NASA postpones Friday spacewalk after ‘potential debris’ found on space station

A spacewalk planned for Friday evening on the International Space Station was postponed, according to NASA. According to the agency, a “potential debris on the International Space Station orbit could impact” the next six astronauts scheduled to conduct the spacewalk.

The spacewalk had been postponed from Friday morning. Astronauts on the station were to prepare for the arrival of another shuttle, the Atlantis, which is scheduled to dock at the space station on Sunday afternoon. The station was about to complete an overhaul of its Automated Transfer Vehicle, a cargo vessel that orbits the Earth with a docking port on its bottom.

These spacewalks are scheduled for eight hours long, and are typically conducted at the beginning of the day. The failed Apollo and Space Shuttle launches and many other accidents in the past have resulted in piles of spent fuel on the world’s most distant planet. But the potential debris threat is small.

On Friday, Jeff Williams and Joe Acaba, who have a combined 188 days in space, planned to unload a K5 Truss that is now attached to the Space Station, returning it to the orientation of the station so that it can undergo final alignment. During the spacewalk, the astronauts were to retrieve a newly installed sensor on the station’s Japanese Kibo laboratory. They will also carry out maintenance on the planet’s biggest, most powerful laser that powers the station’s system of dish antennas.

The Expedition 61 crew will also install a multi-purpose antenna, conduct the upgrades to the station’s European-built Zvezda service module and fill the Canadarm2 spacecraft with dry cargo on Friday.

Read the full story at NPR.


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