Aug. 26, 1997 Mir 24/NASA 5 Status Report Mission Control Center, Korolev, Russia Monday, August 25, 1997, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Aboard the Mir Space Station, Mir 24 Commander Anatoly Solovyev, Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov and U.S. astronaut Mike Foale began the process of verifying the restoration of electrical power from the solar arrays of the Spektr module today at the same time they began final preparations for an external spacewalk next week.
Solovyev and Vinogradov told Russian flight controllers that a test of the connectors mated to a special “hermaplate” on Spektr’s hatch showed voltage from the arrays running through the connectors, which were attached last Friday during an internal spacewalk inside Spektr. And, ground controllers acknowledged that an additional 40 amps of electricity were flowing into the Kvant-2 module following the hookup of an adapter cable to route newly found power from the Spektr through the Kristall module into Kvant-2. But commands sent to the solar arrays to try to slew, or move them into a better orientation to face the sun, were not successful. The cosmonauts and ground controllers are assessing possible options to try to recover the pointing capability of the arrays. One of the 11 power cables mated to the hermaplate on Friday was designed to reestablish pointing capability of the arrays. It could take a few days before it known for certain how much power was recovered from the internal spacewalk operation.
Current plans call for continuing work to power up the Kvant-2 module, followed by the Kristall module, then for the cosmonauts to direct electricity to the Priroda module. Video shot last Friday by Vinogradov of the interior of Spektr during the internal spacewalk is not expected to be downlinked until Wednesday at the earliest.
The cosmonauts also spent part of their day trying to troubleshoot a problem with the device in which oxygen-generating candles are burned in Kvant-1 to produce oxygen for the Mir as a backup system. It has been used for the past several days to generate oxygen while the Elektron unit in Kvant-1 has been shut down to conserve power. Russian flight controllers ordered the cosmonauts to reactivate the Elektron in Kvant-1 even though it has been running a little warmer than desired, but after turning the system on, it shut itself down. This is not an uncommon occurrence when an Elektron unit is reactivated after having been shut off. Further analysis by Russian flight controllers continues. The Elektron may ultimately be reseated on its cold plate fixture in Kvant-1 to improve cooling for the unit. In the meantime, the cosmonauts are expected to conduct a maintenance procedure to replace parts in the solid-fuel oxygen candle burning device so it can be used again as a backup.
In addition, Solovyev and Foale reviewed flight data file documents for an upcoming external spacewalk sometime during the first week of September. The spacewalk is designed to conduct a detailed inspection of possible leak sites on Spektr as the result of the June 25 collision of a Progress resupply ship and the Mir. Foale has been approved for on-orbit training for the spacewalk, but NASA officials have not yet given him the green light to proceed with the spacewalk itself. A final go-no go decision will be made at a joint readiness review between Russian and U.S. officials early next week.
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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