Encyclopedia Astronautica
2002.02.20 - ISS Status Report: ISS 02-10


Expedition 4 astronauts Carl Walz and Dan Bursch completed a successful 5-hour, 47-minute spacewalk Wednesday, testing equipment and procedures for the Airlock Quest and performing other tasks to prepare for Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-110 mission to the International Space Station in April. The spacewalk, which began at 5:38 a.m. CST and ended at 11:25 a.m., notched some firsts.

It was the first spacewalk from Quest without the presence of a space shuttle at the station, earning it the designation of U.S. EVA 1. It also marked the first U.S. use of an Intravehicular (IV) officer, Astronaut Joe Tanner, working from Houston's Mission Control Center instead of from onboard the spacecraft, as has been the case up to this point. Also, new procedures were used to expedite airlock depressurization at the start of the spacewalk.

STS-110 will bring the S0 Truss to the station, the first segment of what will be the station's backbone. Four spacewalks will be conducted during that flight, all from the airlock and all using an oxygen/exercise protocol to purge nitrogen from the spacewalkers' bloodstreams. Walz and Bursch used that protocol today.

During the spacewalk today, Walz and Bursch deployed two electrical cables from their stowage area on the U.S. Laboratory Destiny and connected them to a cable tray near the base of the Z1 Truss. Plans to disconnect and restow the cables were put on hold while engineers evaluated unexpected readings from current conversion units in the circuit the cables completed. Walz removed four thermal blankets from the Z1 Truss and stowed them inside the truss, while Bursch retrieved tools to be used on STS-110 spacewalks and brought them to the airlock. The two also secured looser-than-expected latches on two oxygen tanks and two nitrogen tanks, on the airlock.

Walz and Bursch removed adaptors on which a Russian cargo crane had been mounted and attached one of them to the Zarya module's exterior. They brought the other, U.S.-made, adaptor into the airlock. They also inspected cable connectors outside the station and photographed the MISSE (Materials International Space Station Experiment). Some of the materials samples being exposed to the harsh conditions of space apparently were peeling back off their mountings.

Scientists used the spacewalk to gather additional data for an experiment looking at the effects of spacewalks and long-term exposure to microgravity on lung function. Also, Walz and Bursch will wear radiation sensors for the EVARM experiment, a study of radiation doses experienced by spacewalking astronauts.

Walz and Bursch each had made one previous spacewalk from the station last month, and Walz also made a spacewalk on STS-51 in September 1993. During today's spacewalk, Expedition 4 Commander Yury Onufrienko operated cameras on the station's Canadian provided robotic arm to document activities.

A planned upgrade of the station's software is scheduled for late this week to prepare station computers for arrival of the S0 Truss and other equipment to be delivered on subsequent flights.

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