- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 5, 2005

American astronaut William McArthur and Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev are scheduled to take a spacewalk tomorrow to install a video camera on the International Space Station and to remove an instrument that measures electric fields around the station.

The pair will wear American spacesuits, the first time U.S. equipment has been used without a shuttle present since April 2003. Last year, two American astronauts had to use Russian spacesuits during a spacewalk because of problems with the U.S. equipment.

Col. McArthur performed two spacewalks on his previous mission in 2000, and Col. Tokarev will be making his first spacewalk.

The work on the video camera had been planned for the shuttle mission in July, but a decision to make a minor repair to the shuttle’s belly at that time postponed the installation.

The camera will be installed on the end of the port truss, more than 50 feet away from the airlock. The spacewalkers should expect an impressive view from that vantage point. The last time an astronaut was in that location was in November 2002, when the truss was installed on the space station. At that time, astronaut John Herrington said: “When I first climbed to the top of the … truss, I poked my head over the top and it was like I had my own wide-angle lens. Just a beautiful view of the Earth stretching from one side of the visor to the other, just a fabulous view.”

The spacewalkers also will remove a device that monitors the electrical levels surrounding the space station. Engineers are worried that some of the device’s bolts have loosened since it was installed during a spacewalk in November 2000.

“We’ve decided it’s prudent to jettison that piece of hardware. There’s no need to return it,” NASA Manager Pete Hasbrook said.

The spacewalkers will unbolt the device and toss it overboard. The discarded experiment will remain in space for about three months before burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Col. McArthur and Col. Tokarev are scheduled to live on the space station until next April, when they will return to Earth on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. NASA does not expect to resume shuttle flights until at least May.

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