Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents


First of the last shuttle spacewalks underwayposted May 20, 2011 5:07 a.m. CDT

Mission specialists Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff began the first of four spacewalks planned for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission at 2:10 a.m. CDT on Friday.

The 245th spacewalk made by U.S. astronauts and the 156th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, this is the fourth for Feustel and the first for Chamitoff.

"Drew, I just wanted to say welcome back to open space," radioed Mike Fincke, who as the intravehicular officer is choreographing the activities and coordinating communications between the spacewalkers and Mission Control in Houston.

"And Taz, congratulations on being the 201st human being to be in outer space. I waited a long time to say those words to you." said Fincke.

"Thanks Spanky," responded Chamitoff. "As you know it's a dream come true for me. It would be for anybody, the first or the 201st."

"Welcome to space, buddy," added Feustel.

Once outside the space station's Quest airlock, Feustel and Chamitoff set about completing their first task: retrieving two suitcase-sized test beds, the Materials International Space Station Experiments, or MISSEs, 7A and 7B, for their return to Earth in Endeavour's payload bay.

To remove the experiments, each spacewalker disconnected one power cable, closed the experiment, removed two pins holding it in place, and carried it back to the shuttle for return home. Chamitoff retrieved MISSE 7B, and Feustel moved MISSE 7A.

"It is good to know that MISSE 7A and B are safe in the payload bay," said Chamitoff. "They have been out here for a year and a half. They are good experiments so I am very, very glad that they are safely back in the payload bay."

Chamitoff and Feustel stored the two MISSEs opposite from each other on the side of Endeavour's cargo bay, securing them using two latches.

Feustel then retrieved MISSE 8, which was launched on Endeavour, and carried it back to the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 2 for installation in the place 7A had been. He installed two pins to hold the experiment in place, opened the experiment and connected two power cables.

"Good work with the MISSEs," Fincke told the spacewalkers. "I am sure the Materials on ISS Experiments team is really happy today."

"Glad we could be of service," said Drew.

"That is also another major mission milestone for us, so congratulations boys," said Fincke.

With the MISSEs in place, the spacewalkers separated to complete other tasks.

Chamitoff installed a crew equipment and translation aid (CETA) cart light on the starboard 3 (S3) segment of the station's truss. He used one bolt to secure the light to the cart, and hooked up one power cable.

Meanwhile Feustel tightened six bolts holding a cover on one face of the S3 solar alpha rotary joint. It was removed during a 2007 spacewalk.

About two-and-a-half hours into the spacewalk, Chamitoff returned to the airlock to recharge his spacesuit's oxygen supply while Feustel set-up for their next objective, preparing for the work that he and Fincke will perform on the mission's second spacewalk to top off the ammonia coolant in the station's P6 photovoltaic thermal control system loop.

The spacewalkers and their space shuttle crewmates began their day at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday with the song "We All Do What We Can Do."

The song, which was played for Fincke, was written by thermal protection system engineer Dan Keenan and Kenny McLaughlin, a Kennedy Space Center launch pad engineer. The two shuttle workers created the song to honor those who have helped make the space program a success.

In a note to Fincke they wrote, "Together as dedicated individuals we did what we could do to help."
Spacewalkers set-up for second spacewalkposted May 20, 2011 6:46 a.m. CDT

More than three hours into the STS-134 mission's first spacewalk, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff have completed installation of the ammonia jumper cable that will connect the cooling loops for the space station's Port 3 (P3) and Port 4 (P4) truss segments.

This task sets up for activities scheduled during the second spacewalk in which Feustel and Mike Fincke will top off the ammonia in the station's Port 6 (P6) photovoltaic thermal control system cooling loop, which has a slow ammonia leak.

Feustel and Chamitoff started by installing the cable, then they vented nitrogen from the loops between the Port 1 (P1) and Port 5 (5) segments and from the jumper that connects the ammonia reservoir that'll be used for the refill during the mission's second spacewalk on Sunday.

The spacewalkers have now moved on to the Destiny laboratory for their final major task for today, where they are installing two antennas for the External Wireless Communication (EWC) system.

The new antennas will expand the station crew's capability to wirelessly control and communicate with payloads installed on the station's exterior.

Chamitoff first removed two handrails to replace them with handrails that have the wireless antennas integrated. Each handrail is held in place by two bolts.

Once the antenna-enhanced rails are in place, Chamitoff will connect two power cables, Feustel will connect three more, and then he will store two cables for future use.

