Army astronaut completes space walk
November 21, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 20, 2008) - On the 10th anniversary of the International Space Station Thursday, Army Lt. Col. Shane Kimbrough donned his space suit to service equipment on the exterior of the station.
Kimbrough is a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its current 15-day mission, STS-126, designed to prepare the International Space Station to support twice the crew currently living there.
He and astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper completed a space walk of six hours and 45 minutes Thursday afternoon. Their tasks included the relocation of two crew and equipment translation aid carts, the lubrication of the Canadarm2 end effector, along with cleaning and lubrication of the starboard solar alpha rotary joint.
The solar alpha rotary joints are two 10-foot-wide, wagon-wheel-shaped joints on the station's truss that allow the electricity-generating solar arrays to rotate so that they're always getting as much sun as possible. The use of the joint has been limited since September 2007 when flight controllers noticed increased power consumption and vibration.
Kimbrough and Piper cleaned and lubricated bearing race rings in the starboard solar alpha rotary joint and replaced the joint's trundle bearing assemblies.
Kimbrough also lubricated the space station's robotic arm Latching End Effector snare.
Piper and Kimbrough headed out of the International Space Station's Quest Airlock at 11:58 a.m. The space walk ended at 6:43 p.m. As the spacewalkers were finishing up their activities, ground controllers noticed that Kimbrough's carbon dioxide levels were increasing, so he made his way back to the airlock a few minutes ahead of Piper.
The 116th spacewalk dedicated to station assembly and maintenance was the second of the four planned during space shuttle Endeavour's STS-126 mission. It set the stage for Saturday's third excursion to complete the cleaning and lubricating process. Station flight controllers plan to briefly test the repair early Sunday morning by commanding the solar array into "auto track" mode to evaluate its performance.
Kimbrough has a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he graduated in 1989. He also earned a master of science degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1998. He joined the NASA team at the Johnson Space Center in September of 2000.
For more information on Lt. Col. Kimbrough, see <a href="http://www.army.mil/-news/2008/10/06/13099-army-space-soldiers/index.html"target=_blank>Space Soldiers.</a>