Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Live In Orbit: Spacewalking Work Cut Short At Station

LIVE IMAGES: The image above is the latest live image from NASA Television. It will automatically refresh itself to the most up to date image every 30 seconds.

Blogger Update, 4:31 p.m.: Chris Cassidy reports that the airlock hatch is closed and locked. Repressurization began at 4:31 a.m., marking the official end of the spacewalk. Spacewalk duration: 5 hours and 59 minutes.

Blogger Update, 4:25 p.m.: Endeavour spacewalkers Dave Wolf and Chris Cassidy are both back inside the U.S. Quest airlock at the International Space Station.

Spacewalking work outside the International Space Station is being cut a little bit short due to concerns about carbon dioxide levels in one of the astronauts' spacesuits.

NASA mission managers just told Dave Wolf and Chris Cassidy to wrap up work and head back to the U.S. Quest airlock as a result of medical readings that show spikes in the level of carbon dioxide in Cassidy's suit.

Cassidy, a former Navy SEAL and first-time spacewalker -- has been working hard with Wolf to install new batteries on the far left end of the station's central truss. But flight controllers said the problem appeared to be with a canister of lithium hydroxide -- a substance used to scrub carbon dioxide in the suit -- rather than a raised metabolic level.

"The canister may be having problems -- it's not a metabolism-related issue?" Wolf asked Mission Control.

"And that is correct," Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide said from Mission Control.

"Interesting," Cassidy said.

Wolf asked if there was a possibility of an imminent canister failure. Hoshide said it did not appear so, but flight controllers nonetheless asked the astronauts to head back to the airlock.

The call to abbreviate the work came at about five hours and 20 minutes into a planned six hour and 30 minute excursion. The astronauts only installed two of the four new batteries they aimed to put in place today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cassidy is a SEAL, and would have finished the job. It's amazing how scared we have become of failure, to the point that we are afraid of our own shadow when risk is involved.

NASA seems to be a cowardly lion and a bureaucratic joke.

Hopefully, the new NASA admimistrator, a former Marine Corps
General, can set the proper tone.