Astronauts relax, take in views after 2 spacewalks

March 3, 2011 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
In this frame grab made from NASA TV, space shuttle mission specialists Alvin Drew, left, and Stephen Bowen, make one final spacewalk of the mission and the final one involving Discovery at the International Space Station Tuesday, March 2, 2011. (AP Photo/NASA TV)

(AP) -- The 12 orbiting astronauts took care of a little maintenance work aboard the International Space Station on Thursday and gave it a boost before enjoying a well deserved break.

With the major objectives of their joint mission behind them, the station and shuttle crews couldn't wait to gather around the big bay window to take in the majestic views of Earth. Mission Control gave them the afternoon off, a day after the second and final of Discovery's final journey.

Astronaut Alvin Drew, one of the spacewalkers, said when he first floated out earlier in the week, "I had to keep reminding myself that I had a job to do and not just take in this gorgeous scenery around me."

"You are part of the scene. You've gone through the looking glass," he said in a series of TV interviews.

Astronaut Nicole Stott said she and her crewmates have talked a lot about Discovery's final voyage. NASA's oldest shuttle will be retired once it returns to Earth next week and be sent to a museum.

Endeavour will make its farewell flight in April, and Atlantis will close out NASA's 30-year shuttle program this summer.

Stott noted that the word "bittersweet" is used quite a bit to describe this last flight of Discovery, which she called "a really, really high-performing spacecraft."

"I tend to think more 'bittersad,' " she told an interviewer.

She added: "It's just a part of history that I hope we hold on to and appreciate and that we celebrate when we get home and are walking away from her on the runway for the last time."

Shuttle commander Steven Lindsey said the mission has gone "just absolutely spectacular" and he and his crew couldn't be happier.

The six shuttle and six station teamed up to install a new storage room on the orbiting lab, and hooked up an equipment platform with a spare radiator.

On Thursday morning, they fired Discovery's thrusters to steer the outpost into a slightly higher orbit. And late afternoon, they were going to get a special phone call - from President Barack Obama.

Discovery will remain at the space station until Sunday, a day longer than originally planned. The extra time will be used to unload supplies and experiments from the storage unit. They may get yet another bonus day in orbit, which would stretch their mission to 13 days. A decision was expected Thursday.

Explore further: Image: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet's first spacewalk

0 shares

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Video: A colorful 'landing' on Pluto

January 20, 2017

What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip ...

The evolution of massive galaxy clusters

January 20, 2017

Galaxy clusters have long been recognized as important laboratories for the study of galaxy formation and evolution. The advent of the new generation of millimeter and submillimeter wave survey telescopes, like the South ...

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

Image: Wavemaker moon Daphnis

January 20, 2017

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small ...

Astronomers search for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

January 19, 2017

Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It's also the driving force behind San Francisco ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Labia
not rated yet Mar 03, 2011
"The astronauts in orbit at the International Space Station are will be getting a break."

Who writes these articles?

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.