Space Shuttle Discovery Crew Wraps Up Spacewalk

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2011-03-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 PMM.

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 room.

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 airlock.

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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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