Expedition 14 ready for spacewalk
The Expedition 14 crew are today gearing up for a midnight excursion outside the Station. During the six hour spacewalk Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin will install an experiment, relocate an antenna, inspect the Progress 23 cargo spaceship and even hit a few golf balls.
Tonight at 00:00 CET (23:00 UT), dressed in the Russian Orlan spacesuits, Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin will leave the Station through the Pirs docking compartment airlock. The third Expedition 14 crewmember, ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, will support the spacewalk from inside the ISS.
The first task for Mikhail Tyurin will be to hit a golf ball on what will surely be the longest tee shot ever. In a sponsored activity Tyurin will tee up on the outside of the Pirs module and use a one-handed shot to hit the ball off the back of the Station. The ball which weighs just three grams – a fraction of a normal golf ball – is expected spend three to five days in space before burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.
Next on the timeline for the spacewalkers is the installation of new experiment hardware, followed by the relocation of an antenna. The WAL antenna will guide the Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo carrier to docking with the Station when it makes its first flight next year. In its present position the antenna interferes with a cover for a Zvezda booster engine.
Inspection of a Kurs antenna on the Progress 23 cargo carrier is the next task. During docking on 26 October, Mission Control Moscow was unsure whether the antenna was fully retracted, delaying the final latching of the spacecraft for more than three hours.
If the antenna is found to be fully extended, Tyurin will use a screwdriver to release a latch, manually retract the antenna and secure it with ties. This will avoid any possible interference by the antenna with the undocking process.
The final scheduled task before returning inside the Space Station is inspection of bolts on one of two Strela hand-operated cranes on the docking compartment.