An emergency spacewalk for the ISS is being scheduled by NASA in order to fix a broken Mobile Transporter (MT ) rail car. Right now, NASA is saying that astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra will make the emergency repairs in the coming week, but the exact date has not yet been fixed. Whenever it happens, they are promising that NASA’s live TV will show the spacewalk repairs on video.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Tim Peake recently made history as the first British astronaut to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) as a member of the European Space Agency (ESA). There have been British astronauts in the past, but they either held dual citizenship or worked for NASA.
Earlier on Friday, NASA’s blog for the International Space Station announced the plans for the emergency spacewalk on the ISS. It is is said the station’s mission managers are trying to determine when the NASA astronauts can fix this reported problem.
“Late Wednesday, the Mobile Transporter rail car on the station’s truss was being moved by robotic flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston, to a different worksite near the center of the truss for payload operations when it stopped moving. The cause of the stall is being evaluated, but experts believe it may be related to a stuck brake handle, said ISS Mission Integration and Operations Manager Kenny Todd. Flight controllers had planned to move the transporter away from the center of the truss to worksite 2. The cause of the stall that halted its movement just four inches (10 centimeters) away from where it began is still being evaluated.”
The ISS Mission Management Team is currently targeting a date of Monday, December 21; although, it is possible this could change. They plan on conducting a readiness review on Sunday morning. Managers could choose to start on Monday, or they could take an extra day and plan for Tuesday.
Although the start time has not yet been announced for either Monday or Tuesday, they do say that NASA TV coverage will begin 90 minutes prior to the start of the emergency spacewalk on the ISS. Assuming the spacewalk happens on Monday, they say the spacewalk will begin early in the morning at approximately 8:10 a.m. EST.
The announcement also described the two astronauts and what they will be wearing on their extravehicular space suits so viewers can recognize them.
“ISS Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA will conduct the spacewalk. It will be the 191st spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the third in Kelly’s career and the second for Kopra. Kelly will be designated Extravehicular Activity crew member 1 (EV1) wearing the suit bearing the red stripes, and Kopra will be Extravehicular Activity crew member 2 (EV2) wearing the suit with no stripes.”
On Saturday, NASA also said that Russian resupply ship left the International Space Station. Called the Progress 60, the ship is filled with trash and will be burned up in Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. They also discussed the number of spacecraft currently docked to the ISS.
“The Soyuz TMA-18M crew spaceship is docked to the Poisk module. The Soyuz TMA-19M is docked to the Rassvet module. A Progress 61 cargo craft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The Cygnus private space freighter from the U.S. company Orbital ATK is berthed to the Unity module.”
This section of the ISS will remain empty “until Wednesday morning when a new delivery spaceship arrives and docks to it filled with science and supplies replenishing the Expedition 46 crew.” The emergency spacewalk to repair the ISS’ Mobile Transporter rail car is expected to take place several hours after the arrive of Russia’s Progress 62.
[Image via NASA]