Friday, July 24, 2009

Live in orbit: Final battery in place

Blogger update, 4:10 p.m.: The spacewalkers have stowed the last old battery and are cleaning up their work site.

Endeavour spacewalkers have bolted a fourth and final new battery into place on an International Space Station girder, but their work is not quite done.

One old battery, labeled battery No. 1, must be fastened to a cargo carrier for return home with five others.

It had been in a temporary storage position since it was removed Wednesday.

Endeavour mission specialists Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn appear close to completing a highly successful spacewalk, accomplishing all their goals.

They even made up some time while installing the last two of four batteries, making it unlikely that their excursion will extend much passed the planned seven hours and 30 minutes, if at all.

The station's oldest set of solar array wings now has an entirely fresh set of six batteries to store the power it generates from the far left end of the outpost.

The old batteries had been launched into space in 2000.

With the spacewalking work complete, tobotic arm operators plan to maneuver the cargo carrier back to Endeavour's payload bay.

Ground controllers report that the first three batteries installed today are alive and performing well.

Cassidy and Dave Wolf replaced the first two batteries Wednesday during the third spacewalk of Endeavour's mission.

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