NASA Postpones Two Spacewalks Due to Spacesuit Battery Problem

NASA Postpones Two Spacewalks Due to Spacesuit Battery Problem

NASA is postponing two U.S. spacewalks planned for August 21 and August 29 because of concerns about fuses in the batteries used in the U.S. spacesuits.  A Russian spacewalk remains on track for August 18.

New Long Life Batteries for the U.S. spacesuits are to be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) on the next SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission — SpaceX CRS-4 — in September.  NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman said in an interview broadcast on NASA TV that although he is “a little sad” the spacewalks were postponed, it is OK because “when I go out the door I want [the spacesuit] to be in a good clean configuration.”   Wiseman also will replace a fan pump separator in one of the U.S. spacesuits next week.  A malfunctioning fan pump separator caused a dramatic end to a July 16, 2013 spacewalk when ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet filled with water.

Wiseman and NASA astronaut Steve Swanson were scheduled to conduct the August 21 spacewalk.  Their tasks are to replace a failed Sequential Shunt in order to recover full power-generating capacity on the ISS and to reposition TV external camera equipment.   Wiseman and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst were on tap for the August 29 spacewalk to transfer a failed pump module from a temporary to a permanent stowage location and to install a “Mobile Transporter Relay Assembly that will add capability to the ‘keep alive’ power to the Mobile Servicing System when the Mobile Transporter is moving between worksites.”   NASA said that postponing the spacewalks will not affect day-to-day ISS operations.

Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev will proceed with their own spacewalk, using Russia’s Orlan spacesuits, on August 18.  They will deploy a nanosatellite, install two experiment packages and retrieve two others.  NASA TV will provide coverage of that spacewalk beginning at 10:00 am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

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