Astronauts go on 2nd spacewalk at space station

Mar 21, 2009
In this image from NASA TV, international crew members, from left, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov, American commander Lee Archambault and American astronaut Sandy Magnus participate in an interview while orbiting Earth, Friday, March 20, 2009. (AP Photo/NASA TV)

(AP) -- Astronauts took another spacewalk at the international space station Saturday, this time to lighten the workload for future crews.

As soon as they floated outside, Steven Swanson and Joseph Acaba made their way all the way to the end of the space station's power-grid framework. They loosened bolts holding down batteries that will be replaced on the next visit in June, and deployed an equipment storage platform.

A space station alarm went off as the spacewalkers wrapped up that job. The gyroscopes that were maintaining the position of the station-shuttle complex became overloaded from the astronauts' work on the end of the truss. Discovery quickly assumed control with its thrusters.

"Nothing to worry about," Mission Control assured the .

Other work that was being tackled by the spacewalkers: installing a GPS antenna and using an infrared camera to photograph a pair of radiators, one of which has a peeling cover.

It was the second spacewalk in three days for the crew of shuttle Discovery. On Thursday, Swanson and another astronaut installed the final pair of at the orbiting outpost. The panels were unfurled Friday.

Saturday's excursion, though just as busy, was not expected to have the drama associated with the multimillion dollar, high-priority solar wings. was still basking in that success, telling the astronauts in a wake-up message that the space station "now looks like the artist renderings that we've been seeing for years. A day to celebrate!"

Swanson and Acaba, a former Florida schoolteacher making his first spacewalk, were tackling some chores that were added just this past week. The antenna work, for instance, was supposed to occur on a later spacewalk that ended up being canceled because of shuttle Discovery's repeated launch delays.

The GPS antenna, the second to be installed on the Japanese laboratory, will be needed when Japan launches a new space station cargo carrier this fall.

Swanson and Acaba's battery work took them to the far left end of the space station framework that holds the space station wings, the opposite side from where Thursday's job took place. NASA said there could be some induced electrical voltage way out there, but the risk of shock was considered small and well within acceptable limits. Indeed, nothing wayward happened.

Nonetheless, as a precaution, the metal wrist rings on the men's spacesuits were covered with insulating tape. They also kept checking their cuffs to make sure they were down and fastened.

One more spacewalk is planned Monday during Discovery's mission.

The shuttle will depart the space station Wednesday, eight days after arriving, and return to Earth next Saturday.

---

On the Net:

NASA: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts successfully install solar wings (Update)

Mar 19, 2009

(AP) -- Spacewalking astronauts installed the last set of solar wings at the international space station Thursday, accomplishing the top job of shuttle Discovery's mission. Steven Swanson and Richard Arnold ...

Shuttle, station crews begin girder work

Mar 18, 2009

(AP) -- The astronauts aboard the linked space shuttle and space station began their high-priority girder work Wednesday, a two-day job that will culminate with the installation of two new solar wings at ...

Shuttle Discovery Launches to Fully Power Space Station

Mar 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:43 p.m. EDT Sunday to deliver the final set of power-generating solar array wings and a new ...

Shuttle Discovery zooms toward space station

Mar 17, 2009

(AP) -- With a kick of its rocket thrusters, space shuttle Discovery zoomed to the international space station Tuesday to deliver one last set of solar wings that should bring the orbiting complex to full ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.