U.S., Italian Astronauts Upgrade ISS During Spacewalk


European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano became Italy's first spacewalker on Tuesday, as he joined NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy for a series of upgrade activities outside the International Space Station.


European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, of Italy, right, extends from the Canadian robot arm of the International Space Station on Tuesday as he installs grapple fixtures on a pair of thermal control system radiators. Photo Credit: NASA TV

The two men were to spend 6 to 7 hours outside the ISS. In one high priority task, Cassidy will extend a solar power cable from the U.S. to the Russian segment to provide electricity for Russia's Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module after its expected launch and arrival in December.

Also on the task list, was the installation of grapple bars by Parmitano on starboard and port radiator panels that jut from the vaulting U.S. solar power system truss.

The grapple fixtures would hasten the possible future replacement of a failed thermal control system radiator using Canada's robot arm.

The spacewalkers were also to begin a power cable reconfiguration on the U.S. segment that would permit astronauts inside the station to respond to future external power system failures affecting the control moment gyros that steer and steady the station as it circles the Earth, space to ground communications and other critical functions.

Parmitano and Cassidy, who was conducting his fifth spacewalk, are scheduled to team again on July 16 to tackle other tasks, including the extension of an Ethernet cable from the U. S. to the Russian segment for Nauka.

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