Two NASA astronauts completed a six-and-a-half hour space walk Thursday (2) to replace a faulty antenna on the International Space Station. The mission, according to NASA, had a slightly higher risk, due to orbital debris left over from a Russian rocket test weeks ago.
Astronauts Thomas Marshbourne and Kayla Barron left a pressurized cabin at the Orbital Research Laboratory, about 400 kilometers from Earth, to begin work at 8:15 a.m. EDT, one hour earlier than scheduled.
Extra Vehicle Activity (EVA) has occurred after a delay 48 hours due to orbital debris alert It is the first delay in more than two decades in the space station’s history – which NASA later dismissed as unimportant.
NASA has not explained the origin of the recently discovered debris. A spokesman said there was no indication it came from fragments of a defunct satellite that Russia tore apart in a missile test last month.
Thursday’s departure was the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, 61, a former flight physician and surgeon on two previous trips to orbit, and the first for Barron, 34, a US Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer on his first space flight to NASA.
“It was great,” Barron told Marchburne.
During the spacewalk, they removed a defective set of S-band radio communications antennas, now over 20 years old, and replaced them with an additional antenna outside the space station.
NASA said that the space station is equipped with other antennas that can perform the same functions, but the installation of an alternative system will ensure an optimal level of communication.
Copyright © Thomson Reuters.
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