Stories tagged space walk

May
20
2010

Atlantis Lifts Off: Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station at 2:20 p.m. EDT on May 14.
Atlantis Lifts Off: Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station at 2:20 p.m. EDT on May 14.Courtesy NASA
I have been following with interest the last flight of the space shuttle Atlantis. I subscribe to the NASA image of the day site, and since the launch have been providing some cool photos of the mission that are below.

STS-132 (the flight number of the current mission) launched from the Kennedy Space Center on May 14 and docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on May 16. The primary payload on board the shuttle is the
Russian Rassvet Mini-Research Module along with an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD).

An interesting tidbit: On board Atlantis is a 4-inch long wood sample of Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree. This piece is from the tree that supposedly inspired Newton's theory of gravity.The wood is part of the collection of the Royal Society archives in London, and will be returned there following the flight. Neat. Also weird.

Atlantis Performs a Back Flip: The International Space Station (ISS) crew snapped this image of the underside of Atlantis' crew cabin, during a survey of the approaching space shuttle prior to docking with the ISS.
Atlantis Performs a Back Flip: The International Space Station (ISS) crew snapped this image of the underside of Atlantis' crew cabin, during a survey of the approaching space shuttle prior to docking with the ISS.Courtesy NASA

Atlantis' aft section: This view of Atlantis' aft section includes the main engines, part of the cargo bay, vertical stabilizer and orbital maneuvering system pods and was taken by the ISS crew during a survey as the shuttle approached the station prior to docking.
Atlantis' aft section: This view of Atlantis' aft section includes the main engines, part of the cargo bay, vertical stabilizer and orbital maneuvering system pods and was taken by the ISS crew during a survey as the shuttle approached the station prior to docking.Courtesy NSAS

A Feat of Daring: Astronaut Garrett Reisman continued his work during the first of three planned spacewalks for the last Atlantis mission.
A Feat of Daring: Astronaut Garrett Reisman continued his work during the first of three planned spacewalks for the last Atlantis mission.Courtesy NASA

Docked at the Station: This image features the Atlantis' cabin and forward cargo bay and a section of the International Space Station while the two spacecraft remain docked, photographed during the STS-132 mission's first spacewalk.
Docked at the Station: This image features the Atlantis' cabin and forward cargo bay and a section of the International Space Station while the two spacecraft remain docked, photographed during the STS-132 mission's first spacewalk.Courtesy NASA

Dec
21
2006

Image of Discovery: This image of Space Shuttle Discovery was taken by a miniature satellite that was released from Discovery's payload bay on Wednesday.  Image courtesy NASA TV.
Image of Discovery: This image of Space Shuttle Discovery was taken by a miniature satellite that was released from Discovery's payload bay on Wednesday. Image courtesy NASA TV.

The space shuttle Discovery is preparing to land tomorrow at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Preparations for landing include checking out flight systems and jets as well as stowing and securing equipment.

Along with this activity, the shuttle crew will be launching a small satellite designed to measure the density and composition of the low-Earth orbit atmosphere while being tracked from the ground. The information that this Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment satellite with gather will be used to help predict the movement of objects in orbit. Earlier in the mission a satellite the size of a coffee cup was deployed to demonstrate the use of small low-power inspection satellites that can be sent out to observe larger spacecraft.

Concerns about weather at Kennedy Space Center and a unique schedule that was the result of an unplanned spacewalk to fix a solar panel on the International Space Station could result in the shuttle landing at the White Sands Space Harbor landing strip for the first time in 24 years.

The last time, and only time, a shuttle landed at White Sands, the sand that gives the area its name resulted in days of additional work to clean the shuttle. In addition, the site lacks the equipment at Kennedy Space Center, and the primary back up, California’s Edwards Air Force Base where 50 of the shuttle’s 114 landings have taken place. Low clouds and rain are forecasted for Kennedy Space Center, and crosswinds are the problem at Edwards Air Force Base. The shuttle has to land before Sunday when it will run out of the fuel it needs to generate power. As a result of this schedule crunch, all three locations will be prepped for the first landing opportunity on Friday. There are seven landing windows starting with the first opportunity on Friday. The shuttle crew trains in a jet that mimics the shuttle over White Sands, so they are at least familiar with the area if a landing there is necessary.

If you are a space geek like me, or even if you are just a little interested, NASA does a lot of things that I think are cool surrounding shuttle flights.

They have tons of video material including the launch, views from the solid rocket boosters, space walks, messages from the crew and more. You can even subscribe to these as podcasts! I would suspect that the NASA web pages for this mission will be kept up to date as the status of the landings are determined. Stay tuned!

Dec
19
2006

Robert Curbeam: Astronaut and master mechanic.
Robert Curbeam: Astronaut and master mechanic.

Christer Fuglesang: Astronaut and master mechanic.
Christer Fuglesang: Astronaut and master mechanic.

Astronauts, Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang, were able to fix a stuck solar panel on the International Space Station this Tuesday after a super long fourth space walk. I love this story because of the description of their work on a six and a half hour walk in space.

...spacewalkers spent about five hours poking the partly retracted panel with insulated tools and shaking the storage box to free the stuck sections.

Poking and shaking? So technical. I mean this reminds me of trying to remove the alternator from my old car. I just had to hit it with a hammer and shake it a bunch to get it unstuck. Its good to remember how pedestrian an astronauts' task can really be at times. Now, when I'm poking and prodding at my car I am not in a frigid vacuum. But doing work outside in a Minnesota winter can make you feel that way sometimes.