Spacewalking astronauts to wire up station modules
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
Posted: August 30, 2000
After docking, the astronauts will not immediately enter the station or even open any hatches. First, Lu and Malenchenko are scheduled to stage a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk the day after docking to connect four power cables between Zarya and Zvezda and four video and data cables.
The power cables, in a strip of four stretching 26.9 feet, will permit electricity generated by future U.S. solar arrays to power systems in Russian modules as needed. The video and data cables, also in a strip of four, stretch 16 feet.
"And these external cables will be connected up in anticipation of ... when we will start generating power."
The spacewalkers also plan to hook up a 20-foot-long fiber optic telemetry cable that will be used during future Russian spacewalks and re-mount a Russian magnetometer on an extended boom near the rear of Zvezda. The magnetometer will provide a backup means of determining the station's orientation in space.
The magnetometer is located near the far end of Zvezda. To get there, Lu and Malenchenko, carrying cable spools and tools, will ride the shuttle's robot arm from Atlantis's payload bay to Zarya 45 feet away. From there, they will pull themselves, hand over hand, along handrails up to the magnetometer work site using two safety tethers each.
"So it'll be a very different view for this crew, it'll be the equivalent of working on about the 11th story of a 13-story building when they're working on the magnetometer."
Lu, who will be identifiable by red stripes on his spacesuit, said he and Malenchenko are "really looking forward to getting a chance to see this view, of looking down and seeing the space shuttle with the Earth in the background. We're expecting a pretty incredible view."
That view comes at a price, however: The distance Lu or Malenchenko might have to quickly traverse in an emergency to reach the safety of the shuttle's airlock.
But Hess said the spacewalkers could make it back into the airlock in 10 to 15 minutes if necessary and each spacesuit has a 30-minute supply of emergency oxygen.
Once the magnetometer head is mounted on its boom, Lu and Malenchenko will work their way back "down" the station stack toward the shuttle, stopping at the Zvezda-Zarya docking interface to hook up the power and data cables.
As they did going "up" the stack, the spacewalkers will take special care to avoid protruding antennas on the Zarya module and two docking targets on Zvezda's hull. "They'll snake over one target and under another," Hess said.
OPENING ASSEMBLY FLOODGATES | LAUNCH TIMED TO CATCH ISS |
SPACEWALK TO WIRE UP STATION | MAKING A HOME IN SPACE