Update, 4 April 13:15: The astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station after clearing the station’s outside deck of dangerous debris. “So far everything looks good, after this piece of debris on the outside was cleared,” Mission Control said. Read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/sci-tech-3708457
NASA has delayed a spacewalk by two astronauts to fix an antenna on the International Space Station (ISS), citing a risk of space debris. According to a Space Shuttle Statement posted to NASA’s official website, there is a reasonable chance of “hazardous space debris falling on the ISS from the ground during the spacewalk.”
The spacewalk is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 26, at 1:35PM EDT.
“Weather permitting, mission managers anticipate that one spacewalker will wear the ship’s extravehicular activity (EVA) equipment harness, and the other will use the Habitat Debris Debris Deployer to separate from the station’s Raffaello cargo module after the spacewalk begins,” NASA reports.
According to Space.com, NASA has two smaller, no-damage objects in space that could make an impact on the ISS during the mission. One of the objects measures 11 feet by 11 feet and could be damaging enough to obstruct the spacewalkers’ reach into the outer hull of the station.
“Two temporary shields installed by astronauts Robert Behnken and Sunita Williams during ISS Expedition 18 in September 2016 are deemed the best possible way to protect Behnken and Williams from a little-defined hazard – the tiny, single-segment space junk in Earth’s upper atmosphere,” Space.com reports.
A small danger during an on-board repair mission to the ISS is not unexpected. For those interested in learning more about it, Science Channel’s Biomimicry is headed to the ISS in May. For more information, click here.