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SCI/TECH: ISS Astronauts Face Daunting Space Walk

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posted on Jun, 24 2004 @ 01:36 PM
In the wake of the Columbia disaster many Americans forget that the International Space Station is still a space priority for the country. Hampered by the loss of shuttle craft for repairs and resupply, the men of the ISS have had to shoulder surplus duties on board the craft. The station recently lost one of the Control Moment Gyros, and the crew has been tapped to perform a space walk to repair it. The six hour walk is particularly hazardous as it will leave the astronauts out of contact with ground control for minutes at a time.

Full story courtesy of Reuters

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Two astronauts from the International Space Station, a Russian and an American, prepared for a spacewalk on Thursday that could be the most daunting in the six years crews have lived there.

Gennady Padalka and Michael Fincke, who are due to begin their six-hour walk at 5:25 p.m. EDT, may spend long periods out of touch with ground controllers and each other, communicating with hand signals as they conduct a delicate repair job outside the station.

Their goal is to repair one of four large gyroscopes, or Control Moment Gyros, that keep the station stable and its solar-power arrays pointed toward the sun as the 200-ton complex orbits 250 miles above Earth.

The repair might have been routine but for another pair of failures. Two of three U.S. spacesuits on the station have problems that render them useless, so Padalka and Fincke will wear Russian spacesuits and exit from the Russian side of the complex.

That will require them to traverse the entire length of the station, moving hand over hand most of the way, to reach the disabled gyros on the U.S. side. As they perform the most difficult tasks they will be 45 yards from, and possibly out of range of, Russian antennas needed to communicate with ground controllers and each other, NASA said.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

God speed men.

[edit on 24-6-2004 by Zion Mainframe]

posted on Jun, 24 2004 @ 02:03 PM
In my opinion this only highlights the increased priority to resume shuttle operations. The ISS unfortunately cannot rely upon itself nor Soyuz craft for all of their supplies and repairs. The fact that most of the space suits on board don't even operate is shocking enough. I feel these suspensions in the wake of shuttle operations severly hamper and kill interest in space travel. When an airliner say a 737 goes down, the FAA does not suspend all 737 travel for months to years at at time. Life will go on and unless there exists one insurmountable error in all shuttle craft that will produce in flight failure, shuttle flights should as well.


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