Discovery team wrap first ISS spacewalk
STS-131 mission running smoothly
Mission specialists Clayton Anderson and Rick Mastracchio (seen below) earlier today ventured outside the International Space Station on the first of three planned spacewalks for space shuttle Discovery's STS-131 mission.
The pair exited the Quest airlock at 05:31 GMT, and during the six-hour, 27-minute EVA "disconnected ammonia and nitrogen fluid lines from a spent Ammonia Tank Assembly (ATA)".
They'll fit a replacement ATA on their second spacewalk, and today unbolted the tank from Discovery's cargo bay, allowing pilot James P Dutton Jr and mission specialist Stephanie Wilson to move it temporarily to the Quest Airlock External Stowage Platform 2 using the ISS's robotic arm.
Anderson and Mastracchio also "retrieved the Micro-Particles Capture/Space Environment Exposure Device experiment from the Japanese Exposed Facility", and "on the center-most portion of the International Space Station’s backbone, they replaced a Rate Gyro Assembly, part of the station’s navigation system".
Anderson and Mastracchio are old hands at extravehicular activity, and "performed two spacewalks together during the STS-118 mission in August 2007", NASA notes. On that occasion, they were tasked with adding "the third starboard truss segment, the S5 truss, to the station's backbone". ®
Re: NASA channel
They don't actually have to do the campout procedure, they used to just do a load of prebreathing of the right concentration of oxygen to purge the nitrogen from their blood, but have discovered that it's difficult to don the suit while maintaining this protocol (you can only breathe 'normal' air for a small period of time without having to start again etc), so the campout makes life much easier for them...
It's used in the station cooling system to stop the Astronauts from frying. And the Cosmonauts, too.
An interesting thought,
could the ISS be used to reduce the CFC
instead of ammonia, use ozone or such like CFC, and take it out the atmosphere !