Tuesday, December 23, 2008

140a 12/23 Update: Spacewalk ends

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CBS NEWS Coverage of Breaking Space News
Posted: 01:40 AM, 12/23/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Consultant

Changes and additions:

12/22/08 (07:55 PM): Spacewalk begins
12/23/08 (01:00 AM): Spacewalkers install probe, one of two experiment packages
12/23/08 (01:40 AM): Spaewalk ends

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01:00 AM, 12/23/08, Update: Spacewalkers install probe, one of two experiment packages (UPDATED at 1:40 a.m. with end of spacwalk)

Expedition 18 commander Mike Fincke and flight engineer Yury Lonchakov, carrying out a five-hour 38-minute spacewalk, successfully installed an electrical probe on the Russian Pirs airlock module, retrieved a space exposure experiment and mounted instrumentation on the Zvezda command module that will monitor disturbances in the ionosphere.

But the spacewalkers ran into problems getting a second experiment package, designed to expose biological samples to the space environment, properly plugged into the station's power and data system. After extensive troubleshooting, Russian flight controllers ordered Fincke and Lonchakov to disconnect the EXPOSE-R experiment and return it to the airlock, foregoing a few minor maintenance chores.

"It's a pity we had to bring EXPOSE-R back in," someone said.

"Well, there's nothing we can do now."

The hatch to the Pirs module was closed at 1:29 a.m., officially ending a tedious five-hour 38-minute spacewalk. This was the 119th spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998, the 19th this year, the fifth for Fincke and the first for Lonchakov. Station EVA time now stands at 751 hours and seven minutes.

"It's a pity we did not manage to complete the timeline in full," one of the spacewalkers lamented. "The problem was with those connectors. I don't believe we made any mistakes because we did it, both of us tried demating and remating those connectors. We double checked and triple checked everything.

"Yes, we understand," a flight controller replied.

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Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-119 Status Reports:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/current.html

CBS News STS-119 Quick-Look Page:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/currentglance.html

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/index.html

NASA Shuttle Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
NASA Station Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html
Spaceflight Now: http://spaceflightnow.com/index.html
GoogleSatTrack: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/

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