Thursday, November 20, 2008

420p 11/20 Update: Lost tools don't hamper spacewalk work


Posted: 4:20 PM, 11/20/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-41 (11/20/08): Spacewalk begins
   SR-42 (11/20/08): Equipment carts relocated; SARJ cleaning resumes
   SR-43 (11/20/08): Stefanyshyn-Piper reports modified SARJ cleaning technique works well


4:20 PM, 11/20/08, Update: Stefanyshyn-Piper reports modified SARJ cleaning technique works well

Working around lost tools, astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper said an alternative approach, using grease-impregnated wipes to apply a coating of lubricant to a damaged solar array drive gear, works just as well as lubricant from a grease gun to contain debris freed up by a scraper tool.

The success of the alternative cleaning method might make it possible to complete solar array rotary joint cleaning without having to improvise additional tools to take the place of two grease guns that were lost overboard during a spacewalk Tuesday.

"I think both methods are comparable," Stefanyshyn-Piper reported. "I think you get a larger area of grease coverage when you go over with a wet wipe and tamp all over the place. And then for the scraping, you just have to be very careful because you don't have as much grease on the surface to hold things together and so you just have to wipe the scraper tool more often than you did before, because before there was a lot of grease holding debris. But both Steve (Bowen) and I did notice yesterday (Tuesday during spacewalk No. 1) that even as you were scraping there were particles that were coming up and sometimes even a little blob of grease would fly away."

"But you think they both give the same effect in the end?" shuttle pilot Eric Boe asked.

"Yeah. I think this one, like I said, with the blob of grease you get better coverage right underneath where the grease is," said Stefanyshyn-Piper. "But this way, I really made sure I took the grease wipe and really coated the entire outer canted surface and so I got more coverage. Because I noticed something when I was scraping, is that it would be really good right where I laid the bead of grease but you could tell, as I drew the scraper tool over, you could tell exactly where the bead of grease was laid."

"Houston copies and based on what you just said, you're go to use the wet wipe method for the remainder of the EVA," mission control called.


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