Good news, everyone: Earth has a new satellite! The newest hunk of space junk was inadvertently set into motion by a Historic! all-female space walk crew. It is currently following a trajectory that precedes the International Space Station (ISS) by two to four minutes and is bright enough to be seen with only the aid of a pair of ordinary binoculars.
NASA astronauts Jasmin Oghbeli, and Loral O’Hara currently live and work aboard the ISS Microgravity Laboratory. The pair performed an extravehicular (EVA) spacewalk on Wednesday, November 1, which lasted 6 hours and 42 minutes. They made some repairs but also failed to do others.
NASA’s blog reported the following:
Moghbeli & O’Hara completed one of two major goals of the spacewalk, which was to replace one of 12 trundle assemblies on the port alpha rotary joints. This allows the arrays to track the Sun & generate electricity for the station. Mission Control informed the crew of the station that the array was working well after the replacement bearing. The spacewalkers also removed the handling bar to prepare for the future installation of a rolling solar array. They also re-configured a cable that was interfering previously with an external camera.
The astronauts planned to remove and store a communications electronic box called the Radio Frequency Group during the spacewalk, but they did not have enough time to finish the job. …
Space.com has revealed the cause of the time loss which resulted in the incomplete mission.
The trundle bearing was not as easy to remove as anticipated. O’Hara and Moghbeli were delayed in removing the bolts that held the worn-out trundle bearing. Moghbeli, O’Hara, and the team were about an hour late in their schedule when it was finally removed.
Since I was not there, I cannot say with certainty what went wrong. When I can’t loosen a bolt, I will call the man next to me and he will do it in no time. Just saying.
The Historic! Mission Control radioed the space gals to tell them, “Nicely ladies, we are going to call this a good bolt.” Someone was sent to sensitivity school for this grave transgression.
A bag of misplaced equipment escaped its captors at one point and flew into space. Meganne Christian, a UK space-craft, posted a video of the moment that the tool bag made a rogue escape from Historic! Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli can be seen in the shadows grabbing after it.
— Dr Meganne Christian (@astro_meganne) November 5, 2023
Historic! Stargazers can now admire a new light on the horizon thanks to a female astronaut. EarthSky reports:
It is orbiting Earth now just in front of the International Space Station. It is surprisingly bright for a toolbag, shining just below the limited visibility of the naked eye at magnitude +6. Some skywatchers may be able to see it with binoculars.
Don’t worry about it. The orbiting tool bag is in a declining orbit. NASA reported, “Mission Control has analyzed the bag’s trajectory and determined the risk of recontacting is low. The onboard crew as well as the space station are both safe and no action is required.” According to Space.com: “As the bag descends quickly, it is likely to break apart when it reaches a height of approximately 70 miles (113 km) above Earth.”