Spacewalking astronauts carried out a high-flying, high-tech version of musical chairs Wednesday, rearranging pumps outside the International Space Station.
Two astronauts who are aboard the International Space Station will walk in space today (May 16) outside the ISS.
The boxes, each about the size of a mini-refrigerator or window AC unit, are crucial to keeping the batteries aboard the orbiting lab cool. The flight engineers of expedition 55 Drew Feustel, as well as Ricky Arnold, will come out of the station from the Quest airlock at about 8:10 am EDT.
According to information provided by NASA, the astronauts were fixing the station's pump flow control subassembly, which is one of the instruments used to regulate the station's flow of ammonia coolant.
In Frosty's place, they plan to install "Leaky", which was the source of a large overboard ammonia leak about five years ago. A faulty ammonia pump nicknamed "Leaky" was put into long-term storage while another spare pump, dubbed "Frosty", was maneuvered into position on the station's robotic arm for testing later this week.
"We've been doing a ton of work to play musical chairs with all these (pumps) so we can have good available spares", flight controller Alex Apyan said from Houston during the spacewalk.
"It is something that we are very respectful of because we don't want that coming inside the vessel on the suits at the end of the spacewalks", Vareha said.
This is the 210th spacewalk at the ISS since 1998.