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 Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov will install on the Zvezda Service Module the final three antennas of a six-antenna set for the ATV, an unpiloted European cargo carrier scheduled to make its first trip to the Station early next year.
They also will install a Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna for the ATV.
The previous Station crew, Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Fincke, installed the first three antennas of the six-antenna set.
During this spacewalk, Sharipov and Chiao will deploy a small Russian experiment called Nanosatellite.
The spacewalk, in Russian Orlan suits using the airlock of the Pirs Docking Compartment, should last about 5 hours, 40 minutes. It is scheduled to start at 1:25 a.m. EST. Live coverage on NASA Television will begin at midnight.
Sharipov, designated EV1, or lead spacewalker, is making his second spacewalk. This is the sixth spacewalk for Chiao, EV2. Both will wear suits with red stripes. Chiao's suit will have a U.S flag on the shoulder.
After opening the hatch and assembling equipment, Sharipov and Chiao move from the Pirs back to the small-diameter forward end of Zvezda. There they install the three WAL antennas, space-to-space communications antennas for the ATV.
Installation of the WAL antennas and their associated cabling should take about 2 1/2 hours.
The next task of the spacewalk is to deploy the Nanosatellite. It is about a foot long, weighs 11 pounds and contains a transmitter. The crew activates it before leaving the airlock. The object of the experiment is to develop small satellite control techniques, monitor satellite operations and develop new attitude system sensors.
The crew deploys it from the ladder at the Pirs docking compartment, giving it a push in the direction opposite the direction the Station is traveling. It should leave the Station at a relative velocity of about one meter per second.
Next the crew moves to the large-diameter section of the Service Module to install the GPS antenna and its cabling. Their movements to and around the rear of the Service Module will be carefully coordinated with Mission Control Moscow to avoid any possibility of contamination should it become necessary to use Russian thrusters there to adjust the orientation of the Space Station.
The final task is to inspect and photograph a laser reflector on the Service Module’s aft end-cone. The reflector helps control the ATV’s final approach to the Station, and the inspection is the last ATV-related activity of the spacewalk.
The crew is scheduled to re-enter the Pirs airlock and close the hatch at 7 a.m. EST.
Explore further: Astronomers discover first self-lensing binary star system