Spaceflight Insider

Latest ISS update reveals issue with spacesuits will delay U.S. spacewalks

The International Space Station in orbit above Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Two spacewalks were scheduled for August 21st and 29th have been postponed until the SpaceX-4 commercial resupply services flight, which will deliver new Long Life Batteries to the International Space Station (ISS) in the fall. The decision to delay the spacewalks stems from a potential problem in the fuse in one of the space suit batteries. The delay does not affect the ISS’s daily operation.

Steve Swanson with Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA TV posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Steve Swanson with Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA TV

Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev spent Wednesday preparing for their spacewalk scheduled for August 18, gathering the necessary tools, preparing replaceable components of their Orlan spacesuits and configuring the Pirs docking compartment airlock. The crew of the ISS spent Wednesday preparing for a Russian spacewalk and conducting medical research.

They also prepared Robonaut 2 for a mobility upgrade. Commander Steve Swanson participated in a series of Ocular Health exams to test observations that the weightless environment effects changes in the cardiovascular system, impairing vision. Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman measured Swanson’s blood pressure. Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst used a tonometer to measure the pressure in Swanson’s eyes.

After the Ocular Health Experiments, Swanson and Wiseman moved to the Quest airlock and stowed the tools that would have been used on the August 21-29 spacewalks. Then Swanson removed the batteries from the spacesuits and moved another spacesuit into position to have its fan pump separator replaced next week.

ESA's ATV-1, the Jules Verne approaches the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA

ESA’s ATV-1, the Jules Verne approaches the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA

Wiseman then used the station’s amateur radio to answer questions from Japanese elementary school students. Gerst unpacked supplies sent up by the Progress 56 supply ship on July 23, then moved to the Harmony node to pack trash into the Cygnus cargo craft, which had delivered science equipment on July 16.

Flight Engineer Maksim Suraev refilled the tank for the Elektron oxygen generator and did routine maintenance on the Zvezda module’s life support system. Swanson spent Thursday and Friday working on Robonaut 2, installing a new processor board which will be used for the robot’s legs.

The European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) 5, named Georges Lemaitre, which was launched on July 29 from French Guiana on an Ariane rocket, is scheduled to dock with the aft end of Svezda on August 12. The craft is now flying in formation with the International Space Station. A scheduled fly-under of the ISS on Friday will provide data on its sensors and radar which will assist ESA engineers in designing future spacecraft.


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Collin R. Skocik has been captivated by space flight since the maiden flight of space shuttle Columbia in April of 1981. He frequently attends events hosted by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and has met many astronauts in his experiences at Kennedy Space Center. He is a prolific author of science fiction as well as science and space-related articles. In addition to the Voyage Into the Unknown series, he has also written the short story collection The Future Lives!, the science fiction novel Dreams of the Stars, and the disaster novel The Sunburst Fire. His first print sale was Asteroid Eternia in Encounters magazine. When he is not writing, he provides closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. He lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

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