There will be a spacewalk by Expedition 38 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy tomorrow (27 January).
The spacewalk will be to reinstall a pair of cameras after a 27 December attempt to install them were not completely successful. In that EVA, the longest Russian spacewalk ever, the cameras would not deliver a signal to flight controllers. Troubleshooting on several cable connectors was performed by the crew and hopefully the issue has been solved.
Coverage from NASA TV will begin tomorrow at 13:30 UTC / 08:30 EST and the hatch opening at 14:10 UTC / 09:10 EST. You should be able to watch from the link in the banner and certainally from the NASA TV link.
Fire and water do mix? Crew members aboard the ISS are conducting experiments that use water to help start a fire. I never would have guessed, but my water knowledge is more in the super-saturated dissolved gas realm.
There is an application too: “this fundamental physics investigation could have down-to-Earth benefits such as clean-burning municipal waste disposal and improved saltwater purification.”
The Antares was raised upright in anticipation of a launch later today, 19-Dec. However due to the cooling control valve problem on the space station the launch was postponed until mid-January.
We sort of knew the delay was coming, so it’s not a big surprise. As for the cooling valve, the fix will be accomplished by a series of spacewalks by (NASA) astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins to replace the pump module.
The spacewalks will occur on December 21, 23 and 25. The replacement pump module is one they have “on the shelf” on the external stowage platform. The offending control valve is mounted on this pump module in case you were wondering.
I hope to be watching as coverage is going to be on NASA-TV and a link here if one is available and usually NASA is very good about such things. I am very interested in how the pump module is interfaced, always open to new ideas you see. The spacewalks are going to take six and a half hours EACH. Wow! Hope the suits work well and there is not water in the helmet issues. TV coverage (and hence the linked video) will begin at 06:15 EST / 11:15 UTC.
As for the raised Antares rocket, they will lower it and put it in “storage” out of the elements.
Late word has it the launch of Orbital’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft is being delayed due to the cooling problem in the ISS.
Orbital was to launch Cygnus on Tuesday (17-Dec) now are looking at launching no earlier than Thursday (19-Dec) to give ISS experts more time to look at the the problem flow-control valve in the ISS cooling system. Currently engineers are trying to stabilize the cooling loop using another valve to help regulate temperatures in a steady fashion. To that end the engineers are operating a Radiator Return Valve, putting it in various position and checking the results. This is a perfectly reasonable approach and although the precision of control would suffer, it could work just fine in a pinch; in the meantime cooling is provided by Cooling Loop B.
The “second-valve” approach would probably not be something they would want to count on in the long run so repairs are still being evaluated and space suits are being checked for leaks in case the crew are needed to conduct a spacewalk to replace the faulty pump module.
The possibility of the Cygnus launch being delayed until after the first of the year is not at all out of the question.
There’s a bit of a problem on the ISS involving a cooling pump system. Sounds like from the latest update below (as of this morning) it could be a valve issue. Mission control people are diagnosing the problem.
We should hear later today if the “fix” will involve a spacewalk in the immediate future. If the repair cannot be made with a spacewalk a replacement may be necessary. I don’t know if they have a spare on the shelf, and they could have, or whether a replacement will be need to be flown up.
The ISS will be getting a resupply flight from a Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight scheduled to launch on 18 December. Will the mission change to include a replacement pump if necessary if that is possible?
We will find out shortly.
This from the NASA website:
Earlier Wednesday, the pump module on one of the space station’s two external cooling loops automatically shut down when it reached pre-set temperature limits. These loops circulate ammonia outside the station to keep both internal and external equipment cool. The flight control teams worked to get the cooling loop back up and running, and they suspect a flow control valve actually inside the pump module itself might not be functioning correctly.
At no time was the crew or the station itself in any danger, but the ground teams did work to move certain electrical systems over to the second loop. Some non-critical systems have been powered down inside the Harmony node, the Kibo laboratory and the Columbus laboratory while the teams work to figure out what caused the valve to not function correctly and how to fix it. The crew is safe and preparing to begin a normal sleep shift while experts on the ground collect more data and consider what troubleshooting activities may be necessary.
15 years of building the ISS in two and a half minutes.
With the launch of Zarya module on 20 November 1998, the International Space Station was born. The ISS has been with us for 15-years this week thanks to the dedication and corporation of different space agencies from around the world.
The video above was put together by the Canadian Space Agency. One of the Canadian contributions is the robotic arm called Canadarm 2 featured in the video. The Canadarm continues to be instrumental in the success of the station and something Canadians everywhere are rightfully proud of – yeah, you go Canada!
Three fresh faces arrived at the International Space Station Thursday morning: Richard Mastracchio (NASA), Russia’s Mikhail Tyurin (Russia) and Koichi Wakata (Japan) arrived at the International Space Station early Thursday morning.
One of the special items they brought was the Olympic torch to be used to light the Olympic flame in Sochi Russia.
ESA’s cargo ship ATV-4 or “Einstein” launched on 5 June from Kourou Japan and has been at the station since it delivered seven tons of cargo on 15 June. It ended its mission and left the ISS on 28 October but not before it was loaded with trash and liquid waste products from the ISS. As you can see in the video the separation was very smooth.
Einstein will slowly spiral down until it ends its mission on 02 November (Saturday). The cargo ship will be positioned so cameras on the ISS can record the fiery end of Einstein over the South Pacific as it interfaces with the atmosphere at 1200 UTC.
In the meantime, mindful of Einstein being the size of a double decker bus, I thought it might be visible on a good pass with binoculars. So I looked at predictions at Heavens Above and sure enough there was a pretty good one. Out I went and it was a very nice pass but didn’t see Einstein, tonight’s pass will be a good deal brighter so If skies are as good as they were last night I’ll be looking. Einstein is pretty small, but I am bound to try. I’ll set up a telescope stationary along the path and watch the field of view as the ISS goes by.
NOTE: Comet ISON is now a binocular target !
I had beautiful skies this morning and spotted ISON even with the moon close by and just using a cheap pair of binoculars. A check of the magnitude has it at 7.7 and will be improving quickly. Get outside before daylight and have a look if you can. Look a little east of east of Mars and “lower” in the sky. How much (and it’s not that far) depends on your viewing-aid with the cheaper binoculars Mars was on the edge of the field of view.
Here’s a video of the ATV 4 / ISS separation from NASA TV:
I’ve been remiss in not including enough about the ISS in my posts. So to start and change that, here is one of the ISS crew of Expedition 37.
They are posed in the Kibo laboratory.
Pictured (clockwise from lower left) are Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, commander; Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, all flight engineers.
The image was taken the day before the Einstein cargo-ship docked on 14 Oct.
Visit the source page for larger version. Should you desire a wallpaper version, you can get that there too.