ISS Astronauts Prepare for Christmas Eve Spacewalk

ISS Astronauts Prepare for Christmas Eve Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins are getting ready for their second spacewalk to fix a coolant loop problem on the International Space Station (ISS).  The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:10 am ET tomorrow, Christmas Eve.  NASA TV coverage begins at 6:15 am ET.

NASA planned three spacewalks to replace the coolant pump assembly, but Mastracchio and Hopkins made quick work of their tasks during the first spacewalk on December 21.   That spacewalk lasted 5 hours and 28 minutes instead of the planned 6 hours and 30 minutes, but they completed so many of the steps that NASA expects them to complete everything during the second spacewalk tomorrow and a third will not be necessary.

A long-planned Russian spacewalk is scheduled for Friday for unrelated tasks.   After that, no spacewalks can take place until January 9 because of the Sun’s Beta angle relative to the ISS which does not allow proper lighting conditions for such operations.

Tomorrow’s spacewalk was delayed by a day to allow the astronauts to get a backup spacesuit ready to replace the one Mastracchio wore on December 21.   NASA has not released many details, but something happened after the astronauts were back inside the airlock that allowed water to enter Mastracchio’s suit.  It is now drying out and can be used in future spacewalks, but not tomorrow’s.

This will be the eighth spacewalk for Mastracchio and second for Hopkins.

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