January 22, 2005

Spacewalkers to Outfit Station’s Exterior

NASA -- The Expedition 10 crew is getting set to venture outside the International Space Station for the first of the mission's two spacewalks.

Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov will install a work platform, mount a robotics experiment, check vents on systems that help control the Station's atmosphere and install a scientific experiment in the early morning hours of Jan. 26.

The spacewalk is to begin about 2:30 a.m. EST and should last almost 5.5 hours. Most of the work will be done outside the Zvezda Service Module. Spacewalkers will use the airlock of the Russian Pirs docking compartment and wear Russian Orlan spacesuits.

Both spacewalkers will wear suits with red stripes. They will be distinguishable by the U.S. flag on Chiao's shoulder. This will be Chaio's fifth spacewalk and Sharipov's first.

After opening the hatch and assembling equipment, Sharipov and Chiao will move from the Pirs back to about the middle of the Zvezda. There they will begin what should be about a two-hour job, installation of a Universal Work Platform -"“ a kind of space work table -"“ and its base, along with associated wiring.

Next they'll install on the work platform the European commercial experiment Rokviss (Robotic Components Verification on ISS). That experiment explores the use of manipulator rotary joints, operated from inside Zvezda via a receiver-transmitter.

Rokviss is designed to study remote operation of such joints and the effects of space on them. The German device could help lead to a new generation of space robots.

Sharipov and Chiao will work together to relocate the Japanese MPAC&SEED (Microparticle and Capture & Space Environment Exposure Device) experiment to a new location on its rail-like mounting. That experiment exposes various materials to space. At the old MPAC&SEED location they will install a Rokviss antenna, then run and connect cables to link a transceiver with the experiment and the antenna.

Still outside Zvezda, they will inspect and photograph gas vent nozzle extenders including those of the Elektron and Vozdukh. Both the Elektron, which divides water into its components, oxygen for the Station's interior and hydrogen, which is vented overboard, and Vozdukh, a carbon-dioxide scrubber, have experienced some glitches recently. The inspection should help determine if the vents could be part of the problem.

The spacewalk was lengthened by a little over an hour so this task could be done. Once it is finished, Sharipov and Chiao will move with their tool carrier back to Pirs.

Finally, on the outside of the Docking Compartment, they will install the Russian Biorisk experiment. It looks at the impact of spaceflight on microorganisms. Eventually information from the experiment could be used to keep us from contaminating other planets with Earth's microorganisms, or perhaps even to protect our own planet.

The spacewalkers are scheduled to re-enter the airlock and close the hatch at about 8 a.m. EST.

This will be the 57th spacewalk to assemble and maintain the Station. It will be the 32nd spacewalk from the Station itself, and the 14th from Pirs.

A second spacewalk for Chiao and Sharipov is scheduled for March. During that spacewalk, they will install navigational and communications equipment for the arrival of the first Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo craft.

The ATV is an unpiloted cargo carrier similar in some ways to the Russian Progress spacecraft, but it has more than double the cargo capacity of the Progress. It is scheduled to make its first flight late this year.


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