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Spacewalkers Complete Installation of Ammonia Pump Module
December 24, 2013

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Spacewalkers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a second spacewalk to install a spare ammonia pump module. The U.S. Quest airlock began repressurization at 2:23 p.m. EDT Tuesday signaling the official end of their spacewalk.

Tuesday’s main tasks included the removal and installation of a spare pump module. The first task was to remove the spare pump module from the space station’s External Stowage Platform-3. After that was completed, the module was bolted to the S1 truss and connected to Loop A of the station’s external Active Thermal Control System.

Hopkins attached himself to the Canadarm2 and took a ride to the worksite. Mastracchio tethered himself to the station and translated to the S1 truss to assist his partner. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata operated the Canadarm2 from inside the Destiny laboratory.

While doing the connection work, the duo demated ammonia fluid lines from a jumper box that enabled ammonia flow during the repair spacewalks. After experiencing some difficulty disconnecting a fluid line the spacewalkers reported seeing ammonia flakes escaping a valve. As a precaution, mission controllers asked the spacewalkers to inspect their spacesuits for possible ammonia contamination. Once they were back in the Quest airlock the duo conducted more ammonia decontamination procedures on their spacesuits. All four fluid lines were successfully reconnected to the newly installed pump module restoring ammonia flow.

Afterward, Hopkins and Mastracchio completed electrical connections to the pump module. Power was successfully restored to the ammonia pump module. However, flight controllers will perform more tests before restarting the pump and returning it to full functionality.

The duo was originally scheduled to finish the installation work on Monday before mission controllers detected a spacesuit configuration issue at the end of Saturday’s spacewalk, in which the spacewalkers removed a faulty pump that experienced a problem with its internal flow control valve Dec. 11.

The suspect pump was removed from the starboard truss and parked in a temporary location on the station’s Mobile Base System rail car where it can stay until at least next June. Managers decided an extra day of preparation was necessary to get a backup spacesuit ready for Mastracchio.

› Read more about the spacesuit configuration issue
› Read more about Saturday’s spacewalk

The Christmas Eve spacewalk lasted seven hours and 30 minutes. This was the 176th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Mastracchio holds 51 hours and 28 minutes spacewalking time over eight spacewalks. Hopkins holds 12 hours and 58 minutes over two spacewalks.

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Astronaut Mike Hopkins
Astronaut Mike Hopkins prepares to attach himself to a foot restraint on the Canadarm2 outside the International Space Station.
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NASA TV
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Rick Mastracchio (left) and Mike Hopkins (right) are assisted by the rest of their Expedition 38 crew mates after the completion of their Dec. 24 spacewalk.
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NASA TV
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Astronaut Mike Hopkins rides the Canadarm2
Astronaut Mike Hopkins rides the Canadarm2 carrying the 780-pound ammonia pump module as the International Space Station flies over South America.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV
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Page Last Updated: December 24th, 2013
Page Editor: Mark Garcia