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All-female astronaut’s spacewalk delayed by space station escape

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Two astronauts scheduled to emerge from the International Space Station’s airlock on Thursday will wait until later this year after a coolant leak outside the ISS forced NASA to reshuffle the spacewalk schedule.

NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen were scheduled to perform a spacewalk this week.

However, after a coolant leak, mission engineers are assessing conditions outside the ISS and delaying the spacewalk until the end of this year.

NASA said a backup radiator on the ISS’s Nauka multipurpose laboratory module began leaking coolant and shut down on Oct. 6, changing the environment around the ISS.

O’Hara and Mogensen were to collect microorganisms from outside the ISS as part of an experiment.

“The spacewalk date has been adjusted to give engineers more time to complete analysis of the coolant leak,” NASA said. “The coolant is neither toxic nor dangerous to the crew, but experts are discussing how best to prevent small traces of the substance from entering certain internal systems to avoid equipment degradation over time.”

Mission engineers are assessing conditions outside the ISS and delaying the spacewalk until the end of this year.
NASA/Robert Markowitz
NASA said a backup radiator on the ISS’s Nauka multipurpose laboratory module began leaking coolant and shut down on Oct. 6, changing the environment around the ISS.
NASA
This spacewalk will be only the fourth in history with an all-female crew.
NASA

The coolant leak also delayed another spacewalk by O’Hara and NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli; it is now scheduled for October 30.

This will be a rare all-female spacewalk, only the fourth in history.

The first, by NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, occurred in 2019 after more than 20 years of operating the ISS in low Earth orbit.

O’Hara and Moghbeli will conduct a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk to remove electronic equipment and replace solar panel hardware on the exterior of the ISS.

The first all-female spacewalk by NASA astronauts took place in 2019 with Jessica Meir and Christina Koch.
REUTERS

Two Russian cosmonauts are also expected to perform a spacewalk in October. On October 25, cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub will perform maintenance tasks for Roscosmos outside the ISS.

O’Hara and Mogensen will collect microorganisms during Spacewalk 90 later this year.

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