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Orbiter: Atlantis
Mission: STS-135
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Launch: July 8, 2011
Time: 11:29 a.m. EDT
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Spacewalkers to stow broken pump into Atlantis' payload bay
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: July 12, 2011


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Space station astronauts Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan are gearing up for a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to move a failed ammonia coolant pump from the lab complex to the shuttle Atlantis for return to Earth. They also plan to install a robotic refueling demonstration kit and a materials science space exposure experiment on the station and carry out a few get-ahead tasks.


Credit: NASA
 
The spacewalk, the 160th devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in late 1998, is scheduled to begin at 8:44 a.m. EDT (GMT-4). This will be the ninth space station EVA so far this year, the seventh for Fossum and the fourth for Garan.

For identification, Fossum, call sign EV-1, will be wearing a suit with red stripes around the legs. Garan, EV-2, will be in an unmarked suit. Shuttle pilot Douglas Hurley and Sandra Magnus will operate the station's robot arm during the excursion and shuttle flight engineer Rex Walheim will serve as the spacewalk coordinator, working from the flight deck of Atlantis.

Hurley and Magnus will use a robotics work station in the Tranquility module's multi-window cupola. A U.S. toilet also is located in Tranquility, along with equipment used to recover water from urine. The astronauts reported a strong odor from the equipment Monday and the urine processor will not be turned on during today's spacewalk.

"There are two toilets on the space station," said overnight Flight Director Courtenay McMillan. "There's one in the Russian segment, and it's working fine. And there's one, basically the same design, that's in the U.S. segment and it hooks up to our urine processor. So we got a report from the crew that there was a smell that was unexpected coming from that area, and it was pretty intense.

"At the time, we were processing urine in the urine processor, not the toilet itself, but the machine that it hooks up to to recycle the water from the urine. We got some air in that system a little while ago and it needs to basically purge itself out over the course of processing. So we think, because everything looks fine in the system, we think it's just working its way out of the system. So we stopped the urine processing for the time being and we're using the toilet basically in stand-alone mode right now."

Flight controllers likely will resume urine processing Wednesday but "not while the crew is doing EVA support," McMillan said. "They'll be using the robotics work station in the cupola, which is in the vicinity of the toilet, so we don't really want to be making a smell while they're working in there."

Today's spacewalk is the first during a shuttle visit that will be carried out by space station personnel. Because of a short training flow and a requirement to launch Atlantis with a reduced crew of four, "we wanted to off load the training tasks on the shuttle crew and sort of level the load," lead station Flight Director Chris Edelen said before launch. "So we took advantage of the EVA experience of Mike Fossum and Ron Garan. They've actually done three spacewalks together on previous shuttle missions (and they) were able to get up to speed very quickly on this EVA."

Fossum has 42 hours and one minute of EVA time in his previous six spacewalks while Garan has 20 hours and 32 minutes of EVA experience.

Returning the failed ammonia pump module is a high priority objective for NASA. The space station is equipped with two coolant loops that circulate ammonia through huge radiators to get rid of the heat generated by the space station's electrical systems. Last July 30, the pump in one coolant loop failed, forcing the crew to implement an emergency powerdown.

"I remember it because I was on console when it failed," Edelen said. "It was one of those moments where on a quiet Saturday and the crew's off duty and getting ready to go to bed and everything's going real well and it all changed in a second when that pump module failed. All the caution and warnings started going off and the crew had to very quickly scramble to reconfigure the systems and power down some of the systems in order to keep the station limping along on one remaining cooling loop.

"That was a major failure in the history of the space station program, the first major failure that required (U.S.) spacewalks without a shuttle present to fix a problem."

Over the course of three spacewalks, the pump module was successfully replaced by a pre-positioned spare. But the coolant system is critical to the station's long-term health and engineers want to find out what went wrong in the pump that failed. After troubleshooting, engineers plan to repair the pump and re-launch it aboard a Japanese cargo ship.

After mounting the pump module in Atlantis' payload bay, Fossum and Garan plan to move an experimental robotic refueling apparatus from the shuttle to a storage platform used by the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or SPDM, a robot arm extension also known as DEXTRE.

"We are taking up a payload, it's called the robotics refueling module, this is to demonstrate a capability for the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, which hasn't seen a whole lot of use on the International Space Station to date, but we hope to turn that all around with this payload," said shuttle commander Christopher Ferguson.

"I've kind of likened it to a Fisher-Price play toy for a robot. And I don't mean that in a negative sense, it is really an opportunity for the SPDM to get in there and use several different tools and prove the capability to do something extremely novel, and that is to refuel satellites in orbit that were never designed to be refueled.

"So the manipulator will actually go in and pick up special cutter tools and cut safety wire, it has a drill that can actually drill into a fuel tank so there's some very unique capabilities that will be demonstrated using this. What capability will robots provide to us in the future? To think about going out there and perhaps grappling a satellite that was never designed to be refueled ... and refill it and use it for an additional five or 10 years is a dramatic example of how robotics can modify what we're doing in space."

