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Saturday, 10 February 2007 21:26

Astronauts successfully complete series of three spacewalks

The third spacewalk in nine days by International Space Station commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineer Sunita Williams was successfully completed on Thursday, February 8, 2007.

The Expedition 14 team currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) includes U.S. commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Russian flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin, and U.S. flight engineer Sunita Williams. ESA flight engineer Thomas Reiter was the fourth member of the Expedition 14 team. He left the space station in December 2006, being replaced by Williams.

These three spacewalks performed from the U.S. Quest airlock and the February 22nd spacewalk performed from the Russian Pirs airlock will be the most spacewalks ever performed by space station crew members during a one-month period, in this case only 23 days.

The first extravehicular activity (EVA) within this series of four spacewalks—EVA 6—was conducted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007, beginning from the U.S. Quest airlock using U.S. spacesuits. It involved Lopez-Alegria and Williams performing a 7-hour, 55-minute spacewalk that was completed at 6:09 p.m. eastern standard time (EST).

Then, on Sunday, February 4, 2007, EVA 7 was performed by the same two U.S. astronauts from the Quest airlock. The second of three spacewalks was completed at 3:49 p.m. EST. The spacewalking pair accomplished almost all scheduled tasks and one get-ahead (unscheduled but future) task.

On Thursday, February 8, 2007, EVA 8 was performed, again by Lopez-Alegria and Williams, in which all scheduled tasks and one get-ahead task was accomplished. The EVA took 6 hours, 40 minutes and was completed at 3:06 p.m. EST.

The three spacewalks were called EVA 6, EVA 7, and EVA 8 because five previous space station spacewalks had been performed from the U.S. airlock Quest without a U.S. Space Shuttle docked to the station.

When the fifth spacewalk is completed on February 22, 2007, the five spacewalks for the Expedition 14 crew members will be the most spacewalks ever conducted by an Expedition team aboard the space station. The Expedition 14 mission began on September 18, 2006 when crewmembers were launched to the space station aboard the Russian Soyuz 13. The spacecraft reached ISS two days later.

The first spacewalk by the Expedition 14 crew was conducted on Thursday, November 22, 2006. The EVA was conducted by U.S. astronaut Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Tyurin—the sixth spacewalk for Lopez-Alegria and the fourth for Tyurin. The five-hour, 38 minute spacewalk featured Russian Orlan spacesuits. It began at the Russian Pirs docking compartment airlock at 12:55 a.m. EST.

The Expedition 14 mission will end on April 18, 2007, at which time the Expedition 15 mission will begin aboard the International Space Station.

Additional information about the ISS Expedition 14 crewmembers is found at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition14/.



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