Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Live In Orbit: Spacewalking Work Halfway Finished

LIVE IMAGES: The image above is the latest live image from NASA Television. It will automatically refresh itself to the most up to date image every 30 seconds.

Two down. Two to go today. Another two to go Friday. Spacewalking astronauts now are one-third of the way through an unprecedented effort to swap out six critical batteries at the International Space Station.

Endeavour mission specialists are toiling at the far left end of the station's central truss, which now stretches some 335 feet from end to end. The work site for the battery replacement is about 55 yards from the U.S. Quest airlock -- a long hand-over-hand hike for spacewalking astronauts.

The spacewalkers so far have put in place two of the four new batteries they intend to install today. The last two will be swapped by Cassidy and crewmate Tom Marshburn during a spacewalk on Friday

Wolf and Cassidy are stepping through the tedious work without significant problems, and Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide just told them Mission Control has confirmed that the first two powerplants installed by the spacewalkers are working as expected.

"Thanks, Aki. That's great news," Wolf said.

Check out the orbital hardhat work here in The Flame Trench. Simply click the NASA TV box at the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage of the third of five spacewalks planned during shuttle Endeavour's stay at the station. And be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

The astronauts are about four hours and 20 minutes into a planned 6.5-hour spacewalk.

ABOUT THE IMAGES: Click to enlarge the NASA TV screen grabs of Endeavour mission specialist Dave Wolf (top) as seen from the helmet-cam of crewmate Chris Cassidy, and Cassidy (bottom) as seen from the helmet-cam of Wolf. You can distinguish the source of the images by the small numbers -- 16 for Wolf, 18 for Cassidy -- in the bottom right corner of the screen grab.

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