Nov. 23, 2006
John Ira Petty
Johnson Space Center, Houston
STATUS REPORT: SS06-051
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION STATUS REPORT: SS06-051
HOUSTON - Two residents of the International Space Station ventured
outside the complex Wednesday for a 5 hour, 38 minute spacewalk to
reposition, deploy and relocate equipment, and to take a swing at a
commercially sponsored activity.
With Flight Engineer Thomas Reiter inside to monitor systems,
Expedition 14 Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer
Mikhail Tyurin opened the hatch to the Pirs Docking Compartment
airlock at 6:17 p.m. CST as the station flew over the Atlantic Ocean
near the west coast of Africa. They wore Russian Orlan spacesuits for
the 19th spacewalk conducted out of Pirs since it was mated to the
Russian segment of the station in September 2001 during Tyurin’s
first flight as part of Expedition 3.
The start of the spacewalk was delayed more than an hour after Tyurin
encountered a problem with a cooling hose for his spacesuit. He
climbed out the suit to reposition the hose, and uninterrupted
cooling for the suit was restored.
After setting up tools and equipment outside Pirs, Tyurin placed a
three-gram golf ball on a spring-mounted tee and clamped it onto the
ladder next to the Pirs hatch. Appearing uncomfortable with his feet
planted on the ladder, Tyurin used a gold-plated six-iron to tap the
golf ball safely away from the aft end of the Zvezda Service Module.
Tyurin said he was pleased with his golf shot, and Russian flight
controllers chose not to have him hit another ball so the crew could
tackle other tasks.
Tyurin’s golf shot was part of a demonstration for a commercially
sponsored endeavor between a Canadian golf company and the Russian
Federal Space Agency. The golf club and three balls were flown to the
station on recent Russian Progress cargo ships. NASA’s safety
analysis showed that the balls will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere
and burn up in about three days. The balls weigh only about as much
as three one-dollar bills.
The two spacewalkers then moved to the end of Zvezda where the
recently arrived ISS Progress 23 cargo ship is docked. Tyurin
released a latch on one of the antennas for the craft’s Kurs
automated rendezvous system that failed to retract when the Progress
docked on Oct. 26. Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria attempted to move the
so-called “orientation” antenna back to its retracted and stowed
position with their hands and with a prybar, but the antenna would
not budge. Russian flight controllers also sent commands to drive the
antenna to its retracted position, but that also failed.
The spacewalkers took a number of pictures to send to Russian
engineers, who will evaluate options for freeing the stuck antenna on
a future spacewalk. The engineers surmise something may be frozen in
the linkage for the antenna’s drive mechanism, preventing it from
While at the aft of Zvezda, Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria spent a few
minutes removing and repositioning one of several communications
antennas previously installed around the module’s docking port. This
will assist the docking of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle
that will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French
Guiana next year.
In its previous location, the antenna partially blocked the opening of
one of Zvezda’s engine covers. The antenna was reinstalled less than
a foot from its original position, out of the way of future
operations with the engine.
Next, Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin moved to the top of the forward section
of Zvezda to install an experiment called “BTN-Neutron” that will
measure the volume of neutron particles emitted by solar flares that
reach low Earth orbit. The crew wrapped up its work by jettisoning a
pair of thermal covers for the experiment that will be tracked by
flight controllers to ensure they pose no possibility of hitting the
station or the shuttle Discovery that is scheduled for an assembly
mission to the station in a few weeks.
It was the 73rd spacewalk in support of station assembly and
maintenance totaling 444 hours and 14 minutes of time outside the
outpost and the first of four scheduled during Expedition 14. The
spacewalk was the sixth in Lopez-Alegria’s career and the fourth for
The next station status report will be issued Dec. 1, or earlier if
events warrant. For more about the crew’s activities and station
sighting opportunities, visit: