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Space Station Crew Prepare For Emergency Spacewalk

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the time-to-separate-the-saucer-section dept.

ISS 95

astroengine writes "After the discovery of an ammonia coolant leak supplying one of the solar arrays on Thursday (video), International Space Station managers have decided to plan for an unscheduled spacewalk on Saturday to repair the problem. The final decision about whether to go ahead with the extravehicular activity will be made late on Friday. 'Good Morning, Earth! Big change in plans, spacewalk tomorrow, Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn are getting suits and airlock ready. Cool!', tweeted the Space Station's Expedition 35 Commander, Chris Hadfield, on hearing the news an emergency EVA may be required of his crew. 'The whole team is ticking like clockwork, readying for tomorrow. I am so proud to be Commander of this crew. Such great, capable, fun people.'"

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And That's Why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686521)

That's why I bought a Saturn.

Howard (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686565)

Good think Wolowitz isn't up there, or he'd be freaking out.

Re:Howard (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686657)

Yeah he'd have an "ammonia leak" in his pants.....

Re:Howard (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43693685)

Yeah he'd have an "ammonia leak" in his pants.....

Being Howard Wolowitz, yellow stains [shirtcity.us] in your pants can be pretty cool!

Live Footage! (4, Funny)

GreggBz (777373) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686587)

Re:Live Footage! (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687075)

Too bad it's not a realistic depiction of how gravity works.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687329)

What really bothers me is the "IMax" symbol at the end of the preview which suggests this anti-knowledge will be shown at science museums. Incredible cultural poison.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687767)

What really bothers me is the "IMax" symbol at the end of the preview which suggests this anti-knowledge will be shown at science museums. Incredible cultural poison.

Yes, because Star Trek, Iron Man, Transformers, The Matrix and a hundred other feature films that are available in Imax are intended to be science documentaries ...

Re:Live Footage! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688345)

You mean Transformers aren't real? I'm so... I mean... my uh... son... will be so bummed.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687741)

From what I've seen of the trailer, it seems believeable enough. What gripes do you have, as I wasn't looking very closely?

Re:Live Footage! (2)

david.given (6740) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687927)

In order for the station to reenter, you'd have to change its orbital velocity by a substantial amount. The interwebs suggests that it's about 150m/s (that's about 300 mph for the metrically challenged).

To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station. I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware; the Progress supply drones it currently uses to adjust its orbit carry very little thruster fuel. (Just enough to deorbit the Progress itself, plus some spare.)

Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

Re:Live Footage! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688307)

I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware

Oh, it can be de-orbited ... the people on it just might not like the outcome.

I doubt it's got enough shielding and the like to do it in any controlled way. I doubt it was even designed to be landed.

Re:Live Footage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688441)

"designed to be landed" That was one of the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688571)

Why? Planes are designed to be landed. The space shuttle is designed to be landed.

The ISS, not so much.

So any talk about 'de-orbiting' it in any sense which isn't a fiery splash into the ocean is pretty much a joke.

I'm sure it would have been possible to design the space station such that you could do a re-entry. But they didn't.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688487)

In order for the station to reenter, you'd have to change its orbital velocity by a substantial amount. The interwebs suggests that it's about 150m/s (that's about 300 mph for the metrically challenged).

To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station. I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware; the Progress supply drones it currently uses to adjust its orbit carry very little thruster fuel. (Just enough to deorbit the Progress itself, plus some spare.)

Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

was there re-entering on the trailer? isn't the movie about them getting stranded in space. I thought the things burning in atmosphere lower were pieces of some asteroid or something. though I wasn't paying too much attention.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689037)

To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station.

That's of course right. Whatever hits the station would need to do so at a minimum of 150m/s velocity difference, and then only if it were much more massive than the station. Unless it had a big honking spring attached to it, that is :) 150m/s is half the muzzle velocity of many small firearms.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689525)

150m/s is half the muzzle velocity of many small firearms.

I really hope that by "small firearms" you mean "pistols"...

And if you mean "pistols", why didn't you just say so?

Re:Live Footage! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43694507)

Aren't they small kinda by definition? :)

Re:Live Footage! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689043)

Alas, I didn't notice -- did the entire station actually deorbit, or was it only some collision debris that got deorbited?