Feustel will wrap up the first spacewalk of the mission by preparing tools and equipment that will be used during the second and third spacewalks.
First of the last shuttle spacewalks endsposted May 20, 2011 8:43 a.m. CDT

Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff are back inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock, having completed the first of four spacewalks for Endeavour's STS-134 mission. The 6 hour and 19 minute outing ended at 8:29 a.m. CDT on Friday as airlock began repressurizing.

Mission Control ordered the astronauts back inside after a carbon dioxide sensor failed in Chamitoff's spacesuit. As a result, he and Feustel were unable to finish routing the power cables for two newly-installed External Wireless Communication (EWC) antennas. That work will be deferred to a later spacewalk.

Feustel and Chamitoff completed all their other planned tasks, including retrieving and deploying science experiments, installing a new CETA cart light and replacing a cover on the S3 solar alpha rotary joint (SARJ).

The two also successfully set up for the mission's second spacewalk by installing an ammonia jumper cable that will be used on Sunday to top off the station's cooling loops and preparing the tools that Feustel and Mike Fincke, today's spacewalk choreographer, will use outside the station.

"I'd like to congratulate you both on an outstanding EVA," Fincke told the two spacewalkers. "It has been a pleasure working with you. I am a little jealous you guys were outside but it is a lot of work on the inside, too."

"You guys did great. We got a lot done," added Fincke.

Today's spacewalk was the fourth for Feustel and the first for Chamitoff.

"Taz, congratulations on your first EVA. I know it was a dream come true and it was definitely awesome," Fincke said.

"It was really great to work together and with the ground," Chamitoff said. I'm really happy with how it worked out today. Hopefully, we can pick up [where we left off] with one of the next three [EVAs] and wrap it up."

"Awesome EVA, team," added Feustel.

This was the 245th spacewalk made by U.S. astronauts, and the 156th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, increasing the total time spent working outside the ISS to 980 hours and 12 minutes.

Today's spacewalk was also the fourth to last to be performed by shuttle astronauts. Although STS-134 is the penultimate mission for the 30-year program, the spacewalk scheduled during the last mission, STS-135, will be conducted by space station crew members.
Managers give 'go' for shuttle-station photo opposted May 20, 2011 3:44 p.m. CDT

Endeavour, get ready for your close-up wide shot.

NASA's International Space Station mission managers approved Friday a plan to photograph space shuttle Endeavour while it is still docked to the space station from the perspective of a departing Russian spacecraft.

"We have what I term a unique opportunity," said Kenneth Todd, chair of NASA's space station mission management team. "We, as a community with 100 percent consensus, approved this change to the baseline to go add this photo documentation task as part of the 25S [TMA-20] undock."

Soyuz TMA-20 is scheduled to leave the space station at 4:23 p.m. CDT on Monday, May 23 to bring Roscosmos cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli home to Earth after five months in space.

As they depart, rather than immediately leaving the vicinity of the station, they will pause to allow Nespoli to move to a window in the Soyuz habitat module and photograph the shuttle-station complex.

"They will back out to about 200 meters," explained station flight director Courtenay McMillan. "You will see they are a little bit above the velocity vector, above the station, and that is to keep the Sun out of the pilot's [Kondratyev] eyes."

"After they get to the station-keeping point a few minutes later, ISS will begin a 130 degree maneuver. They will be moving at point-two degrees per second, so it will take about 15 minutes and it will basically bring the whole stack around so that we get a side view and a really good view of Endeavour," said McMillan.

Nespoli will have about 15 minutes to take still photos and video using two cameras before he will remove their data cards, climb back into the Soyuz's descent module, seal the hatch to the habitat module, and return with Kondratyev and Coleman to Earth and a landing in Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, Endeavour's crew will be sound asleep... or not.

"They're scheduled to be asleep," said McMillan. "We're not asking them to do anything differently than what they are scheduled for but there are a couple of fairly lightly loaded days around that, so there is a possibility they will get up. That's entirely discretionary."

"They don't need to [be awake], there's no requirement for that and we're not going to ask them to," she said.

Once the Soyuz crew and the cameras' data cards are on the ground, NASA and Roscosmos will work together to release the images as soon as possible, perhaps as soon as the following day.

While acknowledging there was some engineering value to the imagery, Todd said the photographs were important as a testament to the station and shuttle for future generations.

"I would like to think that they'd look back on their history and look back at what we accomplished between these two very, very large programs and the technology and the engineering that went into making the space shuttle do what it has done for this country... and see that it was quite a feat to go do this with the technology we're dealing with in this particular timeframe," said Todd.

FD:  Countdown1234567891011121314151617

back to collectSPACE

© 2022 All rights reserved.
Questions? E-mail
                  arrow advertisements