International Space Station Crew Set For Friday Spacewalk

June 4, 2009
Backdropped by Earth's horizon and the blackness of space, a portion of the International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 20 crew member aboard the station. Credit: NASA

( -- The new six-member Expedition 20 crew aboard the International Space Station focused on spacewalk preparations and maintenance activities Thursday during a half-duty day.

The first spacewalk of the Expedition 20 mission is scheduled to begin at 2:45 a.m. EDT Friday with a duration of 5 ½ hours. TV coverage will begin at 2:15 a.m.

During the spacewalk, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt will prepare the Pirs docking compartment for the arrival of the Mini-Research Module 2, which will serve as an additional docking port for Russian vehicles. The spacewalkers will install a docking antenna to help guide the new module into place when it arrives at the station aboard an unpiloted Soyuz in November.

Padalka and Barratt also will photograph the Strela-2, a manually operated crane used during Russian spacewalks.

While the spacewalkers complete their tasks outside the station, Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata will assist them from inside the Zvezda service module.

Throughout the week, Padalka and Barratt completed a variety of tasks in anticipation of Friday’s spacewalk including resizing spacesuits, conducting routine maintenance and configuring spacewalk tools and equipment.

The newest station residents, Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko, Robert Thirsk and Frank De Winne, worked on a variety of station maintenance tasks. They also continued to familiarize themselves with their new home in space.

The crew has adjusted its sleep schedule Thursday to accommodate the early start time of the spacewalk. A wake up time of 6 p.m. sets in motion the crew’s final preparations.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

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