Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Live In Orbit: Spacesuit Trouble Cuts Walk Short

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A spacewalk aimed at swapping out International Space Station batteries was cut short today when flight surgeons spotted elevated carbon dioxide levels in one of the astronauts' spacesuits.

Endeavour mission specialists Dave Wolf and Chris Cassidy, consequently, only installed two of four new batteries they had hoped to put in place.

"I guess we're getting off early today," Wolf said after the two were back in the station's U.S. Quest airlock.

"Great work," Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide said from NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston.

"We'll get the rest on Thursday," Cassidy said.

"Absolutely," Hoshide replied.

Cassidy and Endeavour mission specialist Tom Marshburn had planned to swap out the last two of six batteries at the far end of the station's central truss. Now mission managers likely will have them attempt to swap four of them.

NASA flight surgeons blamed the problem on problems with the carbon dioxide scrubber within Cassidy's suit.

The spacewalk today was the 128th done in the assembly and maintenance of the station, the first two building blocks of which were linked in low Earth orbit in late 1998.

Total time now stands at 798 hours and 30 minutes.

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