Astronauts Pat Forrester and Steve Swanson kicked off STS-117’s second spacewalk at 2:28 p.m. EDT today. The objectives of the excursion are to continue preparing the newly installed Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment for operation and to assist with the retraction of the starboard solar array on the Port 6 (P6) truss.
They will spend most of the first hour of the 6½ hour spacewalk monitoring the retraction of the P6 array and will assist if required. Retraction of the array began at 6:47 a.m., and by 2:30 p.m., 7½ of the 31½ bays had been retracted. Once the P6 arrays are furled, the stage is set for a future shuttle crew to relocate the P6 from atop the space station to the end of the Port 5 truss.
After the orbital duo leaves the P6, their attention will turn to the S3/S4 truss. Forrester and Swanson will prepare the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) for operation by removing the remaining launch restraints. The SARJ will allow the arrays to track the sun.
Mission Specialist Jim Reilly is coordinating the spacewalk, and Pilot Lee Archambault is at the controls of the station’s robotic arm. Two more spacewalks are scheduled for STS-117. Today’s excursion is slated to wrap up about 8:58 p.m.
In other activities, Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Clayton Anderson continue to transfer cargo between the station and Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft