Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Space Station Crew to walk in Space Today

International space station commander Mike Fincke and flight engineer Yury Lonchakov will spend six hours outside of the orbiting outpost this afternoon to install a European science experiment and perform some housekeeping chores.

The year's first spacewalk should start at about 12:20 pm EDT, today.

Lonchakov [EV 1] will suitup into the Russian Orlan spacesuit with the blue stripes; while Fincke [EV 2] will wear the red striped Orlan suit. Once outside, the pair will setup a work platform to assist them in the installation of the EXPOSE-R, a European experiment which will expose seeds and spores to the space environment. A spacewalk to install EXPOSE-R on Dec. 23 ran into difficulties during the installation.

SpaceLaunchNews.com will have LIVE coverage on our Home page of the spacewalk beginning at 12 noon EDT.

Meanwhile inside the station, the third Expedition 18 crew member will act as the spacewalk coordinator - assisting with the robotic arm and timeline details for her companions. Sandy Magnus will help the two from inside the station. Magnus is also awaiting Discovery's docking on Friday, and will return to earth with the STS-119 crew following Discovery's departure.

While outside the station, the spacewalkers will work to secure some of the station's thermal insulation and take some detailed images of select areas of the station.

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