Spacewalk hit by brief power outage, no danger

May 17, 2010 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
In this frame grab taken from NASA television, U.S. astronaut Stephen Bowen works on the International Space Station during a spacewalk on Monday, May 17, 2010. Two astronauts ventured out on a spacewalk Monday, the first of three this week, to install a spare antenna on the International Space Station. Atlantis crewmen Garrett Reisman and Stephen Bowen had to be careful handling the fragile 6-foot dish antenna. The shuttle delivered the antenna and other spare station parts Sunday. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) -- A partial power outage at the International Space Station briefly interrupted Monday's spacewalk, knocking out robotic camera views of the two astronauts as they worked to install a spare antenna.

The outage happened two hours into the by Atlantis crewmen Garrett Reisman and Stephen Bowen. The space station's main command-and-control computer suddenly crashed. A backup computer kicked in, but power temporarily was lost to some equipment, including the video monitors being used by the robot arm operator, Piers Sellers.

Reisman was perched on the end of the space station's 58-foot robot arm when Sellers lost his camera views. Bowen was working with connectors on the space station's framework. Both were told to stop what they were doing.

NASA said neither spacewalker was ever in any danger. In less than a half-hour, everything was back to normal, although the backup computer remained in charge.

"Ah, much better," Sellers said when his camera views came back.

Two hours later, both the 6-foot dish antenna and its 14-foot boom were anchored to the space station. Bowen proudly shook the boom. "It doesn't wobble anywhere," he reported.

The astronauts next turned their attention to a storage platform that they needed to hook up for the station's Canadian-built robot, named Dextre, short for dexterous. Also on their to-do list: loosening the bolts on six batteries that will be replaced on the next two spacewalks.

Reisman spent the entire spacewalk on the end of the robot arm. He enjoyed the ride.

"I'm way the heck up here now," Reisman called out from his perch. "I might only be about 5-foot-4, but right now, I think I'm the highest person around. Woooo!"

"Yeah, like you're two-thirds of the way up of being like a Hubble guy," replied astronaut Michael Good from inside the space station. Good worked on the last May in a considerably higher orbit.

Shuttle Atlantis and its crew of six delivered the antenna and other spare parts to the space station Sunday. NASA wants to stockpile as much equipment at the orbiting complex as possible before the shuttle program ends.

Only two more shuttle missions remain. For Atlantis, though, this is it.

NASA may add an extra chore to the second or third spacewalk coming up this week. A cable is snagged at the end of the shuttle's inspection boom. Mission managers said it should be a quick and easy job to free it. The problem prevented the shuttle crew from properly checking Atlantis over the weekend for launch damage.

Mission Control will have the astronauts use the shuttle Tuesday to check the sections of the left wing and other areas that were missed in Saturday's survey.

has mandated safety surveys for orbiting shuttles ever since the 2003 Columbia disaster. A hole in the wing, carved out by a slab of fuel-tank foam insulation at liftoff, led to Columbia's demise during re-entry.

On Tuesday, the astronauts will take on another major objective, attaching a new Russian compartment to the space station.

Explore further: Cassini: Return to Rhea

0 shares

Related Stories

Shuttle Atlantis arrives at space station

May 16, 2010

(AP) -- The shuttle Atlantis arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday amid a flurry of picture-taking intended to make up for a curtailed safety survey the day before.

Astronauts forced into shorter shuttle survey

May 15, 2010

(AP) -- A pinched cable forced Atlantis' astronauts to resort to a more inconvenient and less comprehensive method of inspecting their space shuttle Saturday as they sped toward a weekend rendezvous with ...

Recommended for you

Cassini: Return to Rhea

40 minutes ago

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

Comet dust—planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

7 hours ago

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from p ...

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

10 hours ago

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

11 hours ago

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

MESSENGER completes 4,000th orbit of Mercury

11 hours ago

On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. The orbital phase of the MESSENGER ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nygiantsrobert
not rated yet May 17, 2010
We need to keep the Shuttle fleet flying until we have another launch system in place...
otto1923
5 / 5 (1) May 18, 2010
It would take billions to recertify the fleet and restart production lines:
http://www.univer...-safety/

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.