Aug. 25, 1997 Mir 24/NASA 5 Status Report Mission Control Center, Korolev, Russia Friday, August 22, 1997, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Mir 24 Commander Anatoly Solovyev and Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov conducted an internal spacewalk inside the depressurized Spektr module of the Mir space station today, reconnecting 11 power cables from the Spektr’s solar arrays to a new custom-made hatch for the Spektr. The operations should provide additional power for the Mir’s other modules once power-up procedures are completed early next week.
Solovyez and Vinogradov began their spacewalk by placing their spacesuits on internal oxygen flow at 5:59 a.m EDT, after a brief delay caused by a small leak in the left hand spacesuit glove worn by Vinogradov. After repressurizing the transfer node of the Mir, Vinogradov swapped out his glove for a new one and the spacewalk proceeded on schedule.
The hatch to Spektr was opened by Vinogradov at approximately 7:10 a.m. EDT with the Mir out of communications range of Russian flight controllers. Vinogradov floated into the darkened module feet first to begin the job of connecting the power cables to the special hatch plate. Solovyev joined Vinogradov in Spektr later, helping him inspect several areas behind panels where Russian engineers believe leak points may be present as a result of the June 25th collision of a Progress resupply ship and the Mir. No obvious signs of damage to the module were reported.
Vinogradov described the Spektr as being in generally good shape, with a few “white crystals” floating around, possibly from soap or shampoo and a thin layer of frost on experiment counters, which have been exposed to the vacuum of space for the last two months.
Solovyev and Vinogradov finally left Spektr, closing the hatch at 10:30 a.m. EDT to officially end the spacewalk. In all, Spektr’s hatch was left open for three hours and 16 minutes. In addition to the repair work, the cosmonauts also retrieved a vacuum cleaner and several other unspecified items from inside Spektr and took documentary video of the new electrical connections and the interior of the module.
Throughout the repair work, U.S. astronaut Mike Foale remained inside the Soyuz capsule attached to the Mir in constant communication with the cosmonauts and ground controllers. After Solovyev and Vinogradov reentered the transfer node to complete the spacewalk, Foale, speaking in English, congratulated the spacewalkers and ground support personnel saying, "We did everything we set out to do and more. Well done, everybody."
It was Solovyev’s 10th spacewalk in five expeditions to the Mir and the first for Vinogradov, who arrived on the Mir August 7th. An external spacewalk is planned for the first week in September by Solovyev and either Foale or Vinogradov to conduct a more extensive survey of the external damage to Spektr. Foale has been given permission by NASA officials to begin on-orbit training for the spacewalk, although a final decision on his actual participation won’t be made until a joint U.S.-Russian readiness review is conducted around Labor Day.
Foale has begun the 15th week of his long duration mission aboard the Mir. He is due to be replaced by U.S. astronaut Dave Wolf in late September. Wolf will be launched aboard Atlantis on the STS-86 mission, the seventh flight to dock with Mir.
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