Astronaut may get Christmas wish for spacewalk - New York News

Astronaut may get Christmas wish for spacewalk

Posted: Updated:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

Space station astronaut Rick Mastracchio may get his Christmas wish for a spacewalk or two because of a broken cooling system.

Mastracchio, an experienced spacewalker, said he's more than ready to go out and make repairs, if deemed necessary by Mission Control.

"Any time you have something like this, it's good news, bad news," Mastracchio told The Associated Press on Friday.

"Of course, the bad news is the station's having problems and we have to go out and do a repair. The good news is we have the spare parts. We have the training. We have the skills and, of course, going out and doing a spacewalk is always very exciting - yet very challenging."

One of two cooling loops on the space station shut down Wednesday after it got too cold. Flight controllers suspect a bad valve inside an external pump.

It's a serious situation that needs to be remedied quickly, officials said, in case there are additional failures.

On Friday, engineers in Houston spent a third day working on the issue. They want to see if they can solve the problem remotely, before ordering up a series of spacewalks to replace the entire pump. Three spacewalks were required to install this pump in 2010.

The space station cooling system uses ammonia to dissipate heat generated by on-board equipment.

The six astronauts have turned off all nonessential equipment to reduce the heat load, including some science experiments. That's resulted in extra free time for Mastracchio and his U.S., Japanese and Russian crewmates. Otherwise, life has not changed much a couple hundred miles up, he noted.

"We still have lights. We still have the toilet working. We still have food, and we're still very comfortable up here," Mastracchio said. "So the biggest problem is that we're just not taking the time during our schedule to do as much science as we normally would."

An upcoming delivery mission may be delayed because of the cooling system trouble. The commercial Cygnus capsule, currently scheduled for a Wednesday launch from Wallops Island, Va., almost certainly holds holiday surprises for the astronauts, along with the usual stash of supplies.

At least Mastracchio doesn't have to cram in any last-minute Christmas shopping, using the space station's Internet phone or online capability. The 53-year-old engineer said he bought presents for his wife before he rocketed into orbit at the beginning of November for a six-month mission.

"Being away from your friends and family during the holidays is not optimal," he told the AP. "But if you have to be away from your family on Christmas, then this is sure not a bad place to be."

And children, stay tuned.

"We're always on the lookout for Santa up here," Mastracchio said with a smile.

---

Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission-pages/station/main/index.html

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:58:41 GMT

    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.


    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.


  • Mayor de Blasio, Bratton seek to improve police-community relations

    Mayor de Blasio, Bratton seek to improve police-community relations

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:47:07 GMT
    Back from vacation, Mayor Bill de Blasio is addressing the allegations of police choke holds. Standing next to his police commissioner and standing by him, de Blasio declared police community relations will improve by Bill Bratton's call for retraining of officers. The mayor did say that police choke holds are not acceptable.
    Back from vacation, Mayor Bill de Blasio is addressing the allegations of police choke holds. Standing next to his police commissioner and standing by him, de Blasio declared police community relations will improve by Bill Bratton's call for retraining of officers. The mayor did say that police choke holds are not acceptable.
  • Newark, Jersey City, Paterson

    3 New Jersey mayors announce joint anti-crime plan

    3 New Jersey mayors announce joint anti-crime plan

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:28 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:28:17 GMT

    The mayors of New Jersey's three largest urban areas said Monday they are looking at inter-city collaboration as a way to stem the flow of bloodshed on their streets. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres spoke mainly in generalities about the partnership, but said specifics would be hammered out at a mayors' roundtable that will convene in September.

    The mayors of New Jersey's three largest urban areas said Monday they are looking at inter-city collaboration as a way to stem the flow of bloodshed on their streets. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Paterson Mayor Jose Torres spoke mainly in generalities about the partnership, but said specifics would be hammered out at a mayors' roundtable that will convene in September.


Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices