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Spacewalking Astronaut Battle Stuck Panel, Wrangle Cables on Space Station



Two spacewalking astronauts completed their work on time today (April 8), despite a stubborn panel on the International Space Station which added several minutes of troubleshooting to their tasks.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques spent six hours and 29 minutes completing several repairs and upgrade tasks on the space station . Internet cable work at the U.S. The laboratory has caused some problems for the duo.

The astronauts had to remove a micrometeroid orbital debris shield to access some cabling to upgrade connectivity for experiments on the space station. One of the fasteners on the shield, however, refused to loosen it. Eventually, the astronaut Jeanette Epps ̵

1; who was walking the astronaut through the spacewalk step by step from NASA's mission control in Houston – the proposed Saint-Jacques grab a pry bar.

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"I Feel It some movement, "said Saint-Jacques, who was the first astronaut in the Canadian Space Agency to venture outside the ISS in 12 years. The two astronauts carefully dip the bar back and forth under the shield, eventually pulling the panel loose. "Got it!" Saint-Jacques exclaimed. He and McClain exchanged a quick high-five before finishing the installation.

Epps reported that the first connectivity tests worked perfectly. "That's great news," said McClain who was on her second spacewalk. The panel, unfortunately, then refused to go back in, forcing the astronaut to remove and reinstall the nearby handlebar to squeeze the panel into position. With that task finished, McClain secured the panel with long-lasting tie-up tethers before the astronaut moved to their next task.

The Canadian astronaut, David Saint-Jacques, gathers equipment to install experiment-support plugs on the outside of the International Space Station on April 8, 2019. This was the first Canadian space agency's spacewalk since 2007 and the 216th spacewalk overall in support of ISS maintenance and operations.

(Image: © NASA TV)

Batteries, robot cables and experimental support

This spacewalk, the 216th performed by an astronaut on the space station, began half an hour early, at 7:31 a.m. EDT (1131 GMT), when McClain and Saint-Jacques switched their suits to their internal power. The McClain and Expedition 59 crewmates, NASA's Nick Hague, did install new lithium-ion batteries. One of the batteries and its charge-discharge plate was not charging properly, so McClain and Saint-Jacques moved a new adapter panel to the place for future robotics work to finish the installation.

After dealing with the cable and stubborn debris shield, The astronaut worked in support of the Canadian robotic arm, Canadarm2 which routinely lifted equipment and assists with repairs on the space station. The 19659002 Related: Spacesuit Sizing Stymied A Historic NASA Moment, and It May Always Be Tricky

The astronaut next split up to finish the last set of tasks on the docket for this spacewalk. Saint-Jacques was assigned to install special support plug (s) for the European Columbus module, but did not recognize the configuration of the parts in front of him on the site. Mission Control staff decided to hold off on the installation for today and instead asked Saint-Jacques to take some pictures for future investigations.

When these plugins are eventually installed, they will hold future experiments mounted on the upcoming external loadload facility, Bartolomeo , which will arrive at the space station in 2020. Bartolomeo is named after the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, the famous European explorer for whom the Columbus module is named.

"It looks like you know where you're going"

McClain, meanwhile, continued the Canadarm2 cabling work. She moved around various worksites on the space station S0 Truss, trying to squeeze her bulky spacesuit in between the metal struts without disturbing any connectors.

"Anne, it looks like you know where you're going," Epps joked before "I tried that a couple times," McClain replied, saying a couple of brackets were in the way.

"I tried that a few times," McClain replied, saying a couple of brackets were in the way. Epps said the mission control was ready with some alternate routes, if needed. "I'll try this again," McClain said, before careful moving inside the truss to do more cabling work on Canadarm2.

McClain next did some quick work-ahead tasks on the Canadarm2 cabling, while Saint-Jacques (having finished Cleanup at his last worksite) relaxed for a few minutes by the Quest airlock. After McClain joined him, the duo entered the airlock and the spacewalk was officially finished at 2 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT)

The next spacewalk is scheduled for May 29, by the Russian cosmonaut by Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin.

American astronaut Anne McClain (red stripes) and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will work together on the International Space Station to install a new Internet cabling for experiments. On April 8, 2019, to remove and reinstall the balky meteoroid / orbital debris shielding on the International Space Station, in order to install a new Internet cabling for experiments.

(Image: © NASA TV)

Advice from an older astronaut

Before Saint-Jacques' walk today, the previous Canadian Space Agency spacewalk was performed 12 years ago, in 2007, by Dave Williams. (The last Canadian citizen to do a spacewalk was NASA's Drew Feuste who has nine lifetime spacewalks – including a trio performed in 2018.)

Williams spoke with Saint-Jacques on Saturday and provided him with some The last-minute tips, such as how to move along the space station truss using his fingertips, Williams told Space.com in a phone interview from the CSA headquarters near Montreal.

"Talking to David, one of the big differences in the The shuttle program was we would keep training until the time we were going into the quarantine, "Williams said. On space station missions, the crews are generically crewed in spacewalk skills and given their specific tasks later.

American astronaut Anne McClain moves between worksites on the S0 Truss of the International Space Station as it installs a cabling for a backup power supply for robotic arm Canadarm2.

(Image: © NASA TV)

Williams added that his first two spacewalks were task-specific, while the last one was more space-station style after a former NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio got a hole in his spacesuit gov is a previous spacewalk;

Williams pointed out that coincidentally, when the airlock was depressurized and repressurized, the Canadian flag on the Saint-Jacques suit was visible in the window facing the interior of the space station. He said he gave "an amazing sense of pride," and made him think about the future of the Canadian space program . Canada was recently the first international partner to sign up for NASA's Lunar Gateway program, a space station that was supposed to be operating in the orbit around the moon in the 2020s. Canada plans to build a robotic arm called Canadarm3 to support that project, inspired by nation's success at the International Space Station.

Today's spacewalk "makes you wonder about the future," he said, adding that makes him think about where the next generation of Canadian astronauts are right now and how far they are in their schooling.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook .


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