Monday, 9 August 2010

Good Work, Astronauts (Even though you smell of wee)

Last week I read news that an emergency had developed on the Internation Space Station. What had happened was a faliure in the pumps that cycled ammonia through the massive coolent and radiators. It could have been catastrophic, but thanks to the fast work of Expedition 24 astronauts (Expeditions are long duration missions, STS missions are Space Shuttle Missions that last 2 weeks at the most) they Macgyvered the problems into a non-dangerous but urgent situation. If they're backup system broke down they could be in serious trouble. So, they shoved some spacewalks together, which is  HUGE thing since astronauts usually train for months to do a a particualar spacewalk these guys had about 2 days to prepare and no time to practise. The second spacewalk interested me particularly as I watched part of it live, and also, because it broke the record for being the longest ever spacealk at 8 hours 3 minutes and it was also Tracy Cadwell-Dyson's first ever spacewalk. Imagine being told you've got 2 days to (mentally) prepare for that sort of thing, but also that if they mess up they could be in serious trouble having one side of the station 200's and the other side -200'c. Just goes to show how smart and together these folks are. There was some ammonia leakage during the spacewalk that came in contact with the astronauts, that could have been bad, but they did a "bake-off" where they literally just float around in space for a while to late the ammonia disapate.

Well done guys, I'd be up there risking my life too if I had 3 PHD's and was born in texas.

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