Two astronauts went out of the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday for a long delayed maintenance work of the station.
Reid Wiseman, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA) left the ISS Quest airlock about 8:50 a.m. EDT for a six-hour spacewalk to do maintenance work. It was the first spacewalk for both astronauts.
The major task of the extra-vehicular activity (EVA) was to stow away a broken ammonia pump module into storage, which was supposedly done during a repair spacewalk last December. The pump had been replaced that month but the repair crew did not have time to move the broken unit the size of a refrigerator to the External Stowage Platform No. 2 (ESP-2) for storage.
For the Oct. 7 spacewalk referred to as US EVA-27, Wiseman prepared the storage site, which is located just outside of the Quest airlock, while Gerst, who was attached to the station's 58-foot robotic arm operated by NASA's Barry Wilmore from inside the ISS, manually carried the module to the storage platform, where he later bolted it into place.
Wiseman and Gerst then did some electrical work installing a new relay system, the Mobile Transporter Relay Assembly (MTRA), which will provide alternative power source to the mobile transporter that moves the robotic arm around outside of the station. The duo also replaced the light of the External Television Camera Group (ETVCG), which provides lighting when cargo ships approach the ISS in orbital darkness.
"Astronauts Reid Wiseman of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency completed the first of three Expedition 41 spacewalks at 2:43 p.m. EDT Tuesday," NASA said in a statement. "The spacewalkers worked outside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station for 6 hours and 13 minutes."
Wiseman and Gerst did not encounter significant problems with their tasks and maiden spacewalk and astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who contacted them from the mission control in Houston, complimented them for doing a great job.
"We want to say thanks to all the training teams, both at NASA and at ESA for all the hard work ... that got us to this point," Gerst said.
Wiseman and Wilmore are set to venture out of the ISS on Oct. 15 to replace a damaged component in a voltage regulator, which failed in May. The device is part of the station's solar power system.