Saturday, December 28, 2013

ISS Cosmonauts Hit Snag with HD Cameras during Record-Breaking Spacewalk

Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, Expedition 38 commander, and flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy perform a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Dec. 27, 2013. 

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio took this photo from inside the station.

Credit: NASA/Rick Mastracchio, via @AstroRM

Two Russian cosmonauts installed new HD camera eyes on the International Space Station during a record-setting spacewalk Friday (Dec. 27), only to have to return the devices inside due to an unspecified data glitch.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy spent just over eight hours — a new endurance record for Russian spacewalks — working outside the space station to install the new Earth-watching cameras for the Canadian company UrtheCast as part of an agreement with Russia's Federal Space Agency. 

But shortly after the installation, Russian engineers reported a problem receiving data from the imaging system.

"It appears that we have seen an unsuccessful attempt at bringing those two cameras to life," NASA spokesman Rob Navias said during spacewalk commentary. 

"The exact cause of the problem is not known at this time."

The new cameras are designed to snap detailed views of Earth from space for UrtheCast, which will then provide the imagery to customers via the Internet.

They launched to the station in late November on the Russian Progress 53 cargo ship.

"UrtheCast's two cameras will stream unprecedented footage of our evolving Earth to anyone with an internet connection," the company's website promises.

"In near real-time, you will be able to visit your favorite locales and learn about current events as they unfold."

The UrtheCast cameras include a high-resolution instrument on a swivel platform for detailed observations, and a medium-resolution instrument attached to a fixed platform.

Both cameras were initially installed by Kotov and Ryazanskiy on their respective Earth-facing platforms outside the station's Zvezda service module.

"When the flight control team at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow did not see the expected telemetry and electrical connectivity from the newly installed medium and high resolution cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy were directed to remove the cameras and return them to the airlock for further analysis," NASA officials said in a statement.

"The spacewalkers also were instructed to take detailed photographs of the electrical connectors mated earlier for additional review."

No comments:

Post a Comment