The first of four spacewalks on Endeavour's final mission to the International Space Station is under way.
crew members Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff are well under way in the first of
four planned spacewalks on the shuttle's last mission into space. NASA reported
they have completed the installation of the ammonia jumper cable that will
connect the cooling loops of the station's port-3 and 4 segments.
space agency reported this task was necessary for activities scheduled for the
second spacewalk in which Feustel and Mike Fincke will top off the ammonia in
the station's port-6 photovoltaic thermal control system cooling loop, which
has a slow ammonia leak. They started by installing the cable, then they vented
nitrogen from the loops between the port-1 and port-5 segments and from the
jumper that connects the ammonia reservoir that will be used for the refill on
the second spacewalk. Next, they will move on to the Destiny laboratory for
their final major task for May 20, where they will be installing antennas for
the External Wireless Communication (EWC) system. That task is expected to take
about two and a half hours.
will work on routing the cables to which it will connect while Chamitoff sets
up the antenna. Chamitoff will first remove two handrails on Destiny and
replace them with EWC handrails, which have the antennas integrated. Each handrail
is held in place by two bolts. Once the antenna handrails are installed,
Chamitoff will connect two power cables, and Feustel will connect three more
and store two additional cables for future use. Feustel will wrap up the first
spacewalk of the mission by preparing tools and equipment that will be used in
the second and third spacewalks.
crew members for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission are Commander Mark
Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Fincke, Chamitoff,
Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. During the 16-day
mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer
(AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a
high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre, a two-armed
robot, to the International Space Station (ISS).
shuttle crew announced the successful attachment of the $2 billion,
15,251-pound AMS atop the Starboard 3 segment of the truss of the ISS. The
truss is to be the home of the instrument for the life of the station, through
at least 2020. The instrument is expected to see 25,000 cosmic particles a
second and can downlink six megabits of data per second. The AMS project
involves 600 scientists and technicians, 56 institutions and 16 countries.
Following initial checkouts, the team members in mission control were quickly
able to see a vast amount of data from the detectors already.
Institute of Technology Professor Samuel Ting, AMS principal investigator, congratulated
crew members by radio from the station flight control room in the Mission
Control Center. He thanked them for the safe delivery to the station and said
their work has "taken us one step closer to realizing the scientific potential
on the ground continue to perform analysis based on images taken from the
station of Endeavour's thermal protection system during the backflip maneuver
while the shuttle approached the station, according to information released
NASA. The teams are making plans to be able to do a focused inspection of
Endeavour's heat shield on Saturday, and a final decision on whether the
inspection is required or not is expected this weekend.