Re:Live Footage! (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689307)

Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

Don't be surprised if you find the scene and that bit of dialogue to be half-a-movie apart in the actual film.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690255)

In order for the station to reenter, you'd have to change its orbital velocity by a substantial amount. The interwebs suggests that it's about 150m/s (that's about 300 mph for the metrically challenged). To change the ISS's velocity that much in a single impact would destroy the entire station. I don't even think the ISS is capable of being deorbited without additional hardware; the Progress supply drones it currently uses to adjust its orbit carry very little thruster fuel. (Just enough to deorbit the Progress itself, plus some spare.) Personally, the main bit which caused me to roll my eyes is right at the beginning, where the two astronauts admire the sunset, tumbling uncontrollably, while facing in entirely the wrong direction...

i see bits and pieces of a shuttle re-entering, and a Soyuz capsule, but I don't see the ISS doing any re-entry... at least not the entire station. Mind you, I do see the station being cut in two by an impact.

If you look at the reflection in the suit's visor when he talks about the sunrise, you can see he is facing the right way for it. You can't really tell from a trailer, though. Adjacent scenes in a trailer may be far apart in the actual movie.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687991)

Midway through. Part of the station blows, and it appears to shift into a lower orbit (by a few hundred meters at most) and then zooms right on by like someone stepped on the gas pedal.

Issues:
1. What the hell caused it to suddenly drop orbit!? Someone fire the retros and we just didn't see it?
2. The difference in orbital velocity at an altitude difference of 100 meters is nowhere NEAR what is depicted.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689073)

I mostly agree, although you can certainly have whatever velocity difference you want if you are not in a circular orbit anymore. A single hit to ISS big enough to deorbit it would certainly not leave it in a circular orbit by definition. There's no solution, I think, for a single momentum transfer that would lower the instantaneous orbital altitude by 100 metres while still keeping the track somewhat parallel to the previous one -- if that's what the visuals implied.

Re:Live Footage! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689199)

It would take an extreme amount of energy to cause such a massive object to deviate so quickly from a stable orbit. (having played with such mechanics [youtube.com] a lot, at a smaller scale)

Linux caused it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686711)

When the XP laptops were switched to Linux all hell broke lose up there.

Re:Linux caused it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686791)

Proof please?

Careful (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686735)

Keep that toolbox strapped to the space station.

Everything is hard in space (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686761)

You can't have regular solar panels; you need ammonia-cooled solar panels. You can't simply walk out and fix it, there's no air. You can't use a wrench, because conservation of momentum means you rotate around the bolt. And after all that and you fix it, a piece of junk from a Chinese satellite killer takes you and your new solar panel out.

This is why we're still whizzing around in LEO. Imagine doing this crap 100 million miles away when you can't "just" get more ammonia if you really needed it.

Re:Everything is hard in space (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686945)

You can't use a wrench, because conservation of momentum means you rotate around the bolt.

Unless you have something to hold you, like the Canadarm [wikipedia.org] , or hold onto something to stop your rotation. Using a wrench is space is more complex but not impossible.

Re:Everything is hard in space (1, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687007)

You just made my point.

Re:Everything is hard in space (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689809)

You just made my point.

So by "you can't use a wrench", you meant, "you can use a wrench if you have something to hold onto." Gotcha...

I see where you're going with this (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687131)

But just because Space is hard...does not make the challenges insurmountable. Humanity's future lies in space.

Re:I see where you're going with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687607)

I kind of hope we actually find a decent earth like planet. Space itself kind of sucks to live in.

Re:Everything is hard in space (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688545)

"Everything is hard in space"

Two things about that.

First, I would like to point out that while it may be hard, I would not call this, as OP does, an "emergency". The leak was already known, and there are backup systems in place. This is a precautionary measure, not an "emergency", unless by that you mean they will "emerge" from the airlock.

Second, the fact that "everything is hard in space" is precisely why we should establish a base on the moon. A gravity well makes a HUGE difference in how difficult it is to perform work. And the fact that it's a shallow gravity well is also of huge importance to future outward expansion.

Re:Everything is hard in space (2)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43693457)

Exactly. NASA's definition of an emergency spacewalk is one that wasn't on the schedule a month in advance and that nobody has practiced for in the giant swimming pool. It's something that needs to be done quickly before they lose too much coolant, but it isn't an emergency in the sense of "Roll Engine Company 3 and 4 and bring the long ladder trucks"

Gee (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686825)

I wish the mechanic would get as excited when he has to put some freon into my A/C...

Re:Gee (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688025)

Make the mechanic (and all his coworkers) lives depend upon fixing your A/C and see what happens :D

I know NASA needs the money but geeze... (3, Interesting)

magusxxx (751600) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686847)

This isn't some sort of paid stunt to promote Sandra Bullock / George Clooney's latest movie is it?

