Space Station Sunday: Spacewalk This Way

Good afternoon, space fans!  As usual, a host of interesting activities were underway this week, 260 miles above the Earth.

The supertyphoon Vongfong, which viciously attacked Japan this week, stood out starkly from the standpoint of the ISS.  According to, Vongfong (which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm) was serious enough to warrant evacuations after German astronaut Alexander Gerst's overhead photos of it hit Twitter.  US astronaut Reid Wiseman also commented on the phenomena, telling his Twitter followers, "I’ve seen many {storms} from here, but none like this."

According to, Tuesday's spacewalk (or "EVA" - extravehicular activity) was executed excellently by astronauts Wiseman and Gerst.  They completed a 6 hour, 13 minute EVA to accomplish the relocation of a failed cooling pump, the integration of a new power source for the station's mobile platform for exterior machinery, and the repair of a light source for one of the station's exterior cameras (the light will be worked on inside the station and replaced during an upcoming spacewalk.)  Gerst used the Canadarm, an extending robotic arm on the exterior of the station, to ride to his worksite.  The astronauts were so successful and efficient in their mission that they had a few extra minutes to score some cool pictures.  All objectives for this EVA were met to satisfaction.

Astronaut Gerst, hanging out with the Canadarm outside the ISS.  The module to the upper left is a SpaceX Dragon.

Wiseman gets to rally for round two this Wednesday, when he and fellow US astronaut Butch Wilmore will be floating out to replace the repaired television camera light, and also to replace a sequential shunt unit that is critical for powering the station. In the meantime, Wiseman and Wilmore have been working on the Cardio Ox experiment, which uses ultrasound to assess cardiovascular benefits and hindrances in low gravity. These discoveries may aid heart and artery research (particularly regarding stress and atherosclerosis) on earth, as well as for future spaceflight.

A third spacewalk, this time manned by two Russian cosmonauts, is slated for October 22nd. Cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Max Suraev will head out to photograph the Russian side of the space station and jettison obsolete space gear.

Holding down the space-fort, cosmonaut Elena Serova monitored air quality in the ISS using the Matryoshka experiment, which assesses radiation impact on the inside of the station via a mannequin equipped with human tissue simulators.  Despite high energy neutrons and other forms of radiation bombarding the station, the astronauts are still within the acceptable dosage of radiation tolerance.

Speaking of things swooping through the sky, if you ever wondered whether a shooting star just might be the space station, there's an easy way to find out!  You can learn all the details at NASA's Spot The Station website, and follow or submit amazing space station-spotter images at #SpotTheStation.  Everything from long-exposure shots to silhouettes showcase the ISS in all of its orbiting glory.

So until next week, keep your eyes on our guys in the skies...then watch this space!

(Sun)spot the station?
(Image info.)

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