Two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have completed the emergency repairs to the orbiting spacecraft and replace a failed computer on the outer side involving the unique spacewalk feat on Tuesday.
Station’s Expedition 51 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Jack Fischer installed a pair of wireless communications antennas onto the outside of the Destiny lab, during a 2.5-hour spacewalk as the orbiting outpost continued to sail 250 miles above the Earth. They concluded their spacewalk at 10:06 p.m. EDT.
The 23-kg computer is one of two key controlling units, including solar power panels, cooling loops, radiators and robotics gear, on the US side of the station. It was later tested by the ground staff at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Ever since it was found on Saturday that the loss of one of the computers posed danger to the operations of ISS and its crew, NASA has planned for the spacewalk to undertake an immediate repair in the sky and restore a backup as quickly as possible. The $100 billion International Space Station is a joint venture project of 15 nations but the affected computer was on a NASA laboratory.
The failed computer was installed on March 30, 2017 by Whitson but failed to function as expected necessitating the repeat spacewalk within two months. As Whitson successfully replaced the failed computer, Fischer installed wireless communications antennas onto the outside of the US Destiny lab.
In a statement, NASA said:” During the spacewalk, which lasted two hours and 46 minutes, the two astronauts successfully replaced a computer relay box, and installed a pair of antennas on station to enhance wireless communication for future spacewalks.”
So far spacewalkers have spent a total of 1,250 hours and 41 minutes working outside the ISS in 201 spacewalks undertaken in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting space laboratory.
The latest was the 10th spacewalk for Whitson, who moves into third place all-time for cumulative spacewalking time, and the second for Fischer. NASA spokesman Dan Huot said, “Likely won’t know more until someone has the chance to do diagnostics on it.”