to troubleshoot where the leak was.
Video courtesy of NASA Johnson
Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.