SCIENCE

Spacewalking astronaut loses mirror, newest space junk

Jun 26, 2020, 6:52 AM | Updated: 7:58 am
This photo provided by NASA shows NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and NASA Flight Engineer Bob Behnken...
This photo provided by NASA shows NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and NASA Flight Engineer Bob Behnken during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, June 26, 2020. Cassidy and Behnken, are conducting the first of at least four spacewalks to replace the last bunch of old station batteries. (NASA via AP)
(NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A spacewalking astronaut added to the pieces of junk orbiting the Earth on Friday, losing a small mirror as soon as he stepped out of the International Space Station for battery work.

Commander said the mirror floated away at about a foot per second.

 

Mission Control said the mirror somehow became detached from Cassidy’s spacesuit. The lost item posed no risk to either the spacewalk or the station, NASA said.

Spacewalking astronauts wear a wrist mirror on each sleeve to get better views while working. The mirror is just 5 inches by 3 inches, and together with its band has a mass of barely one-tenth of a pound.

Cassidy and Bob Behnken, who followed him out without mishap, were conducting the first of at least four spacewalks to replace the last bunch of old station batteries.

Once the six new lithium-ion batteries are installed, the orbiting lab should be good for the rest of its operational life, according to NASA. The big, boxy batteries — more powerful and efficient than the old nickel-hydrogen batteries coming out — keep the station humming when it’s on the night side of Earth.

The battery replacements began in 2017, with previous crews putting in 18 lithium-ion batteries, half as many as the old ones replaced.

Cassidy and Behnken have six more to plug in before the job is complete. It’s cumbersome work: Each battery is about a yard (meter) tall and wide, with a mass of 400 pounds (180 kilograms).

Their spacewalks are expected to continue through July before Behnken returns to Earth in August aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Behnken and Doug Hurley made history at the end of May with SpaceX’s first astronaut launch.

This was the seventh spacewalk for both men. Each has spent more than 30 hours out in the vacuum of space.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Today’s Top Stories

Science

A technician works on a component of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket ahead of the launch on the Mahia ...
NICK PERRY Associated Press

NASA hopes New Zealand launch will pave way for moon landing

The mission came together relatively quickly and cheaply for NASA, with the total mission cost put at $32.7 million.
3 days ago
BYU competes in URC....
Amie Schaeffer

BYU students compete in a contest that’s out of this world

A team of BYU engineering students placed in the top ten in the University Rover Challenge. The competition hosted students from 10 countries.
24 days ago
supermoon lunar eclipse map...
Curt Gresseth

Be over the moon because total lunar eclipse coming Sunday to Utah

Patrick Wiggins, NASA solar system ambassador to Utah, explains what a total lunar eclipse is and when it can be witnessed Sunday night in Utah -- provided the skies are clear.
2 months ago
This Sept. 24, 2020 photo shows the major parts of the IRIS radio that the Space Dynamics Laborator...
Waverly Golden

Utah State University helps NASA with space exploration

NASA is launching a new mission in 2025 and Utah State University is helping them by building space-based radios.
2 months ago
(A testing site operated by Nomi Health across the street from UDOH headquarters.  Photo: Paul Nels...
Paul Nelson

Federal health officials investigating Utah-based company over COVID-19 testing

A Utah-based company is being investigating for claims of substandard conditions at COVID-19 testing sites.
3 months ago
radio circle...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Mysterious ‘odd radio circles’ seen in space, new image shows

Astronomers found the odd radio circles using the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope, operated by Australia's national science agency CSIRO, or Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, two years ago.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Spacewalking astronaut loses mirror, newest space junk