Spacewalk hit by brief power outage, no danger

Spacewalk hit by brief power outage, no danger (AP)
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.


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