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Expedition 14 Continues Preperations For February 22 Spacewalk

Expedition 14 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams is pictured outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk on Feb. 8. Image credit: NASA
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Feb 21, 2007
The Expedition 14 crew continued with preparations for a Feb. 22 spacewalk this week. The spacewalkers have conducted leak checks and have installed lights and additional equipment on their Russian Orlan space suits. The crew conducted its Orlan dry run Tuesday morning. Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin began preparing their Russian suits around 5 a.m. EST and donning their suits for a communications and systems test.

Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin will participate in their increment's fifth spacewalk - a record for station crews. They will attempt to free a stuck antenna on the ISS Progress 23 docked to the aft end of the Zvezda service module. They will also check on navigation systems in preparation for the summer docking of a European cargo craft known as the Automated Transfer Vehicle. Progress Antenna in the Spacewalk Spotlight

Coming and going, or at least getting ready to go, haven't been easy for the Progress 23 unpiloted cargo carrier docked at the aft port of the International Space Station's Zvezda service module.

Next Thursday, station Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin and Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria will leave the airlock of the Pirs docking compartment on a spacewalk aimed at retracting a balky antenna of the Progress. The antenna did not fully retract before the spacecraft docked Oct. 26.

Emptied of the more than 2.5 tons of equipment and supplies and filled with station trash and unneeded equipment, the Progress is scheduled to undock in April. Before that happens, Russian program officials want to be sure the antenna will not interfere.

Tyurin, the lead spacewalker, and Lopez-Alegria are scheduled to begin their spacewalk about 5 a.m. EST. They will wear Russian Orlan spacesuits, both marked with red stripes.

After a brief pause to photograph a Russian satellite navigation antenna, they'll move to the back of Zvezda to begin work on the Progress antenna, which failed to retract automatically during the Progress' slow approach to the station.

Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria have several options on how to accomplish the antenna's retraction, beginning with trying to release a latch with a punch and hammer. Additional options include cutting one or more of the struts supporting the antenna.

Soon after its undocking, the Progress will be deorbited and burn on re-entry.

Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria have a number of other planned tasks during their six-hour spacewalk. They include inspection of an antenna for the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). The European unpiloted cargo craft has more capacity than the Progress, and is scheduled to make its first trip to the station later this year. The spacewalkers also will photograph an ATV docking target.

They also plan to photograph a German experiment, swap out and photograph a Russian experiment, inspect and mate hardware connectors and inspect retention mechanisms and bolted joints on a hand-operated Strela crane that helps transport people and equipment outside Pirs.

Finally, they'll stow two foot restraints on a ladder at Pirs before ending the spacewalk.

The spacewalk will be the 81st for station assembly and maintenance, the 53rd from the station and the 20th from Pirs.

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Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com
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ISS Crew Continue Preparations For Spacewalk
Houston TX (SPX) Feb 20, 2007
This week, the Expedition 14 crew continued to focus on preparation for their final planned spacewalk ahead of the space shuttle Atlantis' arrival in March. This comes following Sunday's unexpected circuit breaker trip on the International Space Station and subsequent resetting of affected equipment.

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