Friday, December 12, 2008

Space Station Spacewalk set for Dec. 22

CDR Fincke in Station's Harmony Node Today

Crew members aboard the international space station will perform a short spacewalk on Monday, December 22 to install a European science experiment and a navigation unit for Russia.

The station's current Expedition 18 commander Mike Fincke and Russian flight engineer Yury Lonchakov will step outside the Russian Zvezda module for about five hours. Third crew member Sandy Magnus will stay inside and assist with the spacewalk.

The space walkers will install the European Space Agency's EXPOSE-R, which is a box of nine experiments which will, "expose a variety of seeds and spores to the harsh environment of space", according to the Johnson Space Center.  EXPOSE-R will be returned to earth in mid-2010 aboard a Russian spacecraft.

They will also install a Russian GPS (global positioning system) antenna which will allow a new Russian docking module to perform an automatic docking with the Zevezda module in mid-2009. The new module will also include a spacewalk port for future walks in space.
Today, both Fincke and Lonchakov spent time in the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock performing spacesuit and tool checks.

In the coming week, many cities in America will be able to view the space station for several minutes. Visit Station Sightings, and select your city for complete times and the station's orbital direction.

At a mission elapsed time of 61 days & nine hours for the crew of Expedition 18, this is

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