Johnson Space Center, Houston
Jan. 26, 2005
International Space Station Status Report: SS05-004
The residents of the International Space Station are back inside their home after venturing outside this morning. The crew performed a 5-hour, 28-minute spacewalk to install a work platform, cables and robotic and scientific experiments on the exterior of the Zvezda Service Module.
Clad in Russian Orlan spacesuits, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov left the Pirs Docking Compartment airlock at 2:43 a.m. EST. They quickly set up tools and tethers for their excursion. With no one inside, Station systems were either deactivated or put in autonomous operation for the duration of the spacewalk. Hatches were also closed between the U.S. and Russian segments of the complex in the unlikely event the crew would not have been able to return to the outpost.
The crew first installed a Universal Work Platform at the forward end of the large conical section of Zvezda. They mounted a German commercial experiment called Rokviss (Robotics Component Verification on ISS) on the platform.
The Rokviss consists of a small double-jointed manipulator arm, an illumination system and a power supply. Chiao and Sharipov also installed cabling and an antenna for the robotic device to receive commands. At first the antenna did not receive the proper power. Chiao and Sharipov returned to the antenna work site and remated two electrical connectors. Russian engineers then reported the Rokviss system was operating normally.
The system will be commanded by operators on the ground at the German Space Operations Center outside Munich or the German Aerospace Research Institute during periods when the Station is flying over Germany. The crew from a workstation inside Zvezda can also operate it. Rokviss will test the ability of lightweight robotic joints to operate in the vacuum of space for future assembly work or satellite repair and servicing.
Chiao and Sharipov moved a Japanese commercial experiment from one bracket on the outside of Zvezda to an adjacent bracket. The experiment resembles an open attache case. It is designed to collect data on micrometeoroid impacts and the effect of the microgravity environment on a number of materials housed on witness plates. The Expedition 3 crew first deployed the experiment on the Station in October 2001.
Chiao and Sharipov then moved to another section of Zvezda to inspect nearby environmental system vents. The vents are used for the Elektron oxygen-generator, the Vozdukh carbon dioxide scrubber and a particle contaminant purification device.
Sharipov reported he saw both a white and brownish residue near the Elektron and Vozdukh ports and what appeared to be an oily substance on insulation surrounding the ports. Russian specialists added the task to the spacewalk a few weeks ago in light of recent technical problems with those systems. The specialists will analyze photos taken by Sharipov to see whether any corrosion or clogging of the vent ports may have contributed to periodic problems with those components.
As the spacewalk drew to a close, the crew installed a Russian experiment called Biorisk near the hatch to the Pirs airlock. Biorisk consists of several canisters on a bracket that contain microorganisms and materials. The experiment will collect data on the effect of the space environment for ecological analysis back on Earth.
The crew returned to Pirs and closed the hatch, completing their spacewalk at 8:11 a.m. EST. They are scheduled to reactivate Station systems and open the hatches to the U.S. segment before going to bed. The crew will begin its sleep period early this afternoon and enjoy an off-duty day tomorrow.
This was the first spacewalk for Sharipov and Chiao's fifth. The excursion was the 57th in support of Station assembly and maintenance, the 32nd staged from the Station itself and the 14th from Pirs. A total of 343 hours and 45 minutes of spacewalking time has been logged during the Station's lifetime.
Chiao and Sharipov are scheduled to conduct a second spacewalk in late March to install additional equipment for the maiden arrival of the European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo ship. The unpiloted cargo carrier is targeted for launch late this year.
Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at:
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