Astronauts replace failed unit on ISS


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In a quickly planned spacewalk yesterday two astronauts successfully replaced a battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU), the failure of which had cut power on ISS by one-third.

There were dozens of stories about this spacewalk in mainstream press, including a call by Trump to the astronauts during the spacewalk, but most said little about this failed unit and the need to get it quickly replaced. Instead, our leftist and somewhat bigoted media (along with Trump) as always focused on ethnic and identity above all else, making a big deal about the fact that the two astronauts happened to both be women, the first time two women had done a spacewalk as a team.

Their sex however appears to have had little to do with their choice. The unit had to be replaced by hand, and NASA decided to switch the male lead astronaut for this spacewalk, Andrew Morgan, because his experience in this work was not as great as his replacement, Christina Koch.

With the need to manually replace the BCDU, NASA re-evaluated US EVA-58 – which was originally the third spacewalk in the P6 battery replacement sequence. During this re-evaluation, NASA decided to change the astronauts assigned to the spacewalk by removing Dr. Andrew Morgan and replacing him with Christina Koch.

Koch is tied with Morgan as the most experienced US-segment spacewalker currently aboard the International Space Station – with three EVAs to each of their credit. However, all three of Koch’s EVAs have dealt with the Station’s power and electrical distribution systems, whereas only two of Dr. Morgan’s have done so.

Replacing Dr. Morgan with Koch exemplified NASA’s commitment to putting the most qualified astronaut on a spacewalk. Dr. Morgan’s replacement with Christina Koch subsequently paired her with Dr. Jessica Meir, who was already slated to perform U.S. EVA-58 under its original plan.

Another reason for removing Dr. Morgan from this EVA is that he is slated to perform five back-to-back spacewalks in November and December with European astronaut and current Station Commander Luca Parmitano to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment.

Far more important than the sex of these astronauts is the issue of the failure of the BDCU, which is not the first to fail since NASA began a series of five spacewalks (of which two have been completed) to replace the station’s batteries. Because of these BDCU failures, NASA has put on hold the remaining three spacewalks that had been scheduled to replace batteries on the station, because of a concern the new batteries might be causing the failure. Moreover, the station only has only two spare BDCU units, so more such failures will put the station’s entire power system at significant risk.

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4 comments

  • David K

    Does anyone know if some of the other missions require more physical strength or are they all about the same?

    If some missions do require more than others it makes a lot of sense to have this team perform this type of mission and have other astronauts perform missions with different requirements.

    (Of course not all men are bigger than all women but in this case they had to delay this mission because they only had one medium size suit on board and the large was not fitting, so I assume the male astronauts are larger)

  • Steve

    I had the gall to say on line I couldn’t care less about it. I cared that two qualified astronauts were doing their jobs. You can imagine how surprised to find out I’m bad person.

  • mike shupp

    Nah …. Think of yourself as a routine NASA PR person. It’s your job to crank out press releases telling the public what their tax dollars are doing in space. So you’ve got a half-written page on your screen telling about the battery unit changeover and it doesn’t excite you so it probably won’t stir up your readers either. So what do you do?

    Bear down on the ladies, I suspect, and then the headline and wrap-up paragraphs for your piece practically write themselves. “FIRST WOMEN ASTRONAUTS SPACE WALK IN DUAL EVA”. Doesn’t that sound better than “ASTRONAUTS REPLACE OBSCURE ELECTRICAL COMPONENT IN ROUTINE EVA”? And which headline is better click bait? Hey, it’s topical.

    Figure if PR people at NASA don’t think along these days, the news agency people will.

  • pzatchok

    Mentioning they are women sounds a bit sexist to me.

    Sort of like saying “For the first time two black men do their job at the same time.” Sounds a bit racist.

    Women will be closer to equal when no one notices things like this.

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