Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Alexander Gerst Tests his Spacesuit for EVA

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst testing his spacesuit on the International Space Station in preparation for 7 October 2014 when he will venture into open space with NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on a seven-hour spacewalk.

Their main job is to move a failed cooling pump that was left in a temporary location by previous spacewalkers to its final position.

Alexander and Reid will then install a unit that will allow the Station’s robotic arm to remain powered even when it is being relocated.

This sortie will be the 27th US-led spacewalk. Reid has the callsign EV1 and will be wearing the suit with red stripes, while Alexander will be EV2 without stripes.

The two spacewalkers will work together, independently. To start, Reid will set up the new home for the pump while Alexander retrieves the unit from further along the Station's truss. Reid will then begin their second task of installing the arm power unit, stopping at times to refasten Alexander's tether to let him move around safely.

The duo will fix the pump to its final resting place together and then work in unison on the robotic arm.

Spacewalks are carefully choreographed affairs requiring meticulous planning and perfect coordination between the astronauts and ground control.

ESA's lead mission director for Space Station Expeditions 41 and 42, Alex Nitsch, is responsible for the European part of Alexander's Blue Dot mission.

Based at the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, Alex notes: "Preparing and rehearsing for a spacewalk takes weeks and involves all the partners at the Station control centres in Houston, USA and Moscow, Russia."

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