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NASA’s next space shuttle mission, the first to fly since the Columbia accident, has been a long time coming for three astronauts set to conduct the flight’s spacewalks.
As the first crewmember assigned to NASA’s STS-114 mission aboard the Discovery orbiter, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, lead spacewalker for the flight, has spent the longest time waiting for his space shuttle – since 2001.
“This has been a really exciting four years,” Noguchi told reporters this month. “I feel honored to be part of this crew and this is a great achievement of the U.S. space program in bringing the shuttle back to life.”
Together with NASA astronaut Stephen Robinson, Noguchi will stage three spacewalks from Discovery’s airlock to test potential thermal protection repair methods and support the International Space Station (ISS). In addition to testing two techniques to fix cracks in thermal tiles and carbon carbon panels, the astronaut pair will swap out one broken ISS control moment gyroscope (CMG), restore power to another and install new equipment to the station’s exterior They will work under the watchful eye of STS-114 mission specialist Andrew Thomas, himself an accomplished spacewalker, who will serve as the flight’s intravehicular activity crewmember during each EVA.
“They’re very well trained,” Thomas said of his crewmates in a preflight interview.
The shuttle Discovery is slated to carry Noguchi, Robinson and Thomas spaceward no earlier than May 22 as NASA’s first return to flight mission. The mission is flying with several orbiter modifications as a direct response to the 2003 loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven-astronaut crew, which broke up during reentry. Investigators later found that damage to Columbia’s thermal protective skin, caused at launch by debris from the shuttle’s external tank, led to the shuttle’s destruction.
originally posted by: wildb
originally posted by: Sophenath
This is great.
Its also ten years old, fyi