Emergency Spacewalk On ISS Set By NASA
One of the two computers that control major U.S. systems on the International Space Station (ISS) has failed. Because of this, a pair of astronauts will have to venture outside the ISS on Tuesday to replace said failed computer aboard the space outpost.
The device failed on Saturday, leaving the laboratory to depend on its backup systems to route commands as necessary to its power systems, radiators and other equipment. The current five-member crew consists of American, Russian and French astronauts, and they are in no danger at the moment. Space station Commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Jack Fischer will pair up for the said spacewalk, which is expected to last no longer than 2 hours.
Reuters reported that Whitson already assembled and tested an alternative electronics box in lieu of the failed device that was installed during a spacewalk last March 30. While such events seem dangerous, this is not the first time that NASA had to do an emergency spacewalk. The last one occurred in December 2015 when two of the crew members had to release the brakes on a mobile transporter's robot arm.
The ISS will have an exciting few weeks. News Nation reported that on June 1, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will be launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket, to deliver crew supplies and equipment for the astronauts living aboard the ISS. Investigations concerning the study of osteoporosis, neutron stars, solar panels and even tools for Earth-observations are also to be delivered.
The space station has been staffed with rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from the 15 different nations owning the facility. The ISS studies not only astronomy but also serves as a research laboratory for biology, life science, materials science and even physics experiments. It flies about 420 kilometers (250 miles) above Earth and orbits the planet once about every 90 minutes.