New NASA Documentary Chronicles 50 Years of Spacewalks

Spacewalks have been described by astronauts as magical, amazing, and “holy moly!” This new 30-minute NASA documentary called “Suit Up!” celebrates 50 years of extravehicular activity (EVA) or spacewalks. 50 years ago this year, the first spacewalks were conducted by Russian Alexei Leonov in March 1965 and then American astronaut Edward White followed soon after in June 1965. The documentary features interviews with astronauts past and present, as well as other astronauts, engineers, technicians, managers from the history of spacewalks.

They share their personal stories and thoughts that cover the full EVA experience — from the early spacewalking experiences, to spacesuit manufacturing, to modern day spacewalks aboard the International Space Station as well as what the future holds for humans working on a tether in space.

“Suit Up,” is narrated by actor and fan of space exploration Jon Cryer.

For more info, NASA has a special page with images and more recollections. Also, here is a list of some of the most memorable spacewalks, and here are some 3-D views of humanity’s first spacewalk by Leonov.

Watch Live: 180th Spacewalk for the International Space Station



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are working outside at the International Space Station today! They will spend about 6.5 hours outside installing an antenna for data relays, relocating a cargo boom, swabbing samples from a window on the Zvezda service module and switching out science experiment gear. Watch live above.

This is milestone of sorts for ISS spacewalks: it is the 180th spacewalk in support of space station construction and maintenance since December 1998, when the Russian Zarya module was mated to the US Unity node. You can read what that first spacewalk was like in an interview with astronauts Bob Cabana: What Day 1 on the International Space Station Was like for the Astronauts.

And what’s going on inside the ISS today?

If you want to know who is who during the spacewalk, Skvortsov is wearing the Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, and Artemyev’s has a spacesuit with blue stripes.

Weekly Space Hangout – April 25, 2014: Asteroids, ISS Repairs & an Annular Eclipse

Host: Fraser Cain
Guests: Morgan Rehnberg, Brian Koberlein, David Dickinson, Jason Major

This Week’s Stories:
Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @cosmic_chatter):
EVA
Cosmos
SpaceX announcements

Brian Koberlein (@briankoberlein, briankoberlein.com):
Meteors are not more likely to hit Earth

Dave Dickinson (@astroguyz, www.astroguyz.com):
Saturn at Opposition
Bizarre Annular Eclipse

Jason Major (@JPMajor, LightsInTheDark.com):
B612 Foundation asteroid announcement

We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Friday at 12:00 pm Pacific / 3:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Google+, Universe Today, or the Universe Today YouTube page.

Weekly Space Hangout – January 24, 2014: LEGO Mars Rover & the Supernova We Missed in the Star Party!

Host: Fraser Cain

Special Guests: Stephen Pakbaz, designer of the LEGO Mars Rover Kit, and Ray Sanders from CosmoQuest, who is unboxing and building the kit as we hang out!

Astrojournalists: Morgan Rehnberg, Sondy Springmann, Elizabeth Howell, Casey Dreier, David Dickinson, Nicole Gugliucci, Mike Simmons
Continue reading “Weekly Space Hangout – January 24, 2014: LEGO Mars Rover & the Supernova We Missed in the Star Party!”

Medical Problem Delays Spacewalk

A medical issue with a member of the space shuttle crew has forced a change in personnel for the first scheduled spacewalk of the STS-122 shuttle mission to the International Space Station. The switch has also mandated that the spacewalk be delayed one day to Monday. NASA officials would not say which astronaut was experiencing any medical problems, but did confirm that Stan Love has replaced Hans Schlegel for the initial spacewalk.

“There was a medical issue with the crew,” said John Shannon, deputy shuttle program manager. “The flight surgeons do private medical conferences with the crew throughout the mission. The crew called down and asked for one during the rendezvous, which was a little bit of a surprise to us. They talked to the crew members, they understood what the issue was. I will just say it is not going to impact any of the objectives of this mission.”

In video shown on NASA TV, Schlegel showed no noticeable illness as the shuttle crew come on board the ISS after shuttle docking. Reports on news wires suggested that Schlegel lost his voice, but that claim was not corroborated by Shannon.

Communication during the spacewalk would be critical. Schlegel appeared to talk with the ISS crew as he entered the station, and floated easily through the Harmony node. About half of all people who fly in space experience Space Adaptation Syndrome, which include symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and headaches. But citing medical privacy policies, Shannon refused to answer any questions about the nature of the medical issue, or whether Schlegel would be available for the second spacewalk of the mission, now slated for Wednesday.

“You guys can fish all day, but I won’t bite,” Shannon said.

The spacewalk will help install the new Columbus science module, brought up in Atlantis’ payload bay. Installation of the module is the primary goal of this mission.

The shuttle docked at 12:17 pm EST on Saturday. As the shuttle approached the station, the ISS crew took photos of the shuttle to check for any damage to Atlantis. They were asked to take special note of a small tear in the insulation blanket of the Orbital Maneuvering System rocket pod along the tail of the shuttle. Shannon said the tear is probably not critical, but that it’s being looked at.

“Nobody is very excited about this one,” he said. “I don’t expect this to be an issue but the team will continue to work it.”

The insulation blankets on the OMS pods experience temperatures around 700 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit during peak heating of re-entry. A similar tear on an earlier shuttle flight was repaired by a spacewalking astronaut using surgical staples. Three spacewalks are planned during Atlantis’ current mission and a staple gun is on board if needed.

On a final note, for any Prairie Home Companion fans out there, the shuttle crew wake-up call on Saturday morning was the Powdermilk Biscuit song.

Original News Source: NASA TV