Unscheduled != Emergency (0, Troll)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686851)

To me an emergency spacewalk is "Get in the suits now and get out there" and not "We'll think about it for a while and you may be tasked to go out in a day or two". This is yet another inaccurate headline to bring attention to a minor story.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686913)

To me an emergency spacewalk is "Get in the suits now and get out there" and not "We'll think about it for a while and you may be tasked to go out in a day or two". This is yet another inaccurate headline to bring attention to a minor story.

Yeah, to you, that's what it is. Tell you what: You get your fat ass off Slashdot, make your own station in LEO, and blast yourself off to it to conduct scientific experiments, and then you can make your own decisions about the terminology they use up in space. Until then, I don't think they give a damn about what you think "emergency" means.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686951)

So some people are sent out within a few days which might be about as fast as you can step through all the checklists, from people only getting general training and not months of training for every single movement of this specific manevour, like they usually would. If that is not emergency then I do not know what a emergency is.

People think hyperspace persuit formulars are fun, but wait till mankind has the tech for that...

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687033)

The point is, in an emergency there is no checklist. The fire alarm goes off or you see flames / smoke. You don't stop and work on checklist items. You get the heck out. You are driving and the car in front of you slams his brakes on hard. You don't read a checklist. You brake also (hopefully not as hard if you were maintaining a proper following distance). Bottom line? Emergency is a word with a meaning. So is expedited. This is an expedited space walk. Not an emergency. Hence they follow the checklist.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (2)

Jabrwock (985861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687125)

Not every emergency requires in a split-second decision. Sometimes you actually have time to check the checklist, which usually has helpful steps to keep things calm while you deal with the situation. In this case, it's an emergency in that if they don't get it fixed soon, they are screwed. But not an "OMFG bail out" kind of emergency.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (5, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687357)

The point is, in an emergency there is no checklist

Hey Anonymous Coward, there sure as hell is. The whole point of a checklist is you remain calm and 'work the problem.'

If you're in the cockpit of a 747 and the engines flame out at 35K feet the first thing you do is grab your checklist.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687545)

1) Check for nearby volcano eruptions...

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687683)

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688387)

The first thing they grabbed was the "emergency checklist" and started going through ways to restart the engines while the pilot attempts to maintain control.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687005)

When you engage in the kind of planning NASA does, you typically only perform unscheduled activities in an emergency. This is especially true when in comes to EVA. If you want a good example of the level of planning, training, and rehearsal that typifies an EVA, check out a documentary of repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687145)

They're going out tomorrow. Read that another time: TOMORROW. They found out about the problem Thursday.

You're talking about people who get years of training on every specific maneuver they have to perform in space, repeatedly, until they're so good they can do it in their sleep, blindfolded, with both their hands tied behind their back.

Keep being a stupid keyboard warrior though, it's cute.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687483)

Well, jklovanc is getting hammered by the mods, but he has a point. We really aren't ready for space until you can actually do that sort of thing without a three week simulator run.

This is EXACTLY why we need to keep going round and round in LEO until it's really, really boring and second nature*. If we plan on getting past the moon, we have to develop technologies and procedures that allow us to fix things promptly.

* This is not to imply that the ONLY thing we should be doing is the ISS. We should be funding lots of other space related programs.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43691941)

Remember back in the pioneer days of settling North America? People crossed the ocean not because every part of the voyage was safe and comfortable and they were sure they could easily fix everything. They crossed the ocean because they'd rather die trying to find a better life than go on with their old lives.

Nothing's changed, perhaps you personally don't feel the need to take risks but space travel doesn't need to become safe, it just needs to become cheap. And as soon as that happens you'll have people queuing around the planet trying to get on board, I'll be there too, even if there's a 50-50 chance I'll never get to my destination.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687771)

When you have an emergency of such magnitude on ISS, you don't get to wear the spacesuits, you haul your ass into the Soyuz and head back to Earth.

To the braindead mods: The parent is not a troll, just uninformed about ISS procedures. That doesn't make him a troll.

Re:Unscheduled != Emergency (2)

Erbo (384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687989)

You have a point in that the word "emergency" carries a connotation of a lot more imminent danger than the situation actually seems to have. A better term for this spacewalk might be "contingency spacewalk," which was a term NASA used for similar EVAs that might have to be performed on the Shuttle to save the Orbiter and/or its crew. Or, in Star Trek terms, it's a Yellow Alert, not a Red Alert.

In space.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686891)

no one can hear ammonia scream.

Space station? There's a space station! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43686977)

Since when?

Re:Space station? There's a space station! (1)

SlashV (1069110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688363)

For a while now, but it's not actually stationary

Re:Space station? There's a space station! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43689857)

More like a trailer. A space trailer. Nothing like Space 1999. More like My Name is Earl.

