ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet who remains on board of International Space Station already started preparations for his first spacewalk – EVA-39.
Thomas Pesquet was chosen to be 11th member of ESA, who will perform spacewalk on International Space Station. This EVA is planned for 13th January 2017. Astronaut along with Station commander, Shane Kimbrough of NASA will leave ISS to perform S4 battery change. For Shane Kimbrough it will be second EVA in 2017. It was already planned, that Shane Kimbrough will perform EVA-38 on 6th January 2017 with Peggy Whitson (NASA). EVA-39 and EVA-38 are planned to start from Quest airlock. Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough will spend in space seven hours. Spacewalk will be supervised by NASA control center in Houston, where most experienced ESA astronaut, Luca Parmitano (two EVAs in 2013), will be ready to offer radio support to Thomas Pesquet.
EVA-38 and EVA-39 are scheduled as part of the planned service action on ISS. It will cover replacing old batteries remaining outside with new lithium-ion design. These batteries are storing energy from solar panels to power Station when it is in the Earth’s shadow.
Batteries and adaptors were already delivered to ISS inside HTV-6 JAXA automatic cargo spacecraft, which was berthed to Harmony nadir port on December 13, 2016. Adapters for new batteries were not delivered in pressurized section, but just like new batteries, in unpressurized segment of HTV-6. Canadarm2 will remove them and deliver from trunk to special platform, from where they will be collected by astronauts during EVA.
Astronauts already started to prepare themselves and equipment to planned EVAs. They have to check EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) suits and prepare them to spacewalks, prepare tools and start to practice basic moves to avoid problems during real EVA. Practice and training are very important before EVA, specially for Thomas Pesquet, who will perform it for the first time. Every move and action during spacewalk should be routine, during long spacewalk every action should be performed according to plan – both astronauts should know what and when to do. Details on EVA-38 and EVA-39 will be given during planned press conference on 4th January 2017.
On picture above: Thomas Pesquet during training at Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near NASA’s Johnson Space Center.