Space station astronauts 'spacewalk' in airlock

Jun 10, 2009

(AP) -- Two international space station crewmen squeezed into a small airlock Wednesday and moved a docking mechanism to accommodate a research module expected to arrive later this year.

American Michael Barratt and Russian Gennady Padalka entered the transfer compartment in the station's Russian-made Zvezda service module 10 minutes behind schedule because of initial problems with pressure inside the airlock, which did not fall as fast as expected.

But they got the job done quickly and emerged from the cramped airlock after 12 minutes.

"Excellent, Michael, good going," Padalka told Barratt at one point, after his crewmate removed the docking cone from its initial position.

While they were not in open space, Padalka and Barratt had to wear space suits in the depressurized compartment and the operation was considered a spacewalk - the 125th conducted for construction and maintenance of the 10-year-old station.

The bulky suits made for a tight fit in the 9-by-5 foot (2.75-by-1.5 meter) airlock.

"You need to move down even more, I think there's more space at the bottom," one of the men said at one point. "No, there's no more room," came the reply.

It was the eighth space walk for Padalka, a veteran of the Soviet-built Mir space station who has spent more than 27 hours on spacewalks.

It was Barratt's second. He and Padalka conducted a nearly five-hour on Friday that was also part of preparations for the arrival of the Russian Mini Research Module-2 later this year. The module will serve as an additional docking port for Russian vehicles.

The station's permanent crew doubled to six last month and currently comprises two Russians, an American, a Canadian, a Japanese and a Belgian.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: How bad can solar storms get?

Related Stories

Russian Spacewalk to Prepare for New Module Complete

Jun 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- International Space Station Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Mike Barratt completed a spacewalk at 8:46 a.m. EDT Friday to prepare the Zvezda service module for the arrival of ...

Delayed spacewalk ends successfully

Jun 05, 2009

(AP) -- Two international space station crew members wrapped up a successful spacewalk Friday, the first since the size of the station's crew expanded from three to six last month.

Spacewalk begins after CO2 in spacesuits delay

Jun 05, 2009

(AP) -- Two international space station crew members began a spacewalk Friday, despite initial concerns about high carbon dioxide levels in their redesigned Russian space suits.

Station Crew Spacewalk Set for March 28

Mar 25, 2005

International Space Station crewmembers will finish setting out a welcome mat for the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) during their mission’s second and final planned spacewalk early March 28. Commander Leroy Chiao and ...

Station Crew Completes Successful Spacewalk

Mar 28, 2005

International Space Station crewmembers wound up a successful spacewalk Monday morning, finishing preparations to welcome the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). They closed the airlock hatch at 5:55 a.m. EST ...

Recommended for you

How bad can solar storms get?

5 hours ago

Our sun regularly pelts the Earth with all kinds of radiation and charged particles. How bad can these solar storms get?

Mars rover's ChemCam instrument gets sharper vision

6 hours ago

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover's "ChemCam" instrument just got a major capability fix, as Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists uploaded a software repair for the auto-focus system on the instrument.

GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing

22 hours ago

The GOES-R satellite, slated to launch in 2016, is ready for environmental testing. Environmental testing simulates the harsh conditions of launch and the space environment once the satellite is in orbit. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.