Citing particles danger, NASA delays spacewalk to repair house station antenna

A spacewalk deliberate for Tuesday to restore a defective antenna on the Worldwide House Station was postponed indefinitely, NASA stated, citing a “particles notification” it obtained for the orbiting analysis laboratory.

Two U.S. astronauts had been scheduled to enterprise exterior the house station at 7:10 a.m. Japanese time (1210 GMT) to start their work, dealing with what NASA officers had referred to as a barely elevated danger posed by particles from a Russian anti-satellite missile take a look at this month.

However about 5 hours earlier than the outing was to have commenced, NASA stated on Twitter that the spacewalk had been referred to as off in the intervening time.

“NASA obtained a particles notification for the house station. Because of the lack of alternative to correctly assess the chance it may pose to the astronauts, groups have determined to delay the Nov. 30 spacewalk till extra data is obtainable,” the house company tweeted.

It was not made clear how shut particles had come to the house station, orbiting about 250 miles (402 km) above the Earth, or whether or not it was associated to the Russian missile take a look at.

NASA TV had deliberate to offer reside protection of the 6-1/2-hour “extravehicular exercise,” or EVA, operation by astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Brown. The outing can be the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, 61, a medical physician and former flight surgeon with two earlier journeys to orbit, and the primary for Barron, 34, a U.S. Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer on her debut spaceflight for NASA.

The target is to take away a defective S-band radio communications antenna meeting, now greater than 20 years outdated, and substitute it with a brand new spare stowed exterior the house station.

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In accordance with plans, Marshburn was to have labored with Barron whereas positioned on the finish of a robotic arm operated from contained in the station by German astronaut Matthias Maurer of the European House Company, with assist from NASA crewmate Raja Chari.

The 4 arrived on the house station Nov. 11 in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule launched from the Kennedy House Middle in Cape Canaveral, Florida, becoming a member of two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut already aboard the orbiting outpost.

4 days later, an anti-satellite missile take a look at carried out with out warning by Russia generated a particles area in low-Earth orbit, and all seven crew members took shelter of their docked spaceships to permit for a fast getaway till the quick hazard handed, in line with NASA.

The residual particles cloud from the blasted satellite tv for pc has dispersed since then, in line with Dana Weigel, NASA deputy supervisor of the Worldwide House Station (ISS) program.

However NASA calculates that remaining fragments continued to pose a “barely elevated” background danger to the house station as an entire, and a 7% increased danger of spacewalkers’ fits being punctured, as in comparison with earlier than Russia’s missile take a look at, Weigel advised reporters on Monday.

Though NASA has but to totally quantify further hazards posed by greater than 1,700 bigger fragments it’s monitoring across the station’s orbit, the 7% increased danger to spacewalkers falls “properly inside” fluctuations beforehand seen in “the pure surroundings,” Weigel stated.

Nonetheless, mission managers canceled a number of smaller upkeep duties into consideration for Tuesday’s spacewalk, Weigel added. 

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