US astronauts to step out on spacewalk for repairs

Apr 23, 2014
This April 23, 2014 NASA TV image shows International Space Station(ISS) astronauts Rick Mastracchio(L) and Steve Swanson(R) preparing for a spacewalk

Two US astronauts are preparing to step out on a brief spacewalk Wednesday to install a backup computer at the International Space Station after one failed earlier this month.

Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson are to embark on the 2.5 hour spacewalk beginning at 9:20 am (1320 GMT).

The computer they will remove and replace is known as a multiplexer/demultiplexer (MDM), one of 45 aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The 10-year-old MDM failed after a routine restart operation on April 11.

NASA said the broken model provides commands to certain space station systems, including the external cooling system, solar alpha rotary joints and mobile transporter rail car.

NASA television coverage will begin at 1230 GMT.

The spacewalk will mark the 179th in support of the orbiting space station, a global collaboration that includes Europe, Canada, Japan, the United States and Russia.

Just prior to the , a Russian cargo capsule will undock from the space station for a two-day test of a new system to automatically reattach itself, NASA said.

The Progress 53 resupply ship will separate from the at 4:58 am (0858 GMT), then retreat a distance of 311 miles (500 kilometers).

"It will return back to the Zvezda docking port Friday morning after Russian flight controllers have tested its new Kurs automated rendezvous system," the US space agency said.

A similar operation was done in July 2012 when another Progress cargo freighter pulled away from the station and redocked, also for a trial run of its automated return system.

Explore further: Space station computer outage may force spacewalk

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russian cargo ship docks with space station

Apr 10, 2014

A Russian cargo ship has successfully docked with the International Space Station Thursday, bringing the crew crucial supplies and water, Russia's space agency said.

NASA approves space station supply launch

Apr 13, 2014

NASA is pressing ahead with Monday's planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, determining the situation is safe.

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

12 hours ago

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

17 hours ago

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

Aug 28, 2014

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

Aug 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

User comments : 0