Monday, November 9, 2015

EVA-33 a Success

Astronaut Kjell Lundgren moving along the station truss.
On Friday November 2, astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lundgren completed a 6.5 hour spacewalk to fix one of the cooling systems on the station. The P6 Photo Voltaic Thermal Control System (PVTCS) on the truss had been leaking for some years at a very tiny rate. The leak had increased and so ground engineers needed a fix for the system. An earlier spacewalk in 2013 corrected the leak. During the repairs, the Trailing Thermal Control Radiator (TTCR, which looks like a small solar panel) was deployed to help with station cooling. Further changes in the cooling system meant that the TTCR was no longer necessary and as it was extended, it faced possible damage from debris strikes. The astronauts on Friday performed an EVA to re-route the cooling to the PVTCS, so that the TTCR could be retracted. The re-routing was completed, but ground engineers decided to leave the TTCR extended for now until a later EVA.
You can find a very detailed description of the EVA, with diagrams and pictures of the affected systems, at

Monday, November 2, 2015

EVA-32 Completed on ISS

Kjell Lundgren at work in the great outdoors.

Two American astronauts worked outside the International Space Station last week, performing maintenance and preparations for upcoming missions to the station.
Astronaut Scott Kelly prepares for EVA.

Astronauts Scott Kelly (commander of current Expedition 45) and Kjell Lundgren stayed on EVA-32 for a seven-hour session, completing many needed maintenance objectives. Firs, they uncovered a thermal protective cover from the Main Bus Switching Unit that had failed earlier in 2012 and was being stored outside the station on the main truss.  By removing the cover, they have prepared the switching unit for later being grappled by the robotic arm and then being moved into the station for delicate repair work. Next, they installed a thermal cover on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment, which will extend the lifetime of the coolant pumps on the AMS.  
Scott Kelly takes a selfie while on spacewalk.

One important item completed during the walk was the lubrication of the grapple end of the robotic arm. Following that, the pair of spacewalkers continued to move cables and wiring on the Node 1 port to the Node 2 port. This effort was in support of making changes to the station to allow for the future busy docking schedules for new spacecraft from SpaceX and Boeing, as well as the eventual use of the Orion spacecraft being developed by NASA.
Scott Kelly in the station at one of the viewing ports.

On October 16, Kelly broke the record for the longest number of flight days in space for American astronauts. The previous record was held by astronaut Mike Fincke, at 382 days.