Nasa flight engineer Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide on Thursday will embark on the second spacewalk of the Expedition 32 mission. Indian-American astronaut Williams will wear a suit with red stripes for the fifth spacewalk in her career.
It will be a 6-1/2 hour excursion designed to replace a faulty power relay unit on the station’s truss, rig power cables for the arrival late next year of a Russian laboratory module, and install a thermal cover on a docking port.
Hoshide, wearing a suit with no stripes, will be conducting his first spacewalk. He is the third Japanese astronaut in history to conduct a spacewalk.
Two spacewalks outside the International Space Station have been scheduled this month. The first spacewalk on Aug 20 featured Expedition 32 Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency in Russian Orlan spacesuits.
They floated outside the Pirs docking compartment airlock for a 6 1/2 hour spacewalk to relocate a cargo boom from Pirs to the Zarya module, complete the installation of micrometeoroid debris shields on the Zvezda service module and deploy a small science satellite.
The spacewalks will be the 163rd and 164th in support of space station assembly and maintenance.
Williams is the second woman of Indian heritage to have been selected by Nasa for a space mission after Kalpana Chawla and the second astronaut of Slovenian heritage after Ronald M Sega.
(With Nasa inputs)