Space station spacewalk delayed due to debris question mark

Viewing allowed inside the International Space Station, with ‘light model’ spacesuit replica used in the absence of a new unit

Astronauts who had planned to perform a spacewalk outside the International Space Station have been delayed until at least Thursday.

The US mission control in Houston said the spacewalk would happen on Thursday, but might be delayed to Friday. A delay is needed so astronauts can practice manoeuvres for additional assembly of the station.

The delay comes after a small piece of debris – less than the size of a 2p coin – moved past the space station late on Wednesday, prompting the orbiting outpost’s robot arm to reorient to give a safe safe margin. A small piece of space debris comes into Earth’s atmosphere every couple months, generally the size of a deck of cards. It is highly unlikely to be a threat.

During the spacewalk, scheduled for 8.17am (8.17am GMT) on Thursday, astronauts Scott Kelly and Ricky Arnold will install a massive new piece of equipment to serve as the connecting structure for commercial cargo ships and station crews. Kelly is going into a record-breaking yearlong mission on the station.

US space agency Nasa’s decision to cancel space shuttles in 2011 left astronauts searching for other spacecraft.

A crew member who is walking outside the International Space Station will use a “light model” space suit. Photograph: NASA/Reuters

The space station’s robot arm has replaced the old O-ring-reinforced VAB, or work area boundary, in place for six years. The new one is 46 feet long and weighs nearly a ton. The crew is mucking in with the last fix. The old O-ring-reinforced VAB will be the grandaddy of all the spare parts to be added to the space station over the coming years.

The two astronauts will install a platform used for spacewalks in the old VAB’s former home. It can hold a 20-tonne payload. Nasa aims to add cargo ships and astronauts to this new platform to boost the output of the station. Also, the astronauts will install a solar system connection point into the new platform.

Leave a Comment