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False Alarms Wake Crew; Robotics and Spacewalk Preps Today

Published by Matt on Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:31 am
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False depressurization caution alarms sounded on the International Space Station last night just after 8:30 p.m. EST waking the shuttle and station crew.

Astronaut Mike Foreman, STS-129 mission specialist, works near the Columbus laboratory during the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Astronaut Mike Foreman, STS-129 mission specialist, works near the Columbus laboratory during the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The flight control teams on the ground were able to determine there was no depressurization occurring. The crew was never in any danger and ventilation fans were shutoff as a precaution. That shutoff kicked up dust that resulted in a fire alarm in the European Columbus laboratory also sounding.

By 9:15 p.m., the flight control teams in Houston were working to bring the station back into its normal configuration, and Atlantis’ crew was told it could go back to sleep. The space station crew members were required to stay up a bit longer as the station’s ventilation system was reactivated. That work took a little over an hour, after which the station crew was able to resume its sleep period as well. Flight control teams are looking into the cause of the initial false alarm.

The day’s tasks will be unaffected by the night’s activities. The crew will be focusing on preparations for Saturday’s spacewalk. These tasks include recharging batteries, switching out Mission Specialist Robert Satcher’s spacesuit for that of Mission Specialist Randy Bresnik and reviewing procedures before Bresnik and Mission Specialist Mike Foreman begin their overnight campout in the Quest Airlock.

In addition, the space shuttle’s robotic arm will be used to grab onto the second cargo pallet of spare equipment brought up by Atlantis in advance of its transfer to the space station on Saturday.

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