A Russian Orlan Spacesuit Becomes SuitSat
A Russian Orlan Spacesuit Becomes SuitSat While Being Disposed Of In New Satellitic Technik
NASA has televised the novel disposal of an old Russian Orlan spacesuit during a spacewalk by the Expedition 12 crew of the International Space Station.
Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev are conducting the second spacewalk of their mission in part to hand release SuitSat, the Orlan spacesuit fitted out with three batteries, a radio transmitter and internal sensors to measure temperature and battery power, according to a NASA statement. As the so-called SuitSat circles the earth in an ever decaying orbit, it is hoped it will transmit its condition to the ground.
NASA says that they hope to better understand what will happen to the internal suit temperature with the suit's thermal regulation system turned off, thus providing data for future SuitSat missions. Just about anyone with a radio tuned to 145.990 MHz can tune into the SuiteSat transmissions. The broadcasts run on thirty second on and off intervals.
NASA says there are several surprises in the telemetry including a slow scan tv picture they are keeping secret.
On a purely personal note, I watched the video from the ISS as SuitSat drifted away and it felt kinda creepy like an astronaut in distress. I guess I've watched too many science fiction movies.
According to NASA, the batteries should last two to four days and some weeks or months later SuitSat will burn up on re-entry into the atmosphere.