NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins are wrapping up their preparations for Saturday’s spacewalk. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata is completing his review of the tasks he will perform as the robotic arm operator during the spacewalk.
The spacewalkers finished collecting their tools they will use outside the International Space Station. The duo also finished setting up their spacesuits they will wear Saturday.
The first spacewalk is scheduled for Saturday at 7:10 a.m. EDT when the spacewalkers will set up the worksite on the S1 truss. First they will disconnect cables to the faulty pump module and install jumper cables. Mastracchio and Hopkins will then open up insulation covering the pump module.
This will set up Monday’s spacewalk also scheduled to start at 7:10 a.m. Mastracchio and Hopkins will exit the Quest airlock and go back to the S1 truss worksite. They will them remove the faulty pump module and replace it with a spare pump module. Wakata will be maneuvering the Canadamrm2 while Mastracchio is attached to the station’s robotic arm.
If necessary, a Christmas day spacewalk is planned to finalize the installation of the spare pump module. The last time a spacewalk took place on Christmas day was in 1974 during the Skylab 4 mission. NASA astronauts Gerald Carr and William Pogue stepped outside the Skylab space station to retrieve film from a telescope and photograph Comet Kohoutek.
NASA Television will begin coverage of the spacewalks at 6:10 a.m. The spacewalks are scheduled to last about six hours and 30 minutes. Shortly after each spacewalk concludes, mission controllers will participate in a briefing at Johnson Space Center to discuss the day’s activities.
Meanwhile, the Russians are counting down to their own spacewalk scheduled for Dec. 27. Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy will exit the Pirs docking compartment in their Orlan spacesuits.
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. They are expected to work outside the space station for seven hours.