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  ISS Expedition 32: American spacewalk (9/5/12)

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Author Topic:   ISS Expedition 32: American spacewalk (9/5/12)
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-04-2012 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Second spacewalk set to install new power unit

In the wake of an unsuccessful attempt to install a replacement power switching unit on the truss of the International Space Station (ISS), two crew members will venture outside for a second time in six days to complete the work.

The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at about 6:15 a.m. CDT (1115 GMT) on Wednesday (Sept. 5).

Expedition 32 flight engineers Sunita Williams of NASA and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will again don U.S. spacesuits and exit the Quest airlock to complete the installation of a spare Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU).

The MBSU is a boxy, 236 pound (107 kilogram) component that relays power from the station's solar arrays to its systems. An 8- hour, 17-minute spacewalk on Aug. 30 — the third longest in history — ended with the spacewalkers unable to finish bolting the switching unit into its housing on the truss.

Engineering teams at the Johnson Space Center in Houston have worked since last Thursday (Aug. 30) to troubleshoot the problem that prevented the spare MBSU from being installed. The most probable cause is likely a combination of a slight misalignment in the positioning of the spare unit prior to bolting and possible damage to the threads of the receptacle posts on the truss to which the MBSU must be bolted in place.

MBSU-1 had been presenting "intermittent bit flip errors," also known as circuit reconfiguration confirmation errors, since Oct. 19, 2011. An analysis indicated there was a component hardware failure internal to the MBSU, which was causing the problem.

Although the unit continued to provide power without interruption before its removal on Aug. 30, and had not been a threat to the health or safety of the crew, station or continued science research, mission managers decided to remove and replace the unit.

There are four MBSUs on the station. They are the primary electrical power routing devices on the orbiting laboratory. Each MBSU is 28 by 40 by 12 inches (71 by 102 by 30.5 centimeters).

In preparation for the additional spacewalk, Williams and Hoshide spent the weekend reviewing procedures and fabricating a series of tools to add to their arsenal for the cleaning and lubricating of the MBSU's bolts and the S-zero (S0) truss post receptacles. If the MBSU cannot be bolted in place during Wednesday's spacewalk, an option exists for the spacewalkers to bring the unit inside the station for further analysis and troubleshooting.

In a coincidental but unrelated occurrence, a direct current power switching unit that routes power at the proper amperage and voltage tripped late Saturday (Sept. 1), causing one of the station array's power channels to default to a parallel channel.

Although the power trip is not linked to the station operating on only three MBSUs at the moment, the station is currently on only five of its eight power channels. Even with three such channels unavailable, flight controllers have been able to reroute power to critical station systems and payloads with only a minimal impact on operations.

The crew is not affected by the power configuration as they prepare for the spacewalk.

This spacewalk will be the 165th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the sixth in Williams' career and the second for Hoshide. Williams will wear a spacesuit bearing red stripes. Hoshide will be clad in a spacesuit with no markings.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-05-2012 06:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacewalk begins to complete MBSU installation

Expedition 32 flight engineers Suni Williams and Aki Hoshide began their second spacewalk in less than a week at 6:06 a.m. CDT (1106 GMT) on Wednesday (Sept. 5). They are working to complete the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) that was hampered last week by a possible misalignment and damaged bolt threads.

Williams and Hoshide built some improvised tools to assist with their installation tasks. The tools will be used to clean the MBSU bolts and receptacles and repair the bolt threads.

If the astronauts are unable to install the MBSU, an option exists to return it to the airlock for further analysis and troubleshooting.

Flight engineer Joe Acaba is the Canadarm2 robotic arm operator and will monitor the spacewalkers from inside the International Space Station. Hoshide will ride the Canadarm2 attached to a portable foot restraint to the MBSU worksite.

The spacewalk is scheduled to last 6.5 hours and includes other tasks postponed from last week's excursion if the MBSU installation task is completed on time.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-05-2012 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spacewalkers successfully install MBSU

Suni Williams and Aki Hoshide successfully completed the installation of a Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) that was hampered last week by a possible misalignment and damaged bolt threads.

"Everyone on the ground, great job," Hoshide said as he completed driving the bolt. "The MBSU is locked."

"That is a little slice of awesome pie," capcom Jack Fischer replied from Mission Control in Houston.

Williams and Hoshide used improvised tools, including a bristle and toothbrush, to troubleshoot the installation. The tools were used to clean the bolts and receptacles and clear the area of any debris.

The two spacewalkers also installed a camera on the space station's robotic arm, Canadarm2.

The spacewalk, which lasted 6 hours and 28 minutes, ended at 12:34 p.m. CDT Wednesday (Sept. 5). During the spacewalk, Williams set a new record for the total cumulative time spacewalking by a woman.

All times are CT (US)

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