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Cygnus Launch Preps Continue as Managers Mull Repair Spacewalks
December 16, 2013

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NASA managers are evaluating whether to go for a Dec. 19 launch of Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus commercial resupply craft or move ahead with a series of spacewalks to repair a pump that is part of a cooling loop that shutdown last Wednesday due to low temperatures seen in the line.

Ground controllers have been sending commands to another valve that is part of the station’s cooling system. The hope is that this valve can be positioned in a way to help maintain the proper temperature in the loop, which could allow them to reintegrate part of the station’s internal electronics.

› Listen to Mission Control audio about the cooling loop status

Momentum continues at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for the launch of the Cygnus spacecraft Thursday at 9:19 p.m. EST. The new cargo craft was loaded Saturday with its manifested gear and is targeted for arrival at the International Space Station on Sunday.

› Read more about the Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight

Meanwhile, momentum continues at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for the launch of the Cygnus spacecraft Thursday at 9:19 p.m. EST. The new cargo craft was loaded Saturday with its manifested gear and is targeted for arrival at the International Space Station next week.

The Antares rocket’s upper stage was outfitted Monday with its fairing that houses the Cygnus vehicle during ascent. The Antares is scheduled to roll out to its launch pad early Tuesday morning pending a review by station program managers.

NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins began checking their spacewalk tools, trying on their spacesuits and reviewing procedures inside the Quest airlock over the weekend. The NASA astronauts were assisted by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Expedition 38 Commander Oleg Kotov.

Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy are also preparing for spacewalk. This is a pre-planned spacewalk scheduled for Dec. 27 outside the station’s Russian segment. The duo will install a foot restraint; install medium and high resolution cameras; jettison gear from a pair of external experiments; and install a new experiment as well as a payload boom on the Zvezda service module.

Flight Engineer and fellow cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin worked maintenance on the Russian side of station. He performed some plumbing work, transferred science data to a laptop computer and updated the station’s inventory management system.

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Crew members test spacesuits
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata (foreground) with Commander Oleg Kotov assist NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins (left) and Rick Mastracchio as they try on and test their spacesuits.
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NASA TV
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Page Last Updated: December 16th, 2013
Page Editor: Mark Garcia