You are here: Home » International » News » Others
Business Standard

NASA astronauts set for spacewalk to replace faulty space station antenna

NASA TV planned live coverage of the 6-1/2-hour spacewalk, scheduled to begin at 7:10 AM Eastern time (1210 GMT) on Thursday

NASA | Astronauts


Space Center in Florida  Ingus Kruklitis /
Representative Image

Two were set to embark on a spacewalk on Thursday to replace a faulty antenna on the Space Station (ISS), after a 48-hour delay prompted by an orbital debris alert later deemed to be of no concern.

TV planned live coverage of the 6-1/2-hour spacewalk, scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. Eastern time (1210 GMT) as Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron exit an airlock of the orbiting research lab some 250 miles (402 km) above Earth.

The outing is the fifth spacewalk for Marshburn, 61, a medical doctor and former flight surgeon with two previous trips to orbit, and a first for Barron, 34, a U.S. Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer on her debut spaceflight for

Their objective is to remove a defective S-band radio communications antenna assembly, now more than 20 years old, and replace it with a spare stowed outside the space station.

The space station is equipped with other antennae that can perform the same functions, but installing a replacement system ensures an ideal level of communications redundancy, NASA said.

Marshburn will work with Barron while positioned at the end of a robotic arm maneuvered from inside by German astronaut Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency, with help from NASA crewmate Raja Chari.

The four arrived at the space station Nov. 11 in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, joining two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut, Mark Vande Hei, already aboard the orbiting outpost.

Four days later, an anti-satellite missile test conducted without warning by Russia generated a debris field in low-Earth orbit, forcing the seven ISS crew members to take shelter in their docked spaceships to allow for a quick getaway until the immediate danger passed, NASA said.

The residual cloud of debris from the blasted satellite has dispersed since then, according to Dana Weigel, NASA deputy manager of the ISS program.

But NASA calculates that remaining fragments continue to pose a "slightly elevated" background risk to the space station as a whole, and a 7% higher risk of puncturing spacewalkers' suits, as compared to before Russia's missile test, Weigel told reporters on Monday.

Nevertheless, NASA determined those risk levels, while heightened, fell within tolerable boundaries and moved ahead with preparations to conduct the spacewalk as originally planned on Tuesday.

Hours before the operation was to begin, NASA received an alert from U.S. military space trackers warning of a newly detected debris-collision threat, prompting mission control to delay the extra-vehicular activity (EVA) mission.

On Tuesday afternoon, NASA said its evaluation concluded the debris in question - its origin left unclear - posed no risk to spacewalkers or the station after all, and the antenna replacement was rescheduled for Thursday morning.

Thursday's exercise marks the 245th spacewalk in support of assembly and upkeep of the space station, which this month surpassed 21 years of continuous human presence, NASA said.

A NASA spokesman, Gary Jordan, said this week's spacewalk postponement was believed to be the station's first ever caused by a debris alert.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, December 02 2021. 11:19 IST