Friday, November 2, 2007

Sporty EVA

John Young, that age-wisened all-knowing mentor of spaceflight, said it best when he characterized tomorrow's EVA to fix a rip in the ISS solar panel as "sporty." Now the media is picking up on the threat of electrocution and spacewalker Parazynski being over an hour from the safe confines of an airlock should something go radically wrong. But can it?

One has to wonder, as we do here at RocketsAndSuch, if the stirring of the media isn't a deliberate attempt to heighten the drama associated with this spacewalk and once again position the Emperor's minions as heroes. A little positive press, perhaps, after the Emperor's terrible performance on airline safety studies on Capitol Hill this week? That would go a little way to repairing the damage done in that fiasco.

For if it is not premeditated spin, consider the alternative. Is it possible this spacewalk is as dangerous as it sounds? Is it also possible that "schedule pressure" is once again at fault in causing the spacewalk to happen this weekend, rather than waiting until all of the kinks are worked out in ground simulations? Without a successful repair, the ISS will not be able to support six crew and accept the International Partner modules next up on the launch pad (and let's not forget the disabled rotating solar panel joint that could turn out to be just as heinous).

2010. Let's hope that date is not causing rash decisions to be made back here in late 2007.

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