Re:Space station? There's a space station! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690305)

For a while now, but it's not actually stationary

Well that all depends entirely on your frame of reference.

Raw Egg (5, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43686999)

Just pop the radiator cap and drop in a raw egg; that'll stop the leak. For awhile. But hurry up and dump this lemon on an unsuspecting buyer, quick.

Videos from the ISS (4, Informative)

lehphyro (1465921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687141)

A little bit off-topic, but worth mentioning, Chris Hadfield has been recording interesting short videos from the ISS about how's life over there: http://www.youtube.com/user/canadianspaceagency [youtube.com]

Re:Videos from the ISS (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687371)

My kids really enjoyed the one about vomiting in space [youtube.com] .

Re:Videos from the ISS (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#43692399)

Chris Hadfield's personal mission is to communicate space to regular people and get them excited about it again. He's a hero even if just for that and everybody should watch his videos.

LaForge Maneuver (2)

Triv (181010) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687265)

Didn't they solve this problem on TNG? All you need to do to cope with a coolant leak is have everybody roll energetically under the descending emergency door that's sealing the affected area off.

http://epicgeordi.ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]

(in case it isn't obvious, that link is loud, obnoxious and on a loop.)

Re:LaForge Maneuver (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688051)

That link is... probably the lamest thing I have ever seen.

Re:LaForge Maneuver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43692759)

In TNG they'd start with a meeting in the captain's ready room, quickly followed by the ship would losing power and the holodeck becoming sentient. Picard would give a speech, facepalm, then order the self destruct sequence. Power would be later be restored just in time to ctrl/alt/delete the holodeck and then stop the autodestruct.

Time to worry! (5, Funny)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687333)

Just a moment...just a moment...I've just picked up a fault in the AE-35 ammonia distribution unit. It's going to go a hundred percent failure within 72 hours.

P.R. (3, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687339)

I find it amusing that the best P.R. man NASA has had in recent years (Chris Hadfield) is not American.

Re:P.R. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688059)

I find it amusing that you care about such a thing.

What -I- find amusing is that we call it NASA, not USA. Though that would be hilarious too, because of the redundancy.

After all, AFAIK NASA does not envelope CSA or whatever Mexico calls their version.

Re:P.R. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688235)

...why wouldn't the US call its space agency the National Aeronautics and Space Administration...?

Re:P.R. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689077)

er, I thought it was North American. For some reason.

On any other day I would not have been a moron, here. Well played, AC, well played...

Re:P.R. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690403)

MESA is the MExican Space Administration. They shot a rocket on Tuesday, and the airbrushed picture of Madre de Guadalupe burnt right off.

Re:P.R. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688063)

I find it amusing that the best P.R. man NASA has had in recent years (Chris Hadfield) is not American.

What does this mean? Has NASA been unknown until Twitter? In that case, it's not Commander Chris Hadfield that is good at PR, it's Twitter or the technology method of Twitter. I find it amusing that you think a 140 character tweet is a suitable method for a billion dollar project to "give up the deets" on what is happening. While he is US trained and works very closely with NASA, the ISS is a multi-country-corporation program that is a small portion of what NASA does.

If all anyone had to do to be good at PR was use myspace, twitter and facebook and blog every now and then - I guess I'm a PR specialist as well. LOL!

Re:P.R. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688189)

Makes sense to me. The best engineer NASA ever had was German.

Re:P.R. (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689949)

You'd be amazed how many Americans are Canadian. ;)

(Most Americans are amazed to find out how many famous "Americans" they know are actually Canadians...)

In any case, it's NASA. They hire from around the world. It would be surprising to find any working group in the agency that was 100% American. It would be silly to assume someone's nationality based on the fact that they work for, with, or in NASA.

Re:P.R. (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43694203)

However, there are many positions at NASA not open to non-citizens of the US.
Hell, even some NASA facility tours are "citizen only", which is really ridiculous.

Re:P.R. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43690075)

It's a gift and it's rare enough to treasure.

Samuel Clemons (a.k.a. Mark Twain) had it. Carl Sagan had it. Will Rogers had it.

space station held together by spit & shoe pol (1)

deysOfBits (2198798) | about a year and a half ago | (#43687633)

Why is it even in space? The thing is built like shit and keeps falling apart. I question why it's even up there.

Re: space station held together by spit & shoe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43687851)

Space is not a safe environment, even the hardiest of devices can fail when you gave chunks of spa e debris flying to by at

Re:space station held together by spit & shoe (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688065)

Clearly you are a subject matter expert.

