Thursday, November 20, 2008

Second Spacewalk Today; Space Station turns 10

SLN: Up to the Minute, I'm Charles Atkeison. Endeavour mission specialists Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Shane Kimbrough slept overnight in the space station’s Quest Airlock to prepare for the second spacewalk of mission STS-126 later today.

The crew members of ten astronauts and comonauts are scheduled to awake at 8:55 am ET by mission control [above at 7:47 am today] at the Johnson Space Center, located south of Houston.

Due to the hugh volume of the station, spacewalking astronauts normally sleep in the airlock in a 10.2 PSI atmosphere to purge the nitrogen from their bodies and help prevent the "bends" - similar to divers.

Today's second spacewalk is slated to start at 1:45 pm ET and will focus on several tasks including continued cleaning and relube of the solar array rotary joint on the right array; space station robot arm snare luberication; and more in support of space station maintenance.
Spacewalk 2, also called by NASA as extra-vehicular activity or EVA #2, is scheduled to end at about 8:15 pm.

- Also of note for today is that ten years ago this morning, the first component of the international space station was launched from Russia. The Zarya module arrived into earth orbit and was checked out prior to the first American module was launched aboard a space shuttle a few weeks later.

I covered that flight for SpaceLaunch News magazine during the time and recall the excitement of seeing those first pieces arrive on orbit, and later fit together perfectly. Fitting them together was something which was not tested here on earth, and it would not be until they arrived together in space to know if the Russian and American engineers did a good job - or not.

When you get a chance this week and the weather is clear for you, visit NASA's updated page to check on viewing opportunities for the station - shuttle complex. Visit: and select your state and then city. It's a beautiful sight with binoculars as the station flies over 215 miles above.

At an STS-126 MET+ 5 days, 12 hours, this is

No comments:

copyright 1998 - 2010 Charles Atkeison, All rights reserved.