Astronaut Mike Hopkins on December 24 Spacewalk. 
Image Credit: NASA
Astronaut Mike Hopkins on December 24 Spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA

The International Space Station Crew successfully removed a faulty ammonia pump and fitted a new unit on two spacewalks before Christmas.

NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a 5 hour and 28 minute spacewalk on December 21 to remove the faulty pump on the International Space Station. A second spacewalk took place on December 24 to complete the mission.

An extra day between the spacewalks allowed time for the crew to resize a spare spacesuit on the space station for use by Mastracchio. During repressurisation of the station’s airlock following the first spacewalk, a spacesuit configuration issue put the suit Mastracchio was wearing in question for the next excursion -- specifically whether water entered into the suit’s sublimator inside the airlock. The flight control team at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston decided to switch to a backup suit for the next spacewalk.

Both Mastracchio and Hopkins reported dry conditions repeatedly throughout December 21’s activities and the two were never in danger.