The ISS has been orbiting the Earth for years as astronauts from multiple countries live aboard the space station and use it as a science platform. Multiple times in the many years the ISS has been in orbit, the orbit has been changed to allow the station to dodge debris and other space junk.
Yesterday marked the liftoff of the first of eight official missions to the International Space Station for Orbital Sciences. Orbital sent its Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS atop its Antares rocket. The rocket launched successfully from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Yesterday's spacewalk outside the International Space Station resulted in a record-breaking amount of time spent moving around in the vacuum of space by a Russian. Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy spent 8 hours and 7 minutes on the mission, breaking the previous Russian record of 7 hours and 29 minutes set by Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin Aug. 16, 2013. The achievement was a little softened, however, as the mission didn't go entirely as planned.
The International Space Station is seeing quite a bit of activity this Christmas week, with today’s action surrounding the installation of two high-fidelity cameras. This installation was initiated under Expedition 38 and executed by Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). This mission happens just three days after a US-based expedition (as seen in the hero image of this article) to replace faulty water pumps on the station.
The astronauts who this week took to the vacuum of space to repair a malfunctioning ammonia coolant pump on the exterior of the International Space Station are safely back inside. The electrical systems that depend on the cooling loop run by the pump are now back online. Today astronauts Rick Mastracchio, Mike Hopkins, and Koichi Wakata took the time to reflect back on the spacewalks and provide us with some photos of the operation.
We have been following the efforts by NASA and astronauts on the ISS to repair the coolant system issues that have plagued the ISS. NASA ordered a spacewalk to fix the cooling system problem on December 18. On the 22 of December, the astronauts finished the first of possibly three spacewalks to make the repair.
Astronauts today completed the first spacewalk to repair the cooling system on the International Space Station. The spacewalk went off without a hitch. In fact, it was so efficient, the scheduled number of spacewalks in coming days may be pared down from three to two. The next spacewalk, originally scheduled for Monday, will take place Tuesday, Dec. 24.
Earlier this month we mentioned that the ISS had a failure in one of its cooling systems that might require a spacewalk to fix. NASA has now ordered that spacewalk to happen to fix the broken cooling line. The repair job is a serious undertaking and could last all the way through Christmas Day.