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Space Station Holed By Meteorite, Crew Complete EVA To Install Debris Shields

Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov (left) and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin work outside the International Space Station during their second spacewalk. Image credit: NASA TV
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Jun 06, 2007
A mini-meteorite has left a bullet-sized hole in a module of the International Space Station (ISS), but the three-person US-Russian team of astronauts inside are not in danger, a Russian official said Wednesday. The puncture, in an outer pumping component on the module, was detected in the Russia "Zaria" module of the station during a spacewalk by the two Russian cosmonauts on board, the spokesman for the Russian space agency, Vladimir Solovyev, said.

It was the first time a meteorite hole had been found on a module of the ISS. Several holes have been observed on the big solar panels that spread out from the orbiter.

Solovyev said the module itself was not punctured. Photos of the hole had been sent back to Earth for study.

The Russians, Fyodor Yurchikin and Oleg Kotov, who made their six-hour space walk on Wednesday, are joined on the ISS by a US astronaut, Sunita Williams.

Space debris, either natural or from parts of rockets and satellites, represent a serious danger to the ISS and its occupants.

earlier related report
Houston TX (SPX) Jun 07 - Two International Space Station cosmonauts wound up a spacewalk of 5 hours, 37 minutes from the Pirs docking compartment airlock at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday. They installed a section of Ethernet cable on the Zarya module, installed additional Service Module Debris Protection (SMDP) panels on Zvezda, and deployed a Russian scientific experiment.

Five SMDP panels were installed by station Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov on May 30. During that 5-hour, 25-minute spacewalk they also rerouted a Global Positioning System antenna cable. On today's spacewalk they bolted 12 additional panels into place. They also installed the Ethernet cable on the Zarya module and a Russian experiment called Biorisk on Pirs.

Yurchikhin again was the lead spacewalker, EV1, wearing the Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes. Kotov, EV2, wore the suit with blue stripes. This was the second spacewalk for both.

Out of the airlock, the first task was to install the Russian scientific experiment, called Biorisk. It looks at the effects of microorganisms on structural materials used in space. They attached it to the outside of Pirs.

Next the cosmonauts moved forward with a ribbon cable reel holding the Ethernet cable. They installed that section of cable on Zarya. It is the first of two sections. The second will be installed later. Once both are in place and functioning, computer capabilities of the station should be increased considerably.

After the cable installation, they moved aft to the forward end of the Zvezda Service Module. There they removed one of two SMDP bundles remaining on the "Christmas Tree," an adaptor that initially had three bundles attached. It was stowed at the Unity Node on Pressurized Mating Adaptor No. 3 (PMA-3). Yurchikhin maneuvered Kotov, on the end of the Strela manually operated crane, to the Christmas Tree during the May 30 spacewalk.

Kotov retrieved it and stowed it on Zvezda, where they installed five SMDP panels on May 30. 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 tethered the first of today's bundles to handrails.

Yurchikhin and Kotov opened the first bundle and install its panels on Zvezda's conical section, the area between Zvezda's large and small diameters, to join the five they installed May 30. Another six panels had been bolted into place there in 2002.

Once that was done, they opened the remaining bag and installed its six panels.

Six SMDP panels were installed during an Aug. 16, 2002, spacewalk by Expedition 5 Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson. Those panels 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.

With the installation of the SMDP panels completed today, Yurchikhin and Kotov moved back to Pirs and returned to the airlock. Closure of its hatch marked the official end of the spacewalk.

Flight Engineer Suni Williams served as intravehicular officer for the second spacewalk, as she did for the first.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Cosmonauts To Install More Debris Panels On Wednesday Spacewalk
Houston TX (SPX) Jun 06, 2007
Two International Space Station cosmonauts will begin a spacewalk of a little over five hours from the Pirs docking compartment airlock about 10:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday. They will install a section of Ethernet cable on the Zarya module, install additional Service Module Debris Protection (SMDP) panels on Zvezda, and deploy a Russian scientific experiment.

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