Lights, camera, action for NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover. The duo will install European payloads outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk on 27 January, guided by the know-how of their colleagues.
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen is seen in this image installing the Columbus Ka-band or ColKa terminal that will enable faster communication with Europe during a ‘dress rehearsal’ in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in 2018.
Andrea will serve as ground IV, directing Mike and Victor through the installation of the small fridge-sized device by radio from NASA’s mission control.
ColKa will connect the Columbus module to the European Data Relay System, satellites in geostationary orbit that transfer data via European ground stations. This will enable faster uplink and downlink speeds between the European segment of the Space Station and European researchers on the ground.
In addition to installing ColKa, the pair will also complete cable and antenna rigging for the Bartolomeo science platform outside Columbus.
The Bartolomeo service will provide end-to-end access for external payloads on the Space Station. A new community of start-ups and space entrepreneurs will benefit from an unobstructed view of Earth, direct control of experiments from the ground and the possibility of retrieving samples.