- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2002

From combined dispatches
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station got to see the results of their handiwork yesterday, with the rotation of brand-new radiators.
But the planned main event the unfolding of one of the three exterior radiators was put off until today because of a brief electrical problem. A sensor was apparently too sensitive, and engineers needed extra time to reset the cutoff point for a potential short circuit.
"This is new hardware," Mission Control said, apologizing to the nine space fliers who had gathered at windows to watch the center radiator extend to its full 75 feet in length.
Instead, the astronauts observed as the folded-up radiators swung back and forth in unison on their rotating beam. The massive, elaborate air-conditioning system is part of the $390 million girder that was delivered and installed by Atlantis' crew last week.
"It looks like it's moving pretty fast, guys but not out of control," shuttle astronaut Sandra Magnus told Mission Control. She was informed that the radiator rotary joint was moving 45 degrees per minute; it is designed to rotate 105 degrees in each direction.
"It's a great sight," Miss Magnus said.
The extension of the middle radiator is meant as a test to make sure all the moving parts work. The system will not be activated to shed heat until next year.
Once all three are deployed, the radiating surface will be about the size of a tennis court enough area to cool the equivalent of four 2,000-square-feet homes. NASA will aim the radiators at deep space, to keep the ammonia coolant in the lines as cold as possible.
The three space station residents and six shuttle astronauts took time out yesterday, a quiet day off between spacewalks, to chat with reporters about such less-weighty matters as their diets in space.
Peggy Whitson, the space station's American occupant, said she has already gone through much of the salsa her shuttle friends brought. Yesterday was her 130th day in space and she had been craving spice after four months in orbit and put in an order for lots of salsa.
But her sky-high enthusiasm for shrimp has come crashing back to Earth, she said.
"Sometimes, when you come to space, your tastes change. One of my favorite foods on the ground is shrimp, and up here I can't stand it," said Mrs. Whitson, the science officer on the International Space Station.
A quick check of the station's manifest showed that she had planned more than 40 shrimp meals for her stay.
"The guys like it because they get all my shrimp," she said, referring to her two Russian crew mates, Valery Korzun and Sergei Treshcvev.
But calluses are another matter. In a weightless environment, a person never actually stands, but can sway about with feet in foot restraints.
"It was really interesting to me to lose the calluses from the bottom of your feet and to get calluses on the top of your feet after being up here for a few months," she said.
The station, a partnership of 16 nations led by the United States and Russia, marks two years of continuous occupation this month.


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