Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cosmonaut Tosses Bundle Off Back End Of Station

A Russian cosmonaut just tossed a bundle of surplus insulation covers off the back end of the International Space Station as work outside the outpost continued without major problems.

Station flight engineer Max Suraev gave the bundle the heave-ho amid a spacewalk primarily aimed at prepping a new module for service as a dual docking compartment-and-airlock.

"How did the jettison go?" Suraev asked spacewalking partner Oleg Kotov.

"It went very well," Kotov said.

The thermal covers were taken from handrails and antennas outside the new Poisk, or "Search," module, which was launched to the station late last year and docked to the zenith port of the Russian Zvezda Service Module. The Poisk module is near-identical to the Pirs airlock berthed in the nadir, or Earth-facing, port of the Service Module.

The Poisk is one of two so-called Mini Research Modules the Russians aim to add to the station. A second will be hauled up aboard a shuttle mission later this year.

The bundle of thermal covers is the first of two the cosmonauts plan to plan to toss off the aft end of the Service Module. Another will be jettisoned toward the end of today's spacewalk, which is scheduled to last five hours and 50 minutes.

You can watch the excursion live here in The Flame Trench. Simply click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer and be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

Click HERE for a detailed timeline for the spacewalk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one example of how the Russians take un-necessary risks in space. There was no reason to jettison these light objects, and it introduced a hazard if the objects were to come back around and hit a solar array, etc. Why would they not just bring the items back and stick them in a Progress? They just like to jettison stuff - like little kids enjoy throwing rocks. We should just hope that they do it just right, so the bundles don't come back to hit ISS.