Washington (AFP) – Two astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) were doing Tuesday on the eve of Christmas, a rare spacewalk during which they had to complete the repair of cooling the orbital complex .
“What a beautiful view!” he told American Mike Hopkins, 44, who with his compatriot Rick Mastracchio 53, emerged from the airlock of the ISS at 11:53 GMT.
“Actually you be over the Atlantic” replied one of the Johnson Space Center in Houston controllers (Texas) according exchanges broadcast live on NASA TV.
According to NASA, if the orbital output goes as planned Tuesday, the job of replacing the faulty ammonia pump should be done “in just two outputs.”
Saturday, the two astronauts were particularly effective, completing their expedition in 5 hours and 28 minutes, an hour less than expected while performing an important part of the work scheduled for the second spacewalk.
They filed the ammonia pump failed (355 pounds, the size of a large refrigerator) before tying on a section of the ISS where it will remain for several months before being stored in a permanent place.
Tuesday, after a little more than 2:30 in space, the two orbital repairmen had initially removed the thermal protection of the new replacement pump – one of three that make up the Station – as well as different fasteners and fixings.
Attached to the end of the robotic arm of the Station, 15 meters long and operated from the inside by Japanese Koichi Wakata, one of the astronauts then accompanied the pump at its installation site.
Both men have repeatedly stated that their spacesuits worked perfectly, without any trace of water inside their helmets.
condensation problem discovered Saturday in the scuba Rick Mastracchio after the end of the exit was forced to use a scuba parts for this release, delaying the 24 hours.
NASA said that air conditioning problem had nothing to do with the mysterious water leak occurred in the helmet of another diving in which was the Italian Luca Parmitano during an event in space last July. Astronaut from the European Space Agency had returned to emergency aboard the ISS.
replacing this pump ammonia could not wait, had said last week that the space agency had tried to resolve this problem remotely operating a valve to compensate for the one that is blocked and prevents the normal flow of ammonia in the circuit to maintain a proper temperature.
If another malfunction occurs in the second air conditioning system, the ISS will then end up in a potentially dangerous situation requiring evacuation of the crew.
Since the beginning of this failure on December 11, cooling of the Station is ensured by the second circuit, which can not only meet all the needs of the ISS. Non-essential equipment from the station have been shelved.
failure, however, never endangered the six crew members of the Station, assured NASA.
decision of the Agency to perform these emergency exits forced to postpone to early January the launch of the capsule non-inhabited Cygnus, the Orbital Science, which initially was to make its first mission supply the ISS on 19 December.
This is the second spacewalk performed on Christmas Eve. The last was in 1999 when two astronauts aboard the space shuttle had made an orbital output to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.