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Expedition 15 Prepares For Upcoming Spacewalks

Flight Engineer Sunita Williams took this photo of the Kennedy Space Center around midday on May 21, 2007. The Space Shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for a launch no earlier than June 8, sits on Pad A (center frame) at launch complex 39. Image credit: NASA
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) May 28, 2007
Two International Space Station cosmonauts will begin an almost six-hour spacewalk from the Pirs docking compartment airlock about 2:20 p.m. EDT Wednesday to install Service Module Debris Protection (SMDP) panels on Zvezda and reroute a Global Positioning System antenna cable.

Additional SMDP panels will be installed on a second spacewalk by station by the cosmonauts,Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov on June 6. During that spacewalk they also will install a section of an Ethernet cable on the Zarya module and a Russian experiment called Biorisk on Pirs.

Yurchikhin will be the lead spacewalker, EV1, and wear the Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes. Kotov, EV2, will wear the suit with blue stripes. The Wednesday spacewalk will be the first for both.

After leaving the Pirs airlock, the spacewalkers will move to the Strela 2, one of the hand operated cranes at the base of Pirs. They will attach an extension to the Strela.

Kotov will attach himself to the extension. Yurchikhin will extend the boom, with Kotov at its end, to a point over Pressurized Mating Adaptor 3 (PMA-3), attached to the Unity Node. The distance is almost 60 feet from the Strela 2 base.

There Yurchikhin, with guidance from Kotov, will maneuver the Strela to a point over a grapple fixture on the SMDP Adaptor, a stowage rack. It is attached to PMA-3 and holds three bundles of SMDP panels, a total of 17 of them. The assembly has been dubbed the "Christmas Tree."

Once the Christmas Tree is attached to Strela and released from PMA-3, Yurchikhin will move Kotov and the Christmas Tree, back to a point on the small diameter of Zvezda. Yurchikhin will join Kotov there, and together they will first tether the Christmas Tree to handrails, then secure it to a grapple fixture on Zvezda.

Next they'll leave the SPDM task and move aft on Zvezda's large diameter. There they'll install a cable for a Global Positioning System to be used with the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). The ATV is an unpiloted cargo carrier with almost twice the capacity of the Progress cargo craft. It is scheduled to make its first launch later this year.

That done, they'll move back to the Christmas Tree on the forward end of Zvezda. There they'll open one of the three bundles of debris panels. That bundle, No. 4, contains five panels. The aluminum panels vary in size but are about an inch thick. They typically measure about 2 by 3 feet and weigh 15 to 20 pounds. Initially, the spacewalkers will tether them to handrails.

Yurchikhin and Kotov will install the five panels on Zvezda's conical section, the area between Zvezda's large and small diameters.

Six SMDPs from bundle No. 1 were installed during an Aug. 16, 2002, spacewalk by Expedition 5 Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson. Those SMDPs were delivered to the station by Endeavour during STS-111 in June 2002. The remaining three bundles and their adaptor were delivered by Discovery during STS-116 last December and attached to PMA-3 by spacewalkers Bob Curbeam and Sunita Williams.

After the installation task, they'll move back to Pirs and into the airlock. Hatch closure marking the end of the spacewalk is scheduled for about 8:20 p.m.

On the June 6 spacewalk, Yurchikhin and Kotov will install the SMDP panels from the remaining two bundles, Nos. 2 and 3. They also will install the section of Ethernet cable along the exterior of the Zarya module. This is the first of two externally routed cable segments. Once both are in place and functioning, the computer capabilities of the station should be substantially enhanced.

On that spacewalk they will install another Russian Biorisk Experiment. The experiment looks at the effect of the space environment on microorganisms.

Flight Engineer Suni Williams will serve as intravehicular officer for both spacewalks, advising and keeping the spacewalkers on schedule and helping with any problems they might encounter.

Related Links
Expedition 15
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com



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Station Crew Unpack Progress 25
Houston TX (SPX) May 21, 2007
Expedition 15 crew unpacked new supplies and began preparing for the arrival of the next visiting spacecraft and two upcoming spacewalks at the International Space Station. The ISS Progress 25 docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 12:10 a.m. CDT Tuesday. During the week, the crew began unloading the more than 5,000 pounds of cargo from the supply ship.







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