Saturday, January 16, 2016

Space work

On Friday 15 th January an English man went into space to work.  Tim Peake was staying on the International Space Station (ISS) with a team from America and Russia.

One of the power systems had failed so a Shunt Unit needed replacing.  That device regulates the energy made by the solar panels.

Tim Peake and Tim Cobra put on their space suits and went out into the vacuum of space.  Taking with them all the tools and equipment required.  Everything is tethered to the station using clips and straps as they move to the failed Shunt Unit.  Even though they are weight less they still have mass.  Heavy items with more mass are more difficult to move.

It took an hour to get to the Unit.  Once there Tim Cobra, the American, slackened the bolt holding the unit to the ISS.  They had to wait until the ISS was in the dark side of earth.   This is when the solar power reduces to zero.  Only then is it safe to change the Shunt Unit and avoid sparks!

Ten turns of the bolt released the unit and Tim Peake examined the connections that proved to be clean and undamaged.  The new unit was lined up and safely bolted in place.  As the space men packed up and moved back to the air lock the ISS returned to sunshine.  The power system was working again.

Every so often the space men were required to check each others suits for any damage caused as they worked.

I was able to watch the whole procedure on my computer transmitted from the ISS via the ESA website.  How amazing is that!

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