As Atlantis was moved to the launch pad this week, station Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria and Mikhail Tyurin conducted leak checks of the Russian Orlan spacesuits they will wear for their venture outside Feb. 22. They also installed some additional equipment on the suits, including lights that will assist in their tasks.
Today they verified the suits are in good condition by conducting telemetry and communications checks with flight controllers in Russia at the Mission Control Center in Korolev.
The spacewalk will be the fifth by the Expedition 14 crew – a record for ISS crews. It will be the fourth spacewalk conducted from the station in the past three weeks. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at approximately 4 a.m. CST and last six hours. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television beginning at 3 a.m. CST.
The spacewalkers will attempt to free a stuck antenna on the ISS Progress 23 cargo craft docked at the aft end of the station. They also will survey docking navigation systems for the European Automated Transfer Vehicle, a cargo craft planned to make its maiden voyage this summer.
Securing or removing the antenna will ensure it will not interfere with the Progress ship’s undocking in April. The spacewalk will be the 10th for Lopez-Alegria, a record for a U.S. astronaut.
Also this week, robotics ground controllers in Houston commanded the station's mobile transporter rail car to move to the starboard side of the station's truss in preparation for the arrival of Atlantis. Atlantis will bring a new, school bus-sized truss segment with a third set of U.S. solar arrays for the complex plus batteries and other electronics. The crew will spend Monday training on the operation of the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm from a work station inside the Destiny laboratory.