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April 25, 1997

Debra Rahn
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1639)

Rob Navias / Ed Campion
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: 97-80

U.S. Astronaut Ready For Milestone Spacewalk

U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger, more than 100 days into his four-month research mission on the Space Station Mir, is scheduled to conduct his first spacewalk next Tuesday, April 29, to place experiments on two of the station's modules and to retrieve two others deployed outside the Mir last year. He will be joined by Mir 23 Commander Vasily Tsibliev.

The spacewalk, which is supposed to last about six hours, marks the first time a U.S. astronaut will conduct a spacewalk wearing a Russian spacesuit. Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Titov is scheduled to conduct a spacewalk wearing a U.S. spacesuit during Atlantis' docking mission to the Mir in September.

Astronauts Linda Godwin and Rich Clifford conducted a spacewalk outside the Shuttle Atlantis last year to place suitcase-sized sensors and materials designed to catch debris on the Mir's docking module to determine how often debris hits the surface of the Mir and to assess outside environmental factors.

During his spacewalk, Linenger will deploy an experiment to collect data on how the space environment affects the Mir's outersurface (Optical Properties Monitor Experiment). He will also retrieve the Partial Impact Experiment and the Mir Sample Experiment from the Kvant-2 science module; both experiments were deployed by Russian cosmonauts during a spacewalk last year and are designed to monitor the outside environment of the Mir.

Linenger and Tsibliev also will place a radiation detection device called the Benton radiation dosimeter on the Kvant-2 near the end of their spacewalk and evaluate a safety tether which may be used by both American and Russian spacewalkers in the assembly of the International Space Station.

Tsibliev conducted five spacewalks during his previous flight on the Mir in 1993. This will be Linenger's first spacewalk. Tsibliev plans to conduct two more spacewalks with Flight Engineer Alexander Lazutkin, in June, about a month after U.S. astronaut Mike Foale has replaced Linenger on board the Russian outpost.

The spacewalk is expected to be seen on NASA Television from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. EDT and from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. EDT. Highlights will be replayed on NASA TV's Video File at noon EDT.

NASA Television is available through the GE2 satellite, located on Transponder 9C, at 85 degrees West longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio 6.8 MHz.

 

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