Station Crew Begins Spacewalk to Retrieve Soyuz Pyro Bolt

Jul 10, 2008
A view of Expedition 17 Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko as they conduct a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

International Space Station Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko began a spacewalk at 2:48 p.m. EDT Thursday to inspect and retrieve an explosive bolt from their Soyuz TMA-12. The bolt will be returned to Earth for examination.

The spacewalk comes in the wake of two consecutive ballistic entries by the previous Soyuz spacecraft, entries that resulted in high-G rides for the crews and landings hundreds of miles short of the planned recovery area. Russian engineers say they have evidence that failed explosive bolts that help separate two modules likely are responsible.

The spacewalk is expected to last about six hours. It focuses on the area between the Soyuz return and propulsion modules.

Volkov and Kononenko leave the Pirs docking compartment and move to the Strela hand-powered crane mounted nearby. Volkov, wearing the red-striped Orlan spacesuit and designated EV1, and Kononenko mount a foot restraint on the end of Strela.

Kononenko, EV2 in the blue-striped suit, gets into the foot restraint and Volkov maneuvers him to the Soyuz, docked to the Earth-facing port on Pirs.

After installing covers to protect nearby thrusters, Kononenko cuts and secures insulation and inspects and photographs the area. Then Volkov moves along the Strela to join Kononenko, who installs a handrail on the Soyuz and a cover to protect fluid lines.

Volkov cuts a wire tie between adjacent pyrotechnic bolts in the suspect position and demates an electrical connector. Next he unscrews and retrieves the pyro bolt and stows it in a protective cylindrical case. He reinstalls the insulation cover and removes the thruster covers, taking photos after each step.

Kononenko and Volkov move back to the Strela controls and both maneuver the crane back to its stowage position on Pirs. They stow a bag with the blast-proof container holding the pyro bolt in the airlock.

If time permits, they install a docking target on the space-facing side of the Zvezda service module. It will help with the docking of a Russian mini-research module atop Zvezda. The module will be delivered on a future mission.

The cosmonauts return to Pirs, enter the airlock and close the hatch.

Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff remains in the Soyuz during the spacewalk, part of contingency preparations for the unlikely event the Pirs airlock cannot be repressurized.

Volkov and Kononenko will conduct another spacewalk July 15 to outfit the Russian segment's exterior and install a scientific experiment and retrieve another.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Space sex geckos at risk as Russia loses control of satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Expedition 18 Takes Command on Space Station

Oct 22, 2008

Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, along with flight engineers Yury Lonchakov and Greg Chamitoff, officially took charge of the International Space Station Wednesday. The Change of Command Ceremony took ...

Russian spacecraft docks with space station

Oct 14, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Commander Edward Michael "Mike" Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury Valentinovich Lonchakov of the 18th International Space Station crew docked their Soyuz TMA-13 to the Earth-facing port of the ...

New Crew Blasts Off for International Space Station

Oct 13, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new crew that will live and work aboard the International Space Station rocketed into orbit early Sunday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. U.S. astronaut E. Michael Fincke, Russian cosmonaut Yury ...

Expedition 18 Crew To Launch from Baikonur

Oct 09, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Commander Edward Michael "Mike" Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury Valentinovich Lonchakov of the 18th International Space Station crew are scheduled to launch in their Soyuz TMA-13 from the ...

Station Crew Prepares for Thursday Spacewalk

Jul 08, 2008

The Expedition 17 crew of the International Space Station worked Tuesday towards completing preparations for a pair of spacewalks. They donned their spacesuits for a dry run and inspected hatch seals.

Recommended for you

Video: A dizzying view of the Earth from space

8 hours ago

We've got vertigo watching this video, but in a good way! This is a sped-up view of Earth from the International Space Station from the Cupola, a wraparound window that is usually used for cargo ship berthings ...

NEOWISE spots a comet that looked like an asteroid

8 hours ago

Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet ...

What the UK Space Agency can teach Australia

8 hours ago

Australia has had an active civil space program since 1947 but has much to learn if it is to capture a bigger share of growing billion dollar global space industry. ...

Discover the "X-factor" of NASA's Webb telescope

8 hours ago

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray observatory have something in common: a huge test chamber used to simulate the hazards of space and the distant glow of starlight. Viewers can learn about ...

User comments : 0