Wednesday, March 11, 2009

120th ISS Spacewalk Complete

Astronauts Mike Fincke and Yury Lonchakov made the 120th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance yesterday. The activity lasted about 4 hours and 49 minutes. They set out a space experiment, prepared the Pirs airlock docking mechanism for docking with any future Soyuz or Progress vehicle arrivals, and took photos of the station exterior. These photos will be used to help engineers understand how the equipment is holding up in the harsh environment of space over the last decade.

I was able to listen to most of the spacewalk transmissions during the event. I was happy to see that FoxNews covered the event live on their internet channels. Of course, NASA always broadcasts such events live from their website. Most people would probably find the broadcasts boring, but I'm such a space nerd that it's all fascinating for me. I did notice how some of the station's exterior sections are beginning to discolor over time. It will be interesting to follow this up over time and learn which materials are prone to do that.

The NASA picture above shows the two spacewalkers in action. They are both using the Russian cosmonaut spacesuit designs.  Both astronauts have been on board ISS since October, and are due to return to Earth in April. They will be coming home using the Soyuz capsule currently docked to ISS.

No comments: