Space station commander Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, setting a new record as the world’s most experienced female spacewalker, floated outside the International Space Station Thursday and continued ongoing work to set up a second docking port for U.S. crew ferry ships. They also installed an upgraded computer relay box and attach protective shielding before calling it a day.
One of the shield segments being installed on a vacant port managed to escape its tether, floating away before the astronauts noticed.
“Peggy, I don’t have a shield,” Kimbrough radioed, surprised.
“Yeah, I don’t have a shield,” he repeated.
“Where is it?” Whitson asked. “Ah, it is right by the radiator. It is moving station zenith, maybe half a foot a second and it’s going, looks like straight zenith from the radiator angle.”
The micrometeoroid shield was one of four being installed on the Tranquility module’s outboard port. Flight controllers quickly determined it posed no threat of recontacting the station and after conferring on the ground, engineers suggested the astronauts make up for the lost panel by installing a thermal shield they had just removed from a docking port extension.
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SOURCE: CBS News, William Harwood