Spacewalking astronauts turn cable guys
Spacewalking astronauts turn cable guys Astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore, left, and Terry Virts begin wiring the International Space Station (AP photos)
Spacewalking astronauts turn cable guys
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Spacewalking astronauts have routed more than 300 feet of cable outside the International Space Station. It was tricky and tiring advance work for the arrival of new American-made crew capsules.

It was the first of three spacewalks planned for NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Terry Virts.

Altogether, Wilmore and Virts have 764 feet of cable to run outside the space station. They got off to a strong start Feb. 21. They rigged eight power and data lines, or about 340 feet.

"Broadening my resume," Virts observed.

NASA considers this the most complicated cable-routing job in the 16-year history of the space station. Equally difficult will be running cable on the inside of the complex.

The extensive rewiring is needed to prepare for NASA's next phase 260 miles up: the 2017 arrival of the first commercial spacecraft capable of transporting astronauts to the orbiting lab.

NASA is paying Boeing and SpaceX to build the capsules and fly them from Cape Canaveral, Fla., which hasn't seen a manned launch since the shuttles retired in 2011. Instead, Russia is doing all the taxi work for a steep price.

The first of two docking ports for the Boeing and SpaceX vessels still under development is due to arrive in June. Even more spacewalks will be needed to set everything up.

There were so many cables that NASA color-coded them. That helped the spacewalkers only so much; they expected a lighter blue for one of the lines.

"I worked up a lather on that one," Wilmore informed Mission Control. After successfully attaching the first four cables, he added, "I've got to cool down."

Mission Control left two cables or about 24 feet worth for the next spacewalk. Four hundred feet of additional cable will be installed March 1 on spacewalk No. 3.

"We've got a lot of work still," Mission Control said.

"We want to make sure we look after your health and get you back inside now. So we're going to claim victory here."

It was the first spacewalk for Virts. He arrived at the space station in late November. He savored the moment as he floated out high above the South Pacific.

"Pretty cool," he said.

Spacesuit concerns stalled the work by a day.

NASA wanted to make certain that the suits worn by Wilmore and Virts had reliable fan and pump assemblies. Two other fan-pump units failed aboard the space station in recent months. They were returned to Earth earlier this month for analysis. Corrosion was discovered, the result of water intrusion from testing.

Their suits appeared to work fine.

"I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their hard work and diligence," Wilmore, the station's commander, said once he was safely back inside.

Critical thinking challenge: How did color coding help the astronauts?

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Assigned 88 times

  • AJ_Slater
    3/01/2015 - 12:11 a.m.

    Astronauts do many things while they are in space. All of them very intriguing but some astronauts are putting cables in a space station. They are doing this to prepare the station for commercial space crafts. I think this very cool and amazing.

  • JakeA-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 06:52 p.m.

    I find this pretty cool, not only is he in space but he is helping NASA! I'd love to do his job. Astronauts have an amazing job.

  • BiancaB-3
    3/02/2015 - 07:31 p.m.

    This article talks to us about an astronaut who was very brave while serving his time and space. He practically risked his life every single time he stepped out of the capsule. The most shocking thing that I read about the article, was that this man is now a cable guy. According to him, he is broadening his resume by accumulating all of these random jobs. I personally think it is very cool to be an astronaut, and a cable guy at the same time. Both jobs do not relate to each other at all. However, I think it would be pretty cool to say you are an astronaut, and are really good with cables.

  • RobertS-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 07:44 p.m.

    Did you know that astronauts have routed more than 300 feet of cable outside the International Space Station and it was tricky and tiring advance work for the arrival of new American-made crew capsules.

  • SamanthaA-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 07:55 p.m.

    I thought that it was amazing how long they got the cord to go. The cord was 340 feet long when it was extended. The funny thing about all of the cords is that because there were so many they actually color coded them but that only helped them so much. They were expecting a lighter blue for one of the cords. One of the things that I thought would be scary for the two men up in space would be that their spacesuits not working correctly. The good thing for Wilmore and Virts was that their suits were said to be perfectly fine and working well.

  • LukeL-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 09:50 p.m.

    that would be vary scary to be fixing a cable in space. what happens if you fall away from the space ship and just float forever that would be scary vary scary.

  • JackR-5
    3/03/2015 - 12:15 p.m.

    Astronauts alright now trying to use more space walking. Scientists are discovering new materials and ideas that could work. A couple of astronauts first started spacewalking when they tied some rope around themselves and went out. Scientist want to make sure that these astronauts are safe. They are putting new fans and cooling systems in the suits. I think that the concern for the health of astronauts is perfect. Space walking would be so fun!

  • OsielR-Ver
    3/06/2015 - 03:28 p.m.

    Spacewalks astronauts have to routed more than 300 feet of cable outside the international space station. First astronauts were butch will more and Terry Virts.

  • ElijahP-Phe
    3/11/2015 - 10:48 a.m.

    I have always wanted to be an astronaut I think it would be so cool to be floating every where you go and to work in space.

  • AC1999jamaica
    3/13/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    i would not g0 outer spce because im nt good at math and you need to be a good math person to be out ever.

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