Two crew members on the International Space Station (ISS) carried out a spacewalk on Friday, January 20, to finish assembling two mounting platforms for the space station’s new solar arrays, NASA said.
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and NASA astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, who is the first Native American woman to travel to space, began the spacewalk at 8:14 am Eastern Time, the space agency said. The spacewalk was expected the last up to seven hours, they added.
The installation is part of a series of spacewalks to augment the ISS’s power channels with new roll-out solar arrays, NASA said.
Wakata can be identified by red stripes on his suit, while Mann’s suit is unmarked, NASA said. Credit: NASA via Storyful
- What you'll hear when they talk to each other, they'll be doing buddy checks and saying how each other's space suit looks, and reporting that to each other. They do have some procedures to make sure all of their suit components are in a good spot before they actually translate or move over.
- The sun is coming up. I'm zipping my visor down.
- Yep. My visor is down too.
- But these procedures are all about communication.
- Houston copies. And once you've got your visor--
- Here International Space station is over the South Pacific Ocean right now. We're entering into an orbital daytime. So you're seeing the sun rise over the horizon of the Earth right now.
- Look. Standby. I got to--
- Yeah. That's all right.
- So three tabs up on your mini workstation. Look at your handles.
- OK, you got one and two. Vapor handles are down.
- I see your safety tether. Looks like it's in a good sit.
- OK, copy that. With that, a complete list of yes body check.
- OK, crew. We'll take a baseline HAP from both of you.
- Gaze around the HAP. Feast your eyes.
- The HAP is fine for easy.
- OK, copy. Good baseline HAP for both of you. You can take a couple of minutes here to do some translation adaptation. So play around with your body rotation. Pitch your various hand grips, translation without rotation, and try attaching a local tether and releasing both hands. Just a reminder, this first hour will set your Medox for the rest of the EVA, so just take it nice and deliberate. Take it easy.
- Getting some wonderful views from the outside of the International Space Station right now. The duo are just at the beginning of their planned 6.5-hour spacewalk. They're getting a sunrise over the South Pacific Ocean, and we're getting great high definition views from their helmet cameras right now. They just finished performing buddy checks, and you heard the ground devising a Cartman, telling them to take their time.
Of course, they have done plenty of spacewalk training, including here on the ground at the Johnson Space Center here in Houston. There's a laboratory called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory where they practice these things underwater. It is a very good analog for understanding what it's like in the microgravity environment.
But the two of them now are first-time space-walkers, so they're going to take some time on the outside of the hatch to just get used to understanding the differences between performing the spacewalk in a pool with the resistance of water and having no resistance in the vacuum of space.
Their translation path, or their movement out to the worksite, is all the way out on the wings of the International Space Station on the solar arrays. So they do have quite a bit of translation to go to. So they're just sort of getting their bearings, making sure they understand their movements before they make that journey.
- Targeting high definition views. This is Nicole Mann, call sign Duke. She's wearing the suit with no stripes, and she's got that giant bag with her. That's the bag that has the mounting platform that they're going to be installing today. Both of them will be working on the 1A channel. Koichi Wakata has got to make a stop first to work on the 1B.
But Nicole Mann is going to get started right away. So she's got that bag in tow. She'll be able to unbuckle some of the straps that are holding those components in place, retrieve some of the materials, and they'll be installing it one at a time. The ground teams have plenty of experience with this type of work.
This will be the sixth modification kit, the sixth time that we've used these struts to attach to a mast canister. So they're prepared for any issues or troubleshooting they need to do along the way. And that work will be being done soon. Right now, we're watching the translation or the movement.
- Stand by, Koichi.
- So the upper triangle is installed. You'll hear the periodic glove and HAP checks. The glove, just to make sure there are no nicks or scrapes, and make sure they're in good quality to continue working on the spacewalk. And then the HAP is the Helmet Absorption Pan, just a quick field test to see if there's any liquid or water.
Everything looks good. So we'll hear those checks periodically. That red as a retractable tether, that's the one that was anchoring the upper triangle to the strut bag. So Duke has to release that, and then they can move on to the next task. She's going to be exiting the foot restraint here shortly.