Re:space station held together by spit & shoe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688535)

Because obviously someone shitposting to slashdot is an expert on spacecraft design.

Unscheduled Spacewalk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688153)

How far in advance does NASA have to schedule a spacewalk for it to be a "scheduled" spacewalk? Isn't the fact that NASA is scheduling it today make it "scheduled" for tomorrow?

Re:Unscheduled Spacewalk (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688513)

How far in advance does NASA have to schedule a spacewalk for it to be a "scheduled" spacewalk? Isn't the fact that NASA is scheduling it today make it "scheduled" for tomorrow?

well it's going like clockwork at least!

it means it's unbudgeted for fiscal year 2013.

Re:Unscheduled Spacewalk (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690341)

How far in advance does NASA have to schedule a spacewalk for it to be a "scheduled" spacewalk?

Far enough that all the needed tools and equipment are packed on the ground, and the astronauts performing the spacewalk have practiced in a "zero G" dive tank.

Schedules and deadlines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43688261)

Never fall in love with a plan is what we learn...

I read that differently (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688601)

I read that as "Space Station Cow Prepares for Emergency Spacewalk" and was momentarily excited for pictures.

Why wait till tomorrow (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year and a half ago | (#43688887)

Why wait till tomorrow? why even ask permission to fix it? Seems to me there are decisions that should be made by the crew i mean they are experts.

Re:Why wait till tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43689361)

Because they need to prepare the airlock and pre-breathe pure O2 before they can leave the station. It isn't like putting a snowsuit on and going out to make a snowman.

Re:Why wait till tomorrow (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43690801)

Can you explain why they need to pre-breathe pure O2?

Re:Why wait till tomorrow (3, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43694277)

Because the spacesuits use pure O2 at very low pressure to remain flexible.

Inflating a spacesuit with "normal" air at normal pressure would make it very
stiff and require big forces to bend, making for very expensive balloon animals
and not much work done by the astronaut contained within.

The "pre-breathing" is required to adapt the human physiology to such an atmosphere.
Just using normal air at very low pressure isn't an option, because the partial pressure
of Oxygen would be too low to breathe (same as very-high-altitude air on Earth).

Making a useable spacesuit is suprisingly hard. One of the challenges for example
is that the suits internal volume should always stay the same, even when bent.
Otherwise the pressure would change (and by quite a bit too) every time it is deformed,
annoying the hell out of or even injuring the astronaut.

Re:Why wait till tomorrow (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43696879)

The "pre-breathing" is required to adapt the human physiology to such an atmosphere.

Just using normal air at very low pressure isn't an option, because the partial pressure

of Oxygen would be too low to breathe (same as very-high-altitude air on Earth).

Thanks - very informative. Further googling indicates that this is to avoid decompression sickness (breathing pure O2 for a while flushes the nitrogen out of the body, preventing it forming bubbles when the astronaut is decompressed). Is there any reason to use an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere on the space station, rather than oxygen/some-other-gas, such as helium? This would presumably avoid the decompression sickness problem, much like deep divers use oxygen/helium mixes.

Making a useable spacesuit is suprisingly hard. One of the challenges for example

is that the suits internal volume should always stay the same, even when bent.

Otherwise the pressure would change (and by quite a bit too) every time it is deformed,

annoying the hell out of or even injuring the astronaut.

Indeed, I hadn't considered that. Having a non-fixed volume would also make movement harder, since the suit would continually try to return to the largest volume / lowest pressure shape.

Re:Why wait till tomorrow (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43698339)

Is there any reason to use an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere on the space station, rather than oxygen/some-other-gas, such as helium? This would presumably avoid the decompression sickness problem, much like deep divers use oxygen/helium mixes.

The problem with Helium is its very (very!) high diffusion rate through everything,
including solid steel etc., so the station would need a constant resupply of Helium just
to keep the internal pressure stable. They still do need air resupply, but with O2/N2, it's at
a much more manageable rate.

Re:Why wait till tomorrow (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#43692427)

One of the things that the video seemed to imply is that they're simulating the expected procedure in their underwater tanks on the ground first, to make sure everything is reachable, and to know what tools they need to do the job.

The crew are not necessarily experts on every nut and bolt of the ISS. While they've certainly studied it, and have done the underwater sims themselves, the hands-on experience with each individual unit is quite rare compared to, say, a mechanic who works on cars every day for decades.

Emergency? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43689343)

It's not an emergency if you get a night's sleep first.

HAL 9000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43695469)

"Just a moment....Just a moment. I've just picked up a fault in the AE-35 Unit. Its going to go 100 percent failure within 72 hours."

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