суббота, 19 октября 2019 г.

Astronauts Christina Koch, Jessica Meir Complete First All-Woman Spacewalk



ISS — Expedition 61 Mission patch / EVA — Extra Vehicular Activities patch.


October 18, 2019



Image above: NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA TV.


At 2:55 p.m. EDT, Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA concluded their spacewalk, the first with only women. During the 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts completed the replacement a failed power charging component, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. Mission control activated the newly installed BCDU and reported it is operating properly.


The astronauts were also able to accomplish some get-ahead tasks including installation of a stanchion on the Columbus module for support of a new external ESA (European Space Agency) payload platform called Bartolomeo scheduled for launch to the station in 2020.



Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir begin spacewalk

Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan assisted the spacewalkers. Parmitano operated the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan provided airlock and spacesuit support.


It was the eighth spacewalk outside the station this year. Space station crew members have now conducted 221 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have spent a total of 57 days, 20 hours, and 29 minutes working outside the station.



Image above: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir conduct the first all-women spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA.


It was the first spacewalk for Meir and the fourth for Koch, who now has spent a total of 27 hours and 48 minutes spacewalking. It is the first spaceflight for both women, who were selected in the 2013 astronaut class that had equal numbers of women and men. Koch arrived to the orbiting laboratory in March 2019 and will remain in space for an extended duration mission of 11 months to provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman to prepare for human missions to the Moon and Mars.


Meir became the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman. It was the 43rd spacewalk to include a woman. Women have been performing spacewalks since 1984, when Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya spacewalked in July and NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan spacewalked in October.



Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir end spacewalk

The faulty BCDU is due to return to Earth on the next SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for inspection. Station managers will reschedule the three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.


Spacewalk Preps Today amid Cancer, Robotics and Agriculture Research


Science experiments continue aboard the International Space Station as two NASA astronauts prepare for their first spacewalk together, which is set to take place Friday. The Expedition 61 crew researched a variety of space phenomena today and reviewed procedures for tomorrow’s excursion.


Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture out into the vacuum of space on Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. They will set their spacesuits to battery power around 7:50 a.m. EDT and exit the Quest airlock for the 5.5-hour repair job on the Port 6 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 6:30 a.m.



Image above: NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. Image Credit: NASA.


Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support. All four astronauts gathered together today for a final procedures review.


In the midst of the spacewalk preparations, the crew continued ongoing microgravity science. The astronauts had time set aside today for researching cancer therapies, DNA sequencing, planetary robotics and space agriculture.


Morgan set up protein crystals critical to tumor growth and survival in a microscope for observation and photography. Koch continued exploring the viability of sequencing microbial DNA in microgravity.



International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Parmitano is readying hardware that will enable an astronaut on the station to control a robot on the Earth’s surface. Future astronauts could use the robotic technology to explore a planetary surface such as the Moon or Mars while orbiting in a spacecraft.


The crew is also in the second week of growing a crop of Mizuna mustard greens. Meir watered the Mizuna plants today for the ongoing space agriculture study to learn how to provide fresh food to space crews.


Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka had their own slate of human research to conduct today. The duo studied cardiac output changes and blood flow regulation including the effects of space on enzymes.


Related links:


Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html


Truss structure: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/truss-structure


Canadarm2 robotics arm: https://cms.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/mobile-servicing-system.html


Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS): https://www.nasa.gov/feature/extending-science-in-the-search-for-the-origin-of-the-cosmos


Tumor growth and survival: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7977


Sequencing microbial DNA: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7687


Explore a planetary surface: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1863


Space agriculture study: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7895


Cardiac output changes: https://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/human/10.html


Blood flow regulation: https://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/human/12.html


Enzymes: https://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/biology/24.html


Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html


International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html


Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/SciNews/NASA TV.


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