Britain gets 1st spacewalker; station power grid needs fixed

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Two astronauts -- including Britain's first spacewalker -- ventured outside Friday morning to restore full power to the International Space Station.

See Full Article

British spaceman Timothy Peake and NASA's Timothy Kopra need to replace an electronic box that failed two months ago, slashing station power by one-eighth. The breakdown did not disrupt work 250 miles up, but NASA wanted the power grid fixed as soon as possible in case something else failed.

As Peake floated out, space station commander Scott Kelly called out, "Hey Tim, it's really cool seeing that Union Jack go outside. It's explored all over the world. Now it's explored space."

Replied Peake, the first spacewalker to wear the Union Jack on the shoulder of his suit: "It's great to be wearing it, a huge privilege, a proud moment."

The broken unit -- a voltage regulator -- is about the size of a 30-gallon aquarium. It's being replaced by a spare dubbed Dusty; the spare has been on the space station since 1999.

Peake and Kopra need to make the switch in darkness, to prevent electricity from flowing through the solar power system and shocking them. They have just 31 minutes on each swing around Earth to complete the repair on the far reaches of the space station. The work site is about 200 feet from where they exited, about as far as spacewalkers safely can go.

"Popping outside for a walk" Peake said in a tweet Thursday. "Exhilarated - but no time to dwell on emotions."

Peake, a helicopter pilot chosen by the European Space Agency, is Britain's first official astronaut.

A handful of previous spacewalkers held dual U.S.-English citizenship, but flew as Americans for NASA. The first British citizen to fly in space, chemist Helen Sharman, visited Russia's old Mir space station as part of a private competition in 1991.

Peake and Kopra rocketed into orbit exactly one month ago aboard a Russian spacecraft.

To distinguish between the two Tims, Mission Control used both their first and last names when calling out to them in the void. Ground controllers, at least, didn't have any problem distinguishing the spacewalkers' voices. Peake is from West Sussex in southeast England; Kopra is from Austin, Texas.




08:24ET 15-01-16


Latest Tech & Science News

  • Dinosaurs of a feather flocked together, University of Alberta study finds

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Bird-like dinosaurs were social creatures and likely flocked together, contrary to the popular image of dinosaurs as solitary creatures, suggests a study at the University of Alberta. "It changes our perception of the species quite a bit," said Gregory Funston, a PhD student and Vanier scholar at the University of Alberta. Source
  • Blurring effect comes to iPhone 7 Plus with software update

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK - Apple's iPhone 7 Plus is getting a new camera capability -- the blurring of backgrounds to focus attention on people or other objects in the foreground. Apple's "portrait mode" feature was announced in September but was unavailable until the company released its iOS 10.1 software update Monday. Source
  • Feathered dinosaurs may have 'flocked' together like modern birds: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An ancient bone bed in a remote Mongolian desert presents tantalizing clues that dinosaurs of a feather may have flocked together for the same reasons modern birds do. Research by University of Alberta paleontologist Gregory Funston says the deposit contains fossils from a bird-like dinosaur that were all about the same age. Source
  • 'Intentional, malicious' cyberattack led to Ontario literacy test system crash

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The Ontario agency tasked with administering the first online literacy test to tens of thousands of high school students in the province last week says it was forced to pull the plug by an "intentional, malicious and sustained" cyberattack. Source
  • Heat-trapping gases surge in Earth's atmosphere: UN weather agency

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The World Meteorological Organization says heat-trapping gases in Earth's atmosphere are growing faster than before, surging permanently beyond a troubling milestone. The United Nations agency says global carbon dioxide levels, which first reached 400 parts per million last year, are likely to stay above that symbolic 400 milestone all year and for generations to come. Source
  • Ohio museum's sale of antiquities from Egypt draws criticism

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Ohio's Toledo Museum of Art is selling 68 antiquities from its collection, a move drawing criticism from a nationally known archaeologist and Egyptian officials. The Blade newspaper reports about half the items are from Egypt. Source
  • SpaceX's Elon Musk elaborates on plan to colonize Mars

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given more details about his plan to colonize Mars. Musk answered questions on Reddit on Sunday. The session was a follow up to Musk's comments at a space conference in Mexico last month during which he unveiled his plan to send up to 1 million people to Mars within the next 40 to 100 years. Source
  • Why robots are key to redefining the meaning of 'Made in China'

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING -- The Canbot can say its name, respond to voice commands, and "dance" as it plays Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Other robots China is displaying at the World Robot Conference can play badminton, sand cellphone cases and sort computer chips. Source
  • Univeristy of Maine professor dies conducting research in Antarctica

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ORONO, Maine -- A University of Maine professor has died while conducting research in Antarctica. The university says 50-year-old Gordon Hamilton died Saturday when the snowmobile he was riding hit a crevasse and he fell 100 feet. Source
  • Surfer is third Australian shark attack victim in a month

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia -- A surfer sustained minor injuries on Monday in the third shark attack off New South Wales state north of Sydney in a month, a witness said. The surfer's injuries were "not that serious," former state lawmaker Ian Cohen told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Source