Discovery's final voyage to space enters the sixth day of its flight as the mission's first spacewalk concludes.
Flight day six is underway aboard the space shuttle Discovery and
the International Space Station following the wakeup call early March 1 of "Happy Together" by The Turtles, played for Mission
Specialist Steve Bowen, according to NASA. The PMM Permanent
Multipurpose Module will be moved from Discovery's cargo bay and
attached to the Earth-facing port on the Unity node.
In the evening, the crew will enter the PMM for the first time, the
space agency reported. The PMM was modified from the Leonardo
Multipurpose Logistics Module. Hardware not required for long-duration
spaceflight use was removed to reduce weight and allow more storage
area. The module's interior was modified to make panels easier to open
and close. The outside of the module was armored with a micrometeroid
mattress that lies underneath the metallic shield.
The module is 21 feet long, 15 feet in diameter and provides 2,472
additional cubic feet of pressurized volume for storage and scientific
use. The PMM is carrying 14 racks, which include the Express Rack 8
experiment rack, six resupply stowage platforms, five resupply stowage
racks and two integrated stowage platforms. Robonaut 2, the first
humanoid robot deployed into space by NASA, also is riding aboard the
Discovery spacewalkers wrapped up a six-hour, 34-minute spacewalk Feb.
28, moving a failed 800-pound ammonia pump module, installing an
extension cable and extending the rail track along the station's main
truss. Mission Specialist Al Drew and Bowen also moved a pump module
vent tool, installed a camera wedge, relocated a tool stanchion and
worked with a Japanese project to bring a bit of space back to Earth.
Mission Specialist Nicole Stott helped coach the spacewalkers from
inside the station, while Mission Specialist Michael Barratt and
station Commander Scott Kelly operated the station's Canadarm2 for the
spacewalk. Astronaut Tim Kopra, who had been scheduled to be one of the
spacewalkers himself before being hurt in a bicycle accident weeks
before launch, joined Love on console in the station flight control
The first task was to install the extension cable between the Unity and
Tranquility nodes, including work in an area that will be inaccessible
after the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module is in place. Drew then
retrieved a tool to be used on March 2's spacewalk to remove ammonia
from the failed pump. Bowen installed a foot restraint on the station
arm to get ready for the module's move from the arm's mobile base to a
more permanent position on an external stowage platform near the
The astronauts then removed tether and cart stoppers along the railway
of the mobile transporter, and lengthened the track with an extension
on each rail. Near the end of the spacewalk both astronauts worked with
the Japanese "Message in a Bottle." They opened a metal canister,
autographed by astronauts, to capture a bit of the vacuum of space,
then sealed it. The canister will return on Discovery for display. The
spacewalk was the sixth for Bowen and the first for Drew. On leaving
the airlock, Drew became the 200th human to walk in space.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.