NEW YORK, December 21, 22:32 /ITAR-TASS/. U.S. astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins wrapped up their more than 5-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, December 21, ahead of schedule.
NASA said the astronauts had completed the first in a series of excursions aimed at replacing a degraded ammonia pump module associated with one of the station's two external cooling loops that keeps both internal and external equipment cool.
“The pump module encountered a problem on December 11 when an internal valve stuck in an incorrect position, causing temperatures in the station’s cooling lines to drop,” NASA said.
On Monday, Dceember 23, Mastracchio and Hopkins will make another spacewalk to begin the installation of a replacement pump module. If necessary a third spacewalk would occur on Christmas day to finalise the installation, NASA said.
Mastracchio now holds 43 hours and 58 minutes of spacewalking time during seven spacewalks, and Hopkins now holds 5 hours and 28 minutes during one spacewalk.
Saturday’s spacewalk was the 175th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, NASA said.