NASA Astronauts Replace Failed Computer During Spacewalk on Tuesday
Two US astronauts have successfully completed Tuesday what NASA calls a “space path” critical to repairing failed equipment that helps supply the International Space Station.
“We have declared victory,” said Rob Navias, the NASA commentator, about two hours’ walk from the emergency by space station chief Peggy Whitson, 57, and flight engineer Jack Fischer, 43 years.
The reason for the trip was the sudden Saturday breakup of a computer relay box known as a multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) unit. MDM – about the size of a small microwave oven and weighing 50 pounds (23 kilograms) on Earth – helps to use solar power, power generation and robotic equipment to the ISS.
It also regulates the operation of radiators and cooling circuits. Since there are two MDMs in the orbit, the loss of one does not affect the life of the crew or impede the operation of the station.
However, a spokesman for the space agency Tuesday described the mission as a “trajectory in the space of critical contingency” and called it a “high priority” to replace the box not as soon as possible.
During the spacewalk shorter than normal – it lasted only two hours and 46 minutes, much less than the typical 6.5 hours – Whitson took the initiative and replaced the MDM.
After removing the malfunctioning unit, he saw a few flakes of debris and returned briefly to the airlock for the equipment to clean the area before installing the new box.
“We now have two healthy MDMs,” Navias said afterwards.
Fischer, making the second space stage of his career, have installed a pair of antennas in the US laboratory module Destiny to improve wireless communication capability for future space routes.
It was not clear what caused MDM failure.
The unit had been installed in March, during a space walk by Whiteson and the commanding expedition 50 Shane Kimbrough.
This is not the first time the MDM unit is not.
“A spacewalk as an MDM replacement took place in April 2014 in the crew of NASA’s Expedition 39, Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio,” the US space agency said.
New Whitson Record
Whitson is the most experienced woman in the world, and during the space walk, she climbed to the third place in her longest standing time in space walks.
She now has a total of 60 hours 21 minutes 10 walks in space.
The world record for space player is Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev, who completed 16 space campaigns for a total of 78 hours and 21 minutes.
Second, Hispanic-American astronaut Mike López-Alegria, who made the space 10 tracks for a total of 67 hours and 40 minutes.
The space walk Tuesday was the support and maintenance of the ISS in 201o.
The 100 billion orbital laboratory (roughly Rs.6.49,136 crore) has been continuously occupied by the astronauts world since 2000.