Along with moving the pump module to Atlantis and installing the robotics refueling kit on the station, Fossum plans to inspect a robot arm mounting fixture on the Russian Zarya module to re-position a grounding wire that appears to be caught in an access door. Both spacewalkers then will install a thermal shield over an unused docking port attached to Tranquility before heading back to the Quest airlock.

Here is an updated timeline of the crew's planned activities for flight day five (in EDT and mission elapsed time; includes revision C of the NASA television schedule; best viewed with fixed-width font):


DATE/EDT...DD...HH...MM...SS...EVENT

07/12
02:59 AM...03...15...30...00...Crew wakeup
04:14 AM...03...16...45...00...EVA-1: ISLE EVA prep
05:24 AM...03...17...55...00...MPLM transfers
05:49 AM...03...18...20...00...MPLM rack PVT install
05:54 AM...03...18...25...00...Zero gravity storage rack transfer
06:19 AM...03...18...50...00...EVA-1: Spacesuit purge
06:34 AM...03...19...05...00...EVA-1: ISLE spacesuit prebreathe
08:14 AM...03...20...45...00...EVA-1: Crew lock depressurization
08:44 AM...03...21...15...00...EVA-1: Spacesuits to battery power (spacewalk begins)
08:49 AM...03...21...20...00...EVA-1: Egress
08:59 AM...03...21...30...00...EVA-1: Garan: SSRMS setup
08:59 AM...03...21...30...00...EVA-1: Fossum: Install contingency tools
09:44 AM...03...22...15...00...EVA-1: Remove pump module from ESP-2
10:14 AM...03...22...45...00...EVA-1: Transfer pump module to shuttle
10:44 AM...03...23...15...00...EVA-1: Install pump module on carrier
11:14 AM...03...23...45...00...EVA-1: Remove robotic refueling module from carrier
11:34 AM...04...00...05...00...EVA-1: Transfer RRM to SPDM
12:04 PM...04...00...35...00...EVA-1: Install RRM
12:24 PM...04...00...55...00...EVA-1: Garan: ORMATE experiment install on ELC-2
12:24 PM...04...00...55...00...EVA-1: Fossum: SSRMS cleanup
01:09 PM...04...01...40...00...EVA-1: Fossum: FGB PDGF troubleshooting
01:44 PM...04...02...15...00...EVA-1: PMA-3 cover install
02:29 PM...04...03...00...00...EVA-1: Cleanup and airlock ingress
03:14 PM...04...03...45...00...EVA-1: Airlock repressurization
03:29 PM...04...04...00...00...Post-EVA servicing
04:30 PM...04...05...01...00...Mission status briefing on NASA TV
05:59 PM...04...06...30...00...ISS crew sleep begins
06:29 PM...04...07...00...00...STS crew sleep begins
08:00 PM...04...05...01...00...Flight day 5 highlights on NTV

07/13
12:45 AM...04...13...16...00...Flight director update on NASA TV
01:45 AM...04...14...16...00...Flight director update replay
02:29 AM...04...17...00...00...Crew wakeup

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: RAFFAELLO MODULE CONNECTED TO STATION PLAY
VIDEO: CARGO-DELIVERY MODULE UNBERTHED FROM ATLANTIS PLAY
VIDEO: ROBOT ARM GRAPPLES MODULE IN SHUTTLE BAY PLAY
VIDEO: MONDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR UPDATE PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS REEL PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: ATLANTIS CREW WELCOMED ABOARD STATION PLAY
VIDEO: DOCKING OF SHUTTLE TO STATION AS SEEN LIVE PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE ARCS OUT IN FRONT OF SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: ATLANTIS PERFORMS THE 360-DEGREE BACKFLIP PLAY

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS REEL PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION MANAGEMENT TEAM UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY


VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS REEL PLAY
VIDEO: THE FULL STS-135 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: SHUTTLE ATLANTIS BLASTS OFF! PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GO INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: THE POST-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY

VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD FRONT CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD CAMERA 070 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD CAMERA 071 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: COUNTDOWN PREVIEW AND WEATHER FORECAST BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE AT LAUNCH SITE PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS FERGUSON PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH DOUG HURLEY PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH SANDY MAGNUS PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH REX WALHEIM PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: THE STS-135 MISSION OVERVIEW PRESENTATIONS PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALK PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: CREW CHATS WITH PRESS AT LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR PRACTICE COUNT PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: HEAR FROM ATLANTIS' CREW DURING ROLLOUT PLAY
VIDEO: ATLANTIS ARRIVES ATOP LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CROWDS WITNESS FINAL SHUTTLE ROLLOUT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ROLLOUT FROM VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: HOISTING ATLANTIS TO TANK AND SRBS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ORBITER GOES VERTICAL PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SLING CAPTURES ATLANTIS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ATLANTIS LEAVES PROCESSING HANGAR PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ORBITER TRANSPORTER PICKS UP ATLANTIS PLAY | HI-DEF

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