NASA’s fourth spacewalk has limited crew time available. They want to fix an aging experiment about dark-matter outside of the ISS – International Space Station – but they might have to wait for a while.
The agency has to deal with two enormous challenges because they are also scheduling the last AMS – Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer – fix, besides other extravehicular activities (EVA). Many visiting vehicles make the December schedule tight. And the crew members are only 3, instead of 6, the usual ones. Space Station Program Manager Kenny Todd stated that they would probably not try to do an EVA with three crew members.
NASA spacewalk delayed
So NASA has a little window left in January to finish all their work before half of the crew from Expedition 61 goes home. And there are also many spacewalks to perform, and the final AMS repairs might need to be put on pause for some months. NASA also has to change the batteries of the ISS power system, which is an essential task which asks for two spacewalks.
Nothing is going to happen if they leave the AMS on pause for some time, but the team will still do its best to complete the work in January, lest should all go according to the plan. The latest AMS spacewalk was finished on the 2nd of December, on Monday. They are currently working on the plan for the batteries, and then they will work on the decision on how to split those three EVAs if they will be able to do them all in January.
They are working on a tight schedule
NASA spacewalks usually take a lot of time, and they need at least three crewmembers. They need two to perform the actual spacewalks, and one to be the “intravehicular crewmember,” who assists the astronauts and help them with their tasks. They also communicate with the people on the ground.