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Extra Spacewalk to Fix Power Unit to Space Station

Sep 03, 2012 08:58 AM EDT
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Flight Engineers Sunita Williams of NASA and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will conduct an extra spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Sept.5 to complete the installation of a spare power unit, according to NASA.

The Expedition 32 astronauts aboard the ISS will begin their spacewalk at 7:15 a.m. (EDT); with the event covered live on NASA TV starting at 6 a.m. ISS is an artificial satellite that is orbiting at a distance of more than 200 miles away from the Earth in order to perform research work in space.

 Last week on Aug.30 the astronauts struggled to remove a faulty power unit called as Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU), on station's truss due to sticky bolts that were really hard to be unscrewed. MBSU provides power from the ISS's solar panels to the orbiting outpost. Hardware failure caused some issues in the MBSU. Despite the unit supplying power without any interruption, NASA scientists decide to replace with the spare power unit.

After managing to unscrew the bolts, Williams and Hoshide tried install a new spare for the power unit, which is when they struggled again to fix the bolts. As the space walkers were racing against time to address the problem, they finally returned back aboard the ISS without completing the task after spending more than eight hours making it the third longest spacewalk in the history of spacewalkers, reported Space.com.

Based on review by the ISS Mission Management Team, scientists agreed to add a follow-up spacewalk to the itinerary of both the spacewalkers. In case, Williams and Hoshide fail again to bolt the MBSU, they have an option to bring back the power unit to the ISS to analyze the issue further and resolve it.

Back in July, Expedition 32 was launched to ISS with the crew members to indulge in more than 30 scientific experiments during their four-month stay aboard ths ISS. Currently, there are six crew members aboard the ISS including NASA astronaut Joe Acaba, Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka (the commander), Yuri Malenchenko and Sergei Revin.

While the Aug.30 spacewalk was Williams's fifth spacewalk, it was the first one for Japan's Hoshide. Williams holds several records for female spacewalkers including the completion of previous four spacewalks with a total time of 29 hours and 17 minutes.

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