Friday, August 31, 2012

Frustrating Spacewalk

Akihiko Hoshide on end of robotic arm.

Not everything goes right in space.

The first spacewalk for Expedition 32 occurred on August 20, with cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Yuri Malenchenko Their tasks included moving a cargo boom from the Pirs docking module to the Zarya module, installing micrometeorite/debris protection shields on the Zvesda module, and the deployment of a small science satellite. That spacewalk met its objectives.

Computer graphic of spacewalk in mission control.

Yesterday's spacewalk didn't go as well. Astronauts Suni Williams and Akihko Hoshide (from Japan) were supposed to replace a power bus on the station's main truss, prepare power cables for the docking of a Russian Science Module in the future, and replace a camera on one of the robotic arms. However, the Main Bus Switching Unit had bolts that refused to tighten correctly. Running out of time for the walk, they had to simply secure it to the truss temporarily until another spacewalk could be scheduled to repair the bolts. Before the problem, though, they did move the power cables. They had unfortunately run out of time to replace the robotic arm camera.

Nightside picture of spacewalk on August 20.

Akihiko Hoshide. This spacewalk was not only the first for Hoshide, it was the third spacewalk made by a Japanese astronaut.

Suniya (Suni) Williams floating around the ISS with a camera. Yesterday was her fifth spacewalk. She's getting good at it!

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